Current Reviews


Sunday Slugfest - Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1

Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2007
By: Keith Dallas

“Sinestro Corps: Prologue: The Second Rebirth”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Moose Baumann (colors)

“Tales of the Sinestro Corps: The Greatest Once, The Greatest Again”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Dave Gibbons (p), Rodney Ramos (i), Moose Baumann (colors)

Publisher: DC Comics

Average Rating:

Kenneth Conde:
Shawn Hill:
Chris Murman:
Kevin Powers:
Nicholas Slayton:

Kenneth Conde

For Green Lantern fans worldwide, the anticipation of the Sinestro Corps crashing the Green Lantern Corp’s peace and order has been building up for the last several months. I have been looking forward to this storyline for quite some time. Congratulations are in order to Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons for increasing the interest on the Sinestro Corps by carefully placing parts of its genesis in the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps books leading up to Sinestro Corps Special #1.

The battle between both sides is epic in scope and provide an urgency and level of danger as many perish in this issue. There is a feeling that the crisis the DC Universe recently encountered is almost miniscule in contrast to this issue’s ending where a final double-splash page leads one to believe that the status quo has been chucked out the back door.

That double-splash page at the end made my heart stop for just a second. Which superheroes are you going to put together to beat that fearsome group? I have never seen such an ensemble cast, heroes or villains, put together that just reverberates power. And two individuals in particular puts the stamp of approval to the word “unbeatable.” There will be a lot of deaths and not just of Green Lantern Corpsmen but also mainstream DC Universe characters. Those two augments the danger of the Sinestro Corps to great heights. It’s great to see that bringing back the Multiverse comes at a price.

Gibbons has been doing solid work over at Green Lantern Corps. He has brought back respectability and life to the title, while adding his own spin to the Green Lantern Corps mythology. In fact, GLC has been epic in scale since its beginning. The added tale at the end of this book capturing Sinestro’s days as the greatest Green Lantern at the time is a great insight into Sinestro to those readers who are unfamiliar with his history. At the same time Hal Jordan and Sinestro are presented as former genuine friends. Gibbons captures their handshake perfectly.

And Geoff John’s respect for continuity never ceases to amaze me. The Guardians of Oa discuss Abin Sur’s prophecy from the planet Ysmault, which was introduced in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, written by Alan Moore back in the mid 1980s. Basically, the Guardians imprisoned their enemies from the Empire of Tears as demons on the planet Ysmault. One of the demons of that planet prophesized to Abin Sur that in the end, the enemies of the Guardians of the Universe and Green Lantern Corps will rise and unite against them. This was “The Final Catastrophe.” But one of the Guardians called it “The Blackest Night.” Johns captures the Oans’ arrogance, citing it was not a prophecy, but just a fable to instill fear. The problem are the villains amassing with the Oans unfamiliar with the villains’ leader. That was the best surprise. And their visuals are outstanding.

Ethan Van Sciver brings his immense talents to this book. One can only love how he makes the Green Lantern logos come to life. He captures the emotions of the characters the way they are supposed to be portrayed. Look at Superboy Prime’s face when Gardner teases him; it’s the dangerous look of an insane person. It’s very disturbing, kind of making your stomach churn its insides. Look also at Guy Gardner’s face near the end of the book when he sees a hole on the side of “The Box.” That is how disbelief should be drawn. He looks pale, and that’s the best rendition of a glassy-eyed look of someone realizing something terrible will happen to him in the near future. And there is a real sense of trepidation clearly visible on each Green Lantern’s face upon seeing that hole in The Box. The double-splash pages are the best at capturing the awesome look of groups of the Sinestro Corps, but it is the last double-splash page that will make the reader’s jaw drop in surprise. Ethan Van Sciver captures the magnitude of destruction about to visit the DC Universe with his rendition of the villains, especially those two “franchise players.” They just bring a menacing presence to the page. It’s like capturing the essence of the lawn mower about to cut fresh grass. How does grass stop a lawnmower? Care to ponder on that question? My sentiments exactly.

