Sep 8, 2008

[Comics] Sinestro Corps War

Sinestro Corps WarWhen I first met Green Lantern, I found him a bit too comical and silly. Sure, he could create anything with his ring but his constructs tended to be like giant hands, boxing gloves and flyswatters. Admittedly, my initial perception of Green Lantern and most of the DC Universe was primarily based on the Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends and not from actually reading the comics. I couldn't have been more wrong, eh?

I think one of the things that bothered me most about the entire Green Lantern concept was the weakness of the rings against the color yellow - and that's been a universal constant not just limited to the cartoon! I just couldn't get it - why yellow of all things? Was pink not available? Since he's a color-centric hero, it made sense to have his weakness come in the form of a color as well? It just never made sense to me.

Recent efforts to clean up certain aspects of the Green Lantern mythos (and ultimately bring back Hal Jordan) have inadvertently (?) tackled the concerns related to the weakness to the color yellow as being related to the cosmic entity known as Parallax and understanding this aspect of things is central to understanding this particular story.

Prominent members of the Sinestro Corps, inclu...Image via Wikipedia The Sinestro Corps War is a crossover amongst Green Lantern related titles where Sinestro assembles his own Corp of ring-bearers centered around the color yellow, which is now identified as the color of Fear with the help of Parallax and the resurrected Anti-Monitor. The new Corp, whose members are recruited based on their ability to instill fear in others manages to storm Oa and free several prisoners including Superboy-Prime and the Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw. The new group presents itself as a significant challenge for the Green Lantern Corps whose strength is centered around Willpower and whose rings are regulated to remain non-lethal in terms of usage.

First off, this concept really helps tie-up the long-running question of why Green Lanterns are vulnerable to the color yellow in the first place. Instead of it just being a matter of a silly color vulnerability, it becomes related to the element of Fear contained in the former Central Battery in the form of the parasite Parallax. Sure, it was a pretty big retcon on its own, but I think it did a pretty good job.

Second, has anyone noticed how stunning the art in many Green Lantern titles is? I mean SERIOUSLY, totally wicked art left and right! These majority of this particular series was just a pleasure on the eyes and quite the visual feast given how much went on.

That bring me to plot - this was pretty strong as a whole. At first I was rather skeptical about the whole color aspect and couldn't figure out what benefit could come from introducing so many different color-based Corps, each with their own power rings that are based around one or another intangible aspect of our lives. On paper it sounds a bit too much like Rainbow Brite or the Care Bears but when it came down to execution, this was surprisingly well done.

Again DC Comics seems to be taking steps to really think about how they go about crossovers and major story arcs like this by going the extra mile in terms of overall story development and trying to clearly up the scale whenever they make the decision to involve more heroes and villains. Given this was an all-out war, the scenes of death and destruction across the DC Universe was pretty staggering and it's a small wonder itself that they didn't end up taking entire galaxies with them as the two groups waged war on one another.

It was also a great opportunity of really bringing Hal Jordan back to the forefront and finally defining the new dynamic between all of Earth's ring-bearers including Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and John Stuart. You'd think that the role of Green Lantern would be one feeling very over-crowded given all the new players involved but then it seems the editors have more or less worked out how things are to go.

I loved the scale of this story and how well this was executed. I'll admit it's not quite the best story of all time, but it deserves a place somewhere up there still. One thing's for sure, DC is certainly going in the right direction with some of these titles and I'm actually excited about the last part of this trilogy - Green Lantern: The Blackest Night.

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