Friday, July 15, 2016

Force of Will (DC)
Green Lantern: Rebirth #4 When: March 2005 Why: Geoff Johns How: Ethan Van Sciver

The Story So Far...
He was once called the greatest Green Lantern of all time, but Hal Jordan of Earth was disgraced when he succumbed to his darkest desires after the destruction of his home - Coast City. He became the villain Parallax, until a moment of self-sacrifice ended his tortured life.

Years later, Coast City has spontaneously returned. Now the human anchor to vengeful spirit The Spectre - Hal Jordan learns the truth about his years as Parallax. He was a vessel for another entity, one born of pure fear and trapped within the central power battery of the Green Lantern Corps. For years it had manifested as a yellow impurity in the Green Lantern's power, but the creature known as Parallax is ready to be reborn!

With the power of The Spectre within Parallax's grasp - Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and Green Arrow scramble to formulate a plan of attack. Little do they realize - Parallax isn't the only villain wielding yellow energy who has returned!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Sinestro 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Sinestro 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Sinestro 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Green Lantern 6 (Generator)
Agility: Green Arrow 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Green Arrow 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy: Green Lantern 7 (Cosmic Power)

A villain reborn! Heroes on the ropes! The Secret Wars on Infinite Earths are playing host to a two-on-one handicap match! We've seen the competitors facing off under similar conditions - but we've never seen them quite like this!

Thaal Sinestro is sinister by name, sinister by nature. Once considered the greatest of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps, he was exposed by upstart recruit Hal Jordan for the over zealous fear monger he truly was! Overthrown on his home planet Korugar and banished from the Corps by its masters, The Guardians of the Universe, he was exiled to the Anti-Matter Universe of Qward!

Sinestro soon came into possession of a new yellow power ring crafted by the Weaponers of Qward. With this ring, Sinestro carried out his plans for revenge and tyranny! In time, the true source of its power would be revealed to be fear, around which an entire Sinestro Corps would form, using yellow rings to inspire terror in much the way Green Lanterns wield willpower!

In this instance, the Green Lantern that Sinestro has come to bedevil is Kyle Rayner! The Earthman of Sector 2814 was the last recruit after Hal Jordan was possessed by the fear entity Parallax and destroyed the entire Corps - Sinestro included! In ten years of publication, Rayner would earn his place by proving to be every bit as tenacious as the man he had replaced!

In his past adventures, we've seen Kyle Rayner contend with inter-dimensional threats from the Marvel Universe: Terrax [Green Lantern/Silver Surfer] and Silver Surfer [Marvel versus DC #3]. His results would vary, but years after this appearance during the Sinestro Corps War, he'd find some success in another two-on-one involving Sinestro [Green Lantern #25]! That time he had Hal Jordan at his back -- this time he has friend and mentor: Green Arrow!

The wealthy playboy turned self-styled vigilante is an expert marksman with a preference for a bow and arrow. His quiver is stocked with a cutting edge arsenal of trick arrows that keeps him in stead with the deadliest of enemies. An important contingency through his tenure as a longstanding member of the Justice League and best friend to Hal Jordan!

Green Arrow fought alongside Kyle Rayner during a JLA takedown by Deathstroke [Identity Crisis #3], but we've seen him have far better results against the likes of GL villain Black Hand [Green Lantern: Rebirth #1], super powerhouse Brick [Green Arrow #45], and highly trained fighter Red Hood [Green Arrow #71]. He also fought in the massive final battle of the Sinestro Corps War - which the good guys won [Green Lantern #25]!

Green Arrow is arguably out of his depth in the cosmic clutches of Sinestro, but he and Rayner have developed a good rapport in their short time together, and could easily develop a joint plan of attack. Unfortunately for them, Rayner's already been through the ringer by the time Sinestro comes a callin' to The JLA Watchtower. That does mean they have the home ground advantage, but with Sinestro at full strength - that might not mean much. Let's find out...

The Math: Sinestro Ranking: Green Arrow (#27)

What Went Down...
He stands in mid-air above the wounded Green Arrow and Green Lantern. Arms folded, face shifting from scowl to sneer. He burns with the aura of an intense, golden energy: fear - his to command! Yellow constructs shaped like arrows, buried in the body of the emerald archer. In spite of what recent history would have the cosmos believe - Sinestro is very much alive!

The once great Green Lantern has come to confront the last who took up the Guardian's burden: Kyle Rayner! He throws a wall of yellow spikes at the young ring slinger, who manages a shield just in time to slow them down!

The unrelenting impact of the spikes shatters all constructs - green and yellow - like fine shards of glass! Green Lantern is the first to regroup, forging a giant longsword to swing at the hovering villain. This too shatters!

Skilled in the art of making constructs with a power ring, Sinestro hones his own yellow longsword into a narrowing projection that pierces Kyle Rayner's hand!

He turns his hollow, burning gaze towards the Green Arrow. Hal Jordan's friend wore the color of will power by chance. Sinestro despises it! Ignoring the archer's quips, he forms a giant skeletal hand and brutally slams him against The Watchtower wall! He calls to Rayner, "Don't let him... get near Hal!"

