I am fully aware that “The New 52” era of DC Comics isn’t always meant with the most praise. It has divided fans on numerous elements. Doing away with characters like Wally West or The Justice Society of America. However, it has been praised for the bold, new directions it took its’ character in. Introducing and sustaining new villains like The Court of Owls, a new team like Justice League Dark & more. Perhaps, one of the most memorable portions of this era was Geoff Johns’ final letter to the Green Lantern Corps. In the totality of his career, Johns completely redefined what we thought we knew about Green Lantern and his mythology. Serving as a writer and creator for nearly a decade. Johns introduced us to the various lantern corps that we know today.
With his first arc into the NEW 52, Johns did something truly bold – gave Sinestro back his Green Lantern ring. If you are unfamiliar with the character of Sinestro or his history with the mythology – please allow me to educate for a moment. Sinestro made his debut in Green Lantern’s second volume and particularly in issue number seven. This specific issue of the title dropped in August of 1961. He was created by John Broome & Gil Kane. Sinestro was first established as a fellow Green Lantern corps member until he was dishonorably let go from the space police force for abuse of power. In the Green Lantern mythology, the color yellow actually causes the Green Lantern to break their wills because of fear. Sinestro went on to become an enemy of the corps, specifically Hal Jordan, and discovered his own corps – The Sinestro Corps, a corps specifically running on fear.
This section of Green Lantern mythology we are discussing today is going to issue one through five for the NEW 52 era. This particular arc appropriately entitled “Sinestro” tells the story of the guardians giving Sinestro back his power ring to become a Green Lantern once more. For context, you should also be made aware that Hal Jordan has been stripped of his ranking as a member. Sinestro enlists Jordan to join him in saving his homeworld from his own corps who is, in fact, enslaving his species. Long story short, Sinestro gives Hal a pseudo power ring via his own to make this happen.
The NEW 52 was a company-wide relaunch of all their titles. It was created specifically to draw in new readers who may have never given comics a chance before. Sinestro doesn’t really do a good job at doing just that. It really isn’t explained as to why Hal doesn’t have a power ring until a few issues in. The thing about doing number ones are that you know can jump on without prior knowledge. The audience is just expected to know these prior happenings. That, honestly, kind of took away a bit of the experience for me. I felt a bit lost in a few places because there is no prior knowledge given to new readers.
That aside though, Johns does a fantastic job at crafting a world of wonder here. The thing that I’ve always admired about Johns, specifically as a comic writer, is the fact that he always establishes subplots to pay off later down the line. He, of course, does that here. This allows the world to breathe in a way that keeps the audience coming back but also making the world of Hal & friends feel more complete. There are aspects of the storytelling, overall though, that makes it feel more complicated than it needs to be.
The art of Doug Mahnke truly brings the world of the Green Lantern’s alive. Giving us a truly colorful and beautiful world to explore. Even in the midst of this war between the corps, Mahnke manages to create a world of awe. Cosmic titles are always the hardest to make glow and pop but Mahnke and his team do a marvelous job at illuminating this world and their mythology.
Overall, Green Lantern (Vol. One): Sinestro, is a space of missed opportunities and beauty. Geoff Johns on writing duty – the world feels both full and unnecessarily over complex. I respect the man for what he is trying to do but this arc could turn off new readers or make them feel lost. For the first arc, it is a bit busy. The art by Dough Mahnke, however, is a wonder of beauty and magic. The cosmic nature of Mahnke’s art allows the comic to light up in a fantastic way.
FINAL SCORE: 3 / 5
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