In case longtime DC Comics readers aren’t feeling old yet, we regret to inform you that this year marks the 10-year anniversary of the amazing, mythology-defining modern classic Sinestro Corps War, an event masterminded by Geoff Johns, written by Johns, Dave Gibbons and Peter J. Tomasi, and illustrated by a bevy of superstar artists like Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason and Angel Unzueta. At the time, this event was the culmination of several years’ worth of buildup in John’s Green Lantern run and the biggest thing to happen to the character in a very long time.
The event kickstarted a modern take on the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps and the mythology of their world and became legendary in its own right. It is the event that propelled writer Geoff Johns’ career into super-stardom and in some ways planted the seeds of what made DC Comics what it is to this day. Today, Johns is set to come back to comics to pen the highly anticipated and just as important Doomsday Clock. Which is why, today, CBR travels back 10 years and takes a look at the 15 most shocking moments from the Sinestro Corps War event, Johns’ first modern classic.
15. A HAIL OF DECEASED LANTERNS
Back in the Sinestro Corps War Special #1, the event’s very first chapter, we didn’t yet know exactly what shape or form the war would take. Would it be literal or metaphorical? Would it be as big as advertised? The early portions of the issue didn’t give too much away, but there was a true sense of dread inside the pages from the start.
However, it was only when we got this scene that we understood the real scope of the event, and how devastating it truly was to the Green Lantern Corps. When a veritable hail of deceased Lantern rings flew over Hal Jordan’s head in search of new members, we were implicitly shown, without actually seeing the violence at hand, that the Sinestro Corps were unleashed, and that no Lantern was safe from their reach.
14. RANX VS MOGO
One of the biggest (literally) members of the Green Lantern Corps, Mogo, is a giant sentient planet that the Corps can always rely on. Himself very powerful, he also has the added task of guiding the Lantern rings whenever they are searching for a new host with the ability to overcome great fear. Dependable and seemingly untouchable, we came to fear for Mogo’s safety when Ranx appeared in the sky.
A giant sentient city the size of a small moon that was recruited by the Sinestro Coprs, Ranx took the battle to Mogo in the spaceways. The two fought a devastating battle against one another, Ranx managing to dig deep inside Mogo in order to drop living bombs inside of him, and it would take the combined forces of the Corps and the new Ion, Sodam Yat, to obliterate Ranx to smithereens.
13. PARALLAX POSSESSES KYLE RAYNER
After the disappearance of Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner was introduced as the Earths’ primary and the Corps’ only Green Lantern for a very long time, becoming a fan-favorite character along the way. After Jordan returned, it was revealed that he had been possessed and turned evil by the fear entity known as Parallax. For his war however, Sinestro aimed Parallax at a different Green Lantern.
It was truly horrifying for fans of Kyle Rayner to see him become possessed by the creature that made Hal Jordan’s life a living hell, a creature that, once upon a time, drove him to destroy the entire Green Lantern Corps. The implications of a Parallax-possessed Kyle Rayner were terrifying, and that alone managed to allow even us readers to feel fear, and wonder how and if Kyle could make it out of this alive.
12. SINESTRO’S GUARDIAN: THE ANTI-MONITOR
The Green Lanterns are lead, controlled and guided by the Guardians of the Universe, ancient beings as old as the Universe itself. To level the playing field, Sinestro, as he went along building his very own Corps, saw it fit to have a Guardian of his own. Who else could Sinestro recruit besides the Anti-Monitor, the ultimate villain of the entire DC Multiverse?
As we read Sinestro Corps War Special #1, little by little, we learned more and more of the Sinestro Corps, of its members, its numbers, their methods and their cruelty. But it was only when we reached the final page, where the Anti-Monitor was revealed as part of the Corps, that fear truly took hold of us and left us thinking there was no way the Green Lantern Corps could make it out of this in one piece.
11. HAL JORDAN NEEDS A WEAPON
After his stint being possessed by Parallax and his subsequent destruction of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan had developed quite the relationship with the color yellow, the color of fear, but he also understood it like few ever did. So when the Green Lanterns were ready to break loose from captivity from the Sinestro Corps’ world, when Hal’s ring was all but empty, he needed a new weapon.
