Friday, May 18, 2012

The Tragedy Of Sinestro: Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II Chronicles The Fall!

The Good: Decent story, Decent characters
The Bad: Very repetitive, The mundane plot for Hal Jordan is pretty blasé
The Basics: While Hal Jordan serves a ninety day sentence for drunk driving, he is trained as a Green Lantern by night by Sinestro, a Corpsmember whose sector’s order comes at a terrible price!

As one who has read quite a few Green Lantern books, there are many stories in the Saga that I am familiar with long before I actually read and experience them. The downfall of Sinestro as he gets booted from the Green Lantern Corps is one of the tales I knew about, but had not directly encountered until I picked up Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II. While Hal Jordan pretty much whines his way through Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II, Sinestro has serious issues that lead to him being stripped of his status as a Green Lantern. Interestingly enough, even knowing exactly where the story was going, I suppose it is a testament to the talents of writers Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones that when the story finally reached its climax, there was still dramatic tension on the page that I could appreciate.

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II is the follow-up to Emerald Dawn which explored the origin of Hal Jordan as a Green Lantern for new readers who were getting into DC Comics in the wake of Crisis On Infinite Earths. Given the success of that miniseries, the publishers demanded a sequel and Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II was the result. The story is largely about order, control and the consequences of abuses of power. Thematically, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II is largely about taking responsibility and that point is driven home on almost every page. Unfortunately, that makes Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II incredibly repetitive for much of the book.

Hal Jordan decides to take responsibility for his drunk driving and he throws himself on the mercy of the court. This lands him ninety days in prison, which he thinks is unjust, but he goes along with in order to pay his penance to society. With lawyer Guy Garner looking out for him, Jordan begins to serve his time, despite being in the lockup with a bank robber whom he busted as Green Lantern. But before he can explain anything to the Guardians, Jordan is whisked away by Sinestro.

Over the course of many nights, Hal Jordan trains with Sinestro, who has the most orderly sector in the universe. Sinestro is hard on him, but effective and Jordan is soon molded into an impressive Green Lantern. But when the pair breaks up a potential alliance between three of the most nefarious alien races in the galaxy, the Khund visit Korugar, Sinestro’s homeworld. There, they discover a populace eager to overthrow Sinestro and in doing so, they put Hal Jordan’s life on the line and expose Sinestro’s questionable methods.

In many ways, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II is a very typical tragic tale. Sinestro is characterized as a man trying to accomplish a virtuous thing in a way that defies reason or the considerations of what is traditionally defined as “good.” He has the typical hubris of a tragic hero and his own inability to see how his methods are repressive instead of simply effective is troubling. But more troubling than Sinestro’s character is the way his character is expressed. Sinestro comes across almost robotic in his sensibilities because of how frequently he uses the same phrases over and over to define his worldview. This sense of repetition makes Sinestro seem less fanatical or set in his ways and more brainwashed.

In a similar fashion, Hal Jordan is hardly an intriguing protagonist in Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II. Jordan is incredibly whiny through the beginning of the book and he seems much less certain in this volume about anything. As Hal Jordan moralizes and complains about how the judge threw the book at him, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II wanders a bit. Still, the way he becomes Green Lantern to stop a robbery on the way to prison feels very much like a classic comic book and that is pretty cool. Unfortunately, it is the exception to the rule for the Hal Jordan character in Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II. Through much of the book, he shows none of the potential that he did in Emerald Dawn and he is pretty much led around by everyone else the entire book.

As for the artwork, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II is very simple in that regard, too. Sinestro appears with more hair than he usually has, as do most of the Guardians. The artwork is generally simplistic, though the characters are mostly recognizable panel to panel. Kilowog, however, looks like a sketch of himself and the lack of extensive detailing makes it hard for those who came in on the contemporary Green Lantern comic books to go back. That said, none of the panels are actually bad, so Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II is not bad in that regard.

But it is simple. Above all other things, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II seems to take a very simple idea and drag it out over six chapters in a way that does not entirely work in a way that is spectacular. Instead, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II adequately explores the downfall of Sinestro, but does not add more to the Green Lantern mythos.

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern/Green Arrow – Volume 1
Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn
Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight - A New Dawn
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the books I have reviewed!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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