“The Sinestro Corps War: Part 2: Fear & Loathing”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis (p), Oclair Albert (i), Moose Baumann (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
The Sinestro Corps Special was quite possibly one of the most intense, action-packed, and best comic books I’ve read in a long time. I say that not only as a die-hard Green Lantern fan but as a critical reader of comic books. The Sinestro Corps Special took events harkening back more than 10 years, events that were completely unrelated to the current state of DC Comics, and intertwined them into everything that has happened in the past three years. Since the Rebirth of my all-time favorite Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, Geoff Johns has rejuvenated the emerald ring-slingers and given them a greater purpose, returning them to their glory. Geoff Johns, however, has added another element; he’s taken the yellow weakness of the Green Lanterns one step further and given it a purpose: to instill fear. While The Sinestro Corps Special focused on the Sinestros and the Green Lanterns as a whole, this issue of Green Lantern focuses on its title character, Hal Jordan.
And while The Sinestro Corps Special really raised my expectations for this saga, this issue of Green Lantern only raises the bar even higher. Whether you are a fan of Hal Jordan or not, this issue is near flawless. Anyone who argues Hal Jordan “lacks depth” or “is a one-trick pony” in terms of character is in for a massive wake up call after reading this issue. In the years that I have followed, studied, and even written about Hal Jordan, this is the issue I’ve always dreamed of, the issue that Geoff Johns has been hinting at and building towards since he took command of the Green Lanterns.
With the inevitability of many new readers jumping on board, Johns makes the wise decision to sum up the major points of Hal’s past relating to this saga in the first few pages of the issue. Things pick up where The Sinestro Corps Special left off, the aftermath of the Sinestros attack on the Green Lanterns. The body count is rising as Green Lanterns all over the universe are being wiped out. It’s an eerie scene; the Green Lanterns are recovering as the body count continues to rise. Johns keeps the pace moving quickly and coherently by playing off the secondary storylines that have been established earlier in the series.
While the “Sinestro Corps War” may completely revitalize interest in Green Lantern and push the character completely into the mainstream spotlight, one of the theories behind the “Sinestro Corps War” is that it will serve as a vehicle to return Hal to greatness amongst the Green Lantern Corps. This is certainly an idea played with in this issue as Johns creates an even greater rift between Hal Jordan and the “lost Lanterns.” These are members of the Corps Hal left for dead during “Emerald Twilight” but were found alive in issue #12. This isn’t the only rift that Johns emphasizes in this issue.
In the long and storied history of the Green Lantern Corps there has always been a divide between the Green Lanterns and the Guardians. Here the Green Lanterns turn to them for guidance only to be denied access. It is an interesting concept Johns plays up. He’s done an excellent job establishing the fact that the Guardians are corrupt beings and even after they all have been completely wiped out (except Ganthet), they are still as corrupt as ever. I sense there is a political undertone to the Guardians decision in this issue. I’m still analyzing whether or not the Guardians’ actions is Johns’ way of saying something about the American government. I may be thinking too much into it, but if you put it all in perspective, you might understand my thoughts.
There’s so much to like about this issue. Geoff Johns proves how to build a storyline over two years as there are moments of this issue that relate directly back to the first issues of this volume. The Sinestros have mobile batteries as the Manhunters have been equipped with yellow energy. Superboy-Prime has gone completely mad, but Johns suggests that Sinestro is toying with him. Is Sinestro crazy for playing mind games with Superboy-Prime or is Sinestro really the most powerful being in the universe? Time will tell. There’s also a great moment where the two “free-thinking” Guardians, Ganthet and Sayd, approach Hal Jordan and beg him to take leadership of the Corps. It is an interesting scene considering Hal is the one who nearly destroyed the Corps and he has always been the most rebellious. What the two Guardians don’t realize, or maybe they do, is that they weaken Hal’s willpower. Hal doubts his ability to lead, fearing that he may go renegade once more under the pressure of rebuilding the Corps. Hal has tried to maintain status as just another officer of the Green Lanterns since Rebirth; he seemingly has no interest in being their greatest champion again fearing the possibility of making the same mistake twice.
The real highlight of this issue doesn’t come until the second half of the issue. One of the great debates behind Hal Jordan’s character is “What is his flaw?” Hal has been a host to the embodiment of fear and a host to the embodiment of the wrath of God, so what is left for Hal Jordan to fear? Clearly, he’s back to his old ways, he’s got two women, three if you count Arisia, and he is once again a hot shot pilot. But Johns answers the greatest question of Hal haters and lovers, “What is Hal Jordan’s greatest fear?” Not to sound too pretentious, but I’ve known all along, I consider myself an expert when it comes to Hal Jordan, so I’ve been waiting for Johns to reveal the answer since Rebirth #1 and Secret Files and Origins 2005. The method Johns uses to show readers Hal’s greatest fear is amazing. The scene is captured brilliantly with Hal’s emotions conveyed both in his dialogue and in Ivan Reis artwork. But there is more to Hal’s fear than what Johns presents. Keep in mind Sinestro was Hal’s mentor and best friend, the closest person Hal had to a father since his father died.
Kyle Rayner fans will love the exchange between Hal and Kyle/Parallax at the end of this issue. Geoff Johns plays to both Kyle and Hal fans in an exchange that I’m sure will be talked about for years. Sure, Kyle may be possessed by Parallax, but Johns captures the feelings of Kyle Rayner fans brilliantly.
Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert return to pencil and ink duties respectively. These two complement each other so well that they are possibly my favorite team. Reis’ pencils are amazing, both capturing realism and humanity in a predominantly science fiction title. Albert emphasizes the edge and the calamitous tone behind the “Sinestro Corps War” by keeping the shadows and inks darker at the perfect times. Moose Baumann, as usual, does fantastic work on the colors, especially during the scene revealing Hal’s fear. The yellow overwhelms the green which symbolizes the power of fear. The art alone is worth five silver bullets.
Johns keeps the momentum going strong following The Sinestro Corps Special as he focuses in on Hal Jordan in this issue. When it boils down to it, this saga will pit Hal Jordan against his mentor once more, and this issue provides one of the biggest character development moments for Hal Jordan ever. I love Green Lantern, and I love Hal Jordan, and what Geoff Johns is doing with “The Sinestro Corps War” is absolutely amazing. I can’t wait for Green Lantern Corps #14 when Sinestro confronts the current GL of his homeworld, one of my new favorites Soranik Natu. If you aren’t reading this storyline you really should be. Geoff Johns is writing the handbook on mega-events. Like you had to ask, this is my Pick of the Week.
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