If you haven't read Part One, here it is: Sinestro Corps War Revisited Part One
When we last left our intrepid green brigade, Kyle Rayner (possessed by Parallax) was hovering outside the balcony of Hal Jordan's brother's house while we discover that the Sinestro Corps isn't after Oa (the center of the Universe), they are after Earth (the center of the Multiverse). But given the way this story has been set-up, alternating between issues of GL & GLC, Vol. 2 picks up with the Green Lantern Corps as they fight to save Mogo from the SC & their own living planet Ranx. This chapter is a great example of how the Corps functions as a unit, as evidenced by Lantern Green Man using the knowledge from his home planet as a means for Mogo to protect himself. This part also bring up the prophecy surrounding Lantern Yat and shows the reader how the Corps reacts to the new law of the Book of Oa that enables lethal force to be used. Suffice to say the level of violence, already quite high given the ruthless nature of the SC, is jacked up even further. Still, it's not something that sits well with every member of the GLC but before the impact of this change can really sink in, the Corps is caught up to speed on the events of the the previous chapter as they learn of the assault on Earth.
Finally, after several chapters of just hanging out on the moon biding his time, Superboy-Prime joins the fray as the SC encroaches on Earth. This image is very reminiscent of one I put in my Blackest Night blog (although that would probably be vice versa if I was doing this in chronological order), and I think that's completely intentional.
This next chapter is the turning point in so many ways for the Earth GL's, but it also lays out fairly clearly what Sinestro's desires are when it comes to Earth. He wants to "create a symbol of terror that will was over the universe. I want the universe controlled with order. And I want all to realize that control comes not out of love, compassion, or hope, but out of fear." Suffice to say that the real world overtones of this saga are hard to miss, especially given the time frame in which this story was originally written. What's the threat level associated with yellow again? (Threat Level yellow = a significant risk of terrorist attacks, thanks wikipedia)
Anywho, this is the moment of truth for Kyle Rayner when, as Parallax, he faces off against a powerless Hal Jordan while Guy Gardner chases down the painting Kyle mentioned in the first part of SCW. Upon absorbing Hal, we get to see Parallax in the yellow & black of the Sinestro Corps for the first time, and it's a damn imposing figure...
This issue also marks the merging of the GLC story line & the GL story line as the Corps finally makes it to Earth, saving Guy in dramatic fashion from a SC attack as he quests for the painting. It's also the issue, given that we're on Earth, in which the other heroes join the fray. Remember Hal's words after the fight with Zoom that started this whole shebang? Well looks like he was as wrong as it gets...
What proceeds is an internal battle as Kyle & Hal fight to free Kyle of Parallax's influence. Now this is where I feel like I should bring up the Tales Of The Sinestro Corps books and whether or not they were essential to the core story. With Blackest Night there was A LOT of tie-in material, most of which was non-essential, but the 6 mini's had some story beats that were necessary to get the full picture. The SC Tales, of which there were only 3, are a mix...the reason I bring it up here is because the Parallax one focuses on Kyle's struggle prior to this AND gives some context for just why this painting is such a big deal in Kyle's life. None of this material is printed in the collected SCW, rather given its own collection and I'm only intending to mention it when there's something "missing" from the story proper.
Back to our regularly scheduled program: Kyle & Hal fight their way free of Parallax, Ganthet & Sayd store its essence within the lantern batteries of Kyle, Hal, Guy, & John Stewart, and Kyle...who is no longer the host for Ion...is given a proper GL ring. The panels of the four Earth GL's reciting the oath over images of the SC's domination (in particular the Statue of Liberty replaced by Sinestro) are quite powerful.
Jump to the GLC as they head to Earth, but first the Guardians make it known they intend to reassign the Ion power, albeit earlier than they intended. Arkillo and Killowog get their rematch, and in quite a brutal moment, the GLC's drill instructor takes Arkillo's finger and his ring along with it! Now I'm going to have to take a look at his post-SCW appearances to see if this missing digit is actually still missing. Dude loses his tongue and a finger....sucks to be him.
The Anti-Monitor makes his way to Earth, and starts blasting away, hitting Sodam Yat and there's this odd moment in which Sodam seems like a robot as his eyes glow red and he comes back to life. It's just wierd, but it does lead to the Guardians infusing Yat with the Ion entity...
...which is followed up by SuperboyPrime's Tales of the SC issue that isn't discussed or mentioned, so it seems totally random that he is now without the armor. It also makes you wonder what the hell happened to him in between panels. Oh yeah, and unfortunately the art for this chapter just sucks....sucks in the next part too.
The next part is mix of flashback and fight as we learn about Sodam Yat's origins on Daxam while he's busy getting pulped by Prime in one of the bloodiest, no make that the bloodiest fight, of the entire SCW. The last couple panels of the fight just throw ichor all over the place and, I would surmise because he's potentially too powerful, Ion gets a weakness in the form of lead poisoning (something else I have to check on to verify that it's maintained post-SCW). So we end this chapter with the uber-powerful Prime holding the lifeless body of Yat as Guy & John take aim.
So we begin the final chapter of the SCW with a real look at the war with these two images...
From the looks of it, this war has brought every GL and damn near every hero on Earth to the fight. But before the Earth GL's, fresh off the Parallax fight, rejoin the larger battle they are filled in on the Prophecy of the Blackest Night by Ganthet & Sayd. It's as close to full disclosure as the Guardians, even Ganthet, are likely to get as they elaborate on the different Corps that will pop-up between SCW & BN. We even get this nifty image of the War of Light that is foretold in the Book of Oa.
