Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Regarding Green and Yellow

On his blog, Calvin Pitt mentions something interesting about the nature of Green and Yellow in the GL universe. Green meaning willpower, yellow meaning fear, and how green contains yellow...willpower consists partly of overcoming fear.

Which is true and got me thinking. So I'll beg your pardon for more decidedly incoherent Lantern-babble.

This is why the retcon of Parallax as a yellow space bug in Rebirth didn't bother me. Some were upset because they thought it was an attempt to excuse Hal and robbed him of the complexity of going flipping nuts. Personally I think that by giving in to Parallax, Hal still has the culpability so that complexity is still there, if a bit more indirect.

But moreover, it adds a particularly interesting twist to the Green Lantern mythos. Because it proved that the Guardians have no idea of what they're doing.

They've been picking people based on qualities such as determination and lack of fear or ability to fight/overcome fear, and they still seem to be using the same criteria in Recharge. But what Rebirth proved is that those criteria may well be completely wrong.

Look at Rebirth for a moment. Yeah, Hal was the central hero. But who really set everything in motion by discovering Parallax's true nature, who protected Hal's corpse singlehandedly until crashing back on Earth, who interfered at a pivotal time during the battle with Sinestro to turn the tide, and finally, who was it who *never* once succumbed to Parallax even a little bit when every other Lantern started acting up. Kyle Rayner.

And that's where things get fascinating. Because the Lanterns are chosen on basis of their responses to fear, yeah? And what we have is a situation where the "ideal" Lantern figure (Hal, by his lack of fear) had fallen first to Parallax's influence. Whereas the Lantern that was chosen out of sheer desperation, in the right place at the right time, who would *never* have been chosen if there had been another choice (and Guy *had* been approached first), is the one that never once fell. Because as he said, he "knew fear". And it's true, reading Green Lantern 50-181, Kyle is very open about his fears. He doesn't fight/overcome them so much as embrace and use them. There's a very subtle difference there. He does have problems repressing most of his other negative emotions: anger, pain, sorrow; but fear has always been a part of him, and he's okay with it.

I've heard that Dave Gibbons got a lot of flack for saying in an interview that he didn't think Kyle was Lantern material, and while I haven't seen the original quote, I have to say, he's right. If Hal hadn't become Parallax, Kyle would never have been chosen at all. Hell, Ganthet tried to take the ring *away* because after seeing Kyle struggle for fourteen issues, he felt that the boy wasn't suited for it. He doesn't fit *any* of the criteria really (he's certainly determined, but it's a different, quieter sort than any of the other Lanterns we see, and as I said before: he uses his fear instead of fighting it).

Kyle's so bad a Lantern that his powers don't even obey the rules! Kilowog claims that the subconscious can't activate the ring. But Kyle's does. He doesn't wear the ring when sleeping because he has nightmares that could be (and have been) actualized. Batman's scheme in Tower of Babel involved putting the ring on his finger and utilizing hypnotic suggestion to convince him that he's blind. And it works, because his subconscious uses the ring too. He's created devices he doesn't understand by just creating a construct that looks like he thinks it should. He's rebuilt a DNA-tooling device just out of sheer will without ever knowing how the hell it works. Kilowog must be getting such a headache.

But it's Kyle Rayner that restores the Corps and the Guardians, and it's Kyle Rayner who makes the resurrection of Hal Jordan and the defeat of Parallax possible.

TO me, this all indicates that there is something wrong with the way that the Guardians do things. There's something wrong with their criteria, and while they love Kyle, they really haven't learned anything at all. They're still doing things exactly the same way. And I'm hoping that this eventually gets brought up in the upcoming Green Lantern Corps series.


  • At December 23, 2005 7:17 PM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    Wow. I inspired that? Holy crap. That's awesome! I rule!

    And, lest we forget, Kyle Rayner rules. Kyle Rayner rules all.

  • At December 23, 2005 10:35 PM, Blogger Bhotanni said…

    But honestly, what would happen if we had a corps full of people like Kyle... I don't think the battery could handle it.

    I think it may be that in every age or cycle of time whatever you want to call it, the battery needs to be recharged. That's when they find a Kyle, and now it's his time.

    Then again I could be completely off since I've only read a handful of the Green Lantern series.

  • At December 23, 2005 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kyle Rayner *is* the perfect green lantern.

    He isn't really strong and he has fear but none of that matters, because he just wants to do the right thing. He'll do the right thing in the face of superman/batman/j'onn. He'll do the right thing in the face of that stronger enemy/fear. When Hal Jordan feels anything except for an emotion I can only catagorize as "HalJordanish" it's a major stumbling block he has to overcome.

    For Kyle it's what he does every damn day.

  • At December 24, 2005 2:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok this has nothing to do with the color aspect but it is a fanboyish rant on Green Lanterns.


  • At December 24, 2005 5:13 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Here's the thing. Kyle was dumb luck. He was a one in a quintrillion shot. Ganthet basically threw a dart at the universe and hit an insanely small bullseye dead center.

    The criteria is flawed, but this is a huge amount of power to be giving out. It's been tried and tested that the majority of times (35700 out of 3600 at least) these criteria will get them someone who won't be corrupted.

    Kyle, however, was a toss-up. Ganthet took a huge risk that paid off. And the odds of getting another Kyle are astronomical. The guardians probably aren't even sure, at this point, exctly what qualities to look for, because Kyle has a combination of many wonderful qualities. He's basically the jackpot of GL candidates.

    So, they go by their previous, simpler, time-tested criteria, only this time they train them to resist Parallax (and I believe overcoming the yellow weakness indicates you can successfully resist Parallax corruption), they carefully monitor the entity, and they keep Kyle as close by as possible.

    Because he's irreplaceable.

    They're not even sure how they got him in the first place.

  • At December 24, 2005 11:58 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    calvinpitt: Yes, yes he does.

    bhotanni: A corps full of Kyle's would admittedly not work. However they would be pretty. And they'd definitely have to change that godawful dress uniform.

    mallet: I do think you're doing Hal a little bit of a disservice. But I can't say I disagree. Good rant too.

    ragnell: *sigh* must you ruin my gripes with actual logic. :-) But yeah, they were really, really lucky. Fate and chance and all that. Eeek, imagine what they could have ended up with.

    And gods willing overcoming the yellow weakness does mean a resistance to Parallax, or else Hal, who can seemingly be taken over by a swift breeze, is in trouble again. :-P


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