Sunday 21st December 2014,
Comic Booked

Sinestro #1 Spoiler-Free Review

Cal Cleary 04/16/2014 Reviews

Sinestro #1 Review

Cullen Bunn (w), Dale Eaglesham (a), Jason Wright (c), Dezi Sienty (l)

Books following outright villains tend to be a tough sell on a monthly basis.  Sure, comic fans love a power fantasy, but part of that fantasy is seeming righteousness, and comic villains tend to lack that.  The best villain books – a field led, surely, by Gail Simone’s Secret Six – tend to find a way to explore that lack of righteousness and the influence of power in a way we can understand, relate to, and enjoy.  Geoff Johns spent years trying to get Sinestro to that point, transforming him from a one-note villain into a sort of sympathetic monster.  Now, in the wake of Forever Evil, it’s up to Cullen Bunn, Dale Eaglesham, and Jason Wright to try and take that last step, to turn him into a genuine leading man with Sinestro #1.

As ever, the bulk of the artistic challenge of a Green Lantern family book falls to the colorist, who must fit a wildly exaggerated bordering-on-Las-Vegas-strip color palette into DC’s too-grounded house style of art.  Jason Wright manages as well as he can, genuinely impressing a handful of times with the way he makes the color feel real within the setting, within the book.  His partner here, penciller and inker Dale Eaglesham, does fine work, mostly a mildly less inventive take on his recent stint on Kieron Gillen’s Iron Man.  His work is too grounded to fit with the colorful hyper-alien milieu of the Green Lanterns, however, with heavy inks muddying bright colors.  There was one page where I really saw the two coming together as a genuine team, the page where Sinestro’s ring comes alive for the first time.  The contrast of black and yellow, the grounded, physical figure of Sinestro paired with the reaper-like ethereality of Lyssa; it’s a powerful study in contrast, and if the pair can craft more images like that, Sinestro could become one of DC’s best-looking books.

The bigger issue to content with will be one of character.  While Sinestro, reinvented in Geoff Johns incredibly influential Sinestro Corps War, tends to cut a popular figure, writers have struggled to fill the various candy-colored corps with similarly interesting figures.  It turns out that when everyone in your group is defined by the same basic personality trait, it can be tough to make characters stand out.  Bunn may run into some difficulty here; his Sinestro is defined by bland psuedo-philosophising, and while we have his word that Lyssa is mad, say, she doesn’t really come off much different.  Bunn’s Fearless Defenders worked largely because Bunn has a talent for bouncing outsized personalities off one another.  Without that larger cast in this issue, without that diversity of personality, Bunn struggles to make his characters come alive and hold interest.

While Sinestro #1 is a stronger debut than the recent Aquaman and the Others #1, it’s still only roughly on par with the interesting-but-deeply flawed Batman Eternal #1.  Which is to say, there are good ideas here, despite its problems.  Bunn’s best decision was the give Sinestro a noble goal and set him in opposition to the madness of Lyssa, the unthinking brutality of Arkillo, and the mysterious cruelty of the Pale Vicars.  It makes his struggle relatable without dulling the edge that made him interesting in the first place.  But the issue itself is too slack, too simple, too small.  Bunn, Eaglesham, and Wright have a lot of potential to grow as a team, but Sinestro #1 only sporadically plays to their strengths.  Still, like Batman Eternal, it’s a book that stands a fair chance of overcoming its flaws with a little time, and it should satisfy Green Lantern fans looking for a little edge.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5

 

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