The Green Lantern struggles to tend to his own wounds as the yellow impurity of Parallax infects his ring. He's ill prepared when Sinestro gathers his mastery over fear, channelling it into a swirling storm of yellow fire!

Striding through the halls of heroism, Sinestro defiles it all with his energy, his words, his very presence. He blasts Rayner through the Watchtower meeting room, through his own chair. He decries his very existence - an alley rate who was never meant to be a Green Lantern!

Kyle ignores the gnawing of the fear impurity and launches himself at Sinestro! His fist drives the villain backward into the surrounding electronic structure of the Watchtower! Sinestro throws his whole body back at the young hero - leaping from the wreckage!

The gambit was enough to distract Sinestro from Green Arrow, who's been crawling across the floor desperately trying to reach the Green Lantern battery. Now that he has Rayner pinned down in yellow bondage, he's free to intervene in the archer's plot - but he doesn't. Even if Green Arrow has Hal Jordan's ring, Sinestro is certain Oliver Queen's will is far too cynical to power it...

Jaded though his outlook may be, Oliver Queen's will is still green enough! With a single incredible push - he projects an emerald arrow right at the heart of disbelieving Sinestro!

The heroic trump card is enough to slow the unimpressed villain, who taunts his lack of will. The demolished Watchtower does the rest with a massive explosion!

Rayner regroups just in time to pull Green Arrow to safety! Exhausted from his attempt to use the ring, he's forced to lean on the Green Lantern as the pair hobble deeper into the space station. Running from the inevitable.

Another explosion throws the battered heroes to the ground! Emerging from the swirling yellow fire is Sinestro - triumphant! He lords over them and issues a decree: if they beg - he will end their lives quickly.

The Hammer...
Team Green gave it their all, but victory with extreme prejudice belongs to: Sinestro!

The heroes may have lost the fight, but damn did they get some awesome moments!

It's been a while since I last revisited Green Lantern: Rebirth. I'd forgotten some of the finer details, but one thing I was very much looking forward to featuring was that moment Green Arrow picks up the ring. Pretty darn cool!

It's easy to forget just how much of a game changer the first Rebirth really was. At this point, we've spent more than a decade enjoying Hal Jordan stories anew. So much so, it could be argued the mistakes that required a Rebirth have all since been repeated!

Green Lantern: Rebirth may be remembered for the elevator pitch of Hal Jordan's return to the living, but as we touched on during Guy Gardner Reborn #1, it's ultimate purpose was restoring an entire lost chapter of the sprawling DC Universe!

This was Sinestro's rebirth. Guy Gardner's rebirth. Parallax's rebirth. The entire Green Lantern Corps' rebirth! It was all brought back after far too long away!

Green Arrow's role at the fore of Rebirth made a lot of sense. He wasn't just a hard travelling best buddy to Hal Jordan -- he was also a still recent return from the grave thanks to a 2000 relaunch by Kevin Smith and Phil Hester. Another restoration for an icon fandom had reason to miss.

The genius of the early to mid 2000s wasn't just piecing together lost icons. The long sought return of Hal Jordan wasn't the end of Kyle Rayner. Green Arrow's warm welcome back wasn't a farewell to Connor Hawke. This was a time to both restore classic icons, enhance and embellish them with modern storytelling, and explore their relationship to a new generation of legacy heroes.

Of course, nobody had complete confidence that Kyle Rayner would make it out of Rebirth alive. I daresay many expected the opposite. Part of the fun of reading was a genuine sense of uncertainty! Even the much hyped return of the Silver Age Green Lantern had an air of mystery to it. Even as late as Green Lantern: Rebirth #4 - the heroes are still defending the corpse of Hal Jordan, while his spirit still wanders as the tenured host to The Spectre!

As Sinestro threatens the lives of the heroes at the end of today's feature fight, the ring flies off of Green Arrow's finger - returning to the body of Hal Jordan in a last page splash that announces his reanimation! The moment everyone was waiting for with only two issues to go! Kyle Rayner? Down - but not out!

The nurtured Rebirth under writer Geoff Johns would continue for the rest of the decade, giving DC Comics some of its most successful assaults on the sales charts. Unbelievably, the seeds of the Sinestro Corps War, the Lanterns of the spectrum, and the Blackest Night are all planted in these six issues!

With so much positive to learn from, it's such a shame DC Comics went down a path of destruction once again. In 2016, they attempt a line-wide "Rebirth" to restore some of the elements eliminated by the New 52 relaunch, while inserting some confounding new ones [see; Hero of the Week: Dr. Manhattan]. It remains to be seen if they can find their groove and get back to their best.

This brand new DC Comics Rebirth is the inspiration for revisiting some of the old ones throughout the month of July. In the past few weeks we've returned to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Legends and Guy Gardner Reborn. Next up we flash forward to another time an iconic hero was reborn for the modern age!

If you're still hungry for more stories, why not go diving through past features in the Secret Archive Index? There you'll find a complete reference list for all the past features on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

Get ahead of the Rebirth by checking out the collected edition of Green Lantern: Rebirth via Amazon purchase link provided! It's convenient, and helps out the site with no cost to you!

Winner: Sinestro
#97 (+206) Sinestro
#27 (--) Green Arrow
#103 (-11) Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)

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