Review: Green Lantern: Tales of the Sinestro Corps collected hardcover (DC Comics)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The collection Green Lantern: Tales of the Sinestro Corps War is something of a strange animal, serving at times as both a prelude, a chapter, and an epilogue to The Sinestro Corps War. I'm a bit disappointed in how it turned out to be necessary to read these "background" tales in order to understand the main Sinestro Corps action (how the Statue of Liberty gets broken, for one, and why Superman-Prime is suddenly half-naked mid-way through the second volume, for two); at the same time, the completist in me likes how DC has collected not just the Sinestro Corps backup stories and specials, but also the amazingly detailed Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files.

Aside from the Tales of the Sinestro Corps short stories and the Secret Files, the main thrust of this volume is four Sinestro Corps specials: Parallax, Cyborg-Superman, Superman-Prime, and Ion. The Cyborg-Superman story, written by Alan Burnett, essentially retells the Adventures of Superman #466 origin of the cyborg, Hank Henshaw, with a couple of minor retcons. It's a fun story because of the visual appeal of the Cyborg, and because the reader gets to see him throw down with Superman again, but I felt most of the content could have been blended into the main Sinestro Corps War story.

Probably the best part of the Tales of the Sinestro Corps War collection is the Superman-Prime special written by Geoff Johns. Like Black Adam, "Prime" is a character who's voice Johns has spot-on, and it's a sick thrill whenever Prime is on the scene. Johns dives right into the conflicts Prime left behind at the end of Infinite Crisis, pitting Prime against another mob of DC heroes, including the Flashes who previously imprisoned him, Red Star (whose family Prime killed), and Risk (where Prime, gleefully, rips off Risk's other arm).

All the while, and into Prime's battle with Krypto and then Superman, Johns keeps up Prime's whiny, woe-is-me-tone, just on this side of parodying today's fanboys, and the story is twisted goodness. The art by Pete Woods, echoing his great crowd scenes in Amazons Attack, make this special feel all the more epic.

The Parallax and Ion specials are both written by Ron Marz, are essentially Kyle Rayner stories, continuations in many ways of the recent Ion miniseries. As in Ion, Marz writes a particularly morose Kyle Rayner, but it's also a Kyle that feels entirely natural, given all that he's been through. That Kyle is asked to train the new Ion, Sodam Yat, further cements Kyle's growth in the Green Lantern Corps, and I especially like the emphasis that Marz and Geoff Johns are placing on the four Earth Lanterns now being a "band of brothers," with Kyle back in the fold. There's not much in this special that isn't covered by the final issue of Green Lantern Corps in the second Sinestro Corps War volume, but I'll still take all the Marz-writing-Kyle I can get.

Finally, the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files offers pages upon pages of tiny biographies of hundreds of Lanterns. Literally, the longest part of my read was this Secret Files. The detail here is nothing short of unbelievable, a combination of already-established stories and backgrounds on dozens of new characters. There was so much here I found myself skimming at parts, and I couldn't help but wonder if much of this was background for background's sake, or if Geoff Johns has plans for every one of the story tidbits he sprinkled through this section. If you're a Green Lantern history buff, you won't be disappointed with this.

[Contains full covers.]

So that's that for The Sinestro Corps War -- in retrospect, it's been quite a ride. I'll be interested to go back and read it again in a few months, possibly interspersing the Sinestro Corps tales where I now understand they go. Anyway, on now I think to some Hawkgirl, and we'll see what's next from there.
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1 comment:

  1. I stand by my earlier statement that it's not necessary at all to read Tales to understand the main Sinestro Corps War storyline. It's not like readers would be wracking their brains trying to figure out how Prime's costume got ripped. (He was in battle, after all, it's not hard to figure out.) Same with the Statue of Liberty; there was a big-ass battle, so there's bound to be collateral damage. I just filled in the blanks myself, then moved on with the story.

    That said, it does sound like a fun book. I'll pick up the softcover next year.

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