After writing Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan for years in Green Lantern: New Guardians, Tony Bedard is getting the chance to completely start their relationship over at its beginning in Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax.
The issue takes place when Kyle was just a rookie Green Lantern, and Hal was dealing with the aftermath of having been Parallax and killed the Green Lantern Corps. The two hardly know each other, and there's no other members of the Corps around except the two of them.
Thanks to Convergence, the mega-event that takes over the DCU in April and May, the historical versions of Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan have been captured inside a domed city, stolen them from their own timeline along with other heroes and villains from throughout the DCU.
After being introduced to this version of Kyle and Hal in Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax, the adventure starts when the dome disappears, and the heroes run into opponents from Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Wildstorm Universe.
Bedard is writing a total of three of the Convergence tie-in mini-series, which all serve as tie-ins to the main, weekly Convergence title. The tie-ins are all two issues each, and besides Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax, Bedard is also scripting Convergence: Speed Force and Convergence: Aquaman.
After having spoken last week with Bedard about his revival of the pre-Flashpoint Wally West in Convergence: Speed Force, Newsarama talked to the writer to find out more about the appeal of writing rookie Kyle and Parallax.
Newsarama: Tony, can you explain the universe we're looking at in Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax? What happened to bring these heroes from the past to this point?
Bedard: In a nutshell, a cosmic entity has plucked entire cities from many different realities and placed them all on the same planet. They're all covered by opaque domes so they don't even know they're no longer on Earth until the domes come down.
Aquaman, Green Lantern and Parallax were all in Metropolis when the dome went up, and they've been stuck there for a year, trying to adjust to this new isolated reality. They'll end up pitted against opponents from Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Wildstorm Universe.
Nrama: I know you're also writing the Convergence: Aquaman issue that's set in this "dome," but let's start with Green Lantern/Parallax issue. From what point in DC's history do we pick up the story? (I assume this is after Emerald Twilight?)
Bedard: It's very shortly after Hal Jordan went nuts and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. Having absorbed the power of the Corps and the Guardians, he became Parallax and returned to Earth, but just as the heroes attempted to fight him, the dome went up.
Nrama: So is Hal full-on gray-templed Parallax, as he's shown on the cover?
Bedard: Yeah, but really he's just gray-templed Hal with the crushing knowledge that he just killed all his friends on Planet Oa.
Nrama: Do you, in this story, hint at all about the later, slightly revised understanding of what "Parallax" is (the fear entity)? Or is this full-on 1990's version?
Bedard: This is the 1990s version, before Parallax was identified as the Fear Entity.
We do sort of refer to Parallax as a separate identity. In fact, Kyle has befriended Hal and he keeps insisting that Parallax, not Hal Jordan, is responsible for the destruction on Oa.
But Hal takes full responsibility for what he did, and the knowledge of his killing spree is too much to bear.
Nrama: When we talked about your Convergence: Speed Force issue, you talked about Wally West being "your" Flash. Do you feel the same about Kyle?
Bedard: I absolutely connect to Kyle more than I do to Hal. Part of that is an old prejudice I had about Golden Age and Silver Age characters having less depth than characters began to have in the 1980s. Part of that probably just has to do with characters who inhabited these roles as I was first getting into reading comics.
And Hal always seemed a little too perfect, too unrealistic. He was a fearless test pilot. That's cool, but hard to relate to personally.
Kyle, on the other hand, was a struggling artist. That I can totally connect with. He just seemed more human, more emotionally awake.
But I have to acknowledge how much Geoff Johns has done to give Hal his own depth as a character since he brought him back. And throughout all of this, I've always thought that Hal's Green Lantern costume is the best super-hero costume design ever.
Nrama: I don't think many people will disagree with you about that. But getting back to Kyle, why do you think the character works well as Green Lantern?
Bedard: Several things about Kyle really appealed to me. One, he's an artist, and the Green Lantern ring is limited only by willpower and imagination. Hal may have more willpower, but Kyle was always the most imaginative of Green Lanterns.
Also, as an artist, Kyle needs to be in touch with his emotions. This informed his ability as a Green Lantern, and I made sure it eventually meant that he could master the entire emotional spectrum.
Kyle's strength is different than Hal's. It's soft power and it comes from being in touch with himself in a way that Hal never was.
Nrama: What is this Hal and Kyle like (compared to the characters we know now), and what's it like writing them, at this time in their history?
Bedard: Kyle is brand new to being a Lantern and he's less sure of himself. He hardly considers himself Green Lantern at all, since his tenure was cut short by the dome almost as soon as it began.
He also knows that Hal is regarded as the greatest Lantern ever, so he's in awe of Hal.
Nrama: Tell us about the Crisis and Wildstorm characters in this issue — what's the threat that Kyle and Hal come up against?
Bedard: In Crisis on Infinite Earths, there was a scene in another reality where England won the Revolutionary War and now the Monarchy are super-people. Lady Quark is the queen, Lord Volt is the king, and Princess Fern is their daughter. It's Princess Fern and her army that attack Metropolis in Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax.
This may not sound like much of a threat, but she has plant-powers like Swamp Thing and proves a tougher adversary than either Hal or Kyle bargain for. But in a greater sense, the real struggle is between Hal and Kyle.
Nrama: It sounds like Hal is a mess.
Bedard: Hal is totally wallowing in grief and guilt. Without the power of Parallax clouding his mind, he locked himself up in Metropolis jail, feeling acutely responsible for what he did to his fellow Lanterns. But Kyle visits him in jail every day and the friendship between these two will greatly affect how things play out when the dome falls.
Nrama: Any other Corps members in the comic? Or wait… this is after they're gone?
Bedard: Yeah, there's no other Corps members in Green Lantern/Parallax. They're all dead in their own reality, and they don't run into Green Lanterns from other realities (though that would've been cool if we had more issues).
Nrama: What's it been like working with Ron Wagner here on art?
Bedard: Ron's doing terrific work, both conveying Hal's anguish about what he's done and depicting Parallax's awesome power. There are pages in the first issue that really echo the Green Lantern stories from that time.
I feel like I've gotten very lucky with my art collaborators in all three of my Convergence series.
Also, Ron is being inked by Bill Reinhold, an artist I really adored when I first started reading comics. He used to draw The Badger back then. All of this is totally taking me back to a time when I first fell in love with this medium, and it's been a blast!
Nrama: Then to finish up, Tony, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax?
Bedard: I would just like to invite anyone who enjoyed Green Lantern: New Guardians to return with me to the dawn of Kyle Rayner's career. Getting to establish a new friendship between him and Hal is a very cool opportunity.