Where else to turn but to the yellow? With dozens of forged rings at his disposal, Hal didn’t hesitate one instant to put them all on and charge them up. The situation was that dire, the circumstances and the threat so great. He even smiled as he charged the rings, as he recognized that he was finally able to use his enemies’ weapons against them. Echoing back to his time as Parallax, Hal Jordan fought armed with yellow once more, this time on the side of good.
10. LETHAL FORCE ENABLED
Up until about the half-way point of the Sinestro Corps War event, the Green Lanterns were fighting a losing battle. They were scattered, running, their backs against the wall. The Sinestro Corps got the better of them at every turn as the Lanterns were forced to adhere by the code that bound them, implemented long ago by the Guardians of the Universe. It was a code that prevented them from killing their enemies.
But seeing the gravity of the situation, the Guardians felt something they had sworn off: emotion. Fear, to be exact. And in that moment, they did something unimaginable. They rewrote the book of Oa, adding 10 new laws for the Green Lanterns. And the first of those laws: enabling the use of lethal force. Just like that, the playing field was levelled, and the Lanterns were able to fight back, no holds barred.
9. THE SINESTRO CORPS ATTACKS EARTH
Before the Sinestro Corps War would reach its final act, the Green Lanterns and the Guardians widely believed that their enemies were after Oa, the home planet of the Lanterns at the center of the Universe, and the Central Power Battery that keeps all of the GL rings charged. They were so convinced of that, in fact, that most of their forces had been gathered there. Little did they know, however, that Oa was not the Sinestro Corps’ target.
In fact, their target was not the center of the Universe, but rather the center of the Multiverse: Earth. With only just Hal Jordan and his fellow human Lanterns to defend it, the Earth turned into a veritable warzone in little time as the entirety of Sinestro’s army laid waste to whatever stood in their way. Such an attack was unprecedented and left us all shocked by this turn of events.
8. ARKILLO VS KILOWOG: ROUND TWO
When the Sinestro Corps first attacked, Kilowog, trainer and field leader of the Green Lantern Corps, had engaged in a difficult battle with Arkillo, one of Sinestro’s prime lieutenants and most dangerous soldiers. Kilowog, limited by the laws that held him back, could only do so much to push back his opponent and save his fellow corps members.
But when again they met on Earth, as the war of green and yellow erupted all around them, Kilowog took the fight to Arkillo once more. This time however, Kilowog knew that lethal force had been enabled, and he knew that he could strike a killing blow. Arkillo wanted to fight to the death, but Kilowog stayed his hand. He crushed his opponent. Taking his ring away, he sent him down, but not permanently. Through it all, Kilowog managed to remain a hero, and the fan-favorite Lantern he is.
7. SODAM YAT VS SUPERBOY PRIME
After the events of writer Geoff Johns’ Infinite Crisis, Superboy Prime had become one of the most dangerous, unpredictable, childish and violent super-villains in the DC Universe. Naturally, Superboy was a prime (pun intended) selection for Sinestro’s Corps, and he sat most of the fighting out until the war finally reached Earth.
There, he took the fight to the Green Lantern Corps’ own Sodam Yat, the new Ion — the humanoid host for the living embodiment of willpower. On Earth, the two characters fought for an entire issue’s worth of the event. The battle was absolutely brutal, Superboy never once holding back, Sodam trying to find strength wherever he could. Bones cracked and snapped, blood spilled incessantly and though he would ultimately survive, Sodam was left a complete mess, beaten to a bloodied pulp.
6. THE JLA, JSA AND GLC VS THE SINESTRO CORPS
Once the Sinestro Corps laid siege to the Earth in an attack that was as devastating as it was quick, Earth’s heroes quickly arrived on the scene to try and fight them back. But even the might of the Justice League and the Justice Society of America weren’t enough to take on the large numbers of Sinestro’s army. The Green Lantern Corps finally arrived to join in on the fight for a sequence as visually stunning as it was jaw-dropping.
