Absolute Sinestro Corps War Review

Back in 2007 Green Lantern fans really had a lot to celebrate when, three years after Green Lantern:Rebirth, DC Comics unleashed the Sinestro Corps War on comic book readers.  Many fans arguably call this storyline the greatest achievement on the Geoff Johns era of Green Lantern and with good reason.  With little fanfare a story with the epic scale of a company wide crossover ran as a regular story in the pages of both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps that didn’t require readers to purchase a lot of extra content.  The story has had repercussions that affect the Green Lantern universe today and it redefined the entire mythology.

The Absolute Edition in its slipcase

While Rebirth revealed the existence of Parallax, this story pitted the newly revived Green Lantern Corps against not only Sinestro’s new army and Parallax, but the Anti-Monitor, Cyborg Superman, Superboy Prime, the Manhunters and the Children of the White Lobe too.  And what really set the story apart from the standard fare is that while the Green Lanterns overcome astronomical odds to defeat their enemies the lengths they are forced to go to are really the ultimate goal that Sinestro had all along.  Let’s not also forget that this story revealed for the first time Johns’ notion of the emotional spectrum, setting the stage for pretty much everything we’ve read from Blackest Night to the current Rise of the Third Army events.

The Sinestro Corps War has been collected before in two hardcover volumes as well as trade paperback, but recently it was given the Absolute treatment in an over-sized slip-cased deluxe edition which collects Green Lantern #21-25, Green Lantern Corps #14-19 and the Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War Special #1 plus the Secret Files and Origins issue.  While the book retails for around a hundred dollars, you can find it online for forty percent off at Instock Trades and for about thirty four percent off at Amazon.  If you don’t already own a book in the Absolute format it’s DC’s most deluxe edition reserved for those definitive storylines that come in an oversized book that allows the art to really stand out and usually features some supplemental material that goes behind the scenes of the creation of the story.
The story of Sinestro Corps War pits Sinestro finally finding the way to manipulate the Guardians into shaping the Green Lantern Corps in the direction he wanted all along.  He does this by creating his own army and elevating the stakes to such a level that the Guardians have no choice but to change some of the rules that Sinestro feels has prevented the Green Lanterns from reaching their true potential.  The odds are stacked in Sinestro’s favor and in the end in his defeat he succeeds.  Along the way we see the seeds planted for the formation of the Blue Lanterns and the foreshadowing of Blackest Night which at the time had everyone talking in anticipation of the next big thing.
This story really has it all and in my mind it is required reading for any Green Lantern fan.  Hundreds of characters died including fan favorite Lanterns like Ke’Han and Jack T. Chance which dramatically upped the ante as the story unfolded and readers feel like Johns along with Peter Tomasi and Dave Gibbons were willing to put anyone and everyone on the chopping block.  
The War of Light starts here

In terms of extras there are some nice bonus items in the back of the book including sketches, preliminary artwork and a collection of images of some of the merchandising and variant covers.  But what is more interesting is reading Geoff Johns’ original proposal for the event and seeing how much forethought has gone into some of the elements that now makeup the Green Lantern mythology.  

But the gem of the bonus material has to be the feature where the creative team talks about the evolution of the story and some of the changes that were made along the way.  It’s really interesting to read about some of the creative decisions that were made as the team worked on the story, like the original idea of Parallax possessing not only Kyle Rayner, but John Stewart and Guy Gardner as well.  The writers explain why they chose to kill off certain characters, why this was the time to bring Sodam Yat’s importance to the forefront, and how Arkillo was designed to be the anti-Kilowog.  While this isn’t really new material and can be found in the hardcover edition that has already been released I’m glad to see it included here.

The inclusion of big guns like the Anti-Monitor elevated Sinestro Corps War from a story to an event.

The teaser that started Blackest Night mania

Perhaps the only criticisms I could make of this collected edition is that the slip case was a bit too tight and I have a hard time getting the book in and out of it.  It’s a snug fit to be sure and I’m not sure if it’s just my copy of the book or something that everyone can expect to wrestle with.  The other thing is that the one shots that were released along with the original story are not included here.  Missing are the Tales of the Sinestro Corps issues that featured Superboy Prime, Parallax, Ion, Cyborg Superman.  While most of these aren’t required reading they do a lot to provide background information on the characters and what motivates them to align themselves with Sinestro.  The Superboy Prime book in particular is a notable absence since it really was a part of the story.  I realize the book as it is weighs just under six pounds but it somehow feels incomplete.

Like all Absolute Editions what really shines with the format is how it provides a showcase for all the great art work, giving it a dramatically larger canvas and creating a feast for the eyes.  Ethan Van Sciver returns with an new eye-popping piece of artwork that has been turned into the dust jacket for this volume and included in the art gallery in the back of the book.  The massive 368 page goliath of a book is THE way to read this seminal piece of Green Lantern mythology and will fit very nicely on a bookcase between the already released Rebirth Absolute Edition and the upcoming Blackest Night Absolute Edition being released in June of 2013.  It is certainly well worth the extra money despite missing some of the content, but those missing issues costs the book a lantern in my rating scale, giving it four out of five lanterns.

About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I'm a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

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