Books Of Oa: Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1 & 2, Tales Of The Sinestro Corps

Written by Geoff Johns & Dave Gibbons, drawn by Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason & Angel Unzeta
Collects Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1, Green Lantern #21-23 & Green Lantern Corps #14-15.
Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special was easily my favorite comic book of 2007. It was all just so crazy and well plotted out, plus the art by Ethan Van Sciver might be his best ever. After so much build up we finally got to see how big the Sinestro Corps really was (pretty huge and FULL of uggos), the deaths of some visually recognizable GLs (the big headed guy and the diamond-looking one), Kyle Rayner getting zapped to Qward and bonded with Parallax and the reveal that Superboy Prime and the Anti-Monitor are on Sinestro’s side. But, my favorite piece from the story involves Sinestro Corps member Bedovian who has literally been floating in space for years just to get into the right orbit around Oa to start sharp shooting GLs. There’s something about that element that really speaks to me, I think because it shows not only that Sinestro has been working on a very long term plan, but also that Johns has been as well.

That first chapter really sets the tone for the rest of the series by putting the Green Lanterns on the defensive and basically on their asses. The Guardians are still wrestling with the secret chapter of the Book of Oa and the Blackest Night prophecy, but that doesn’t sit well with Ganthet and Sayd who start branching out on their own going so far as to contact Hal Jordan on the sly to tell him where Kyle is and informing him that he will be a great leader of the Corps once again. If you’re unfamiliar with this collection, it bounces back and forth between issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. The GL issues focus mainly on Hal, Kyle, Guy Gardner and John Stewart in their battle on Qward while GLC deals with pretty much all the other Lanterns fighting Yellow Lanterns in space and ultimately on Mogo. Oh, we also see Sinestro appearing on his home planet of Korugar where he talks to Soranik Natu. That will be important later. Also, Salaak tasks Arisia with watching out for rookie Sodam Yat because of his involvement in the Blackest Night prophecy.

The bouncing back and forth is not as seamless as it could have been between the issue transitions, but I love how this story was crafted. At the time, Sinestro Corps War was a surprise hit for DC. You can tell because the story was contained solely in the two existing books and spilled over very little into other books. Even the inclusion of the one-shots in the Tales Of The Sinestro Corps which all came out towards the end of the story’s run seem like last minute follow ups, but more on that later. Compare all that to Blackest Night which went through the two main books, it’s own miniseries, a series of minis starring major chacaters and teams AND tie-in issues in regular ongoing books. SCW had one tie-in and it was in Blue Beetle. Strange.

Written by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons & Peter Tomasi, drawn by Patrick Gleason, Angel Unuzeta, Ivan Reis, Pascal Alixe, Dustin Nguyen, Jamal Igle & Ethan Van Sciver
Collects Green Lantern #24-25, Green Lantern Corps #16-19
After spending the first volume of the story with the GLs of Earth fighting on Qward and the rest of the GLs fighting the sentient city Ranx, Sinestro Corps Members and the Children of the White Lobe on Mogo (remember we saw Ranx in Green Lantern Corps: To Be A Lantern where he had a run-in with Guy Gardner), the second volume brings everything to Earth where the real action is taking place. The Guardians assume Sinestro and his Corps are attacking Earth because it was revealed to be the seat of the multiverse after 52. There’s a lot of elements in this story that hearken back to Infinite Crisis especially the inclusion of Anti-Monitor and Superboy Prime.

Upon second reading, this second volume is now my favorite of the two. Not only do you get to see the GLC finally defeating Ranx, but the Guardians also reveal the first of ten new laws they’ve written for the book of Oa: Green Lanterns can now kill. We also see the defeat of Parallax, which Sayd and Ganthet split up and put in Hal, Kyle, John and Guy’s lanterns. Of course, that’s not all. We get more information about Sodam Yat and his past on Daxam, we see him throw down with the bratty Superboy Prime, we see Earth’s heroes get involved in the fight and, of course, we get to see the good guys defeat the bad guys. And in the end? Johns and company reveal the rest of the Lantern colors in one form or another including Ganthet and Sayd starting the Blue Lanterns based on Hope and the Black Lantern lantern.

A story like this really relies on its villains and I think they were handled masterfully in this story for the most part. Sinestro reveals that he still believes in the order the Green Lantern Cops can and should enforce in the universe. Even his Sinestro Corp oath talks about order, but he thinks that sentients will only respond to fear instead of any of the other emotions, which is why he orchestrated this entire thing to allow GLs to kill and thus instill more fear in the cosmos. He still wants to be the greatest Green Lantern. Cyborg Superman also reveals that all he wants to do is die. He’s allied himself with beings he hopes are powerful enough to end it all for him. Then there’s Superboy Prime who might be incredibly annoying, but in an understandable way. This kid gave up his regular life and his entire world to come help Superman save the universe in Crisis On Infinite Crisis. Did he get any thanks? Nope, instead he had to watch as the heroes he worshiped got broken, died or got gritty.  Sure he sounds like a message board troll at times, but I think he’s got an interesting point of view. The only one I don’t understand is the Anti-Monitor. He doesn’t really do much in the story, but more than that I don’t understand his role as the Sinestro Corps’ Guardian. For the GLs, the Guardians came together to create the Central Power Battery which gathered all the willpower int he universe. As far as I can tell from this story, though, Sinestro did that himself, so what does the Anti-Monitor do aside from bring power and look scary?

