“This world is defined..and controlled..by fear”
With Sinestro #17 the Pale Bishop is now loose on Earth to advance the mission of the Paling and its radical beliefs of non-emotion. Cullen Bunn has been building towards this moment for some time and these first two chapters create the feeling that this story is going to be an event scale epic confined to the pages of this series. Bunn is upping the stakes for Sinestro and finding just the right way to put him in his best light as Earth’s new protector in a universe without a Green Lantern Corps.
Bunn continues to promote the idea that the Pale Bishop is a Guardian of the Universe, something which I find both fascinating and uninspired at the same time. The mythology of the Green Lantern universe is something I find myself drawn to time and time again and the notion that there is a missing chapter to this fictional history that I’m about to be exposed to really whets my appetite. However we’ve seen Guardians as villains a number of times over the last decade so it feels a little “been there, done that”. I miss the Guardians from days gone by who were altruistic in their goals but so removed from the normal lives of common beings that they could no longer relate on a personal level. If the Pale Bishop is truly a Guardian I’m hoping that Bunn has a new twist on what has become a bit of a tired formula.
This issue is pretty action packed even though from a narrative sense it’s still in the “setup” phase of the overall story. Seeing the Pale Bishop bring Black Adam to his knees and Sinestro providing a unique way to bring aid to him was a highlight of the issue. The idea of a Sinestro Corps Black Adam is a terrifying combination for anyone who’d oppose him, something that the Pale Bishop realizes immediately and leads to a change in tactics.
That Sinestro could set up shop in Earth’s orbit and not gain the attention of any of Earth’s heroes is addressed head on in this issue although I find the response a little lacking. It’s Wonder Woman who arrives on the scene alone without the company of any of the rest of the Justice League that I take some exception to, but to be honest I have always had some difficulty accepting most heroes functioning well outside of Earth’s atmosphere. In Wonder Woman’s case she acts just as if she were on Earth with no apparent concern with the lack of oxygen on Warworld. I’m not sure there should be gravity on the surface of it, either, but I guess this is just one of those cases where you have to suspend you belief a little bit more than normal.
I particularly found that Bunn’s narration from Sinestro perspective to be one of the best aspects of this issue. The observations about how humanity reacts to fear are pretty thought provoking and especially timely given the current events in the world. It also makes clear the ulterior motive that Sinestro has in his desire to protect Earth from the Paling in a symbolic manner. Besides trying to create some credibility for a Corps which doesn’t exactly have a sparkling reputation on a planet with a long history with him there is the notion that Sinestro would clearly be driven to protect a world he views as worshiping fear from anything that would threaten it.
Where this issue suffers is in the art. There are three different artists and three different inkers on this issue. Brad Walker and Drew Hennessy start the issue off strong and carry things well through the first half of the issue. Once it shifts Neil Edwards’ pencil and Trevor Scott on inks thing start going downhill. To be fair their works isn’t bad, but the transition isn’t very smooth and their styles don’t mesh well. But once the Szymon Kudranksi’s pages take over we hit the bottom of the barrel. Arkillo has never looked so poor and Sinestro’s ears looked so ridiculous. There are a host of problems with the final third of this book from a visual standpoint from character design to awkward body positioning to overly heavy inking. It’s a shame because Bunn’s script really deserves better support.
Sinestro #17 continues to make a strong case for this series to be the strongest book in the Lantern family with Cullen Bunn advancing a very strong story which seems to be building towards something special. However this issue is hindered with too many chefs in the artistic kitchen and the book’s visuals take a nosedive when it deserves so much more. Six out of ten lanterns.