Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special

by

Or – “Sinestro Apparently Offers Great Benefits, Pension, And A Hefty Signing Bonus.”

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When I picked up my comics this week, I asked my co-workers Jim and Jason (if the store were the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Tom Grice were Lightning Lad, they’d be the equivalent of Ultra Boy and Element Lad. [I'd probably be Star Boy, always around, but seldom the focus of the main story.]) about getting a copy of X-Men #200 to review, they both loudly told me that the REAL gem of the week was right here in Sinestro Corps. We’ve all seen the buildup to the Corps Wars in Green Lantern and GLC, but I couldn’t imagine what was so big that it would trump the shocking events of X-Men

But this time, the guys… were RIGHT.

Previously, on Green Lantern: Sinestro, once the greatest of Green Lanterns, fell from Grace. He allied himself with Parallax, an entity of pure fear who is responsible for the GL1.jpgGreen Lanterns’ yellow weakness, to bring down the man who he blamed for his downfall: Hal Jordan. Jordan destroyed the Corps, died, became the Spectre’s host, then returned to life… With the aid of Kyle Rayner, his replacement, as well as veteran Lanterns Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kilowog, he overcame Sinestro again. Together with the returning Guardians of the Universe, these Lanterns became the nexus of a new Corps, once again protecting the universe. Unfortunately, Sinestro also had plans, and somehow managed to use his own yellow power ring to spawn thousands more throughout the universe, starting a Corps of his own. His hand was tipped when one of the rings targeted a human known for his ability to instill fear: The Batman. With Bruce Wayne aware of Sinestro’s big plans, it’s only a matter of time before the Justice League finds out, and then Hal Jordan. Somewhere in the antimatter universe of Qward, Sinestro undergoes a kind of vision quest… His back scarred with a Lantern logo courtesy of Kyle Rayner, Sinestro knows it’s time for change… “I have been to every corner of the universe, and I have learned one thing. The universe NEEDS to change.”

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“…I felt fear.” Sinestro remembers what brought him here, the battle with Jordan and Rayner, and the hatred he feels for them both. “You will be mine, alley rat,” he thinks. “And the universe… The universe WILL change.” Drawing upon his full power, he picks up his yellow power battery, and begins reciting the Sinestro Corps oath, a bastardization of the Lantern’s own mantra: “In Blackest Day, In Brightest Night… beware your fears made into light… Let those who try to stop what’s right, burn like my power… Sinestro’s Might!” Back on Earth, Batman has apprised his teammates of what has happened to him, and they’re attempting to capture Zoom to see what he knows about Sinestro’s plan. Zoom’s speed allows him to get the better of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman temporarily, when the cavalry sweeps in.

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“I missed the X-Files,” thinks Hal… The entire league continues pressing Zoom for information, wanting to know where Sinestro has gone since they were working for the Society during Infinite Crisis. Zoom psycho-analyzes Hal, trying to throw his concentration, taunting “Sinestro told me what happened to you, Green Lantern. He put you through a test like I put the Flash through one… You murdered your fellow officers and hurt the people you called friends.” Zoom manages to slip through their fingers, (and Vixen asks “Have we heard an official ‘yes’ from the Flash yet?” Heh.) but Hal isn’t ready to give up yet.

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“…it’s the Green Lanterns’.” Speaking of which, deep in space sector 424, two rookie Lanterns are chasing down a strange signal, a Sinestro Corps ring on it’s way to it’s eventual bearer. The ring responds with hostility, but the new kids are protected by a man in green and black, one of them, yet not. “A Green Lantern with no ring? It is a miracle!” cries one Lantern, but the other tells her the real story. His name is Ion, and his is “the angel of the Corps.” Ion, the next evolution of the Green Lantern, disagrees.

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Kyle analyzes the ring, and realizes that it’s just passing through, on it’s way to another sector, and points out the hundreds of other rings flying through the sector. Though these rings are seeking a bearer, many have already hit home, and on an abandoned asteroid in Sector 3, a signal is received. The recipient is someone we’ve met already…

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Meanwhile, at the center of the galaxy, on the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe interrogate one of their prisoners: Hank Henshaw, also known as the Cyborg Superman. Henshaw has somehow gotten information that revealed to him the nature of the new multiverse, and the secret of 52. Having been bonding to the Source Wall, Henshaw has apparently traveled beyond the DC Universe, and even into the Bleed before he was defeated. Worst of all, he has learned that if you destroy the New Earth, then all the other Earth’s will die, in a cosmic peristaltic chain reaction. The Guardians still blame Henshaw for his role in Hal Jordan’s fall as well, having been the man who killed Coast City and drove him into the arms of Parallax. Even more ominous are the forbidden prophecies…

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They return Henshaw to the sciencells, the Oan prison complex in the center of the sun, where we see Guy Gardner getting relieved of “Prime Duty,” keeping watch over Superboy-Prime in the center of a red sun. Gardner returns to Oa, and catches a few of his old friends in the commissary. Hal, John Stewart, and Kyle are eating, but Hal takes flak once again off the Lanterns who were imprisoned because of his actions as Parallax. They can bitch all they want, but before the retcon, they were DEAD, so count your blessings, third bananas. “I can take a few glares and a handful of words,” says Hal. “I’m friends with Guy Gardner.” Heh. Kyle is in a foul mood, as the yellow ring he imprisoned hangs in a force bubble before them all, as today was supposed to be the day he heard his mother’s will. Suddenly, the ring busts free and starts flying around the room…

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Kyle’s teleportation journey ends in the anti-matter universe of Qward, where he finds the once-mighty Thunderers murdered by the hundreds. He hears a distant voice booming, and follows it, as the yellow ring settles on his finger. “To instill fear,” echoes the distant thundering voice, “is to instill ORDER!” As Kyle moves closer, he sees one of the most terrifying things in recent DC Universe memory: The assembled Sinestro Corps.

