By Andy Frisk
August 16, 2009 - 19:54
The Sinestro Corps divide their forces in two in order to attack two prime targets at once, Mogo, the living planet Green Lantern and Earth, the keystone of the Multiverse. As Sinestro himself and The Anti-Monitor descend upon
Meanwhile, Green Lantern Sodam Yat is gifted with the Ion Power at the behest of The Guardians, and Yat promptly gets into what quite possibly is one of the most destructive, vicious, and bloody hand to hand battles ever seen in the world of comics with Superboy Prime. Throughout the battle, the story of Yat’s childhood on Daxam is related through Yat’s memories. After losing his battle with Superboy Prime, Yat is regulated to the sidelines. As the four recharged Green Lanterns of Earth prepare to join the final battle against Sinestro and his Corps, Ganthet reveals to them the prophecy concerning the upcoming War of Light and The Blackest Night. All of which are to be brought about in part by the Guardians’ rewriting of the Book of Oa to include the use of lethal force, and the actions of Sinestro and his Corps.
When Hal learns that a massive group of Sinestro Corps members, including Sinestro himself moved across country to attack
It is in this second and final volume of The Sinestro Corps War that Sinestro’s overall plan is laid bare, and actualized. Early in this second volume, Lantern Stewart asks Sinestro (“Adolph” as Lantern Gardner appropriately, and derogatorily calls him), “What do you want, Sinestro?” To which Sinestro replies:
What do I want John? I want to create a symbol of terror that
will wash over the universe. I want that universe controlled
with order. And I want all to realize that control comes not
out of love, compassion or hope—But out of fear. Fear leads
Sinestro wants peace and order in the universe, but he wants to go about accomplishing his goal by setting up, basically, a dictatorship of fear. Fear of one another, fear of death, fear of change, fear of diversity, and most of all fear of Sinestro. Sinestro feels that this is the right course to take. His Corps’ oath reinforces the fact that he feels that he is correct in following through on his plan to bring control and order to the galaxy through fear: “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!” Sinestro and his Corps are basically telling the universe that the goal of his Corps is to enforce what is “right,” and those who disagree with Sinestro’s definition of what’s “right” will need to “beware your fears turned into light.” What you fear will be made into “light” (perhaps as a construct of a Sinestro Corpsman’s ring, but more powerfully and metaphorically true, brought into the light, or into the open), and you will be terrified into maintaining your place in the “order” of things, determined by what Sinestro, again, decides is “right.” Against this dictatorship of fear, and its promise of a faux-utopia, stand the Green Lantern Corps powered by their force of will. A will to enforce laws that protect all from harm equally and do not establish order through fear.
This comic book tale, concocted by Johns, Gibbons, and Tomasi seriously tackles, head on, a very important ideological battle that we too often witness being played out, with likewise serious consequences, in the real world, through its use of the allegorical squaring off of the fascist Sinestro Corps and the more moderate Green Lantern Corps. Everything concerning the Sinestro Corps, from their belief, spearheaded by their leader, that they are right (and therefore justified) in their pursuit of order and control through the institutionalizing of fear, to their methods and wanton disregard for a diversified approach to solving the problem of conflict in the universe (by protecting and serving like the Green Lantern Corps do), defines their extreme far right views.
There are real concerns in the real world by those who attempt to shine the light of reason, have the will to maintain a country established with the ideals of The Enlightenment at its base, and live in a free and open society, over the dangerous brushes with fascist rhetoric and movements that crop up from time to time. Cultures of fear, promoted by those men in power with self serving goals have too often veered us towards a course that leads down the road to a society controlled through fear. When we declare that we will be forever in a constant state of “war on terror,” creating a never ending need to live in terror of the very terror we war against, and we allow demagogues to champion false claims that our government advocates “death panels,” a blatant lie that play to the fears of, as well as rousing the ire of, those who are uniformed to the truth of the situation, we create a climate of unwarranted fear. When a society lives in a constant state of fear, it is willing to make compromises, and sacrifice its rights in the name of safety. A safety secured by those who created the, often times, false sense of insecurity and fear, to their own benefit. By surrendering the inalienable rights that all men and women in a free society flourish under to fear mongering demagogues, we lose our ability for self determination, progress, and freedom, much like Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner did, when they fell prey to the ultimate manifestation of fear in the universe, Parallax.
So, this comic book, sci-fi, epic has as serious a theme as one is wont to see in the world of mainstream superhero comics published today, with few peers in importance (with the exceptions of the Dark Reign event at Marvel Comics, and the current Superman: World of New Krypton epic). There have been many works of art and literature over the centuries that warn of and elucidate upon the dangers of fascism, and now we can add The Sinestro Corps War to this illustrious list. Is The Sinestro Corps War as powerful, moving, and artistic a work as Maus, or Gunter Grass’ Tin Drum? No, but for a work of sci-fi fun, unfolded in the pages of a superhero comic book, which are often derided for their juvenility, The Sinestro Corps War is a special, unique, and important work.
It is a work of science fiction though, and where you have science fiction, especially in sequential art, you have to have great artwork. The Sinestro Corps War Vol. 2 does not disappoint. The efforts of the combined artists, inkers, and colorists on the issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps that comprise this second volume of the epic, are epic in their presentation. Incredible two full page spreads of battle scenes between Sinestro Corpsmen and Green Lanterns are often quite breathtaking. While all the artists are incredibly talented, the work of Ethan Van Sciver particularly stands out in this volume. He has quickly risen to one of the highest ranking artists at DC Comics, and has had the opportunity to be the artist to bring back both Hal Jordan (in Green Lantern: Rebirth) and Barry Allen (in The Flash: Rebirth). He just may be the most influential artist out there right now, and he’s assuredly one of the best.
To sum up, even though The Sinestro Corps is soundly defeated by the Green Lantern Corps, and all damage to Earth is undone, one has to wonder why Sinestro feels that he has won anyway. Near the end of the conflict Sinestro is observed standing on the sidelines smiling. Lantern Rayner astounded, asks “Is Sinestro…smiling?” To which Lantern Jordan responds, “The new law, Kyle. That’s what he’s been after.” Sinestro explains his glee:
Yes. Despite what you believe
idea of the Green Lantern Corps policing the universe. For
years I labored to change it for the better through debate…
Debating with The Guardians never got us anywhere did it?
But instilling them with fear? Fear was the key. The Green
Lantern Corps has always lacked the proper aggression
to deal with the chaos and hedonism that infects our universe.
They’ve focused so much on overcoming their own fears that
they failed to realize the true power in instilling fear in others.
That has changed. The Green Lantern Corps is authorized to
wield lethal force. The universe will fear Green Lanterns. And
the universe will be better for it.
How the Green Lanterns utilize this new law, which Jordan and Stewart agree is necessary in instances where evils like Sinestro rise, will determine how much the Green Lanterns are feared or respected. As Stewart says, “That’s the slippery slope we’re going to have to climb now. It’s no different from any of the cops who protect our streets, or the men and women you serve with in the armed forces.” The Green Lanterns are first and foremost self-sacrificing heroes, not wanton killers, who murder to prove a point like Sinestro’s Corpsmen do. Still though, there has been much death, and there will be much more.
Rating: 10 /10