In Review: Sinestro #9

A good read and excellent starting point for new readers.

The covers: Two wildly different covers this month for the leader of the yellow lanterns. The Main cover is by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson. With futuristic skyscrapers behind them (probably Warworld), Sinestro, Arkillo, and an insect-like lantern are attacking Mongul. It’s hard to focus on what’s going on in the picture. The coloring choices, outside of Sinestro’s ring, are really pale, and they bleed into each other. Because of this, it’s very difficult to get a definition on figures’ shapes and sizes. I didn’t notice the roach-like lantern in the lower center for a few minutes, instead taking it to be a blob of something undefinable. This looks more like a realized convention sketch, more so than a completed, thought out cover. The Flash 75 Variant has all the leads from all the Lantern books standing behind Sinestro who’s catching the speed wake of the Flash’s passing. It’s bright, everyone looks good, but there’s not much Flash in this Flash honoring cover. That’s not a good thing. This image was created by Ethan Van Sciver and Alex Sinclair. Overall grades: Main C+ and Flash 75 Variant B  

The story: This issue starts slowly and then picks up when a new location appears. Cullen Bunn’s “Limits of War” has three introductory pages of a larger arc before turning to the title character and his crew. The fall of a civilization is shown because of a group’s arrival. Another group is upset at this and looks to stop them, as they say, “We must arm ourselves.” The story then zips to a distant world where Sinestro, Arkillo, Lyssa, Dez, and Soranik are searching for the source of a Korugarian distress signal begging for Sinestro’s assistance. Their leader seems distant, as he is surprisingly apart and silent from the group. Lyssa reveals that Bekka of the New Gods (from the Godhead storyline) has “piqued Sinestro’s interest.” He gave her a yellow ring and he wonders if she’ll accept it. His fawning over this woman comes to an end when something very interesting is discovered that splits off two characters to Warworld where a confrontation with Mongul occurs. I know the focus of the book is on Sinestro, but I really enjoy when the members of his Sinestro Corps are together. It’s only for a few pages, but Bunn makes them very entertaining as spats seem always on the verge of all out in-fighting, and that’s exactly how they should be written. When Mongol makes the scene, he’s out for payback, remembering what Sinestro did to him in the past. It’s a zippy story that ends with a cool cliffhanger that introduces six characters. Very enjoyable. Overall grade: A

The art: The first three pages of the book feature the introduction of an upcoming confrontation and they made me wonder what was going on with Brad Walker’s pencils and/or Andrew Hennessy’s inks. Alien civilizations, especially new ones are a constant challenge for artists and the first two pages just did not work for me. It may have been because there really isn’t a clear image of these aliens, as they’re in the distance or shown only from the waist up, and I was unclear what they truly looked like. The villains that bring collapse to their world are more human looking, so they looked okay. The third page is a tricky situation, as this new group is show in silhouette or has only eyes shown. They’re supposed to be mysterious, but came off as just a dark blob since they were too darkly colored. Things vastly improved on the fourth page and the art was strong as the issue went on. Granted, the characters were familiar, but Walker and Hennessy do a great job with the Sinestro Corps. I love their Sinestro, who oozes evil as he’s pondering his situation or makes a decision, such as on Page 7. And their Dez is a spectacular back-biter of a monster–he’s great. I was sorry to have the story focus later on just two members, but the artwork on 13 is so epic, I forgot about what had happened in the past and was glued to the obstacles of the future. Mongol is also great as a mighty moose of a character who’s presence almost–almost–overshadows Sinestro. I started this book concerned, but left it feeling so pleased. Overall grade: A-

The colors: As with the art, the first three pages of this book had me very concerned. The colors are so over the top that the images were lost. The first page suffers from too much red in the second and third panels, while the fourth panel is just too, too dark. Things improve on the second page, but the third page is a waste in the dark. I was waiting for a character to bump into a console, it’s so black on that bridge. However, redemption occurs on Page 4 and I was pleased with what Jason Wright did. Characters are easily seen, the tone work on flesh is impressive (with Sinestro being the stand out), and that battle scene on 13 is spectacular. The sounds are also impressively colored. There’s so much action being put into every panel, sounds would eclipse the art if they were rendered in solids, so Wright smartly makes the sounds transparent. Slick work. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Scene setting, narration and dialogue, Arkillo speak, whispers, sounds, yells, and closing title and credits are placed by Dave Sharpe. The sound effects are really fantastic, and my comments echo those made in the Colors commentary: there’s not much room for dialogue, let alone sounds, yet Sharpe knows where to place things and how big to make the noises without losing any of the visuals. He’s tops. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A good read and excellent starting point for new readers. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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