Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dark, Dangerous And Oddly Put Together, The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two Starts The Green Lanterns Down A Dangerous Road!

The Good: Story, Action, Most of the artwork, Moments of character
The Bad: Parallax inclusion weakens that menace, Moments told out of order.
The Basics: Even knowing where The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two was going, I found the story to be engaging enough to recommend to anyone who is a fan of superhero stories.

This morning, the first thing in my docket was a review of a graphic novel and for that, I turned to a saga I've been piecing together as the volumes come to me. While Wonder Woman may be my favorite DC Comics superhero, I have been gaining an increased respect for Green Lantern. Or, more accurately, I've been appreciating how serialized the last few years of Green Lantern comics have been and finding the conflicts and scale of them to be worth my time and attention. So, since getting into the whole Blackest Night Saga (how to read it is available here!), I have been picking up stray volumes of the various Green Lantern-centered stories that intrigue me and reading them. Today, that is The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two. And before you go looking for it, no, I have not yet read and reviewed The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One, but both volumes are now available in a single anthology, as it ought to have been in the first place.

The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two follows the events of Infinite Crisis (reviewed here!) and The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One and finds the Green Lantern Corps embroiled in a seemingly hopeless war against the Yellow Lanterns (Sinestro Corps) who have sprouted up rather suddenly. As the action of this book is engaged, the universe looks to be on the precipice of destruction as the Green Lantern Corps faces off against their equal numbers of Sinestro Corps members, Superman Prime, Cyborg Superman, a small army of manhunters and the Anti-Monitor. If those threats do not ring any bells, then The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two might not be for you; the menace of the these threats to the DC Universe are well-detailed in other volumes, most notably Infinite Crisis. But, for beginners, having two Supermen to fight alongside the entity that is out to destroy the multiverse now that it has been reborn should seem like threat enough.

With many Green Lanterns slain already, the Lantern planet Mogo finds itself under siege by the Sinestro Corps City Ranx. As the two sentient land masses battle, on and in their surfaces, Lanterns fight for survival and dominance. As the battle moves toward its peak and the potential catastrophic loss on the side of the Green Lanterns, the Guardians of the Universe reveal a change to the Book Of Oa. The Green Lanterns are given the ability to use lethal force and they begin to cut a swath through the Sinestro Corps as they explore their newfound power.

But the change to the Green Lantern Corps is not the only judgment that the Guardians make that might be questionable. In attempting to stave off the Blackest Night, they work to keep Sodom Yat alive for a hidden purpose and they look to defend Oa against a Sinestro Corps attack. But their judgment is not omnipotent and Sinestro makes an attack designed for the symbolic value and to instill fear throughout the multiverse. As Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner attempt to free Kyle Rayner from Parallax, Sinestro leads an all-out attack on Earth and with the Anti-Monitor and Superman-Prime at his side, the death toll begins to mount fast.

The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two is not only a conclusion to one story, but it is the opening to several stories I have already read and reviewed, most of which have more character elements associated with them than this tome. This is a bloody battle and the character elements are frequently glossed over, save with some of the secondary or supplementary characters. Sodom Yat becomes a viable character with his backstory on an ultraconservative planet being revealed. His childhood is filled with repression and torment and this start to his arc is interesting, especially knowing how it affects him later on. Sodom Yat, a rookie in this story, is brash, but is in the process of discovering his powers, powers that make him an even match for Superman. Sodom Yat's story is one that explores a new hero in the process of becoming and it is one of the few character-driven stories in the book.

The other big character-driven story in The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two is the story of Sinestro. Sinestro actually sits out a surprising amount of the book, but when he comes in, his explanation for the formation of the Sinestro Corps is surprisingly revealing and establishes Sinestro as a far more conflicted character than writers less sophisticated than Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi and Dave Gibbons have made him out to be.

As for the main characters, Hal Jordan is given a small arc where he has the chance to rip Sinestro a new one, but his level of character is about on par with Kilowog taking on Sinestro Corps member Arkillo (whom it is interesting for me to see with his tongue still intact!). Jordan comes face to face with Kyle Rayner as Parallax and that conflict seems remarkably simply resolved, especially considering Parallax absorbs Jordan again. The willpower or aftereffects of Jordan and Rayner in the wake of a Parallax encounter are completely glossed over.

This leads to one of the other odd characteristics of The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two; the chapters are not quite in order. In chapter seven, Guy Gardner delivers a painting designed to trigger an emotional reaction to Kyle Rayner infected by Parallax, but in eight, Garner is still looking for the painting. When one is plotting out a heavily-serialized storyline, it seems like getting details like that correct would be of paramount importance to those involved.

That is not the only error made, though some of the worst errors come in the artwork. Near the beginning of Chapter Eight, a colorist miscolors two Yellow Lantern trails as Green Lanterns, which causes some pretty awkward dialogue to be uttered by the allies! Similarly, at the end of Chapter Six, a severely beaten Sodam Yat appears, his uniform completely in tatters. He is also missing his right leg from the knee down. At least, that is how it appears - a very close inspection shows the knee bent and the foot somewhat behind, but the artwork is unclear and troublingly sloppy.

All in all, The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two is an engaging read and with the release of the complete The Sinestro Corps War trade, I would recommend that far more than this book on its own, but this tells an engaging story whose effects are still being felt in the Green Lantern universe!

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Rage Of The Red Lanterns
Agent Orange
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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