Final Word: Both major publishers are currently presenting big events that promise danger in epic scale, but they pale in comparison to the kind of danger the Sinestro Corps bring up to the plate. It makes all big events look miniscule. Readers will devour this story and wonder especially how the two “Franchise Players” can be stopped by our heroes. I mean these guys make Parallax and Sinestro look like junior varsity players in a professional ball game. I definitely highly recommend this to all readers. Don’t miss Sinestro Corps Special #1. You will find yourself opening the book over and over and just shake your head in utter disbelief at the level of power of the villains. Unbelievable! At 64 pages, of which only 8 pages are ads, this book’s price of $4.99 is a steal. The quality of this book speaks for itself.

Shawn Hill

Plot: Neither the Guardians nor their Green Lanterns are prepared for a scourge of deadly yellow rings, much less what they represent.

Comments: The rings on both sides have a mindless dedication to their programming that is horrifying all by itself. The good green rings are only as loyal as their master is alive; the yellow rings are willing to kill whoever gets in the way of bestowing their ambiguous “gift” of power (which comes complete with the puppeteer Sinestro’s strings).

Johns continues his willing strength of getting into the minds of his villains, going so far into Sinestro’s perspective that we begin to understand at least why he thinks he’s right all the time. He’s just misunderstood. He’s actually a force for good. The galaxy would be much better off if everyone was ruled by fear, and fear is what powers his rings, and his fearsome anti-Corps of malcontents. His Power Battery anti-oath is a perverse twist on the established heroic ones we know.

The power displayed by the Yellow Corps is disturbing, as they literally rip Kyle away from seeming safety on Oa, and easily break into the Oan sciencells to free some very special prisoners. Lanterns die right and left (so numerous, and thus so expendable? Must that always be the case?), though the yellow side seems to sustain few losses.

The Guardians themselves are a bit more interesting than in the past, containing female members and dissenting individuals like Ganthet these days. Are these short bald blue women something other than the race of Amazonian super models usually depicted as the Guardians erstwhile mates? Never did buy that gender division, anyway.

Johns continues his odd habit of cross-breeding continuities, as Sinestro’s new recruits are all former Superman or Supergirl villains, though there’s no denying they make for a menacing final splash page of pure evil on the verge of roaming unchecked. It may be too soon still for Ion’s horrific fate, but I suppose we can rest easy that whatever Johns changes, he can change again, and probably will.

Most interesting of all is Van Scivier’s art; his bitter, wizened Sinestro is simply the best since Gil Kane’s, and he and Johns have come up with some intriguing new evil anti-GL’s, fully exploiting that non-human alien potential the concept provides. There’s a sentient virus, a sort of shrimp thing, a deformed girl with a pack of wild dogs … they all fit as smooth as demons into the Hellish Anti-matter Universe he creates.

The backup tale shows a much younger Sinestro befriend and mentor Hal Jordan, who doesn’t seem to take his ring seriously enough. This tale is introduced by Lyssa Drak, a Talokian rendered in all the femme fatale glamour Dave Gibbons can evoke. Hal has never been the most likable of the Lanterns (I mean, they had to invent Guy Gardner to give him somebody to appear better than), but there’s a feeling in this flashback that an opportunity was lost when the Guardians cast Sinestro out so abruptly.

Chris Murman:

Is it just me, or does Geoff Johns really hate Kyle Rayner?

So, let me get this straight: Sinestro has been building an army at the behest of the Anti-Monitor. He’s been assembling some of the baddest fear inducers across all of sentient existence. His focus is honed to a razor-like sharpness. The hatred for Hal and the Guardians has never been higher. I say all that to ask this question:

What in the world does he need Superboy-Prime and a Parallax-infused Ion?

Now, before I go off on a tangent, let me get into what there is to like about this story. Unfortunately, I don’t have much praise for this. It was great to see Van Sciver’s craft with the Bedovian sniper in action as well as the initial storming of the castle by Sinestro’s strike team. Johns also crafts a great tie in to the Ion series that Ron Marz recently wrapped. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but using that to break Rayner was well played.

And that’s about all I can say was good about this book.

I think the bit about Lanterns kicking the mud off their boots on Earth Lanterns because of Hal being back has gone about seven curtain calls too long. It’s been going on in the parent series written by this same scribe for the past year. It takes that long for these aliens to move on? Knock it off and come up with some new conflict between corps members, Geoff.