The scope of the battle was unparalleled and cinematic. To see everyone from Superman to Wonder Woman, Starman, Power Girl and countless Green Lanterns fight side-by-side against the Sinestros and Superboy Prime was as exciting as telling of the gravity of the situation. This event was primarily focused on the Green Lanterns, but such a big battle was only made grander by including the DCU’s biggest heroes.
5. THE EMOTIONAL SPECTRUM REVEALED
Back before the Blackest Night, the Rage of the Red Lanterns and the War of Light, there was just the Yellow and the Green. Two Corps, locked in a war. Fans had caught glimpses and teases at something more out there, but nothing concrete and definitive. So when finally the full-colored Emotional Spectrum was revealed in Green Lantern #25, every reader was left shocked.
The Guardians of the Universe revealed that there wasn’t only the Yellow and the Green, but also the Red, Orange, Blue, Violet and Indigo; all differently colored corps attached to a different emotion, as old as the Universe, hiding under our very noses all this time. It was a revelation that still has ramifications to this day, as the Emotional Spectrum has turned into one of the core elements of the Green Lantern mythology.
4. HAL AND KYLE VS SINESTRO: NO RINGS
When most of the Sinestro Corps members were defeated, there was the Anti-Monitor, Superboy Prime and Sinestro left. Thanks to the intervention of the Sinestro-controlled Manhunters, Kyle and Hal’s ring were depleted of their charge. Therefore, to level the playing field, Hal used a broken Manhunter head against Sinestro, emptying the villain’s yellow ring of its energy.
Now, all three of them were just the same: no rings, no super-powers. Just fists and the strength within. After so many super-powered battles, this fight was a surprising yet welcome turn of events. Sinestro held his own in a brutal fight that saw blood spilled, but finally the two Green Lanterns managed to emerge victorious. Staying true to their selves, they did not kill their enemy, even if the Guardians now allowed lethal force. They instead arrested him, the way real Green Lanterns would.
3. THE GUARDIANS BATTLE THE ANTI-MONITOR
For the longest time, the Guardians were nothing but observers. They created and controlled the Green Lantern Corps, but never once did they interfere directly. Free from their emotions, they thought it best to let their own police force deal with the day-to-day actions of protecting the Universe. However, even they recognized the threat of the Sinestro Corps as something that couldn’t simply be dealt by their Corpsmen.
When the battle reached the Earth, when it was all-out war between Earth’s heroes and the Green Lanterns against the might of the Sinestro Corps, the Guardians themselves finally joined the fray to fight against the Anti-Monitor. Thanks to their involvement, not only did they manage to defeat him, they were also successful in eliminating the threat that was Superboy Prime, after one of the Guardians sacrificed himself for the greater good.
2. GANTHET AND SAYD CREATE THE BLUE LANTERN
Exiled by their fellow Guardians for their willingness to listen and act upon their feelings, Guardians of the Universe Ganthet and Sayd ended the events of the Sinestro Corps War by finding refuge on an unknown luscious planet filled with life and bright colors. Fully aware of the Emotional Spectrum and the prophecy of the “Blackest Night,” both of them sought to help Hal Jordan in his fight to come.
And so it was there that together, Ganthet and Sayd joined their power to create the first Blue Lantern ring; a lantern born of hope. This moment had huge ramifications and implications, as the “Blackest Night” prophecy was only that — a prophecy. But now, seeing the Blue Lantern Corps created, this was our first sign of things to come. But it wouldn’t be the last…
1. THE BLACK LANTERN IS BORN
The final page of the Sinestro Corps War was one that looked to the future. A very grim future, in fact. We knew of the seven colored Corps – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet – and we knew that something called the “Blackest Night” was surely coming, but it was only when we saw the Anti-Monitor’s now defeated specter be taken by an unknown force that we found some answers.
And out of that abduction, we saw the Black Lantern power battery rise, meaning another color; another Corps. And a very ominous one at that. Now we knew what the “Blackest Night” entailed. Now, we finally knew what the Green Lanterns would be up against next. This final page left us all gasping, eagerly anticipating the day that the dead would come to rise.
What was you favorite moment from the Sinestro Corps War? Let us know in the comments!