“These people really have no idea who you are, do they?”
I love when writers approach their books with an intentional goal in mind and then pay off the reader when their plan comes together. With this week’s Sinestro #16 writer Cullen Bunn makes good on his introduction of The Paling as a major threat to Sinestro’s plans, albeit in a roundabout manner. Sinestro and his Corps return to Earth and while the social call to Kahndaq is on the surface a chance for Sinestro to reconnect with Black Adam the revelation in the final few pages turns The Paling from a minor annoyance to a whole new chapter in Green Lantern mythology.
But before we get to that there is the bromance of sorts between Sinestro and Black Adam that provides much of the issue’s story. Geoff Johns talked of the two characters hitting it off during Forever Evil, but under Bunn’s script there’s more of a delivery on that theme than we’ve seen before. The two are really cut from such similar cloth that it’s not only easy to see them as quick allies but even quicker foes. It’s the knowledge that at any second their interactions could go from cordial to being at each other’s throats that helps to electrify the encounter on Kahndaq.
Also of interest is the reaction of Soranik Natu who finds Black Adam a nearly irresistible force. One can almost see Sinestro offering his daughter’s hand to Adam as a way to cement their alliance if not for the fact that Natu might quite willing run into his arms anyways. It’s a side of Soranik that we haven’t seen explored and adds a dimension to her character and frankly makes her more interesting than the merely the role of being a counterpoint to her father as she has been for some time.
As enjoyable as the dynamic between Sinestro and Black Adam is it’s The Paling which has really brought the Korugarian to Earth and once the plot shifts in that direction this issue becomes all the better. The mystery of the Pale Bishop has been slowly building and the surprising turn of the last page was something I really did not expect. On one hand I’m particularly intrigued by Bunn’s decision and on another I find myself dismayed with the continuing trend of making once noble beings the bad guys. I don’t want to elaborate now so as not to spoil the issue for anyone who hasn’t picked up the issue yet, but it will definitely be something that will make up future commentary.
Brad Walker serves up the first several pages of this issue and his work continues to be consistently strong. I particularly liked the grand entrance as he depicts the arrival of the Sinestro Corps. Walker has said on social media that he fell behind due to personal matters and that this issue, along with the next couple, would be supported with the help of other artists. This month it’s Ethan Van Sciver who provides the bulk of the issue’s art and no one could have chosen a better artist for this book.
Van Sciver owns the Green Lantern franchise when it comes to providing powerful visuals. In my opinion there simply is no better artist when it comes to these characters and his version of Sinestro is by far my favorite. Sinestro was originally based on actor David Niven but under Ethan’s pen he’s equal parts Hitler and Niven, a terrifyingly formidable force who’s imposing physical presence is only eclipsed by the superior intellect hiding behind his cold and calculating alien eyes. I particularly like how Van Sciver brings Sinestro’s eyebrow design to Soranik Natu, giving her a much more exotic alien look.
Sinestro #16 is one of the best issues of the series so far thanks in large part to the world building that Cullen Bunn has brought to the book. The payoff to readers who’ve been on board since the beginning signals that this series is about to go someplace special. Brad Walker’s efforts are as solid as ever but the art takes an upward swing when Ethan Van Sciver’s work takes over. Nine out of ten lanterns.