Sinestro is one of my favorite villains in all of comics, particularly after the work Geoff Johns did in calcifying his character. He’s not evil per se, or at least not evil for the sake of being evil, he simply demands order from a disorderly galaxy and his methods are horrific and extreme. But he’s also got a soft spot for his family and his planet's people, so it should come as no great surprise that Cullen Bunn introduced both as central motivations for him last issue, and continues to build upon them this issue. Soranik is a hostage of the Yellow Lanterns at the start of the issue, but only for the moment, and Sinestro wastes little time in asserting himself as the new/returning leader. What I really love is how evenly Bunn writes Thaal, I don’t think the character ends a single sentence in an exclamation point either in battle or when giving orders. He writes him with an incredible dignity and uprightness that absolutely suits the monstrous dictator, but lends him an amazing credibility. The supporting cast doesn’t get short-shrift either as Arkillo goes down swinging and even Natu may be coming around, in some ways, to her father’s views and teachings. I’m very, very interested in seeing where that last part goes.
Last issue’s review took some umbrage with Dale Eaglesham’s larger-than-life character proportions, especially the usually lithe and slender Sinestro looking more like he’s auditioning for the next Expendables movie while Arkillo looks like he’s going out for Hulk, but this issue actually frames the entire story differently and makes it all make sense, even if unintentionallyy. This is a book being told from Sinestro’s perspective, it’s his take on his own legend, so it Eaglesham’s style makes total sense. Even the level-headed Sinestro would want the saga of his doings to seem hyperreal, everything from his foes to himself just a little exaggerated to make his accomplishments all the greater. Jason Wright handles colors and does an incredible job with everything looking razor-sharp and crystal-clear, again matching the mindset of the title’s fastidious, focused narrator.
There are one or two panels and scenes that are unclear in terms of their action and exactly what is happening to which character. These are panels that occur either during or directly after some action, which is really the only place where the book falters. And it's only a slight falter.
I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: writing a compelling villain solo title is one of the most difficult things in all of superhero comics. Making the villain compelling, while still true to its previous stories, without making it an unlikeable sociopath that sounds like its being written by an angry 13 year-old is part of the difficulty, but this book never even strays CLOSE to that territory. Sinestro may be a terrible person, but his motivations are strong and realistic and the character is written with a terrifying charisma that makes his ideas horrifically compelling. His supporting cast is strong as well and there’s a threat in the shadows that seems ready to burst into the light at any moment giving us all plenty to look forward to.