For those of you who need a Superman break, you sadden me but don’t worry. This one drops his name a few times but he’s not actually in this one. He shows up maybe three times in background shots and that’s it. Considering how many of the Secret Files books I’ve reviewed in this portion of Scanning My Collection lately has been about him or a group he’s part of (like the Justice League or Team Superman) that may surprise some of you at this point but DC did do ones for other heroes. Good luck having that happen nowadays with Batman. They just did a whole event surrounding multiversal Batmen because they can’t get enough Batman. And they say the Joker is obsessed with Batman.
But enough about Batman, we’re here this Thanksgiving to talk Green Lantern. There is absolutely no connection to be made here. It’s just what was next in the reviews. Alan Scott does get mentioned a number of times but this comic is focused on only two ring slingers, Hal Jordan (of course) and Kyle Rayner (I’m kind of surprised he was part of this as much as he was). Ron Marz did most of the writing, with assists on profiles by other writers, and I’m getting the impression he really wanted to be writing about Hal Jordan at this point. Earlier this week we had the start of a storyline with Hal, and now this has more Hal that it should. I wonder if there’s a Flash Secret Files in my collection that’s mostly about Barry than Wally? DiDio would love that. But this is the 1990s so we’re talking Kyle. Or trying to. The stories presented in this one are a bit different from what we’ve seen in previous Secret Files books so at least there’s some variety.
Green Lantern: Secret Files
DC Comics (July, 1998)
STORIES WRITER: Ron Marz
PROFILE CO-WRITERS: Scott Beatty (also the timeline) and Matt Brady
COLORIST: Tom McCraw
SEPARATIONS/COVER COLORING: Digital Chameleon
COVER PENCILER: Gil Kane
COVER INKER: Kevin Nowlan
Secret Origins: Guy Talk
PENCILER: Lee Moder
INKER: Dan Davis
This one is a short summary but a long enough story. It’s really just the reader going into Warriors, the bar and theme restaurant Guy Gardner ran at the time, and hearing the history of the five Earth Green Lanterns. However, it does set up a theme that comes up many times in the books, an average guy in the right place at the right time to inherit the power of a Green Lantern. It’s actually not a bad way to tie-in the various comics. And Guy is relatively unbiased in his telling…for Guy Gardner anyway. Of course he still pushes himself as the best but he gives Hal, John, and Kyle their earned praises. After a few profiles Phil Jimenez takes over on art for a two-page tour of Warriors, which Guy promises early in the story. It’s a nice callback.
Kyle Rayner’s Sketchbook
PENCILERS: Paul Peletier & Darryl Banks
INKER: Terry Austin
I’m assuming this one was for the artists, since Kyle is a freelance artist in his civilian identity…or was at the time. DC doesn’t let him do that anymore and he’s just another Green Lantern in Hal’s shadow except when he’s a White Lantern. Also in Hal’s shadow. Look, I grew up with Hal Jordan thanks to Super Friends and reruns of Justice League Of America shorts in syndication but Kyle is just the best choice to own a ring that creates solid light constructs of anything he can imagine, which even Guy notes. Anyway, the framing device is Jade finding Kyle’s sketchbook, a good way for artists to keep in practice or warm up for the big piece he or she is working on at the time. What follows is a bit of a peek into Kyle’s mind, with a cute little ending, which is really the only evidence of anything between Kyle and Jade, and circumstantial at that. I dig it as a creative myself.
LOST PAGES: Kyle Meets Hal Jordan’s Old Girlfriend And Best Friend
PENCILER: Georges Jeanty
INKER: Dexter Vines
Set just after the destruction of Coast City and Kyle taking over as Green Lantern (who had lost his mind and became Parallax at this point before it was blamed on a yellow space bug…because) we see Carol Ferris and Tom cleaning out the remains of Ferris Aircraft’s facilities just outside the city. With Coast City destroyed and Hal presumed dead or at least lost Carol really doesn’t need this facility and Tom volunteered to help. As she finds an old picture of Hal an accident causes the hangar to catch fire. Kyle happens to be in the area and saves them, and then has to explain he’s been Green Lantern for only two weeks to an angry Carol. She calms down pretty quick though. The odd thing is a way later writer would try to couple Kyle and Carol after she became a Star Sapphire again, which I think was an odd choice, but I don’t think there are enough writers who can get Kyle and DiDio probably wants to kill him off for daring to try to supplant Hal. DiDio has an odd relationship with the DC Universe. We also get a callback to the “average guy in the right place at the right time” theme from the first story, which bookends the book nicely.
This may be one of the best of the “Secret Files” books of the period. While I think there’s too much emphasis on Hal when they should be trying to promote Kyle (they really wanted to make sure you didn’t forget Hal but he still gets off better than Rodimus Prime) all three stories are pretty interesting and I do like that they took advantage of having an artist main character to create a sketchbook for him. It’s worth checking out if you want to go back to what the characters were doing at that time.