Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Of The Better “New 52” Entries, Green Lantern: Sinestro Continues The Story Well!

The Good: Engaging story, Good characters, Decent artwork
The Bad: A few of the panels, No significant thematic development
The Basics: Green Lantern: Sinestro slowly tells the story of Sinestro’s return to the Green Lantern Corps and his work with Hal Jordan to destroy the Sinestro Corps.

I have not, honestly, been a fan of DC Comics’ “The New 52” strategy, which is largely reboots of the DC Comics franchises. I was pleasantly surprised by Justice League: Origins (reviewed here!) and unpleasantly unsurprised by how poor Wonder Woman: Blood (reviewed here!) was for the reboot of that franchise. Fortunately, the Green Lantern reboot appears to be (at least initially) a “fuck you” to the whole rewriting the history of the heroes. When DC Comics began its “New 52” rework, the Green Lantern Storyline was in the middle of some big events. Coming off Blackest Night, Brightest Day and then War Of The Green Lanterns, Geoff Johns created long-running arcs that he seemed to have an idea for. And when the War Of The Green Lanterns arc finished with a big, surprising, bang, it would have been one of the worst ventures to drop and not continue.

I suppose it is easier to direct such things when you are the Chief Creative Officer for the entertainment company. After all, Geoff Johns was in the perfect position to say, “Sure, we can reboot everything, but my Green Lanterns!” Green Lantern: Sinestro is the result. And for those who wish to be able to enjoy the joy of discovery for how the storyline got to this point, this is where you must stop reading this review. Green Lantern: Sinestro is the latest chapter in an exceptionally long story arc from Geoff Johns and other writers of Green Lantern and it is a compelling continuation of that story.

With Hal Jordan exiled from the Green Lanterns and Sinestro now wearing a Green Lantern ring, the universe seems topsy-turvy. Hal Jordan is struggling with his finances, now that he is no longer a test pilot, nor an interstellar police officer. After swearing his Green Lantern Oath, Sinestro is sent out into the galaxy to patrol his sector. Looking in on his home planet of Korugar, he is horrified to find his old Corps, the fear-based Sinestro Corps has enslaved the planet and is brutalizing its people. Determined to stop that, Sinestro goes to the only man in the galaxy he feels he can trust: Hal Jordan.

Providing Hal with a modified Green Lantern ring, Sinestro and Hal head to Korugar to take out the Sinestro Corps. There, they find a world of hurt from both the Yellow Lanterns and the Korugarans, who loathe Sinestro. With Hal, Sinestro, and many citizens of Korugar, trapped by the Sinestro Corps, the Green Lanterns must rise to thwart the Sinestro Corps in a definitive fashion.

Green Lantern: Sinestro also includes a one-shot story that could heavily foreshadow the next development in the stories of Sinestro, Hal Jordan, and the Guardians’ experiment with creating a third wave of guardians of the galaxy. Sinestro journeys to Ogoro where Sinestro enlists the man formerly known as Starstorm to help him defeat Lyssa Draak and recover the Book Of The Black. This one-shot story is plot-intensive and might have been at all meaningful had I known who the hell Starstorm was! The story is a filler chapter, part of a larger mythos that has nothing significant to do with the rest of the volume. Recovering the Book Of The Black seems important to the fate of the galaxy and an important plot point more than anything vital to Sinestro. However, Geoff Johns rewards readers for sitting through that chapter by providing a panel that shows a glimpse of what Sinestro sees in the Book Of The Black, which might well be the coolest foreshadowing for readers for the next year!

The story in Green Lantern: Sinestro is painfully simple. Sinestro is working now to bring order back to the universe and part of that means liberating Korugar. Even Geoff Johns does not seem to know what to do with that other than simply have Sinestro and Hal Jordan bicker through the mission . . . much like they did in their team-ups in the prior volumes that led to Sinestro being made a member of the Corps. The most character development in Green Lantern: Sinestro comes from Hal Jordan slowly, reluctantly, realizing that he can live without a Green Lantern ring and that he does want Carol Ferris in his life. Even there, though, Johns cheats the reader of legitimate romance as Ferris and Jordan continue to be interrupted as their relationship progresses.

Sinestro, who has been best-defined by Jordan as a villain motivated by a strong sense of order who does not believe he is actually doing anything wrong, does not actually move past that. Sinestro is horrified by what his Corps did to Korugar . . . in his absence. He cleans up his mess and acknowledges to his former Korugaran supporter, Arsona, that the ways he tried to bring order to Korugar may have been flawed before. But he does not truly grow, develop, or change in the book. Instead, he keeps Korugar a priority as he is heavy-handed with his people, Hal Jordan, and Starstorm later on.

Throughout Green Lantern: Sinestro, there is a threaded plot with the Guardians as they prepare to unleash a new wave of interstellar police to replace the Green Lantern Corps, following their purging Ganthet of his emotions. This further hints at the potentially interesting things to come, though changing things up for the Green Lanterns and their role in the galaxy has never worked well and, given how DC just rebooted the whole Universe, it seems unlikely that Johns and DC are going to go in the unpredictable, character-centered direction that forces all of the Corps members to accept retirement when the Third Wave of enforcers actually turns out to be the best, most efficient, most just, and least flawed Corps yet. C’est la vie, a reader can dream, right?

Most of the artwork in Green Lantern: Sinestro is supurb. The coloring is universally vivid and well-rendered throughout. Most of the panels have a good sense of movement and feature artwork that is appropriately complicated for the characters. There are only one or two simple panels in the book and that makes it, artistically, an enjoyable volume to look at as well as read.

Ultimately, the most significant strike against Green Lantern: Sinestro is its lack of thematic development. There are no deeper themes or ideas presented in Green Lantern: Sinestro and that makes the plot-centered book feel more like a comic book than a graphic novel or anything approaching literature.

For other Green Lantern-related books from this era, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Secret Origin
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Wanted: Hal Jordan
Revenge Of The Green Lanterns
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge
To Be A Lantern
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two
Ring Quest
Sins Of The Star Sapphire
Rage Of The Red Lanterns
Agent Orange
Emerald Eclipse
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Blackest Night: Tales Of The Corps
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns
War Of The Green Lanterns


For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!

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