A Review From Christopher Franey
Here we are a quarter of the way through the Morrison/Sharp era of Green Lantern adventures. Of course this is based off of talks right now and the vision being that Grant Morrison will be doing two seasons, each season being 12 issues. Liam Sharp is a master of the arts and delivers some beautiful pages in this latest issue. So lets jump into the issue.
The issue tells us that we are on the planet Rann, which is a part of Sector 2814 (which I’m curious if this is a retcon or has always been so). The BlackStars are about to take over Rann and also test Hal Jordan and see if he is worthy of being BlackStar Parallax. His first mission is to kill Adam Strange, luckily Hal gets them to agree to a showdown.
So the BlackStars are representing MU and are threatening Rann with a Sun Eater that can only be stopped by the BlackStars, so join or Die! To add to the drama the BlackStars have Rann’s champion and are going to have him showdown with Parallax.
Sure enough after pleading and taking 10 paces we see Parallax shoot down Adam Strange, so Rann has no champion or hope. Alanna does a great job of adding to Hal’s guilt and reminding him of his friendship and responsibility. Luckily we know that Hal is a couple moves ahead. We discover that the Rann culture doesn’t let anything or anyone go to waste, so the Department of Salvage will start harvesting Adam.
Now we finally meet Controller MU and he is very much the sinister looking alien that would be trying to create his own version of “Universal Harmony” under his thumb. MU does recognize that the GL Power Ring is not cooperating. Mu does want the information it holds but it will not respond, Hal does remind MU that the Guardians might’ve locked the ring since he did betray them. The scene changes and we discover that Adam Strange is alive, so Hal isn’t totally evil like we’ve been led to believe.
So now it is up to Adam to save Rann and his daughter Aleea from the BlackStars. The scene shifts back to Hal and MU, with Hal reminding MU that he has done everything they have asked in order for him to become a BlackStar. MU calls out Hal about joining the BlackStars to which Hal tries a play at being conflicted and not sure of which side he is on.
MU decides to show his “absolute intent.” He has a dream of no more police, armies, warriors, weapons, or rings…no more repetitions. Just a universe of his own/creation and if he cannot have that then he will have annihilation. MU is the ultimate Controller and is planning on using Aleea as a U-Bomb. The U-Bomb will explode and all well be neutralized making Hal’s mission accomplished along with the annihilation MU wishes.
Luckily the Strange family shows to rescue their daughter and help take down MU…but Hal is telling them to not shoot MU. Sadly Alanna doesn’t hold back as she goes for the head shot, don’t mess with her or her family. BlackStar Belzebeth does take the spotlight now and encourages Aleea to let the U-Bomb go off destroying everything.
This prompts the Guardians to break their cover and get Hal to disarm the U-Bomb so Hal uses his ring to do something (we will find out in an issue or two..?). We see Rann is fine and safe, Adam and his family are all okay, but sadly Adam is called back to Earth, and I’m sure his last words are a clue to something for later issues as well. We are left to believe that Hal has sacrificed himself to stop the U-Bomb, but then we see a ring in space with a planet inside it. We see that Hal is there and talking to someone; it seems that Hal has some amnesia and is talking to someone by the name of Myrwhidden (check out wiki for more).
So where does that ending leave us? Well the character reminds me of Myrwhydden, so you’ll notice there is a different spelling with the y and i replacement. The first time we meet Myrwhydden is in Green Lantern v2 issue 26 titled “The World Within the Power Ring!” so is that a clue or maybe an extension of the current story line? I like how Grant Morrison has been mining Hal’s history and this issue’s ending looks towards the past, so I know I’ll be rereading GLv2 #26 and this issue again. Liam Sharp’s art is just so much eye candy that you could lose yourself in it, which isn’t a bad thing. This volume of Green Lantern has been great and I really love how it explores the “cop” side of Green Lanterns and their responsibilities. This issue especially is a great ending and beginning to the overall story by Grant as we can see how these “cases” lead to each other. So are the BlackStars done? What will Myrwhidden do and is he realated to Myrwhydden? I can’t wait for the next issue, so I rate this issue 5 out of 5 U-Bombs and recommend hitting the back issues to get the full story. As always read on and Excelsior!
Passion In Villainy: The Ballad Of Thaal Sinestro
An Editorial From Rafael Encinas
When it comes to iconic comic book characters, the protagonists themselves must be challenged by captivating and enthralling foils. Superman stops Lex Luthor. Batman incarcerates The Joker. Peter Parker overcomes Doctor Octopus. Ben Reilly tries to combat sabotaging creative & publishing teams. Basically, we need, no, we want great villains. Therefore, we see true acts of villainy from hundreds of different characters in all kinds of different comics. But what makes a villain so interesting? How does a villain stand out in the oversaturation of menacing grins and extravagant mustaches!? That can be hard to define, but it is also very primal and innate in human nature. A lot of the time, the villain has the same conviction as the hero. We see passion, determination, and focus in our villains; all traits we want to see in ourselves. However, though villains may have relatable motivations, the actions they take can be seen as less than ideal; after all, heroes are supposed to take the high road, but it’s more human and intriguing to think: What would we be capable of when we think no one is looking?
