“Fear is the Constant”
Creating an ongoing series whose central character is a villain can be a difficult line to walk; at some point the focus of the series needs to be someone the reader can empathize with or relate to in some fashion which can be a tough balancing act. Fortunately for the Sinestro book Cullen Bunn is at the helm and in this week’s fourth issue Bunn let’s us peek past the title character’s thick outer shell and get a glimpse of the inner demons and insecurities that Sinestro keeps under such tight wraps.
The clever mechanism that Bunn uses are the Paling, a religious faction centered around the purging of emotions. There’s been a bit of build up of the Paling and while they don’t prove to be too great of an adversary in their first major offensive against an organized group of ring wielders, they do demonstrate how they certainly could become a force to be reckoned with in greater numbers. Tomar-Tu and Sinestro bear the brunt of the Paling’s efforts and the reader experiences their revealed emotional vulnerabilities.
|No one expects the Paling Inquisition!
What’s so well thought out with regard to Sinestro is that all of his anxieties revolve around one man, his greatest enemy and his greatest ally, Hal Jordan. Seeing how Sinestro is driven to near-madness at the notion of Hal replacing him in the minds of his people, his daughter and his followers is perfectly on target with what we have always known to be true, but having it out there and exposed for everyone to see in it’s rawest form accomplishes exactly what Bunn needed to do because we can all relate to the fear of being replaceable or forgotten. What makes Sinestro a “bad guy” isn’t always his destination, but the road he chooses to travel to get there. Sinestro is all about the quest for being the “est” – the strongest, the greatest, the baddest – whatever “est” he can claim for himself. That drive to be the “est” is exactly why it eludes him – he simply wants it too much, and for Hal Jordan to be the “est” without wanting to or trying to be eats as what little soul he still has left.
In this respect the arrival of the Paling’s Inquisition so far feels more like a character device rather than a fully developed plot, something that could make this issue a bit of a disappointment for readers who were looking for something more considering the buildup we’ve seen in the preceding issues. What this issue lacks in that regard is compensated for the quality of the character development for the titular character and the title’s supporting cast. The Sinestro Corps haven’t always been what you would consider multi-dimensional but Bunn is adding layers of depth to them which allows us as readers to invest ourselves emotionally in their fates. Four issues in and I’m all in on this series, not that I like all of the characters – but I’m sold on wanted to see what’s going to happen to them for the long haul.
|I don’t think Hal means chatting over a couple of drinks at Warriors, either.
Once again the dynamic between Sinestro and Soranik Natu is a high point of the book and this issue we see Sinestro try to win his daughter over, perhaps driven a little more by the images that plagued him during the Inquisition’s attempt to get him to submit. Soranik still has Sinestro pegged but it would not be hard to see him eventually succeed on some level, that is until his daughter finds out what deeds he’s kept from her as we watch him outright lie to her here. Her interaction with Rigen Kale after the battle was both creepy and humorous, providing one of the few light moments found in this issue.
Dale Eaglesham is missing from this issue, replaced by Rags Morales. I haven’t read whether this is a permanent change or just a pause for Eaglesham, but the issue looks fantastic. While I liked Eaglesham’s almost retro-Silver Age style I haven’t necessarily liked the overly muscular look for Sinestro and Morales nails the slender spindly look that I prefer. While I absolutely love the cover and the textual callback to Green Lantern #20
it was a both a spoiler for the final panel and a misleading image about the issue’s content at the same time. I think it would have served better as a cover for next month’s issue, but that’s just my opinion.
#4 is a great character piece, showing why Sinestro could be the greatest Seafoam Lantern
ever and sets the stage for the reunion many readers have been waiting for since Geoff Johns left the flagship Lantern book. While the Inquisition falls fairly easily at the feet of the Sinestro Corps, I’m sure that we’ll see some repercussions of this battle play out in the months to come. Four out of five lanterns.