Written by Geoff Johns, Ron Marz, Alan Burnett & Sterling Gates, drawn by Dave Gibbons, Adriana Melo, Patrick Blaine, Pete Woods, Jerry Ordway, Michel Lacombe & Joe Prado
Collects Green Lantern #18-20 and Sinestro Corps Special #1 (back-ups), Tales Of The Sinestro Corps: Parallax #1, Cyborg Superman #1, Superman-Prime #1, Ion #1 and Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files #1
I’m not the biggest fan of Tales Of The Sinestro Corps as a collection. Sure, I’m glad DC decided to collect the back-up stories about some of that Corps’ members along with the Secret Files, but I wish the Tales one-shots would have been integrated into the larger collections. I think the whole story could have been told in one huge omnibus or two larger hardcovers (like the Blackest Night collections wound up). While I like having everything collected, I don’t really like having to bounce between books to read the story in a chronological order. For what it’s worth, I read I read Parallax before getting into Volume 2, Cyborg before GL #24, Prime before GLC #18 and Ion after finishing Volume 2.

I’d like the issues put where they belong chronologically because, unlike a lot of the issues thrown together for Blackest Night, these issues are actually somewhat important. If you’ve got no idea who Cyborg Superman or Superboy Prime (I refuse to call him Superman Prime), those one-shots are great infodumps that completely catch you up on what’s going on with those characters. Meanwhile, the Parallax and Ion issues are great Kyle-centric issues written by his creator Ron Marz which act as pretty great book ends for this series, especially Ion where we discover that Kyle’s no longer Ion but now a fellow member of the Honor Guard with Guy. Both issues also pick up threads left over from the Ion 12-issue series (reviewed here).

Overall, I can’t say that this is a perfect comic book crossover. The best ones around feel and seem seamless when it comes to reading from issue to issue (I’m thinking of X-Men: Messiah Complex and Death of Superman for example). It should feel like a movie cutting back and forth between two scenes of action all by the same director, but there are enough differences and odd bits that make it feel like two different films smooshed together, though possibly by two directors who studied under the same master. I’ve still got questions about how things worked, but all in all I still really enjoy the series. The villains are solid, we get great moments for our heroes (Yat fighting Superboy Prime, Hal and Kyle in a depowered fist fight with Sinestro) and the continued expansion of the emotional spectrum and the Lanterns related to them. I think a lot of people expected the end of Sinestro Corps War to definitevly end that story, but like Bedovian, Johns has huge, long term plans that will continue to involve most of the major players in this book which reminds me of the old school 70s and 80s Marvel comics that flow one into another. Great stuff!

Books Of Oa: Green Lantern Revenge Of The Green Lanterns

Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver & Ivan Reis
Collects Green Lantern #7-13 (2006)
It took about a year’s worth of comics for me to really get into Green Lantern after Rebirth brought Hal Jordan and, as a result, the Green Lantern Corps back from the dead. At first I just didn’t care about Hal Jordan (though I liked the first issues of his series the second time around) and then Green Lantern Corps Recharge introduced a bunch of GLs I didn’t know or care about (though, again, I changed my mind once again), but I really started to come around with the Revenge of the Green Lanterns storyline because it brought a group of characters I really dug at least on a visual level back into the forefront, introduced an awesome villain into the mix and added to Hal’s troubles with the Corps. But it didn’t start off like that.

Issues #7 and 8 have Green Lantern and Green Arrow getting back together and facing Mongul and his Black Mercy plants which were previously existed, but are celebrated now because of their inclusion in Alan Moore’s classic Superman, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman story “For The Man Who Has Everything.” Huh, look at that, an Alan Moore connection. Of course, Mongul also happens be the guy who blew up Hal Jordan’s home town of Coast City during Reign of the Superman, so there’s mountains of bad blood there, even if this is really a battle between his son and daughter. These issues were kind of whatever to me because I’ve seen way too many “Hey look at these perfect lives for characters which they will eventually figure out aren’t real” stories and just don’t care. Once you know how the Black Mercy works, you really just need to figure out how the heroes break free, all that other stuff is just filler. Pacheco drew these issues. Again, I like him, but he doesn’t blow me away.

The next issue (#9) teams Hal up with Batman to fight a new version of the Tattooed Man. Once again, I don’t particularly care about Hal’s old enemies, so this story wasn’t interesting to me on that level. It was, however interesting to see Batman and Hal get over some of the bad blood. Better than all that, though, was seeing Hal hand the ring over to Batman to help him deal with some of his tragedies. Not only do we get to see Batman as a GL (which DC Direct made an awesome action figure of), but he also admits that he doesn’t want to deal with his parents’ death which was both obvious and a nice moment to see. Van Sciver did some rad things with art in this book, especially with the Tattooed Man and that Batman GL costume. Very cool. Dude seemed to be getting significantly better with each outing, not that he was a slouch to begin with, mind you.

