Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review # 34: "Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War"

The odds were stacked against me fully appreciating "The Sinestro Corps War." First, it's a DC comic so a lot of the history is lost on me. Second, it had the difficult task of following up my reading of the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil. Third - while it came first - it has a lot in common with "Blackest Night," which I've already read. Despite those long odds, the second purely Green Lantern Corps story that I've ever owned knocked my socks off.

That's what it did for many fans when it was first released in 2007 and 2008. It's a tome of everything Geoff Johns does right, both immediately and as a prognostication. It makes, I would say, no less than seven members of the Green Lantern Corps look like stars along with two guardians and - most importantly - Sinestro himself. Despite being around for decades, Sinestro had never really crossed the threshold into being a true A-lister alongside the likes of The Joker or Lex Luthor. This changes that.

The disgraced Lantern banished to the antimatter universe has crafted his own power ring based on the yellow colour of fear and formed his own force gathered from across the galaxy. His roster is impressive, lined with heavyweights like the Anti-Monitor (the big bad from "Crisis on Infinite Earths,") two Supermen (Cyborg Supes and Superboy-Prime) and a Parallax-possessed Kyle Rayner. They set about killing Green Lanterns, attempting to destroy the ring-distributing planet Mogo and conquering Earth. The image of a destroyed Statue of Liberty replaced with Sinestro is chilling.

This features a rarity in comics - an ongoing storyline with the word "war" in it that actually features a war ("Secret Wars," "World War Hulk" and "Kree/Skrull War," I am looking at YOU!) The battles in this series are outstanding with soldiers dropping left and right. This raises major implications when the increasingly-insane Guardians decide to allow the Green Lanterns to use lethal force, rewriting the rules of the Corps to suit their needs and ignoring a prophecy in the process. We only get a small taste of the ramifications of this decision, but they are huge.

The best battles, though, are relatively small. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and John Stewart attempting to free Kyle from Parallax's clutches is inspired. Rookie Sodam Yot infused with the powers of Ion going one-on-one with Superboy is brutal in the best way. The show-stealer, though, is the fight in Coast City between Sinestro, Hal and *omitted due to spoilers*. It is brilliant in its simplicity. In the end, the Earth is saved (because of course it is,) though darkness looms. The final few frames of part ten are something else and will send you running to the comic shop to buy "Blackest Night" if you don't already have it.

Personally, I find myself interested in what happens between those two events, unlike my relative apathy at the conclusion of "Rebirth." While the pacing may have its issues at times and the Corps stories don't stack up with what's going on with Hal, this is a true gem and one of the best crossovers I've read.

Rating: 9.5/10

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