Speaking of the script, there was a great premise to this arc built for us readers. Sinestro hates Hal Jordan. Sinestro hates the Guardians and Oa. Sinestro crafts an army to take on the corps and bring his type of order to the galaxy. Now that we’re into the story, it’s become muddled with so much more that it takes away from the premise.

Everyone is taken down and Hal is sitting there saying, “Wha’ happen?” The bad guys, further showing this writer would rather put Ion in the ground, court Kyle. Superboy is broken out of his cage, as well as Cyborg Superman being put back together by all the kings’ horses and men. Let’s not even get into the Anti-Monitor; I’m not smart enough to understand his involvement.

Where in that is there room for development of our favorite purple ring-slinger versus the test pilot? I got more out of the back-up story about Sinestro’s history with Hal than the entire main issue. That’s all we needed. Johns does big, heroic clashes of DC’s titans. What’s wrong with letting that happen without all this other crap?

I have been a big supporter for what Johns has done for the Green Lantern franchise since his restart of Hal’s story. I have really been in favor of what he did “One Year Later” in repairing the broken relationships with Jordan and everyone around him. Especially with the Henshaw/Manhunter story, Green Lantern was back in a big way with DC fans. Which is why I have to be down with this starter to this summer series.

You’ll most likely read how awesome this creative team is and how amazing this title is from Kevin Powers. I love Johns’ writings about Hal and if he ever stars as the pilot in a movie, I’ll buy the first ticket. That greatness, however, is why we have come to expect such good stuff from this writer and artist. I expect more when I read good stuff.

I did this with Johns’ last run with Teen Titans, so I’ll give this a shot on Green Lantern as well. Here’s what’s going to happen in this series:
  • Hal has to realize there is some lesson Sinestro taught him long ago that will help him defeat his former mentor now.

  • Hal has to console Kyle about the death of his mother to get Parallax out of him. This somehow turns the tide with the battle.

  • Superboy-Prime somehow gets taken down with a token “super punch” from Hal. This series is too short for it not to end in a crappy way other than that.

  • Guy Gardner cuts through Hank like a knife through butter while slapping a female Lantern on the behind.

  • The Anti-Monitor somehow gets parlayed over into Countdown and becomes part of next year’s crisis.

  • Hal ends up getting the respect he feels he should have always gotten from his fellow corps members.

Sure I’m mad. I deserve to be after the crap I’ve read this year. With publishing delays, short-sighted stories, and ridiculous deaths, I feel I should get more from my favorite line of comics. Who knows if things will rebound at all, but I don’t know if they will because of this series.

Kevin Powers:

Before getting into this review, I want to remind everyone that I am a huge Green Lantern fan. Writing, even portraying, Hal Jordan and Green Lantern is a life goal of mine, so I really can’t stress the excitement and anticipation that I have felt waiting for this event. There hasn’t been a great deal of hype, a few advertisements here and there, but nothing overly hyped to the extent of Countdown or World War Hulk. I’ve been extremely satisfied with the handling of Hal Jordan and the relaunch of the Green Lantern Corps since Rebirth, as Geoff Johns continues to remind me why he is my favorite, and possibly the best, writer today. I remember a Wizard interview where Johns stated, “Hal Jordan will be reestablishing himself on Earth, but something big is brewing in the cosmos” or something to that extent. This event is the “something big.” After reading this issue, I debated whether or not I really wanted to review it because of how big of a Green Lantern fan I am, but for that reason I will go forward. I will state right off the bat that this is one of, if not the, best comic books I have read in a few years.

This issue is absolutely amazing. While Johns’ run on Green Lantern has been entertaining and high on action, suspense and drama, the Sinestro Corps Special is what Green Lantern is all about. But this event doesn’t just resonate in the realm of Green Lantern alone. This single issue sets the tone and raises the bar higher for all “mega-events,” no matter the publisher. If you have read the latest comic news however, you will see that word has got out and after only one day on the shelves, Sinestro Corps is going back to press.

