Review: Sinestro Vol. 2: Sacrifice trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, February 01, 2016

On one hand, I like much of the character work that Cullen Bunn does in Sinestro Vol. 2: Sacrifice. On the other hand, I found aspects of the plot mundane, not wholly different than my reaction to Bunn's Lobo, and that would make me slow to pick up the next volume. This book uses the aftermath of the Green Lantern "Godhead" crossover better, surprisingly, than most of the other titles in the franchise, but the story is so slow and padded that to some extent I feel disrespected as a reader.

[Review contains spoilers]

Sinestro Vol. 2: Sacrifice does not stand on its own very well in its "Godhead" aspects, with significant jumps between its three issues. It does, however, link pretty well with Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Reckoning, and together those two books could be read somewhat on their own (if not perfectly). What Sacrifice does have going for it is that each "Godhead" issue deals with the New God Bekka and Sinestro's interest in her. The second issue is very strong, both with their cat-and-mouse sparring, almost flirting, and art by Green Lantern stalwart Ethan Van Sciver.

That Sinestro is so drawn to Bekka, against his corps's better judgment, and similarly Bekka is drawn to the yellow ring, makes for interesting reading. Bekka's an interesting character in and of herself, once married to Orion and also having had a dalliance with Batman; that she might defect from the New Gods for the Sinestro Corps is no small thing. Bunn doesn't do well enough (or hasn't gotten there yet) showing us why Sinestro should risk his own interests in thrall of Bekka (and it's a shame the New Gods: Godhead issue where they meet isn't included here), but the fact that he's willing to is the book's most gripping aspect.

The third "Godhead" issue sees Sinestro go up against Highfather himself, also not insignificant; further it's the first Green Lantern crossover where Sinestro has his own series, and the large role, almost heroic, that Sinestro plays is great. In the connection to Green Lantern Corps is a lot of pairing of Sinestro and John Stewart, which we don't see that often. Stewart approaches Sinestro more rationally, less emotionally, and the characters interact in "Godhead" on an intriguing equal footing.

The three issues that follow see Sinestro captured by Mongul, alien despot and one-time leader of the Sinestro Corps (in some continuity), with Bekka among others coming to the rescue. There's plenty potential here -- I like Mongul, I like Bekka -- and especially with the Corps ending up in control of Warworld. But Bunn decompresses what could likely be a two-issue story with a whole bunch of fight scenes -- Sinestro fights Warworld's defenses, Sinestro fights Mongul, the Sinestro Corps fight Mongul, and so on -- such to make it a very long road just to establish the Corps's second new base in two volumes. Also the "Apex League" that Bunn introduces to fight the Corps seem like a cookie-cutter team -- the robot guy, the big brute, etc. -- and they're reminiscent of some of the one-note characters Bunn introduced in the first volume of Lobo.

Included here also is the Sinestro Annual #1, in which Bunn profiles the team, and which also includes some rousing good art by Daniel Warren Johnson, Victor Ibanez, and Andy Kuhn in a variety of styles. Bekka's story is well told, as is that of how Rigen Kale got shards of yellow ring embedded in his skin, and the Lyssa Drak story is downright terrifying (more predictable, however, are those of Arkillo and Dev Trevius). But almost a dozen issues into this series, Bunn is telling us the characters' origins basically just by telling us, rather than to work it in any manner into the story itself. We know who these characters are now, but it matters not at all to the story and so their origins don't really matter (compare to Van Jensen on Corps, who introduced new Lanterns and focused specific storylines on each of them).

With the strength and variety of artists here (Van Sciver among others, and also Dale Eaglesham and Brad Walker), clearly DC Comics seems to be putting some muscle behind Sinestro and Sinestro Vol. 2: Sacrifice. Cullen Bunn certainly demonstrates Sinestro's qualifications as the leading man in his own title, if nothing else. But much of this is boilerplate comics, not anything to get my blood pumping, and while a Sinestro series full of intrigue would most likely be perfect for me, this unfortunately isn't it.

[Includes original and variant covers]
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3 comments:

  1. That's a little disappointing. When Bunn was starting these DC series everyone loved him, and it seems that now everyone is hating on him in one way or another. I'm still interested in picking up Sinestro since I'm a hardcore GL fan, but I guess it's now dropping on my priority list.

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    1. As you saw, I think Bunn's Sinestro, the character himself, is good. And I'd grant that Sinesto's perhaps a hard character to build a whole series around. But I felt Bunn went very traditional here, both in terms of a standard Green Lantern series and in terms of superhero comics as a whole, and I can't stick with that in the same landscape as, say, Saga.

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  2. I honestly think Bunn is overworked. He has several Marvel titles as well along with the new Voltron series and probably a few others that I'm not recalling.

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