WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Sinestro: Year of the Villain #1, from Mark Russell, Yildiray Cinar, Hi-Fi Colors, Julio Ferreira and Steve Wands, on sale now.
Rick and Morty has quickly grown from adult series to worldwide phenomenon. The series follows the ethically questionable scientist and genius, Rick Sanchez, and his relationship with his dysfunctional family, namely his grandson Morty, and often wanders into quirky, existential territory far beyond the average cartoon.
For fans of the show, DC's Sinestro: Year of the Villain has a plot point that should ring especially familiar, as it recalls a memorable episode from the show's second season.
This one-shot focuses on Sinestro;s role as Lex Luthor's main lackey in the Legion of Doom, and it holds a lot of similarities to the Rick & Morty Season 2's episode, "The Ricks Must Be Crazy." In that episode, Rick had a civilization powering his spaceship battery by unknowingly charging it from living inside it. However, Rick's battery soon ran out of juice as this alien race powered its world through harnessing the power of another alien civilization. As a result, the initial race, led by scientist Zeep Xanflorp, didn't need to generate its own power anymore as they simply drained the second society the same way Rick capitalized on them.
It was a huge statement on exploitation the details how societies are crafted on the backs of the poor and unsuspecting, and when a jealous Rick tried to undo Zeep's work by attempting to expose his preying on the second world, it showed a hypocrisy with Rick. It painted all these societies within the battery as innocents who didn't know they were being used and who deserved a better life. In this comic, Sinestro comes across a similar microverse, except he takes his manipulation and puppeteering to the next level, one which is arguably more genuine.
When he discovers cosmic Celestial-like gods called Paragons have come over from another universe, destroying worlds loyal to Lex, Sinestro tries to fight the beings, only to discover they automatically regenerate and can't be beaten. However, he uses brain instead of brawn, experimenting on their body parts that fell in the field and discovering out the Paragons are being repaired by a civilization living inside them. He tries to infiltrate using his ultraviolet ring and its projective essence, but these smaller folks, called Microns, are too loyal.
Luckily, he eventually gets them to turn on their masters by offering freedom. It turns out the Microns were happy for an extra 0.2 milliseconds of life, especially during childhood, as their life spans only just 0.8 milliseconds. Sinestro uses his experiments to prolong their lives with this extra time and they quickly grow to believe the Paragons are cruel gods for not granting them this. Sinestro is worshipped as they abandon the Paragons, who fall in battle as the Microns no longer repair them, instead opting to live life away from war.
It's very similar to how Rick sowed seeds of discord inside the other miniature civilizations, since he was angry his subjects were thinking like him. He needed to shut them down so Zeep would have no energy and need to get his people working again, which granted Rick direct access to power. Sinestro goes a step further, though, by showing this microverse that a shut-down actually preserves their future. He succeeds where Rick failed because Morty's grandad simply blackmailed Zeep into working again by threatening to destroy the battery. Sinestro's plan actually works to the benefit of his Microns, even keeping one Paragon as a lab rat for the future and a token of his works as a liberator.