There are a few things done exceedingly well with this issue. First, it is every Green Lantern fans dream for this to be happening. Probably the most insane and intense “war” or “crisis” yet is taking place in the pages of Green Lantern. This issue plays off of just about everything going on since Rebirth, Infinite Crisis and 52. The scope and the magnitude of the monster Geoff Johns has created is wild. DC should stop Amazons Attack and focus primarily on this event. I’d go as far as to say that DC needs to re-evaluate Countdown because this single issue almost makes everything since Infinite Crisis rather insignificant. This title is also very accessible to anyone who has never read Green Lantern. Everything is explained quickly and very well, and if you have not read past issues of Green Lantern, please find issue #17 to see the moment Batman is chosen for the Sinestro Corps, but his willpower resists.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Sinestro Corps is technically an idea that has been brewing since October of 1960 with Green Lantern Volume 1 #2, when the Weaponers of Qward were introduced. This of, course, was long before any mention of fear and willpower, Ion or Parallax. But the Weaponers of Qward had the right idea. They long wanted to capture a Green Lantern, specifically Hal Jordan, and study the intricacies of his ring and devise a way to create their own. This dream was almost realized by the Qwardians in Green Lantern Volume 1 #150 when the Anti-Green Lantern Corps were created, led by a brainwashed Hal Jordan. But their appearance was short-lived, and they were quickly vanquished when Jordan realized his loyalty to the Green Lantern Corps. Johns though takes the Sinestro Corps one step further by using the weakness of the Green Lanterns, fear, to power the Sinestros and in typical fashion, has Sinestro enslave the Weaponers of Qward. Their goal: to bring order to the universe by using fear.

The pacing, the action, and the drama of this issue are spectacular. It is nonstop from start to finish. The opening scene with Sinestro will make you feel afraid; you will quickly grasp the hatred Sinestro feels towards the Green Lantern Corps. He finally gets a long overdue new uniform and has finally decided to take the universe for himself, starting with the Green Lanterns. It is very hard not to spoil anything, but you really need to bag and board this issue if you have not done so already. This is without doubt the very thing that Sinestro was created for, a fallen hero seeking vengeance and the “purification” of his universe to a way in which he seems fit.

Everything plays so well in this issue. Poor Kyle Rayner. He has had it rough in the past two years, and it only gets worse for him here. Ion is basically to willpower what Parallax is to fear: its living embodiment. Sinestro uses the dirtiest and most evil tactics imaginable for Kyle Rayner. Everything that happened to Kyle during the Ion series has been Sinestro’s doing. When Kyle first became Green Lantern, and after meeting Hal Jordan during Zero Hour, one of his greatest fears was becoming another Parallax. Johns pulls that element straight from Kyle’s early history and things go from bad to worse.

Whether this title will feature Hal Jordan’s return to greatness amongst the Green Lanterns remains to be seen, but the Sinestro attack on Oa is breathtaking. Many Green Lanterns die, and the greatest cosmic sniper face-off ever takes place between Sinestro Bedovin and Green Lantern John Stewart. The entire sequence is absolute madness, possibly one of the most action-packed and suspenseful scenes I have seen in a comic book in a long time. Forget the Amazons, they’ve got nothing on the Sinestros. These Sinestro Corps fear-mongers are well-crafted, but it is the final two that will make your jaw hit the floor. This entire event plays right into the multiverse and the Crisis, and all you need to know from Infinite Crisis is that Superboy-Prime has been locked up on Oa. The implications brought forth by the end of this issue go far beyond Countdown and the Green Lantern titles. Oh, and not to mention the Guardians again seem to sit around and do nothing but talk about what’s coming, which is typical of the cosmic smurfs. DC needs to shift focus off of Amazons Attack and re-structure Countdown because this ending is more shocking than the return of Superman-2. Geoff Johns, we are not worthy.

Ethan Van Sciver delivers the artwork that will launch him to “Jim Lee” status. He did a fantastic job with Rebirth, but he raises the stakes in this issue. Everything is edgy, everything is brilliant, and the artwork plays right into the overall theme of the story: fear. There’s a panel that really stands out to me during the attack on Oa by the Sinestro Corps: About fifteen or so Green Lantern rings fly over Hal Jordan’s head. He looks up and Van Sciver captures the emotion of the moment. Hal’s face is seemingly overcome with fear and guilt as the rings pass by overhead. The art is so well done in this issue it is hard not to wonder why Van Sciver isn’t everywhere.