Well, Thaal Sinestro is the type of character who not only doesn’t care if someone is looking, but who will bare all with animated theatrics just to showcase his point and/or vision. And this is one of the many reasons that I am deeply captivated by this villain. Sinestro just so happens to be one of those villains that brings so much depth and awe to the DC Universe, specifically, the Green Lantern mythos. The greatest of the Green Lanterns; dictator of Korugar; alien super-villain; leader of the Sinestro Corps; reluctant anti-hero. These are all titles that Sinestro holds, and for good reason. Sinestro is one of the toughest and most terrifying villains in the DC universe.
I say this with clarity because of my background with the character. Green Lantern just so happened to be some of the first superhero comics I ever read, and Sinestro was always that villain who I disliked (I mean Hal Jordan is so cool) but still respected on a subconscious level. Sinestro stood up to the “out of touch” Guardians of The Universe. He put his life on the line to protect his people. He did do atrocious things, but there were layers to his actions. Reading through Geoff Johns magnum opus that was his 2000s era on the Green Lantern book not only revitalized the series but perfectly built on perceptions of heroism, redemption, and rebirth… not just for the titular character, Hal Jordan, but also for the refreshed Sinestro. Sinestro was written as THE villain.
We want menacing and believable villains. We want cool villains, and they don’t get much cooler than this bastard! He is the emissary of fear; his yellow power ring allows him to create any fearful construct his twisted mind can conjure. Afraid of spiders? Sinestro can create some and then have them eat you alive. He is also a being who relishes in the absolute control and order of all aspects of life. He is a villain of cool composure; ruthless and ever plotting. However, he is more than a super villain; albeit he may not even consider himself as the antagonist of his stories. And why should he? He is an enormously complex character, with motivation, depth, and humanistic tragedy. He is much more than the mustache twirling despot he is written to be at times. This is important because Sinestro started as a hero. His eventual fall from grace an be placed in two deeply rooted and relatable human aspects: tragedy and revenge.
First of all, Sinestro is one of my favorite bad guys because I can relate to him to a certain extent; specifically his tragic fall from grace. He’s a guy who values his self-worth, which to him is engulfed in his prestigious title as one of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time. He focuses solely on the ideal of order in a virtuously order-less world. He is strong-willed, and he will do everything that is necessary to protect the citizens of his home world, Korugar. His actions are aimed at Utopia, at control, and at peace. However, he takes a “by all means necessary” approach. This is a great example of the infamous saying, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
He is a man of vision, and he is respected for it, but then things start to unravel. He loses his best friend (Abin Sur); he loses his precious wife and daughter. He therefore only has his title left and his legacy. This is what leads him to such totalitarian madness. He becomes a dictator in order to save his world. He does this while creating a new bond with the new and idealistic Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Sinestro ultimately reaches out to Hal, which is difficult for him to do, and this leads to Sinestro’s fall from grace. Hal does not side with his mentor but instead betrays him by outing Sinestro’s totalitarian regime in Korugar. Sinestro is therefore stripped of his lantern ring, and he is excommunicated from the Corps, he is banished, and therefore, he loses everything.
This is some powerful, Shakespearean stuff. However, Sinestro is not the kind of man to stay down. This is what leads me to the second reason as to why Sinestro is so captivating and one of my favorite villains, he fully embraces his newfound title as “ the bad guy” and allows his hatred to consume him. He is banished to the anti-matter universe. And you would think that’s the end of him, but no. Sinestro is not a man to be trifled with. He will play the long game to ultimately get the last laugh. He succumbs to revenge, which is a very human emotion. To him, it is all personal, and he unleashes hell. Passively, he unleashes Parallax upon Jordan, which sets off the events of Emerald Twilight (1994) that led to the corruption of Hal and the destruction of the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro then actively created his own Fear Lanterns and went to actual galactic war with earth and the remaining Green Lanterns.
The Sinestro Corps War (2008) was such an explosive event in where Sinestro systematically almost destroyed those who slighted him all those years before. Sinestro would always remember, and he would never forgive. He almost beat Hal and the Guardians; he almost won. And honestly, on some level, the reader may have wanted to see it. After all, the Guardians of OA were self-righteous pricks. There was blood in the water, and the antagonistic feud between Hal and Sinestro could not possibly get any more raw.