So with all that in mind, Hal attempts to save his family by having them evacuate Coast City but they, along with the rest of the residents of town, illuminate green lights in the window as a show of support. We also see the the Anti-Monitor at work as he attempts to make a meal out of the positive matter energy of Earth. Then all hell really breaks loose! The Lost Lanterns come to the aid of Hal Jordan as he battles Sinestro in space, the Guardians (in a call back to the original Crisis) battle the Anti-Monitor, Guy Gardner gets sick from Despotellis, Amon Sur turns tail and runs when he realizes the GLC can kill, and Hal & Kyle realize that truth about Sinestro.
All he has wanted was to force the GLC to change, and with the institution of the Lethal Force Law, Sinestro sees that he has already won. Sinestro speaks of his loyalty to the idea of the GLC, and in some ways all he has done has been in attempt to push change upon the Corps; changes that could truly allow the GLC to police the universe, or in Sinestro's words "The Universe will fear Green Lanterns, and the Universe will be better for it."
Back on Earth a moment that will change the future of the GLC, indeed the entire DCU, goes down as the Anti-Monitor burns one of the Guardians with his touch. That Guardian would eventually become known as Scar, and serve as a mole within the Guardians, working for Nekron, and steering events towards The Blackest Night. It's just one more example of how intricately Geoff Johns has laid out his GL opus...
An increasingly sick Guy & John Stewart use the Yellow Lantern Battery as a bomb to stop the Anti-Monitor, trapping the Cyborg Superman within, and seemingly granting his death wish which Henshaw meets with a "thank you" to the GLs. Hal & Kyle both end up with 0% power in their rings, they turn Sinestro's toys against him to drain his power ring, and the fight goes hand-to-hand. Superboy-Prime single-handedly ends the threat of the Anti-Monitor by flinging his shell into space. Natu heals Guy using the GLC's own sentient virus, Hal beats Sinestro, a Guardian sacrifices his life to seemingly stop Prime, and the fight finally comes to a close.
The wrap-up sees Coast City's population boom, we discover Prime has been transported into the Multi-Verse, the Guardians mention initiating the 2nd new Law into the Book of Oa, Sayd & Ganthet officially spawn the Blue Ring of Hope, Cyborg Supes is unwillingly resurrected by his Manhunters, the remains of the Anti-Monitor crash land on a dark planet, and the last thing we see on the final page of the SCW....
The Blackest Night is upon us...
So upon finishing the SCW my first thought is....damn that was intense! Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, and Peter Tomasi threw everything they had at the reader and it made for a truly emotional, impactful, gut wrenching story that not only was excellent on it's own, but it also serves as a guide stone for the future of the GL-Verse. Just within this story you have:
- The Prophecy of the Blackest Night/War of the Light
- The Other Corps Explained
- Origin of Scar
- Anti-Monitor Set-Up In the Black Lantern Battery
- Guy Joking About Wearing Other Rings
- The 10 New Laws In The Book Of Oa (only 6 have been revealed to date)
- Earth = Center Of Multi-Verse
- Superboy Prime in Multi-Verse (Plays Out In Final Crisis & Blackest Night)
There are certainly more set-up points as well, but those are just the ones that were on the tip of my proverbial tongue. In the same fashion that this set-up "Blackest Night" and BN led into "War of the Green Lanterns", "Sinestro Corps War" was the result of two years of build that all started in "GL: Rebirth". Johns has proven quite masterful at sowing the seeds of his future storylines within events while simultaneously paying off the build-up, and this is a skill not easy to come by. All too frequently an event comic can feel as if it was nothing more than a bridge to the next event, and not provide a payoff of its own. For me that was not the case with BN, nor was it the case with SCW.
In the initial reading, I felt like this paid off all the build and it made me excited for the future of the GL-verse. Reading it back now, after having seen how all the set-up paid off, I find it even more amazing how much was really in the meat of this story. And that's just within the realm of the comic book, not saying anything of the real world implications of this story.
The character of Sinestro invokes the images of dictators from across the years, I believe Guy even calls him "Adolf" at one point, and his mission to rule by fear is one that strikes close to home in a world where we have seen our lives changed because of fear. Fear of terror attacks has caused the general population here in the United States to WILLING give up their rights under the guise of homeland security. This consistent state fear of is perpetuated by the terror alert color schematics, by "enhanced" airport security, by constant rumors of terrorist attacks, and by having a boogieman lurking out in the desert for nearly a decade. It's nothing new, the idea of government using fear tactics to their advantage...the red scare of communism, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and that's just me using the US government as an example.
The world that Sinestro wishes to create is one in which rule of fear is taking to its ultimate extreme, but it is one that is plausible. The opposite argument, in the form of the GLC and as evidenced by Coast City's rally, is that it is through our own willpower that we can fight this sort of fear-based tyranny, and that it can really only be done if we stand together.
I find it a rare thing in comics that you get a story that speaks to you on a real level, and makes you think about things that actually happen in the "real world". This was one of those stories, and in the same way Marvel's "Civil War" broached some serious issues, so did "Sinestro Corps War". Just because it's a comic book, doesn't mean it can't...or rather won't...force you to ask questions.
Got everything from Geoff John's GL run covering "Sinestro Corps War" thru "Brightest Day" on my EBay Store: My Ebay Store