If you don’t know a great deal about Sinestro, or how some elements of his character are “ret-conned” into continuity, Johns delivers the answers with another “Tales of the Sinestro Corps” back up tale. Not only is the story perfect to Sinestro’s character, and finally buries Emerald Dawn II, but it answers a few questions about the relationship between Hal and Sinestro that have been left open since Johns took over. Remember, Hal betrayed Sinestro, things look very grim for my beloved Green Lanterns.

This is possibly the best comic book I have read in a long time. Already it is one of my all-time favorites, and it definitely raises the bar for the DC Universe. There’s great action, great suspense, and an ending that will blow your mind. This is not only my Pick of the Week, but it is my Pick of the Summer, and possibly my Pick of the Year.

Nicholas Slayton:

Yellow. Green. Trouble in the land of little blue men. Insects, whales, and the second Reign of the Supermen. 52, the Anti-Matter Universe, and horribly thin mustaches. That can only spell one thing:

Sinestro is back, with a vengeance.

Geoff Johns has been building towards this special for years now. Ever since Green Lantern: Rebirth, the nature of Sinestro, the yellow rings, and what powers the Green Lantern Corps has been re-evaluated and updated into a truly brilliant mythos. Once DC’s “One Year Later” event occurred, Johns went into the next stage of his long game: revealing the existance of a “Sinestro Corps,” an opposite to the Green Lanterns in all forms. Sinestro Corps Special is the pinnacle of the build up, and wow, it’s worth it. I’ve always found Sinestro to be a rather bland villain, a simple evil twin if you will to Hal Jordan. Now however, he’s been put into the leadership role of probably the biggest threat to the Guardians of the Universe.

Johns hits the nail right on the head with Sinestro’s motivations. He’s obsessed with his version of order, taking the Green Lantern’s creed to a frightening extreme. The Guardians of the Universe themselves are scaring me, with an emotionless mantra and a god complex that actually makes me wonder if Sinestro isn’t that wrong in opposing them.

Yet, while Sinestro is the main catalyst of this event, the Green Lanterns are the stars. Four main cast members, and Johns manages to maintain each one’s distinct personality. Hal Jordan is still the arrogant thrill seeker, John Stewart the calm rational thinker, Kyle Rayner is an average guy who’s mastered beyond-human situations, and Guy Gardner is still the jerk with a heart of gold. In the “calm before the storm” part of the issue, Johns takes the time to have the main characters interact, and it’s one of the best moments to be found in here. Some early bits of characterization do feel odd, most notably the Red Tornado again being forced back into android mode, despite his history as a well adjusted robot who acts human already. The reappearance of Zoom as an early badguy is very refreshing for myself as a fan of Johns’ Flash run. However, while I know it’s a Green Lantern book, I found the fact that Hal Jordan was the one who managed to stop Zoom to be a bit forced.

Yet, all storms must burst, and the two rival Corps begin what is probably going to be a very violent, costly war, wonderfully drawn by Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver. Some of his pages in the Zoom fight felt off with weak anatomy, but once the space action starts, he kicks it into high gear. It’s a crowded, intense, and fast paced war, and it feels like it. The sniper battle between John and the alien Bedovian was one of the main highlights, and Van Sciver’s drawing of a transparent sniper rifle was incredibly detailed.

One of my main complaints about the book was the inclusion of the new Multiverse. Granted, the other worlds have not been explored that heavily, but the sudden re-emergence of the Multiverse in every single DC comic these days is getting annoying. The reveal as to who the main villain is was shocking, but at the same time annoying. For one thing, I fail to understand why Superboy-Prime would serve the Anti-Monitor, considering the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths, but the Anti-Monitor and the Multiverse make me question the necessity of CoIE and Infinite Crisis, story wise. Why go through all that trouble to get rid of the Multiverse, if you were going to bring it back, and bring back the Anti-Monitor?

Complaints aside, this comic is amazing. After years of buildup, Johns’ plans for Sinestro and the Green Lantern Corps have exploded into a truly epic event. The art is brilliant, the characters dead on, and the action nonstop. It was definitely one of the best reads I’ve had in a while.

What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!