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Standing at the center, roaring his message, Sinestro commands their attention… “The Guardians had BILLIONS of years to bring order to this universe. They FAILED. Now it is our turn to spread our light. Our turn to take CONTROL!” Having returned to his old ways of demogoguery, the big S continues, as Kyle tries to contact the GLC. Sinestro’s face appears before him, intoning “Hal Jordan cannot hear you, Kyle.” The entire Corps rises to attack, and Kyle replies that way any of us would. “#&$@ me.” Heh. Back on Oa, Chaos reigns supreme, as the Lanterns scramble to find out what happened to Kyle. Suddenly, a Lantern’s head explodes thanks to Bedovian’s sniper skills, and a phalanx of Sinestro’s finest sweep in to attack. In the antimatter universe, Sinestro himself fells Kyle, while John Stewart calmly tries to take out the immediate threat…

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Bedovian go boom. With their fellows no longer being picked off one by one, the assembled Lanterns realize that they have the superior numbers, and that green, being a secondary color, is twice as powerful as the primary yellow. Or something… Either way, the voice that launched a thousand rookie GL nightmares rings out to rally his soldiers.

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Karu-Sil’s attack knocks Guy for a loop, and he snarls, “I’m gonna neuter those dogs.” Suddenly, a squadron of rings fills the air, dozens of green gems forced to find new hosts as their previous Lanterns die. I count twelve, but there may be hundreds at this point. The three Earth Lanterns follow the trail to find that the science-cells have been busted open, and all the Prime-duty Lanterns dead. “Oh, crap…” The red sun blazes with the symbol of Sinestro, and the cells are empty. ALL the cells… Sinestro, having captured Kyle, takes a moment to pontificate. “As long as there is LIFE, there will be FEAR. You will NEVER be rid of it.” He rings up a yellow scalpel, and slices open Kyle’s chest, REACHING IN and ripping the Ion entity from his chest.

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“Yes… yes you are.” I really hate Sinestro. Really hate him. Sinestro laughs, “It ends as it began. The death of a loved one is your fault.” Kyle threatens to kill him, pulling against the creatures that hold him, but he’s not strong enough. “The power rings won’t allow YOU to kill. A Green Lantern is an empty threat.” Waitaminnut. Didn’t John just blow Bedovian’s head off? Maybe Sinestro doesn’t know as much as he thinks he knows… Kyle, crushed by the revelations, and truly afraid, is thrust into the heart of the giant central power battery, to face… PARALLAX. The creature strikes, entering his chest through the hole that Ion left, and Sinestro laughs again. “Welcome, Kyle Rayner of Earth… to my Sinestro Corps.”

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Oh, god… It’s baaaack! The ugly costume is baaack! In the words of Daffy Duck, I DEMAND that you shoot me now! Rayner-lax asks when he gets to kick Hal Jordan’s buttocks, and Sinestro tells him to be patient. He takes Parallax down a hallway to meet someone, and on Oa, the Guardians feel a wave of fear across the Universe. “With the rebirth of the universe comes the return of something else…” intones Ganthet (or possibly his girlfriend, as they’re all powder-blue Oompa Loompas anyway.) “The last of your heralds has been born, my Guardian,” says Sinestro. “The other two, freed from the sciencells of Oa and delivered to you. My corps is ready.” Suddenly, we see who Sin is working for…

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AHHHH! The Anti-Monitor! This is bad… Really, really, really bad! Worse even than the Pre-Crisis Kryptonian and the Cyborg Superman joining up. As powerful as Superboy is, The Anti-Monitor’s appearance bodes ill for the entire DC Universe. The last Sinestro Corps tale tells a story we already know, how Sinestro came to Earth to train Hal, and how they gained mutual respect, before Sinestro overthrew his entire planet Korugar and enslaved that world to prove that ruling through fear is superior to the Guardians hands-off approach. “But know this, dread listener,” says Lyssa Drak, keeper of the book of Parallax. “This is not a tale of revenge against the Green Lantern Corps, as Hal Jordan would have you believe. This is a tale of change… A tale of how what seemed to be the worst of intentions can actually be the best. Sinestro was once the greatest Green Lantern in the universe, and he will be again. Even if no one knows it.”

This whole issue left me breathless, and the surprises in “recruitment” literally gave me goosebumps. With Kyle under the influence of Parallax, one of the Guardians most powerful tools is out of play, and the Lanterns have been devastated by the initial shots of the war. It’s a very impressive book, with a breathtaking cliffhanger that we probably should have seen coming, what with the return of Stinky and friends in Countdown. The seeds of destruction sown over so many months are finally flowering, and this is about to get nasty. I was riveted by this book, Ethan Van Sciver’s art is excellent as ever, and Geoff Johns once again has revamped and revitalized a concept thought forever gone. I had some doubts when the ‘Sinestro Corps’ backups were running in GL’s title, but they’re gone now. This is going to be huge, and I wonder if it’s not leading up to the rumored Final Crisis… The Sinestro Corps Special is easily worth 4.5 out of 5 stars for excitement and drama, and I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in the war.

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