Monday, March 9, 2009

Retro Review: The Sinestro Corps War parts 1-11+extras

Wow, where do I even start? This event was simply Geoff Johns at his amazing best. I'd love to go on and on about these comic books, but I've got an early day at school tomorrow, so I'm going to really hit most of what I read in very broad strokes. Maybe if I have the extra time one day, I'll write up a proper review, but for now, before my head hits my pillow tonight, I figure I'll post a few things.

Honestly, this event was kind of perfect. I don't know what else to really say... If you haven't read the whole thing(and that includes the great Tales of the Sinestro Corps one-shots)I'd STRONGLY sugest you do. Here's the very basic cliff notes version of the whole Sinestro Corps War. Sinestro, along with the Anti-Monitor in the anti-matter universe, create a Corps based on fear to oppose the Green Lantern Corps, who are based on willpower. Sinestro recruits thousands of beings throughout the universe who have the ability to instill great fear(as opposed to the GL Corps members, who have the ability to overcome great fear)besides the thousands of evil nutjobs working for the Sinestro Corps, we also have the more well known characters Cyborg Superman, Parallax and Superboy Prime as agents of Sinestro as well.

Sinestro launches the opening salvo of the war against the homebase of the GL Corps, Oa. From there, Sinestro Corps members begin attacking and slaughtering GL members throughout the universe. Sinestro also captures Kyle Rayner, who doesn't need a GL ring to access the GL power. He's often refered to as the Tourchbearer or Ion, but since I'm still somewhat new to the DC Universe, I'm not quite sure what exactly Kyle's importance is. I'll probably read up on him over on Wikipedia after I'm done here. Anyway, Parallax winds up possessing Kyle(like Parallax possessed Hal a few years back)and Kyle winds up trapped in his own mind while Parallax runs amok with Kyle's body and powers. The Lost Lanterns as well as the other 3 Earth Lanterns(Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner)head to the homeworld of the Sinestro Corps in the anti-matter universe, Qward, to rescue Kyle... That doesn't go well.

The Guardians realize that things are looking grim for the GL Corps and rewrite their sacred Book of Oa, adding 10 new rules to it. Two Guardians, Ganthet and Sayd, vehemately oppose this action and are suummarily banashed from the Guardians. The first new rule is that GL Corps members are now granted the ability to kill members of the Sinestro Corps. This action helps the GL Corps stem the massive losses they had been sustaining.

The entire time, Sinestro had been making moves that caused the Guardians to believe Sinestro was interested in destroying the sentient GL planet Mogo, or that Sinestro was planning to launch another attack on OA. In actuallity, Sinestro and the Anti-Monitor were planning on invading Earth with the plan being for the Anti-Monitor absorb the positive energy of this Earth which would in turn allow him access to the multiverse, since Earth is the lynchpin of the multiverse(or something like that).

Sinestro, the Anti-Monitor, Parallax, Superboy Prime, Cyborg Superman and a newly rebuilt Warworld, filled with Manhunters, plus several thousand Sinestro Corps members invade Earth to bring about the end. The three Earth GL members manage to defeat Parallax and free Kyle, with some help from the two banashed Guardians, and Hal and Kyle wind up battling Sinestro himself in Coast City while Guy and John head to NYC(where the Anti-Monitor has landed)to help the heroes of Earth defend the planet. A huge contingent of GL Corps members along with the Guardians of the Universe themselves arrive on Earth to help stop the destructive Anti-Monitor.

Even with these re-enforcements, the Anti-Monitor won't go down. Finally, John and Guy hatch a desperate plan, which is to basically throw the entire Warworld planet at the Anti-Monitor and have the GL Corps members use their power rings to contain the ensuing, catastrophic explosion. Even this act doesn't kill the Anti-Monitor, but it does severely weaken him. Superboy Prime, who always planned to betray the Anti-Monitor, grabs the remnants of the Anti-Monitor and launches it far away into distant space. Prime then throws one of his customary temper tantrums and begins to kill everything in sight, whether it's GL Corps members or Sinestro Corps members. Finally one of the Guardians has enough of Prime and sacrifices his life to rid this dimension of Prime.

Back in Coast City, Hal and Kyle manage to defeat Sinestro in a hand to hand fight(which was really great)since all three of them had powerless rings. Hal places Sinestro under arrest, but Sinestro seems happy, and explains to Hal that he's won. When pressed for an answer, Sinestro explains that now that the GL Corps is allowed to use lethal force, they will wind up spreading fear throughout the Universe, which is precisely what Sinestro was after all along. The last few pages set up the Blackest Night event which will begin this coming summer, with the remains of the Anti-Monitor being used to create a black power battery by some unknown forces.