#10 finally got the ball rolling on the Revenge of the Green Lanterns story, but not before tying into DC’s One Year Later jump that took place during Infinite Crisis. See, the idea was that, between issues #6 and 7 of IC, there was a jump in time. Every DCU book picked up with some kind of change that we were supposed to get explained either in the series itself or in 52. But, as 52 started to shift focus away from the secret-telling and more towards the characters and stories that had kicked off early on, some of the OYL books made less and less sense because some things weren’t explained. I had that kind of confusion when it came to GL as it opened with Hal fighting Rocket Reds and the appearance of a brand new Crimson Fox along with a whole new group of Global Guardians. These were characters and concepts that played heavily into Justice League International, so I was familiar with them, but also assumed they were dead and gone for a while. Who were these guys and where did they come from? Also, what the hell is Hal talking about having been shot down with his girlfriend Cowgirl and another pilot? None of those questions are answered in this collection, though I think they get addressed in the next one, Wanted. I have absolutely no memory of those explanations. Oh, I believe #10 has the first bestowing of a Sinestro Corps ring when Arkillo gets one. It’s a quick page, but he’ll be a kind of major member of that Corps so it was cool seeing this moment again.

Anyway, a thought-dead GL crashes on Earth which sends Hal on a search mission for any other surviving GLs, most of which happen to be the ones he went up against when he was wrecking shop on the Corps before blowing up the Central Power Battery. The Guardians told him not to, but he did anyway and Guy Gardner went along with him. See, the GLs seem to be being held captive on the old Manhunter planet, which harkens back to the upgraded Manhunters appearing in the early issue of GL. As it turns out, Cyborg, a foe of Superman’s who also had a hand in blowing up Coast City, is the new leader of the Manhunters. When I first read this I was so impressed because it just made so much damn sense. The guy had been running around after Reign of the Superman as a pretty powerful badguy, but making a half-man, half-machine leader of a robotic group of beings just makes so much sense, it’s kind of shocking it hadn’t been done before. The fact that he’s got history with Hal after a fashion makes it all the more ingenious. One of the annoying things about comic books is that certain things seem to make logical sense, but can’t or won’t be done because it might be too different than what fans and readers are used to. With Johns, he seems to look at the larger picture of the DCU and sees even the faintest of connections, bringing characters together and making them make sense, in the process making them cooler and as a result more interesting to read about.

So, Hal and Guy have to fight against a whole planet of Green Lantern power-sucking Manhunters in an effort to save their fellow corps members and also not die. It turns out that the Manhunters had been collecting near dead GLs for years (or however much time had passed in the DCU between Hal going nuts and Rebirth) and using them to create mega Manhunters that are actually powered by GLs. It’s a pretty cool element that I don’t think has been brought up again since. As you might expect there’s still some bad blood between Hal and the Lost Lanterns, but Arisia, Hal’s ex who also happens to be there, doesn’t hold anything against him.

In addition to the Arkillo appearance, the issue also holds a few potential seeds for future stories. When the Guardians are insisting that Hal not go after the Lost Lanterns in #11 one of them lets slip that Sector 3601 is the Blackest Night. I don’t know how or if this fits in with the Blackest Night story, but I’ll see as my reading continues. Later on there is a panel during a flashback explaining Hal and Arisia’s past that features Krona (#13). The character isn’t named, but as I theorized, the story being referenced here had something to do with Blackest Night’s main baddie Nekron. It’s an interesting early hint that I definitely didn’t catch the first time around. We also get references to Arisia’s apparent death at the hands of Major Force in the pages of Guy Gardner: Warrior, a moment that made me really sad back in the day. Finally, there’s a moment when Hal and Cyborg are fighting in which Cyborg tells Hal the only reason the Guardians keep him on the Corps is to be an example of what can happen to the rookies if they continually question the Guardians. It’s an interesting point that I believe is flat-out said later on in the series.

As far as Hal’s character goes, there are lots of moments that make him more than your average arrogant jerk, from him trying to help Batman get over his darkness to his undying need to help the Lanterns that he put into danger on his rampage.


Books Of Oa: Green Lantern No Fear

Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Darwyn Cook, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver and Simone Bianchi
Collects Green Lantern #1-6, Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005
As I mentioned in the first Books of Oa post about Green Lantern: Rebirth, I’m looking to get a better grasp of Hal Jordan as a character and see how the overarching, multi-color Lanterns started out. While I wasn’t doing much blogging over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was stealing away time here and there to read through a lot of the earlier GL and GLC trades and also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to piece together not only a real time release chronology of post-Rebirth Green Lantern comics, but also an in continuity one as well. That’s a roundabout way of saying that the actual rebirth of the Green Lantern Corps is surprisingly non existent in the actual comics. See, Rebirth finished off with a cover date of May 2005 with the Green Lantern comic starring Jordan kicked off in July 2005. Hal’s still got his ring and kicking around Earth and fighting some familiar villains and even visits Oa at one point, but we never actually see the Guardians talking to the five GLs from Rebirth (Hal, John Stewart, Kilowog, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner) and telling them what’s up. I wasn’t expecting a full issue or miniseries focusing on these kinds of things, but I was surprised going back and discovering that not even a scene of such things exists and it doesn’t in Green Lantern Corps: Recharge or any of the other books I’ve read so far.

