Kyle Rayner was born on the East Coast to Aaron and Maura Rayner. The family moved to Los Angeles soon after. Kyle's father, Aaron, was a military man and worked for a covert government agency. Aaron Rayner left his family when Kyle was almost three years old. He had been sent on a mission to Southeast Asia and never came back. Aaron Rayner has not been listed as dead or missing in action.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #58, #76]
The two heroes battled Mongul to a standstill, forcing the alien conqueror to resort to weaponry. Both Mongul and the Man of Steel were astounded when the power ring deflected the yellow energy blast. In the past, members of the Green Lantern Corps were powerless against the color yellow. Superman continued the fight with Mongul until Rayner hit Mongul with a ring created train, finally knocking him out of the battle.
Maura Rayner raised her son alone and in poor conditions as the military had stopped sending Aaron Rayner's paychecks. Maura was working as a cleaning lady so they could only afford to live in a trailer.
Kyle's earliest memory was from when he was four or five years old. He had woken up in the trailer to find the bedroom was on fire. He was saved from the blaze by a firefighter which left a major impact on his life.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #113]
As a child, Kyle Rayner played "Superman" with his friends, one of whom was Tyler Hutchence. Rayner appeared to have little interest in the emerald warrior of Coast City, Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
Artistically inclined, Kyle had a passing interest in super-hero comics, preferring the pictures to the stories. Like other teenagers, Rayner went to see many movies and watched television. He even developed a crush on Wonder Girl of the Teen Titans.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #58, #87]
While Kyle was in high school, his mother tried to cut through red tape in Washington to find Aaron Rayner, leaving herself little time to spend at home with her son. Kyle eventually found a few friends who liked to bully kids they thought were weaker than them. Kyle was hesitant to support his friends but knowing if he did not he'd lose them, he went along with whatever they wanted. Until the day senior football player Otis Wilkins stepped in.
Wilkins wanted to see if Rayner would be willing to pick on someone that was not weak and, because everyone in school was watching, Rayner accepted the challenge. Rayner was scared, but believed his friends would support him, that they would all take on Wilkins. He was wrong. After school, he stood alone and was mocked by everyone in school. Still, Rayner fought Wilkins, and lost. Wilkins told him to start thinking for himself, rather than listening to his supposed friends. The next morning, Rayner was changed. He defended a freshman student from his three friends, easily beating them. They were cowards as Rayner now realized.
[GREEN LANTERN 80 PAGE GIANT #1]
Though his mother started receiving Aaron's pension from the Army and was able to buy a house, the relationship between Kyle and his mother was strained at best as Kyle always felt smothered by her over-protectiveness. Kyle moved out when he was 18 years old and went to art school.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #87]
Rayner went to college on a scholarship with his friend, Tyler Hutchence. Rayner eventually dropped out of art school but with the help of Professor De Cord, who worked overtime to keep his student together, Rayner got back on track. Rayner never completed his degree and dropped out while Hutchence earned a degree in architecture.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #90, DC ONLINE'S WHO'S WHO, GREEN LANTERN 80 PAGE GIANT #2]
In his twenties, Rayner became a freelance artist, primarily designing greeting cards. Though he was never one to settle down, he began dating photojournalist Alexandra DeWitt. Their relationship was rocky, but they were willing to make a new start on the East coast. They wished upon the stars, witnessing the rise of an emerald light, reaching towards the heavens.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #48, #90]
Unbeknownst to the couple, the emerald light was that of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Driven to an insane rage by the destruction of Coast City and the perceived indifference of the Guardians of the Universe, Jordan started on a path of destruction, tearing through his allies in the Green Lantern Corps.
