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Kyle Rayner

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

This is not the first Kyle Rayner Mattel has released - but the last one was so long ago, we opened its review with a joke about Aaron Rogers replacing Brett Farve.

Once a White Lantern and the bearer of seven rings, Kyle Rayner is back to basics under a new Corps as a Green Lantern.

Yes, he was a White Lantern. Which meant he got his power from a White Power Battery. That was a joke someone made when all the alternate colors started showing up - that the natural end result of green power rings and yellow power rings and red power rings would be white power rings - and then it came true, because sometimes people will write things without thinking about the context. So honestly, "White Power" is just the modern equivalent of Joker's boner or all those guys Archie used to beat off. Anyway, when the New 52 hit, only Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison were allowed to continue the stories they'd already been telling (sorry, everybody else - you should have tried harder to be teacher's pet), so while this is technically "Rebirth" Kyle Rayner, he's actually the same guy who's been in comics since 1994.

This is almost Kyle's classic costume, the one designed by Darryl Banks back in the '90s. Banks was seriously the best costume designer of the decade (and is still a hell of an artist today), so going back to Kyle's first look was smart. Since Kyle became GL after Parallax destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, he had no idea there was supposed to be a standard uniform, and just created something himself. Yes, the armored gloves are a bit "Image Comics"-y, but the boots are simple, and the suit being all black with a large white panel covering the chest makes for a uniquely graphic art. Plus, the off-center black stripe breaking it up creates a feeling of energy and excitement that a centered symbol wouldn't. Unfortunately, it's the symbol that pegs this as "Rebirth" Kyle: his current costume has a typical Green Lantern logo on the breast (albeit with black and white coloring around it), rather than the unique logo he had at his creation.

Of course, Kyle's defining feature was his "crab" mask, something far better at concealing identities and deflecting punches than the domino masks Hal and the other GLs wore. Even his last figure was wearing it! This isn't a reused head, though, because he's also gone back to his floppy '90s haircut. Eh, that's fine; if they'd tried to update it, he'd probably have a man-bun or something.

The DC Multiverse figures no longer use that same old pool of reused body sculpts we grew so familiar with during the DCU Classics years - instead, they have a whole new pool of reused body sculpts! Kyle isn't as big a guy as Superman, so he gets a more compact chest (possibly the same as The Ray?). Same legs, though! The kneepads, forearms, and hands are definitely new, to accomodate his unique armor, so it's not just a question of putting a new head on old bodies, Hasbro.

The biggest surprise of these tail-end Mattel DC figures is that they finally have articulation no one needs to be ashamed of! How did that take them a decade and a half to get right? Kyle moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The ankles are swivel/hinge style, but the peg goes straight down into the foot, so all it does is turn side-to-side, not tilt to keep the foot flat in wider poses. The really important thing is you can pose him however you feel like - including copying the extreme stance of the old Kenner Total Justice toy! Geeze, were those things ever a mess!

Kyle comes with two accessories: his power battery, and an energy effect to fit over his hand. The battery is quite impressive, because while it's the same design as the one the last toy came with, it's not the same mold - Mattel paid to remake this thing! The light green flame is less interesting. Kyle is an artist, so his power effects have always been wild and creative, not this plain and unimaginative. Leave that to Uncle Bad-Touch.

The figure includes both legs of Lobo, this series' Don't-Call-It-A-Build-A-Figure.

Although Mattel had a Kyle Rayner in their lineup, it wasn't the Kyle Rayner. The '90s were not a great time for superhero costumes, but we'll make a bold statement and say Kyle's Green Lantern suit was the best original of the era (in other words, not just a minor update of an existing costume, like Wally West or Tim Drake). This toy would have been better with the old-fashioned logo and a better accessory, but coming in right at the end like this, it feels like a gift Mattel gave us.

-- 04/15/20


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