Kyle Rayner never wanted to be a hero; he just wanted to draw them. His childhood dream was to draw comic books, a dream that was still unfulfilled as he now worked as a freelance artist for a LA variety magazine. However, his life would soon be forever changed when he stumbled upon a seemingly ordinary ring during a weekend trip to Vegas.

That ring was far from ordinary, though. It was actually a power ring worn by the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar group whose duty was protecting the galaxy. The group consists of over one thousand members, each of whom is assigned a sector in the galaxy. Each member of the Corps has the power ring, which can, upon the will of the wearer, create physical objects out of green energy. The source of the power, as well as the guiding force of the Corps, is a mysterious group of beings known as the Guardians of the Universe.

The ring that Kyle found actually belonged to a Corps member known as Abin Sur. As a retiring member, he was on his way to Earth to choose a successor, someone who could prove worthy. Unfortunately, his ship was attacked by the villainous Sinestro en route. Sinestro was a former Corps member who was kicked out due to his abusive behavior. Humiliated and angered, he vowed revenge. He managed to construct his own power ring, and now he tracks down and kills members of the Green Lantern Corps, stealing their energy for his own. Now, Abin Sur was the next victim. His crippled ship crashed in the Nevada desert, and a battered Abin Sur had just enough time and energy to send out his ring on a quest to find the next Green Lantern before Sinestro came and finished him off. Without a guide, though, would the ring be able to fall into the right hands?

For some reason, he didn't know why, Kyle was drawn to the ring lying in the street. He picked it up, and returned to LA, having lost a lot of money, but gaining something else instead. The next day, while relaxing in the park with his girlfriend Alex Dewitt, he was surprised when a green glove suddenly appeared in his hand to catch an errant baseball. When he returned home, the ring flared to life again and revealed a hologram of Abin Sur, with a message regarding the full power of the ring, as well as it's origin and the responsibility involved.
At first though, Kyle ignored the responsibility portion of the message. With a recently purchased scanner, he tracked down the "hot" spots and flew in, all costumed, to help save the day. Of course, Kyle made sure to stay away from situations that were really dangerous; however, it did not stop Green Lantern from becoming an instant celebrity as the first superhero of the west coast. It also helped the life of Kyle Rayner; his drawings of Green Lantern were becoming hits in the magazine, and now, even comic book companies were starting to take notice.

Of course, just as things started to get good, the madman arrived. Sinestro had finally managed to track down the ring and it's owner. Confronting Kyle during his lunch break, Sinestro demanded the ring. When Kyle didn't comply, Sinestro unleashed an attack. Kyle was no match for the villain, and barely escaped. He now hid in fear, realizing each time he used his ring, it would be a signal to Sinestro. However, while he was deciding on the best course of action (most likely run away), Sinestro had managed to track down Kyle's address. He arrived to find it deserted, but fortune smiled on him when Alex accidentally came to his apartment at the same time. Sinestro attacked and injured her, and made it seem like an accident. He figured that would send Kyle rushing to the hospital, where Sinestro would be waiting.

When Kyle found out what had happened, he was devastated. He knew he brought this whole misfortune on himself, because he hadn't acted like a hero. Before it was too late, he decided to change. He went to the hospital, where he delivered a message to Sinestro to meet in Yosemite Park for a final confrontation. Sinestro obliged, and traveled there. The two engaged in a full scale assault, with Kyle using trickery and his knowledge of the area to his advantage. His use of various tricks and stunts would make Sinestro angry, and hopefully rage would lower his ability. The plan was working for a while, but in the end, Sinestro got the upper hand and slammed Kyle into the side of a cliff, and eventually buried him under a pile of rocks.

However, at that moment, another Green Lantern, an alien named Killiwog, arrived to take on Sinestro. He had been searching for Sinestro fora while, and knew where to go after Abin Sur didnot return from his mission. The two of them began fighting. In the meantime, Kyle managed to dig
himself out, and had an idea. He completely greased up his hands, and while Sinestro was busy fighting with Killiwog, he rushed behind and managed to slip off Sinestro's ring. Now powerless, Sinestro was vaporized by the other two lanterns. Killiwog begrudgingly thanked Kyle, and then after a visit to the hospital to check on Alex, Kyle went on Killiwog's ship to meet the Guardians of the Universe and thus officialy begin his career as a superhero....