Aside from deploying members of the Green Lantern Corps and resurrecting Sinestro, the Guardians themselves did nothing to prevent Jordan from seizing the energy of the Central Power Battery. The Guardians chose one of their own, Ganthet, to become the repository of their energies. The backlash of power from the exploding Central Battery appeared to have killed the Guardians. Jordan emerged, surveying the destruction. He sensed his power ring laying on the ground where he had thrown it. Jordan crushed it under the heel of his boot and left Oa. Ganthet, the last surviving Guardian, reformed the power ring. Though the Corps was dead, the work of the Guardians would live on. Ganthet chose Earth to find someone to wield the power ring as that world had a history of heroes.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #46, #48-#50]
Rayner did not know the last Guardian had first approached former Green Lantern Guy Gardner but found Gardner uninterested in wearing the power ring again.
[GREEN LANTERN SECRET FILES #1]
Weeks after the destruction of the Central Power Battery, Rayner was at the Heretic Club in Los Angeles with his old friend Tyler Hutchence. After taking his drunk friend to the bathroom to be sick, Rayner went out to the back alley to get some air. Moments later, a streak of emerald light, similar to the light he had seen some weeks before, fell from the sky and veered towards him. In the center of the light emerged the figure of Ganthet, the last Guardian of the Universe.
Weakened by his journey, Ganthet had little time to explain who he was. He gave the ring to the first person he saw, Kyle Rayner. After a few cryptic words, Ganthet disappeared in a blast of emerald energy. A vagrant, Joshua P. Turner, was in the alleyway that night and was the only witness. Rayner put the power ring on his right hand and found himself transformed. He was wearing the costume of Green Lantern.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #50, #90]
Kyle's first adventure as Green Lantern was involved a battle with Bito Waldon, better known as Sonar. Kyle has only told Guy Gardner of this fight as it did not go very well for the novice ring wielder. The details are not available at this time.
[GREEN LANTERN SECRET FILES #1]
Kyle was confused and went to the one person he felt he could turn to, Alex, Rayner saw the ring as a chance for them to make a new start in New York City. He would be a hero with the ring while DeWitt would take pictures of him. DeWitt agreed to give him another chance. The next morning, they were both on the way to downtown Los Angeles so DeWitt could take photos of a new supervillain, Ohm, a criminal who had stolen an experimental armor suit from S.T.A.R. Labs and threatened to destroy the city with his electrical powers. Rayner did not want to sit on the sidelines and entered the fight as Green Lantern. Though it was obvious he was inexperienced with the power ring, Rayner was ultimately victorious. Many in the crowd had mistaken him for the former Green Lantern. Later that day, at Alex' suggestion, Rayner redesigned his costume to make his own identity as Green Lantern.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #51]
The next day, they took photos and then practiced using the power ring. Rayner learned that with concentration he could create complex objects with the emerald energy. They had been at it for hours when the alien despot Mongul arrived to kill Green Lantern.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #52, #88]
Mongul and the Cyborg Superman had been the destroyers of Coast City. Although Mongul had been defeated by Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the alien warlord did not differentiate between Rayner and his predecessor. He wanted to kill both Superman and Green Lantern for his defeat at Engine City, former site of Coast City. Rayner was about to be slain when Superman arrived.
Superman was impressed by the newest Green Lantern, but was surprised he had not heard of the Guardians or the Green Lantern Corps. The Man of Steel had not seen the other Green Lantern since the memorial service at Coast City. Superman took Mongul back to confinement. Rayner himself was surprised by the outcome of the fight. It was his first battle with a "big-time villain" and he had won.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #52-#53]
It was sometime later when news reports told of strange happenings in Los Angeles. Investigating a time warp, Rayner had left Alex alone in her apartment. The supervillain Major Force, hired by the Quorum, was searching for the Green Lantern power ring and when DeWitt did not have any information of value, Force murdered her.
Rayner returned to find Alex brutally stuffed into the refrigerator. Major Force was still there and would kill Rayner as well to get the power ring he sought. The villain found Rayner was a furious fighter and would not give up the power ring easily. For a short time it appeared Rayner would kill Major Force until the moment his power ring ran out of power.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #54]
Major Force quickly gained the upper hand, badly beating the new Green Lantern. Presenting a green, glowing rock to Rayner, Force demanded to know what it was as it was found in the same alley he received his power ring. Rayner had never seen it before but it was obviously related to the power ring as it transformed into a lantern and recharged the ring.
