24 years ago - Martyn Van Wyck is born.
7 years ago - 17-year-old Martyn leaves home to become a musician, but is constantly in trouble with the law.
3 years ago - 21-year-old Martyn is abducted by the Controllers. Their experiments imbue him with Red Lantern flame. He goes on a rampage, battling Kyle Rayner before the Controllers collect him again to continue their experiments.
Effigy is a one-off villain, even if he happens to be from a particular comic era I love. Comics really live and die by this type of character. In the early days this was ALL you had, it was only after decades of characters like this that comics narratives built their own mythologies. In our case he's actually going to help us build up own own internal mythology, and in the process we get a cool one-time baddie.
Effigy's Comic History
Effigy appeared for the first time in Green Lantern Vol 3 #110, deep into Ron Marz's run on the book that introduced Kyle as the new Lantern. Marz did a stellar job on the book, writing one of my favorite single-character runs. Even it's use of a lot of 90's cliches are fun to read now.
Effigy appeared in a few different story arcs, during that run, and then would go on to occasionally appear in books like Final Crisis, Villains United, Salvation Run and so on. he was never used as a stand-alone villain, but mostly served to fill in crowds of baddies.
I don't believe Effigy has made any appearances in DC after Final Crisis in 2009. This means that he's been completely absent from any of the New 52, or DC Rebirth. What that basically means is that for now he's lumped in with a lot of 90's era comic book characters that most fans probably think are a little goofy. I might not be the best gauge of this era because it's when I really got into comics, but I really do think characters like Effigy are great tools in building our larger timeline.
Our Effigy Story
There's nothing inherently bad about simple villains with one-off power sets, but DC has a penchant for continually going back to the well, redesigning this sort of character over and over for decades. Some of their best characters are the result of one of those redesigns finally stumbling on something that really works.
For his part, Effigy is essentially just a fire-wielding bad guy who wants to destroy things. It's a meat & potatoes sort of comic book villain, and he pairs well against any incarnation of Green Lantern. Even if we were only using him as a one-time foil for Kyle that would work pretty well. We might actually use him even if that was all we'd be doing.
What makes him particularly useful to us is his connection to the Controllers. His existence establishes that they are working with a version of Anti-Oan energy that involves red flame. This character's existence gives is a way to connect the Controllers to the Red Lanterns, giving us an excuse to include them in our timeline. Fun stuff.