The War Before the ‘Blackest Night’

Sinestro_Corps_CoverFor over three decades, Green Lantern has been an iconic figure in the DC Universe. With the Blackest Night saga going strong, it’s a good idea to look back at the storyline that brought this idea to the forefront. Gathered in two trade paperback volumes, “Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War” is now seen as a prelude, however, in monthly form it was highly successful – and for good reason.

Before the chaotic battle between green and yellow, we find Sinestro nude and plotting. With a version of the power battery emblazoned on his back by Kyle Rayner, we see Sinestro remembering how it got there and the revenge that he will take not only on Rayner, but the Green Lantern Corps. Here we see Geoff Johns expertly recap the history of Sinestro’s relationships and his plan to instill fear into the universe. The foundation is set, and as Sinestro escapes the antimatter universe to propagate his plan, we cut to the other players in this tale and realize how Sinestro’s machinations will come to fruition.

After realizing that Sinestro is not on Earth, Hal Jordan meets up with the other human Green Lanterns in an attempt to speak with the Guardians. Once there, his past as Parallax is thrown in his face. As Parallax, Jordan nearly wiped out the corps and left many to die – it was only with the help of Spectre that he was able to overcome his affliction and become a Lantern again. However, his light no longer shines as brightly as it once did. He was the best of the corps, and now he is seen as a constant reminder of how fear corrupts even the greatest of men. We also see a morose Rayner, now Ion, the carrier of the light of the corps. He is in a state of guilt for missing the reading of his mother’s will. As we will see with Johns, there is no such thing as filler. This scene not only propels the narrative forward – it also is at the root of what it means to be a Lantern, of belonging to something bigger than your individual needs.

In a series of panels, the artwork of Ethan Van Sciver and company come together to show how merciless Sinestro is. Between literally ripping Ion out of Rayner, forcing him to become Parallax and watching the floating green rings search for new owners, we see Sinestro creating a new-world order. It is frightening, and that is exactly what Sinestro wants – to instill fear. The remainder of volume one deals with the fallout and the Guardians’ unusual emotional response to what is occurring. Yet while Sinestro and his allies execute their plan, the Guardians are still keeping vital information to themselves and panicking, causing them to make decisions that play right into Sinestro’s hands and will change the corps forever.

Volume two, storylinewise, lays the foundation for the Blackest Night series, as banished Guardians Ganthet and Sayd explain to Jordan, Rayner, Guy Gardner and John Stewart the mythos of the Blackest Night that will bring on something along the lines of Ragnarok. The art in volume two is even more intense than in the first, making the fight that has now come to earth an action-packed, well-written tour de force that is nearly impossible to top. At the end of the narrative we see a modicum of hope as people return to Coast City – in the same breath, we also see the beginnings of the repercussions of this amazing saga. The Sinestro Corps are too rebuilding, and with the new laws written into the Book of Oa, it will mean a drastic change to the DC Universe. Besides the story, the pinups and the discussion among the team that brought this series to fruition make these trades a welcome addition to your library.

Hope, fear, loss – these are all themes that Johns successfully controls. He has laid out a master plan that will keep us interested in the lives of these intriguing men and women for many issues to come.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 611 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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