DC FLASHBACK: Sinestro Instills Great Fear

Superman has Lex Luthor. Batman has the Joker. Hal Jordan of the Green Lantern Corps has Sinestro -- but not just Hal Jordan; the entire Green Lantern Corps fears the renegade Green Lantern and his yellow power ring. This June, Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver will bring us DC Comics' "Sinestro Corps Special," featuring this unique villain and his answer to the Green Lantern Corps that he betrayed and has ultimately vowed to destroy.

There is no superhero that is closer to my heart than the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. I have a green power ring autographed by Green Lantern creator Mart Nodell on my desk. Next to the ring is a statue of Hal Jordan, but next to that is a statue of Sinestro. When Geoff Johns brought back Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern "Rebirth" storyline (October 2004), I was excited to see what he would do with the villains of the series. Johns did not disappoint, bringing back Hal's ultimate enemy, Sinestro, and heralding not just a rebirth for the hero, but for the villain as well.

From birth to death to rebirth has been a long journey for the Judas of the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro makes his first appearance in "Green Lantern" Vol.2 #7. Sinestro's homeworld is the planet Korugar. He is selected as Green Lantern of space sector 1417 by the Guardians of the Universe. Growing bored with his responsibilities, Sinestro uses his power ring to create a "sumptuous headquarters" where he dispenses "justice" from a throne to the supplicants that appear before him. When a Korugarian citizen calls Sinestro "power mad," the Green Lantern kills the man and makes himself a dictator. After some time, the Guardians look in on Sinestro and, seeing that he has become corrupt, recall him to Oa, the Guardians' homeworld. There, the Guardians strip Sinestro of his ring and insignia, and banish him to the anti-matter universe of Qward. All of this information is relayed to Hal Jordan immediately prior to his first encounter with the rogue GL. Hal manages to arrange for himself to be captured by Sinestro and his Qwardian allies. While Sinestro is defeated, nothing really can be done to the villain as he remains banished to the anti-matter universe, as decreed by the Guardians.

While the first appearance of Sinestro is otherwise unremarkable, his next appearance, in "Green Lantern" Vol.2 #9, marks him as a unique character and a worthy rival of the Green Lantern. In this issue, Sinestro (who was left trapped in a bubble of green energy from Hal Jordan's power ring) produces a yellow ring from his pocket and "charges it" by siphoning off the power of the green energy. With his yellow power ring now charged, Sinestro travels back to the matter universe and impersonates Hal Jordan. He then joins a larger group of Green Lanterns and siphons off the power from their respective rings. Hal defeats the villain, despite the "necessary" vulnerability of the power ring to the color yellow. The rogue Green Lantern would return several times over the years to bedevil Hal Jordan, but never for very long and not to the great effect one would expect for a true nemesis.

In 1985, DC Comics launched "Crisis on Infinite Earths." The intent of the title was to correct countless continuity issues, to consolidate the DC Universe into a single timeline and to bring the relevance of their characters up to date. The main villain of the piece was the Anti-Monitor, a creature of immense power from the anti-matter universe. During the Crisis, the Anti-Monitor absorbs the anti-matter universe and journeys back in time to the moment of creation. A group of villains are gathered and sent back in time to prevent the Anti-Monitor from causing a further fracture in the nature of the multiverse. Sinestro appears prominently among the villains. In the end, the multiverse is recreated into a single universe with a single, rewritten history.

In this post-crisis universe, Korugar was visited by Green Lantern Jewelius Blak. She was to choose someone from the Korugarians to train as a member of the Corps ("Green Lantern" Vol.2 #222). Sinestro was chosen and modeled himself after Jewelius, becoming her apprentice. Eventually, Sinestro was contacted by the Guardians of the Universe and recruited as the Green Lantern of Space Sector 1417. Sinestro worked alongside such Green Lanterns as Salakk, Tomar-Re, Kilowog and Eddore of Tront. Sinestro's hunger for knowledge led him to visit Oa frequently, studying from the Great Book of Oa, which told the complete past, present and future of the Green Lantern Corps. He was respected and his sector was the most orderly in the universe. Little did the Guardians know the cost of that order! The nearly unlimited power of the ring corrupted Sinestro. As before, we see Sinestro abandon his secret identity and create a palatial headquarters; and once again, we see Sinestro set himself up as dictator, relying on terror and death to maintain order.

