Trade Paperback Tuesday: ‘Green Lantern: Baptism of Fire’

Everyone knows that Wednesday is new comic book day. While picking up your new issues consider looking at some of the trade paperbacks and hard covers of past issues and story lines. But which ones should you choose?

That’s why every Tuesday, The Flickcast will recommend a collection of comics that are just as good, if not better, than the issues you are currently buying. Books that deserve to be read, and bought the next time you walk into your local comic book store.

“When I was a kid growing up, I never could decide what I wanted to be when I grew up.”  – Green Lantern #75

Some heroes are born, and others are made.

In the mid-90s, Green Lantern wasn’t selling well. So DC Comics did the unthinkable, they created a storyline where Hal Jordan went crazy, became a super villain named Parallax, and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. While that story line was pretty bad, the issues that followed were pure gold.

We were introduced to Hal’s replacement, Kyle Rayner, a twenty-something graphic artist who couldn’t hold a steady job, and flirted with all the ladies, a screw-up. Kyle received his ring not because of his ability to overcome fear, but because he was in the right place at the right time. Kyle was more creative with his ring than any other Green Lantern because of his artistic mind. The only trouble was with no Green Lantern Corp around anymore, Kyle had no training. Here was Kyle Rayner, a screw up, in possession of the most powerful weapon in the universe, and he has no idea what to do with it.

Green Lantern: Baptism of Fire collects a series of issues where Kyle has been Green Lantern for about six months (two years of issues.) He’s made a lot of screw-ups, he has girlfriend problems, and he’s not even sure if he deserves to be Green Lantern anymore. So he heads out on a heroes journey. He seeks the advice of Batman, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman; asking each of them on how to be a hero. After mini-adventures with each of them, Kyle accidentally meets up with his ex-girlfriend/fellow super hero, Donna Troy. Someone is tearing a path through the galaxy, and she needs help. They arrive on the planet of Rann to meet the mysterious conqueror, Grayven, the son of Darkseid. In the end, it’s Kyle by himself versus Grayven, and all he has is his willpower. If he fails, thousands of people will die.

Kyle Rayner’s journey into accepting his role as a hero is an intriguing, exciting, and very relatable. Not many people would be like Hal Jordan when receiving a Green Lantern ring, flying off, confident and cocky, to fight aliens. Most of us would be like Kyle, scared, unsure, and even nervous that the most powerful weapon in the universe is now on our hand.

Green Lantern: Baptism of Fire is a classic re-telling of the hero’s journey. How through willpower and determination even the biggest screw-ups in the universe can save planets. It also tells us that it’s not about the weapons you use, but who is the one wielding them. This is the story line where Kyle Rayner truly becomes a Green Lantern.

I really enjoy the stories of Kyle Rayner as written by Ron Marz, his creator. It was Kyle’s story that got me to love the concept of Green Lantern, not Hal Jordan. It was the first time I understood how powerful something that turns your thoughts into reality really could be.

Even if you do not like Green Lantern, I would suggest you give Green Lantern: Baptism of Fire a try. There is something in this book for everyone, and it probably will make you curious about more of the Green Lantern mythos and the story of Green Lantern.

Currently this trade is out of print, but you could buy the single issues included in this book they are: Green Lantern Volume 3 #59, 66, 67, 70-75. You won’t regret reading this.

“Now I know. I’m Green Lantern. I’m a hero.” – Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern #75

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