Anyway, the point of this review isn’t to talk about what wasn’t in the book, but was. Aside from some somewhat schmaltzy short stories taken from what I assume was the Secret Files issue in which we see Hal flying Kyle and a brief history lesson, we’re along for the ride as Hal gets back to his life. He’s living in Coast City which is being rebuilt, but having trouble getting new people to move in. He’s trying to get a job back in the Air Force flying planes. And, most importantly to the action of the series, he’s fighting villains like Manhunters old and new, Hector Hammond (as much as you can fight that giant-headed weirdo), The Shark and Black Hand. We get a hint after the Manhunter story that a group of GLs we thought were dead from Hal’s rampage seem to be held by the Manhunters and their mysterious hooded leader which is a major point of the next arc. There’s also some yellow alien Gremlins running around who, we’re told, evolved Shark and Hammond. There’s an interesting note in the issue where Hammond says that the aliens were planning on harvesting both villains for parts to sell as weapons in an upcoming intergalactic war. I don’t remember either character or the Gremlins being mentioned during Infinite Crisis or Sinestro Corps War, so it could be a detail that Johns hasn’t gotten around to getting back to.

On the other (heh) hand, Hal’s dealings with the higher powered Black Hand (the Gremlins did something to him too, but I’m not sure what) definitely refer to Blackest Night. The rejuvenated villain seems to have an even deeper connection to death and even says “You think you’re strong. But death is stronger. It is the pure power of the far end of the emotional spectrum. The emptiness of space. The blackest night.” At the time the scene just seemed like the ramblings of a madman, but reading it now, it’s easy to see that Johns was planting seeds not just for Sinestro Corps War, but also Blackest Night in the earliest moments of the series.

When these issues first came out, I wasn’t all that interested in them. I wasn’t a big Hal Jordan fan and the inclusion of weird old villains like Shark and Hector Hammond that I didn’t care about, didn’t help matters much. This time around, I’m still not super interested in those villains, but I do like seeing the foundation for the books I’m still enjoying to this day. I was also interested to see the establishment of Hal as a character. He’s confident, like I’ve said previously, but he’s also a good man with a good heart who’s trying to do the right thing, it’s just that his ego gets in his way sometimes. I’m not up on my Hal Jordan history, but there’s an event in Hal’s life that I thought was really interesting. See, after his dad died in a plane explosion, his mom didn’t want any of them to join the Air Force, but Hal did anyway. She wouldn’t talk to him after that, so when she was on her death bed and she refused to see Hal because he was in the Air Force, Hal had to find a way out of the AF without quitting so he could go see her. He couldn’t bring himself to quit so he slugged his commanding officer and got thrown out. His ego got in the way of something that could have been easily explained away. The worst part of the whole ordeal is that he went to see his dying mother, free of the Air Force and she wouldn’t see him. It’s an interesting relationship with his past that Hal has and it’s interesting to see it revealed here and there.

Last, but not least, it’s time to talk about the artwork. I’m not Cook’s biggest fan when he’s writing, but his art has an interesting Silver Age quality to it that’s still dynamic, plus it’s interesting to see that style on a newer character like Kyle Rayner as seen in the opening story from the Secret Files issue. Van Sciver jumper around here and there with a retelling of Hal’s origin early on and an issue or two where he gets to really flex his artistic muscles by covering Kilowog, a slew of rookie GLs, a hulking Shark, the gross Hammond and the creepiest Black Hand ever seen up until then. Pacheco has art chores on the story that brings the Manhunters back into the fold. His art is solid and I like it, but it doesn’t blow me away. The most interesting artist in this book, as far as I’m concerned is Bianchi. I completely forgot that he worked on the series here and there in the early days. I’m a big fan of his work with Grant Morrison in Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight, so seeing more of his work with characters I know and love is a lot of fun. He also gets to play with the same villains that Van Sciver does and it’s really interesting to see such different takes on the characters all within the same book. I can see how the jumping on and off of artists might have bothered some folks, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

Next up for Books Of Oa, I’ve got Rann-Thanagar War which featured Kyle Rayner’s first post-Rebirth action (as far as I can remember), then Green Lantern Corps: Recharge and the second volume of the regular GL series. I’m having a great time re-reading these books and hope to either get my hands on a copy of the Infinite Crisis trade or dig out my issues so I can remember how the GLs played into that story, but if not, I’ll come back to it later on.