Back at full strength, Green Lantern easily changed the outcome of the fight. Strapping Major Force into a ring generated electric chair, it was his turn to demand answers from the villain. When Major Force only laughed in response, Rayner prepared to deal with him once and for all. The L.A. Special Crimes Unit was on the scene and took control of the situation, preventing Rayner from avenging Alex' death. Taking Major Force into custody, they wanted Green Lantern to remain for questions as well but Rayner flew off.
Returning to his apartment, Rayner was startled by a mysterious presence. Aside from supervillains, Kyle had attracted the attention of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern. He went on the offensive, only to find himself subdued by the elder Green Lantern. After Rayner calmed down, Scott explained the history of the ring Rayner now wore and the threat of Hal Jordan.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #55]
Kyle did not have much time to himself when he was called on by Superman. The Man of Steel and Metron of New Genesis needed the new Green Lantern's assistance to communicate with all of Earth's heroes. Utilizing his Mobius Chair, Metron guided the ring's energy projection of Superman across the globe. The universe was dying. From both ends of time entropy was eating away all that was and would be. The heroes of Earth were needed to confront this menace.
[GREEN LANTERN Vol. 3 #55, ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #4]
The heroes gathered outside the United Nations building in New York City. It was there that Kyle met Guy Gardner, now known as Warrior.
[ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #3]
When time distortions caused a floating futuristic city to appear in the skies above Manhattan, the heroes had to work together to expand a boom tube created by Metron and transport the anomaly away. Shortly afterwards, the surviving members of the Justice Society of America returned to the present day after their crushing defeat at the hands of Extant. After seeing so many of their friends die, Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, gave up his heroic career as did Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern. Scott gave his mystic power ring to Kyle Rayner for safekeeping.
While Metron took a contingent of heroes to the 30th Century, Waverider took Kyle and other heroes to the distant past to stop the flood of entropy. They were soon attacked by the Team Titans, who had secretly been pawns of Extant. When Extant himself appeared and attacked Darkstar Donna Troy, Kyle jumped in the way of the blast to protect her. He had created a shield in time to save his life, but had dropped Alan Scott's power ring when he was hit by the force of the blast. Waverider was able to send the heroes back to New York City in the 20th Century before he was defeated by Extant.
[ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #2-#1]
Regrouping under Metron, a number of heroes were taken to Vanishing Point, the headquarters of the time-spanning Linear Men. Kyle was able to secure a time probe launched by Vril Dox of the L.E.G.I.O.N. Metron hoped this would give them more information about the situation they faced. The answer was not long in coming as an alternate version of Waverider led them back to New York City in the 20th Century to face Extant. Superman was prevented from attacking the villain by Hal Jordan, now taking the name Parallax.
Parallax claimed the universe was going to be destroyed by him and he would recreate it, setting things right. Kyle's attack on Parallax was easily repelled as the former Green Lantern caused him to disappear. Pulling entropy from the past and future, Parallax closed the loop, erasing all time and space.
[ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #1]
Returned to Vanishing Point, Rayner and a handful of other heroes had been spared from the universe's destruction by Waverider. Parallax was recreating the universe by his plan and Waverider proposed they do the same.
Shifting to the dawn of time, Waverider led the assault on Parallax. Jordan had spared Guy Gardner, Green Arrow and other heroes so they might watch as he recreated existence. The battle was soon joined by the Spectre who sought vengeance against Parallax for the untold trillions he had erased from existence. With Parallax distracted, other heroes used their powers to absorb the plasma energy Parallax had been forming.
Though weakened by the attack of the Spectre and the absorption of his plasma energy, Parallax still knew what Waverider had planned and was ready to oppose him. Rayner tried to hold Jordan back but Green Arrow had already shot an arrow at his former friend which buried itself deep in Jordan's chest. The two emerald gladiators disappeared in the reformation of the universe.
[ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #0]