Like I said, this whole event was just stupendously done. I especially enjoyed the attention Geoff paid to the various villains in this series. Each one had actual reasons for joining with the Sinestro Corps, not the generic, "he's a bad guy, that's why he's there." excuse. Superboy Prime wanted to get revenge on this dimension, but he specifically wanted to kill the Anti-Monitor, since the Anti-Monitor was responsible for the destruction of his Earth and all he held dear. Sure, Prime is a whiny, annoying SOB, but if you look deep inside of him, he has every reason to be as bitter as he is. Imagine losing not just everything you ever loved, but your entire planet as well.

Cyborg Superman was also presented as a suprisingly sympathetic figure. All Cyborg Superman wanted out of this whole mess was the peace of death, which the Anti-Monitor promised to deliver to him. After discovering Cyborg Superman's origin, which was excellently shown in "Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman", I really felt pity for him. Yes, he's killed millions with his evil schemes, but all he really craves is for someone, ANYONE to kill him, so he doesn't have to suffer through his joke of a life without his beloved wife and friends anymore. The scene where Cyborg Superman is trapped inside the green force field containing Warworld and the Anti-Monitor prior to it's explosion was almost poignant, as Cyborg Superman realized the preceeding explosion should FINALLY end his existance. When the Manhunters discover his remains in space and reactivate him, you almost have to pity Cyborg Superman, since he had come so close to attaining the peace he so craved.

Even Sinestro himself had ulterior motives for the whole Sinestro Corps War. Sinestro gambled that the Guardians would authorize the GL Corps to use lethal force against their enemies, and in doing so would be spreading fear throughout the universe. That idea is an excellent one, because before lethal force was enabled, you knew the worst a GL's would do is imprison you. Now, the GL's are unwittingly spreading fear, since the threat that they may kill a criminal is there. Masterfully done Geoff!

What more can I say? There were so many scenes that really stuck out from these comics. I especially enjoyed the 4 Tales one-shots, as each one offered a unique insight into the villains of this event, something you don't always see. The Parallax issue stands out because of the fact that while Parallax was beating the hell out of Hal Jordan and murdering GL's, he actually took the time to join Kyle in his head to torture him psychologically as well. Now that is the sign of a great villain! Not only is he killing people in the physical world, he's torturing people in the realm of the mind as well! The fight scene between Hal, Kyle and Sinestro was also great. The panel where Hal cracks Sinestro over the head with a wooden board really stands out to me. That one panel just shows the desperation of that fight. It was a knock down, drag out, dirty fight for survival. That fight scene was everything I would want in a comic book, so props to duel pencillers, Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver. The scene in GL #25 where Hal warns the people of Coast City to evacuate, and they respond by staying put and shining green lights out their windows actually caused my eyes to mist up a bit. The image of Coast City lit up with green light was THAT powerful!

Simply incredible is how I'll close this reveiw up. For a score, I'll give this entire event an 11 out of 10. Yes, an 11. Before I close up here, I just wanted to mention that the cover price for GL #25 was $4.99. I mention this because New Avengers #50 also sold for $4.99 and I really railed about that. GL #25 was not only 64 pages to NA #50's 48 pages, but GL #25 was the end to an incredibly satisfying storyline, while NA #50 was almost a throw-away issue that didn't really justify the lofty cover price. Hell, I'd have happily paid twice the cover price for GL #25. Well, as usual, I've gone WAY overboard and written a hell of a lot more than I originally intended. What else is new? All I can say is I CAN'T WAIT for "Blackest Night" to get underway. The summer has never seemed further away!


  1. I was a big fan of Prime's childishness in his one-shot.

    "Stupidest Kid Dead..." Gold...

    Also liked Prime and Ion's brawl...

  2. Prime's one-shot was great for so many reasons. From his incessant whining, to his confrontation with Red Star, to Krypto and Wonder Girl attacking him, Geoff really wrote one hell of a great story that picked up on so much of what Prime did during Infinite Crisis.

    If not for the fact that Bart came back in FC:Legion of 3 Worlds, Prime defacing Bart's statue would have pissed me off to no end!

    While I really liked Prime and Ion's battle too, nothing compared to how great the street brawl between Hal, Kyle and Sinestro in Coast City was. Hal putting Sinestro's face through a plate glass window and breaking a wooden board over his head was just plain awesome.