Books Of Oa: Green Lantern Rebirth

Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Ethan Van Sciver
Collects Green Lantern Rebirth #1-6, Wizard X
Welcome to a new semi-regular feature here on the blog called Books Of Oa which will look at various Green Lantern-based comics, starting with Geoff Johns’ run on the book. Starting with Green Lantern: Rebirth, Johns has been the main architect behind the return of not only Hal Jordan but the entire Green Lantern Corps ever since, which, as many of you know, includes a whole rainbow of newly minted lanterns running around causing trouble. I’m returning to the series along with Green Lantern Corps for a few reasons. First off, I’m curious to see what seeds were planted six years ago that are still sprouting up today. Second and most importantly I want to actually read the whole epic in order. I dug Rebirth the first time around, but didn’t really take to GL or GLC‘s early issues. I’ve since gotten all the trades up to a certain point (still need to get the Blackest Night books and some of the ones before and after) and I read the issues as they came out for a long period of time, but I’m fuzzy on a lot of the early stuff, so I figure it’s a good time to go back and re-read everything in order. I’m a big fan of the GL concept–specifically the Corps–and I think that this is one of those classic runs, one of the few long-term ones we’ve got going on in comics right now (Brubaker on Captain America is another in my opinion) and it’s always fun to go back and see how we got from point A to point F and how that will inform later points we haven’t even seen yet. Finally, I want to get a better grasp on Hal Jordan as a character. I’ve talked this over with friends and he just seems to be kind of a cocky jock, but I’ve always had the feeling I might be missing something. Maybe I’ll find it and maybe I won’t on these re-reads, but it’s something to look for.

To give some context to Rebirth, I’m going to give a brief recap of the history of Green Lantern and my history with the characters and mythos. When I was 6 or 7 I invented the Green Lantern concept while playing with the Kryptonite ring that came with Super Powers Superman only to eventually discover that I had been beaten to the punch in 1940 when Alan Scott was created in All-American Comics #16. Though he would eventually be explained away as being related to, but not a part of the Green Lantern Corps, he was, in real life, the first GL. The concept was re-envisioned in 1959 when Hal Jordan became a member of the intergalactic space cops known as the Green Lantern Corps in Showcase #22. Hal kicked around as GL for several decades until his home town Coast City was destroyed by Mongul in the wide-sweeping Reign of the Superman storyline in the mid 90s. Hal lost his cool, went on a rampage tearing through many of his fellow GLs and destroyed the Guardians along with the GL power battery–the source of the entire Corps’ power–thus wiping out the entire organization. Ganthet, the lone surviving Guardian created one last ring and gave it to young artist named Kyle Rayner who was the sole Green Lantern for years. Kyle eventually resurrected the Guardians and discovered he could make GL rings to some extent, giving one to former GL and Darkstar John Stewart. So, it was basically just Kyle kicking around for years until Johns came along and brought Hal and the Corps back. In the meantime, Hal came back a few times in big events, restarted the sun at the end of Final Night and eventually became the Spectre’s human side.

I started reading Green Lantern when Hal went crazy. I found out later that a lot of people hated that story, but it made a lot of sense to me at the time, plus I thought this younger Green Lantern was pretty damn interesting. So, I read Kyle’s entire run in the book which lead up to Rebirth. I was split when I heard the news about Hal coming back because, frankly, I didn’t care about him as a character and I thought it was cool that one of the JLA/Silver Age biggies had stayed dead for a while. On the other hand, I REALLY liked the idea of the Corps and felt like I had really missed out on some cool potential stories not having it around. I was in college when the miniseries first started coming out, so I only read it in chunks every few months when I’d get home to my pull list, so some of the details were fuzzy, but there were some very specific parts that had lodged themselves into my memory (specifically the way Johns described each GL using their power ring and Ollie using Hal’s ring).

I had a lot of fun reading this book again, which turned out to really work for the three reasons I wanted it to. Rebirth acts as the very foundation for everything that Johns has done since then. He completely revitalized a dead, though cool, concept in a way that really made it make sense. He included the very origins of how this whole green energy/willpower thing works: the main power batter basically absorbs all willpower from sentient beings who use it. Same goes for fear, hence Parallax and his bond with Sinestro which comes into play to a much greater extent in future volumes. Johns also really did his best to explain how Hal was corrupted by the Parallax entity and, as far as I’m concerned, it all works well and in a way that seems crafted to appeal to both Hal fans and Kyle fans (many of us expected him to die in this book, a kin of out with the new, in with the old idea, but I’m grateful that Kyle’s still kicking around).

In addition to laying all the ground work for the immediate future of the GL franchise at the time, Johns might have even hinted at the White Lantern idea that’s being examined in Brightest Day as we speak (I’m a little behind, so maybe this concept has been explained and I haven’t seen it yet). It’s a very brief moment, but check out what happens when Hal’s ring touches Sinestro’s when they’re throwing down: white light. Interesting.

Anyway, I think I also got a better read on Hal as a character. Yes, he is arrogant and cocky, but there’s something about him that made him become a hero instead of a villain as you might expect from someone of his ilk. Basically, that’s his dad who plays the same role as Jesse Custer’s dad did in Preacher: the father who offers his kid a way to compose himself before going off to die. In Hal’s case, it’s to show the world that he wears his dad’s jacket like a good guy should. Hopefully, I’ll get a better handle on him as a character as I read on.