But then apocalyptic events started occurring, the light spectrum was getting new ring slingers, and so the relationship between Sinestro and Jordan would only grew more and more complex. Sinestro fights alongside Jordan against Red Lanterns on Ysmault, he manages to harness the power of the Life entity within the White Lantern during The Blackest Night (2009); and he harnesses Parallax’s power fully to help destroy Volthoom, the First Lantern. And all of this occurs before DC’s current rebirth event. This is all pretty impressive.
Sinestro is the villain that can be seen as a cruel and twisted character (especially in the way he killed so many lanterns during the Sinestro Corps War and enslaved his entire world for peaceful order). After all, he is the quintessential 1984 Big Brother Totalitarian dictator described by George Orwell, but he has a face, a deeper drive, and a deep conviction. He is so cool with his alien demeanor; he can act like such a queen when talking to Hal. (Those are some of my favorite exchanges throughout the DC continuity). What makes Sinestro such a beautiful super villain, but more importantly, a character, is his rich motivations. An individual who loses everything, but keeps trying to get it back from malevolent, outside forces (the Guardians of Oa) and his once so called brothers in arms (the Green Lantern Corps). He might do perceptually evil things; but he never truly gives up on the ideal of the corps: to serve and protect, which is beautifully illustrated in War of The Green Lanterns, where he comes full circle and protects Hal against the crazed Krona.
What truly breaks my heart in Sinestro’s characterization though isn’t his loss of compassion or empathy; it is the evolution of his relationship with Hal Jordan. Once a mentor, then a friend, then a mortal enemy, Jordan is a huge motivator for Sinestro because as much as he does loathe this particular Green Lantern, he will always consider him a brother. They get into so many spats, so many bare-knuckle brawls. One minute they are trying to kill each other; the next they are working together. And that gets me every time. Two friends on opposing sides forever entwined in a dance of death. At the end of the conflict with the First Lantern, Sinestro says it all, “That’s the tragedy of all this Jordan. Hal. We’ll always be friends”.
Geoff Johns does such a good job in that panel. It breaks my heart every time. And that is why I appreciate everything Geoff Johns has done for the DC Universe, especially the Green Lantern story for the past many years. He is a creative mind who creates stories through character growth; and never has it shone as brightly than in the tales of Hal Jordan and Thaal Sinestro.
Sinestro is an amazingly complex super villain, and he is a pretty vindictive and ruthless character; however, that sense of order in a world that keeps trying to introduce chaos that he has is understandable. Sinestro is just trying to make sense of the world. And he will take it by force to save it as he sees fit. And honestly, that is pretty cool.
A review from Chris Franey
Ok so to start, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp are hitting this series out of the ball park! Issues 1 and 2 were just amazing on their own and for long time fans there were great love letters to Hal’s roots in the Sliver Age…now don’t think that means you have to know all your back issues in order to fully enjoy; Grant and Liam have crafted their own tale that you can dive into and enjoy. For example if you liked All Star Superman then this could be the All Star version for GL, but what is great is that it also has all the little gems and cameos from Hal and the GLC’s history just like Grant did with Batman (remember Zur-En-Arrh?).
For your eyes Liam Sharp brings his finest. You don’t just see the page, you have to look at it, there is so much eye candy here it is fantastic, he makes the galaxy fit on a page (or 2). I like the way he has rendered his Hal Jordan and also various members of the GLC, they do feel alien. The colors and layouts are very bold and really pop which just awesome and very poster worthy.
In this third installment, “Slave Lords of the Stars” (nice sliver age touch) we see the GLC find an illegal sale of planets by long time JLA villain Kanjar Ro is the auctioneer selling planets, offering various supervillains (make sure to have your who’s who and secret files handy) a chance to have their own followers or be a GOD. Which works out perfectly as an Old Testament version of appears to buy planet Earth. Hal takes this personally and wants to handle it himself, which causes the GLC to take on the Black Stars (meaner version of the Dark Stars). I like the name dropping that Grant does for other heroes/characters…I’m very glad to finally see Tom Kalmaku back in Hal’s life and their interaction was great.
So after the Earth is sold to “God” everyone gets superpowers but the Earth itself is in chaos. Hal tries to get the “God” to give up the Earth, but the people are ok with what is happening, so Hal has to get them to think about what the repercussions would be to their new arrangement with “God.” I really like how Liam Sharp illustrates Hal using his GL ring. By the near end of this issue we see Hal start to become a bad cop and with his history (Parallax) we should be very worried. Overall I would rate this issue 5 out of 5 Power Batteries as it has great dialogues and fantastic illustrations, the series so far is doing great and I would recommend you getting the first two issues as well. So let’s see what happens to Hal, Earth, and the GLC next issue, as always Read on and Excelsior!