During the attack on Oa by the creature known as Legion, Sinestro was among those who defended the Guardians. In the aftermath, seven Green Lanterns were dead and only Hal Jordan --a new Green Lantern -- was available to replace them. Kilowog was chosen to find new recruits for the Corps and as a result, Hal Jordan was given over to the tutelage of Sinestro. Jordan, as Sinestro's apprentice, was appalled at Sinestro's tyranny. Sinestro countered Hal's reaction, claiming his dictatorship was to protect his people. During an attack by DC's staple bad guys, the Khunds, the people of Korugar revolted and Hal Jordan called for backup from the other Green Lanterns. Sinestro's dictatorial regime was uncovered and the renegade was taken before the Guardians. The Guardians confiscated Sinestro's power ring. Sinestro's ring and membership in the Corps were given to the rebel leader, Katma Tui.

As with his pre-crisis origins, Sinestro is banished to the anti-matter universe of Qward. The Guardians hoped to humble Sinestro, by sending him to a dimension as evil as himself. Additionally, the Qwardians hated the Guardians and the Green Lanterns and it was assumed that Sinestro would be a subject of their wrath. However, instead of being hated, Sinestro became allies with the Weaponeers of Qward. The Weaponeers were a group of warriors and scientists who hated the Guardians as much as Sinestro did. They became allies, with the Weaponeers offering to help Sinestro gain revenge on the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians. In this post-crisis reality, the Weaponeers of Qward constructed a yellow power ring for Sinestro and sent him to the matter universe for revenge against the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps.

During the "Millennium" crossover event (1988), the Guardians constructed a super-prison for Sinestro and other enemies of the Corps on Oa. Sinestro, however, managed to escape by manipulating the sentient space sector 3600 or MadGod. With the almost unlimited power of the MadGod, Sinestro destroyed entire star systems until he was defeated by the Green Lantern Corps, under the command of Hal Jordan. Sinestro was tried by the Green Lantern Corps for genocide and found guilty. He was sentenced to death and executed. In a convoluted bit of storytelling, the death of Sinestro activated a failsafe in the Central Power Battery on Oa. The failsafe destroyed the Central Power Battery and resulted in the destruction of the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro, however, cheated death by transferring his consciousness to the dormant Central Power Battery. It was within the Battery that Sinestro discovered origins of the famed "necessary" yellow impurity that limited the power of the Green Lanterns.

The return of the Guardians of the Universe once again restored the Green Lantern Corps to their full glory, only to be attacked and wiped out by Hal Jordan (who was possessed by the source of the yellow impurity, the monster, Parallax). Hal was driven insane by the destruction of Coast City and the apparent apathy of the Guardians at the deaths of the citizens of that place. Hal went on a rampage, and killed or maimed countless Green Lanterns as Parallax was driven to consume the Central Power Battery. The Guardians, in a desperate move, resurrected Sinestro and sent the renegade to battle Hal. Sinestro was, like so many others, killed by Hal/Parallax. Hal destroyed the Green Lantern Corps by consuming the Central Power Battery. In the fall of the Corps, we saw the birth of Kyle Rayner "the last Green Lantern" - at least, until they brought the Corps back.

In the "Rebirth" event that returned Hal Jordan to the pages of the Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner discovered the existence of Parallax and revealed it to Green Arrow and the Justice League.� Sinestro reappeared and revealed that the Sinestro that Jordan/Parallax killed was merely a construct created by Parallax. In a battle that nearly killed Rayner and the newly resurrected Hal Jordan, Jordan fought Sinestro to a draw, with the renegade escaping to Qward. Hal Jordan, for his part, reclaimed his power ring and purged it of the evil of Parallax.

Now, with the return of the Green Lantern Corps and the resurrection of Hal Jordan, Sinestro has founded a dark mirror of the Green Lanterns: the Sinestro Corps.� Now the yellow power rings seek out those who can "instill great fear" and offer them a place in this newest threat to the Guardians and their legacy. Interestingly enough, the yellow power rings seem to be keyed to sectors just as with the green power rings. In a recent issue of "Green Lantern", the yellow ring of sector 2814 (which contains Earth) approached the Batman as a potential wielder; other candidates have included mass murderers, dictators and a super-intelligent disease. In recent interviews with Geoff Johns, the current author of "Green Lantern" said that he planned the Sinestro Corps as a mirror organization to the Green Lantern Corps. Johns stated that "The Sinestro Corps [will have] its own Oa-type planet, its own Guardians, [and] its own oath." Leading up to the "Sinestro Corps Special" (June 2007), look for the "Tales of the Sinestro Corps" backup feature in the pages of "Green Lantern."

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