Finally, you can’t talk about Rebirth without talking about Van Sciver’s art. I was completely blown away by this guy when I first read these comics, especially in the scene I mentioned above where Hal explains how each GL’s ring constructs are different (Guy’s are like a facet, Kilowog’s make a sound, John’s are designed from the inside out, Kyle’s are constantly being revised and Hal’s are simple yet practical) and Van Sciver shows exactly what he means, but he had been doing it before that too, especially in John’s case. Some of the characters come off as stiff or maybe a little too alien looking at times, but overall I appreciate the detail he puts into his pages, even if that means they can take a long time to get out. Personally, I’m sick of seeing boring panel backgrounds in modern comics. I don’t really understand why they don’t just have EVS working on graphic novels instead of monthlies. Give the guy a script that will be important in a few years (something we know Johns can do) and just let him go to town. I’m sure that’s much easier said than done, but it’s a thought.

I give Johns a mountain of credit for not just rebooting a character, but an entire franchise in a way that makes sense (comic book sense at least) and really takes various levels of continuity/readership into account. It would have been seriously easy to just pop Hal back into the GL uniform and forget about Kyle or John or Guy Gardner (another favorite character who he handles better than 90% of the writers who try tackling him, though not as good as Beau Smith in my humble opinion). By bringing the Corps back along with Hal, it seems like Johns and DC hedged their bets by offering Hal his own book and then Green Lantern Corps which would go on to be filled with all the other Lanterns you’ve come to know and love along with a whole crew of rookies who have become pretty damn important over the years. So, if Hal’s not your flavor, read GLC, basically.  Overall, I think the franchise has been well handled, though all the tie-ins and one-shots for Blackest Day seemed to just be filler and everytime I see or hear about a new event I get more excited, though they’re getting harder and harder to keep up with, especially with my lax comic-buying habits. At least I’ve got the trades to keep me busy for now. Speaking of which, I applaud DC for actually giving Rebirth the proper TPB treatment. In addition to an introduction by Brad Meltzer who also mentions other simpler ways to bring Hal back that aren’t as interesting or creative, there’s also a cover gallery and a reprinting of Johns’ Rebirth pitch which shows how well crafted of an idea this was from the beginning. Next up will be the Green Lantern Corps: Recharge miniseries and then on into the first arcs of each series and an eventual detour into the Ion series which I think I liked more than most people. It’s fun to have a project!

The Book of Oa: Sinestro Corps War

2:22:10 am

Wow, I completely suck for not posting in so long, hopefully this long-ish post will make up for it. This one’s for you Farooq.

I recently reread the entire Sinestro Corps War saga in the three hardcovers that DC has put out (Vol. 1, 2 and Tales of the Sinestro Corps) and dammit all if this isn’t one of the best comic book stories of all time. Geoff Johns helmed this epic with the help of fellow GL writers Dave Gibbons, Pete Tomasi and Ron Marz while artists like Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason and others drew the heck out of it.


Johns and Gibbons both seeded elements of this tale in both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, but this is where all that craziness goes on, starting with one of my favorite one shots of all time the Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War one-shot which shows the Sinestro Corps waging war on the Green Lantern home world of Oa. There’s even a super patient Yellow Lantern who hid in an asteroid field just so that he could bust out and snipe the crap out of some GLs. There’s a real sense of “how the heck are the going to get out of this?” But before all that, the GL that will always have a soft place in my heart, Kyle Rayner, gets sucked the Qward where he gets infected with Parallax, the embodiment of fear (oh yeah, whereas the GLs represent willpower, the YLs represent fear on the emotional spectrum).

But the craziness doesn’t stop there (and neither does the issue). As the Sinestros slaughter the GLs (who can’t kill anyone with their rings) we find out that Superboy Prime (yeah, I called him SuperBOY Prime and I’m not gonna stop) and Cyborg Superman are on Sinestro’s side. And, as readers of GL will remember, Cyborg’s actually in charge of the Manhunters, the Guardians’ first crack at a police force (though robotic instead of “human”). But that’s not the biggest kicker. That boot belongs to the fact that their guardian is actually the Anti-Monitor. Now, they don’t really get into an explanation as to how the heck AM is still alive after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but they do mention something like “When the universe redid itself, we found him.” Hey, it’s good enough for me.

Okay, that’s the end of the first issue. Personally, I think the set up for all of this, which was inspired by Alan Moore’s BRILLIANT “Darkest Night” story which you can find in one of my favorite trades of all time: DC Universe:The Stories of Alan Moore. Bringing back Cyborg as leader of the Manhunters and incorporating Superboy Prime (who was involved with Countdown, but seriously, who was reading that?) just made so much sense. I love when creators actually do something with older characters that have been forgotten that were important at one time (like Prime was prior to Infinite Crisis).

And Ethan Van Sciver’s can’t be ignored. Like with Green Lantern: Rebirth, Ethan just kills it. He also continues one of my favorite elements of Geoff and Ethan’s reboot: the different ways the the GLs use their rings. Kilowog and Guy are like forces of nature, Kyle’s very artistic and John Stewart, the engineer that he is, designs all of his constructs from all their parts. Additionally, you’ve got nine splash pages and spreads that blow my mind, especially the spread of the Yellow Lanterns on Qward. Just sick.

