With all the worries about DC rewriting/rebooting characters with the relaunch of titles this September, a lot of people seem to forget that we've constantly had changes over the years. Golden Age characters are not the exact same as their Silver Age counterparts and the same goes for the current versions. Even in the past decade or two, characters' histories have been tweaked or new hidden events have been revealed.
Sinestro has been the greatest villain for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. The basic premise to his story is he was a great Green Lantern. Trying to maintain order, he decided to abuse his power and rule over his homeworld as a dictator.
What some may not realize is originally Hal Jordan and Sinestro were never Green Lanterns at the same time. Sinestro was never his instructor or mentor. It was just recently that we saw the Secret Origin of Hal Jordan which showed Hal and Sinestro serving in the GL Corps together. Has this update made Sinestro a better villain or does it serve to allow us to sympathize with him and his downfall?== TEASER ==
The original Green Lantern stories have been reprinted and it's quite an experience reading them today. When Hal first received the power ring from the dying Abin Sur, he had no idea he was part of the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians kept their existence and that of the Corps a secret. They transported his astral form to Oa to ensure he was worthy. When his form returned to his body, he had no memory of what had happened. The Guardians did this a couple time before Hal was finally clued in to what was going on.
This is when we first see the threat that Sinestro had become. They tell Hal how Sinestro abused the power and proved himself unworthy. He was banished to the antimatter universe but did not foresee the threat he would become residing over there.
Sinestro and Hal would fight several times over the years but after Crisis on Infinite Earths, Sinestro and Hal's past changed a little.
History had been changed. Hal Jordan now had a teacher instead of getting the ring and lantern from Abin Sur and having to figure everything out on his own. This made more sense in that an average Earthling would probably have a bit of difficulty figuring out everything the ring could do.
Not that there was anything truly wrong with Sinestro's origin but this little tweak actually served to improve his character.
Hal Jordan's Secret Origin was later retold again in 2008 in Green Lantern #29-35. Here we got to see more of Hal and Sinestro working together. It turned out that Sinestro was a pretty good Green Lantern Corps member. Sure he had...interesting ways of training and mentoring Hal but he did have the right intentions.
This just further humanized Sinestro. He wasn't just a power-hungry villain. Over the years, the Guardians themselves have been shown to be extremely flawed in their thinking. They made grave mistakes and Sinestro was one of the few that was on to them. Eventually it was Sinestro's need for maintaining order on his homeworld and using fear, the Guardians banished him just as in his original history.
To further humanize Sinestro, we discover that he had a daughter and his wife was actually the sister of his fellow Green Lantern and friend, Abin Sur.
What we can say about all this added history to Sinestro is now he is a character that readers could relate to. His original character didn't offer much. He was simply a villain that wanted to rule his way. He had the power of a Green Lantern and was portrayed as a two-dimensional power-hungry villain wanting to rule the world.
The fact that, in his update, we get to see that he truly was one of the greatest Green Lanterns shows how one can easily fall from grace. It's not often we have a character that started out as truly good and then become as evil as you can get.
I'm not normally one in favor of rewriting a character's past or injecting new secret histories into their past and changing everything we know but with Sinestro, it was the right decision. If you read those original Green Lantern stories (all nicely reprinted in the Green Lantern Omnibus Volume One), Sinestro is a laughable villain. Now he is not only one of Hal Jordan's greatest villains but one of the greatest villains in comic books.
Readers may cringe at the thought of change but there are some cases when the change is for the better.