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Prelude to Blackest Night: Green Lantern The Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1

By Andy Frisk
May 17, 2009 - 20:34

Sinestro, one time Greatest Green Lantern, arch foe of Hal Jordan, villain who unleashed Parallax upon Hal Jordan’s soul, and all around fascist-like dictator wannabe, forms his own ring-powered Corps to battle and supplant the Green Lantern Corps as the universe’s most powerful emotional spectrum, ring-powered organization. What is The Sinestro Corps emotional spectrum power? It’s fear.  What is their color?  It’s yellow. So why not call themselves The Yellow Lantern Corps instead of Sinestro Corps? Look no further than their monomaniacal leader, Sinestro, a sort of space tyrant who wishes to rule through the imposition of fear, as he views himself as the embodiment of fear and its destructive, but organizational, power. The Green Lantern Corps finds itself at a disadvantage when members of the Sinestro Corps start slaughtering their members. Green Lanterns cannot use their rings to kill and therefore when confronted by the death dealing Sinestro Corps Lanterns, Green Lanterns are woefully outmatched. Realizing that in order for The Green Lantern Corps to survive they must change the rules, The Guardians of The Universe rewrite their sacred code, The Book of Oa, allowing for the use of lethal force. Ganthet and Sayd, two of the most revered Guardians advise against this change and are banished from the Guardians Council. With the playing field leveled between the Sinestro and Green Lantern Corps, the Earth, which is about to be overrun by Yellow Ringed murderers just might be saved, but at what cost to the morality and therefore authority of The Green Lantern Corps?

Sinestro's Corps


This question permeates the metaphoric and allegorical story being told in The Sinestro Corps War. In relation to the real world, questions such as: can compromises that are willing to be made to combat the forces of fear turn the defendant against the terror into an object to be feared themselves in the same manner and disrespected? (the allowing of lethal force by the Guardians); how far can one allow one’s emotions to affect their judgment and when is it necessary to allow emotion to be part of the decision making process (are the Guardians falling victim to fear, as the Sinestro Corps wishes them to, by compromising their values and is the banishment of Ganthet and Sayd for their hopefulness and expression of love a mistake that shouldn’t have been made?); can one use the weapon of fear when desperate (like Hal Jordan must wield Sinestro Corps rings in order to survive), in a limited capacity effectively?; and what happens to a good soul when they fall victim to their greatest fears and allow them to posses them? (Kyle Rayner falls victim to fear and becomes Parallax, like Jordan once did). These moral quandaries raised by The Sinestro Corps War are not entirely solved by the outcome of the war, which occurs in Vol. 2, but live on as moral ambiguities that members of The Green Lantern Corps must constantly wrestle with. 

Hal Jordan the Green Lantern Corps


A careful re-reading of this saga in light of recent developments leading up to Blackest NIght in the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps titles reveals just how far in advance Johns has planned his overarching, incredibly intricate, and long reaching storyline. In Vol. 1 we see: Ganthet and Sayd verbalize their desire to hope, foreshadowing their eventual formation of the Blue Lantern Corps; Hal Jordan wielding Yellow Power Rings, foreshadowing his eventual wielding of Red and Blue Power Rings; and, the soon to be named Guardian, Scar advocating the use of lethal force to cause death for Sinestro Corps members foreshadowing her role in the rise of The Black Lantern Corps in Blackest Night which will most likely make use of the analogy and metaphor of death begetting death on a large scale with the “resurrections” of deceased heroes and villains throughout the universe and the destruction they may cause. All of these developments are a testament to John’s long range writing ability, careful planning and dedication to great storytelling while at the helm of the Green Lantern mythos. 

Giving in to fear: Kyle as Parallax


The artists who contributed to Sinestro Corps War provided some of the most imaginatively detailed, grand scale art that any comic book series had displayed ever. The wide spreads, some one and two full pages in size, really convey the vastness of space, the great size of other worldly environments, and the uniqueness of the planets and ships used by the various members of the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps. The highly detailed and unique renderings of the incredibly varied looks of the many, many intergalactic species of ring bearers in both Corp create page after page of engrossing layouts that take plenty of time, well spent, to absorb. Many characters seen, often times in background shots and wide shots of assembled Corps, or seen as bit players in cameo roles, both Green Lantern and Sinestro, would pop up again in issues down the road and play significant and/or leading roles. Some examples of which include, Kryb, Laira and Arkillo. The talent of the storyline’s artists would be tested, as they were tasked by Johns to come up with creatures, species, environments and foreign worlds that would rival Star Wars and Star Trek in diversity and variety. They succeeded grandly.


The Sinestro Corps War, as seen in Vol. 1 of the saga, rivals Star Trek and Star Wars in thematic importance as well as the presentation of varied alien races due to moral quandaries and thought provoking as well as debate inspiring events which have very real, real world relevance. Sinestro Corps War would even contain, at the center of Vol. 1 a very interesting chapter dealing with a battle between Sinestro and Green Lantern Soranik Natu, both of Korugar (their home world) that would foreshadow and emulate a key revelation of familial ties and how the sins of the fathers affect the lives of their sons or daughters…

Will power vs. Fear


Overall, as a saga which leads up to and lays the groundwork for Blackest Night, Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1 is a must read for Green Lantern fans. More importantly though, SInestro Corps War Vol. 1 makes great reading for anyone in search of a saga full of complexity of theme, allegory and metaphor that will keep its readers talking and debating the moral issues and quandaries raised.  Putting aside all the heady achievements of Sinestro Corps War, it is, also, a great and fun read with really, really awesome art.


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Rating: 10 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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