Okay, so it’s not all one issue. After fending off the SC’s first attack, the Guardians decide to destroy the Blackest Night chapter of the Book of Oa which carries the prophecy of how the Corps will fall, causing a rift between Ganthet and Sayd and the other Guardians. Ganthet and Sayd appear to Hal Jordan via his ring and tell him he needs to be the leader of the Corps again, Hal doesn’t know how the others will take that, but he doesn’t really have time to think about it as the Parallax being (who was reinserted into the main battery) grabs Hal, Guy (my second favorite GL) and John Stewart to Qward where Hal rumbles with the Parallax-possessed Kyle.

There’s also a quick aside in the GLC book where Sinestro visits his homeworld of Korugar, the planet that he ruled with an iron fist when he was a GL (which is exactly what he got banished for) to meet Soranik Natu, the current GL from Korugar. Though it seems like kind of a throwaway issue, it’s not because we get more insight into Sinestro’s motives. He’s actually challenging the GLs with his Corps in order to make the GLs more effective. The big storypoint in this issue is that GL partners-but-not-really Stel (a robot) and Green Man realize that the Sinestro Corps is leading an attack against Mogo, the living planet GL. Holy crap!

From here on out the story is split between Hal fighting Kyle, trying to free him from Parallax, the Lost Lanterns joining in and the other GLs fighting on Mogo. But we also find out why Cyborg’s involved in all this: he wants to die and the Anti Monitor claims he can make it happen. We also get a creepy page of Superboy Prime sitting on the moon just waiting and watchign Earth. More on that later. The moments where Hal’s trying to help Kyle are really great to me because I actually started reading GL when Hal went crazy and destroyed the Corps and Kyle was the one and only. There’s something really cool about the two characters that a lot of fans never thought they’d see together (and definitely not on the same side) in reversed roles: Kyle’s the bad guy and Hal’s trying to help him. I also really like the Lost Lanterns because I really liked those guys and it makes me feel better about watching Hal’s exploits when I know that he didn’t really kill the only other GLs I knew about.

Of course, the Lost Lanterns don’t really see it that way as most of them still hold a grudge against Hal who they’re now forced to work with as they run for their lives on Qward as their batteries run out of juice and they try to find Guy and John.

Now we move on to the crazy fight on Mogo as the GLs defend him against an evil living city with a mad on for Guy (even though he’s nowhere near Mogo) full of 100 Yellow Lanterns which starts off with just Stel and Green Man standing between Mogo and the Sinestro Corps. Of course, Kilowog and company join up with them and put up a heck of a fight. The living city is actually pretty hilarious as it continues to whine about Guy Gardner, demanding his presence and death. There’s a whole lot of craziness going on, most of which I don’t want to get into, but the Sinestro Corps is basically trying to kill Mogo because he figures out where the rings go to after a Lantern dies. He’s also the soul of the GLC and, of course, the biggest member.

Another subplot I forgot to mention is that the Guardians tasked Arisia with keeping Sodom Yat safe. They’re not sure why he’s important, but anyone who read Alan Moore’s story knows that Sodom will be the savior of the GLC. Awesome! There’s also a big fight between Kilowog and his opposite member in the SC Arkillo, a weird toothy monster. They duke it out pretty bad, but they don’t finish until later.

The last issue of the first hardcover ends with Guy and John free, Hal sucking energy out of yellow lanterns, Ganthet and Sayd getting banished from the Guardians, the Anti-Monitor killing Lost Lantern Ke’Haan (Jack Chance got killed in an earlier issue) and the kicker of the Guardians telling the GLC about the first of the new ten laws: they can kill memebrs of the Sinestro Corps. There’s a lot I like about this issue. Of course, John and Guy getting back in the game is awesome. Also, Hal conquering the yellow lanterns is rad because it proves that he’s over the fear that poisoned him. The deaths of these characters also really got me. I’m not sure if it’s because of the older GL stories I’ve read or because Geoff had made them such interesting characters or if I just freaking love Green Lanterns so much that the death of any recognizable one gets me. I’m a softy that way. Finally, the first new rule makes a lot of sense. I mean, the Green Lanterns are cops, they should be able to ice the bad guys when necessary. Of course, there’s more to it than that as we’ll find out later on.


So this book starts with the Green Lanterns saving Mogo in a cool way that, again, would take a while to explain and seeing as how this is already a pretty long post, I’ll skip it, but add that it was really cool (living planets who are GLs are always cool). From there we find out that the Yellow Lanterns actual target is Earth, the base of them multiverse. I’ve probably used the word “craziness” more than I should, but this is when the sh!t really hits the fan (it’s all kinds of craziness).

Oh man, I haven’t mentioned the other artists. Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason do amazing jobs with the big splash pages and smaller moments. My facorite Reis spread in the whole series is the one in GL #24 as Superboy Prime leads Sinestro, Cyborg and a legion of Yellow Lanterns over the moon with a huge yellow Warworld behind them. I get chills. You could do a whole poster book out of Sinestro Corps War and I would cover my walls with it.

Okay, so the war has hit Earth in full force which means the superheroes we (at least I) all know and love get involved in the war. But before he can get into it, Hal’s got to save his brother’s family from Kyle-Parallax who actually switches to a crazy yellow version of his costume (this story has great costumes). But you just can’t keep my favorite lantern dawn as he finally fights his way out of Parallax’s grasp and shirks the fear-thing.

Then, BAM, Ganthet and Sayd are there and trap Parallax in Kyle, Hal, John and Guy’s lanterns. There’s a great moment where all four Earth Lanterns light themselves up and they’re ready to rumble. The GLs who were fighting on Mogo finally get to Earth as lead by Kilowog Salaak who has a great bit of business where he tells everyone to fix the damage done to their uniforms. “Use the time to regenerate your uniforms. We’re CORPS. Be PROUD.” After reading that I pumped my fist and shout “[EXPLETIVE] YEAH!”

And it wasn’t the last time as Arkill and Kilowog face off AGAIN, this time it’s even more brutal. Oh, this is a great time to mention this, even though the GLs can now kill the YLs, it doesn’t mean that they all do. Some go crazy Rambo-style, which is all well and good, but others, like Kilowog, choose not to, using their rings in other ways to incapacitate their enemies.

Oh, remember that Sodom Yat guy I mentioned? Well, he became the new Ion, which is a Lantern that doesn’t need to wear a ring. He’s also extra powerful. Plus he’s from the planet Daxam which means he’s got Superman-level abilities. Well, he’s the dude that throws down with Prime. We get some history about Yat while Superboy pummels him, but our hero doesn’t give up, he keeps fighting until Prime almost kills him.

Which brings us to the last issue. Damn, it’s another beauty. In the middle of this huge war, we get a look at the other colors of the emotional spectrum and what they represent, drawn by Ethan while Ivan handles the rest of the art chores.

As far as conclusions go, this is one of the best as it keeps the insanity going to the very end as the insanity ramps up continuously. You’ve got the Anti Monitor and Prime wreaking havoc on Earth’s heroes and the GLs, Guy getting sick with Despotellis the living virus whose killed entire planets, the Guardians jumping in and fighting the Anti-Monitor, dozens and dozens of Yellow and Green Lantern deaths, Hal and Kyle throwing down with Sinestro, using Warworld to destroy Cyborg and Anti-Monitor, Anti-Monitor coming back only to get supposedly killed by Prime (he’s still pissed about AM killing his home world, go figure), one Guardian giving his life to destroy Prime and finally Hal and Kyle defeating Sinestro in a fair, no-ring fist fight. Whew, it’s crazy awesome and I’m tired just explaining it all.

But even THAT’S not the end as we got some more Van Sciver-drawn bits. We see Superboy waking up somewhere saying “Oh my gosh. It’s really back.” Sinestro in GL jail, proud of the changes he caused in the Corps. His goal was to get the GLs to actually instill fear and thus be all the more effective against the evils of the universe. THEN, we see Ganthet and Sayd become the Guardians or something for the Blue Lanterns which represent hope and they create the first blue ring. After that those damn Manhunters find Cyborg’s dead body and reboot it, resulting in a heartbreaking tear trickling down his face. And FINALLY, we see the Anti Monitor’s corpse landing somewhere and getting trapped inside the black lantern.

Jeez, I forgot there’s a-whole-nother GLC issue that acts as a prologue. This is mostly a clean up issue that stars the featured players of the GLC book, which you should definitely check out. I’m especially partial to the scene where Rannian GL Vath takes a shot for each of his fallen comrades which number more than 432. It’s a touching moment that shows how one warrior deals with the loss of so many of his friends and fellow soldiers.

As if that weren’t all there’s also an interview with the creators in the back accompanied by sketches from the artists. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m always in support of beefing up trades with extra stuff you couldn’t get in the single issues. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Oh jeez, I completely forgot a few things. First of all, Natu used a sentient smallpox GL to defeat the evil virus Sinestro Corpsman inside of Guy. I was actually pretty nervous during this whole scene because it wouldn’t have surprised me if Geoff killed off one of the big GLs (I’m really glad he didn’t).

Now, like I said in the very beginning I love this story. Some people say that Geoff doesn’t end stories well and I can’t agree with that, especially when it comes to TSCW. The War definitely ends, for now at least, while still leaving the threat out there. It’s like in Star Wars, just because Vader and Palpatine are dead, doesn’t mean the Empire just crumbles. You also get to see Sinestro in prison again, which seems to be exactly where he wants to be. There’s all kinds of other lead-ins to future stories as well. I know that Geoff has said the he considers Rebirth the first chapter of his GL epic, this is the middle and then there will be Blackest Night when that hits next year (I think). But that doesn’t mean the regular series post-TSCW is boring. Geoff and Co. have gone into further development of the characters as well as the emotional spectrum and the new lanterns. Personally, I can’t wait to see where the rest of the story goes and what happens with the Blackest Night.

Finally, I know there’s also a Tales of the Sinestro Corps book, which I also read, but that with be another review because I’m tired.