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Review: Sinestro Annual #1 Don’t Fear the Lanterns

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Writer

Cullen Bunn

Artists

Martin Coccolo

Victor Ibanez

Andy Kuhn

Daniel Warren Johnson

Mirko Colak

Ronan Cliquet

Colorist

Jason Wright

Tony Avina

Sinestro by Cullen Bunn is the HBO of DC Comics. It’s a book driven by one of the meanest yellow and pink machines on the planet. Unfortunately, the title can lack a clear direction and plot focus at times. This is where Sinestro Annual #1 takes a departure from the rest of the series. In the comic thus far we have seen a complicated state of affairs that see’s a lighter Sinestro attempt to atone for his past sins while holding down his own guard. It’s a nuanced story that doesn’t quite paint the lead as a hero or villain – the Korugarian’s morality is a bleak shade of grey.

The issue opens with a murder. A Yellow Lantern has just been killed, and the plot only gains more steam from there. The Green Lantern mythology has been steadily expanding and branching out into different paths ever since Geoff Johns left the core series. It’s fascinating to pickup a Green Lantern comic and see which of your favorite characters are event still alive these days. Johns started to go down the path of figuring out what redemption meant to our lead, and seeing Cullen Bunn run with that plot thread has been my favorite part of the post-Johns era incarnation of this story.

I don’t mind a title that meanders and dives into the psychosis of Sinestro, but the action sequences within this title seen in previous issues has a tendency to deflate the character work. However, this story colors readers with Sinestro’s own thoughts on how to control each member of this team – it’s something that makes use of his brilliant mind. These sequences are all crafted with different artwork that says something different about each Yellow Lantern. Let’s face it, it’s weird to be in the Sinestro’s crew of misfits. When they were just bad guys it was so much simpler, but now the group is in a different place. The backstory of each character is cryptic, and evokes a certain level of darkness that’s hard to shy away from. It goes to show readers something that they might have guessed: team Sinestro is filled with haunted broken people.

Penciller Martin Coccolo does an admirable job evoking the style of trendsetter Dale Eaglesham. Eaglesham’s art style is very specific to his set of skills, and it’s unfortunate to see someone attempting to follow the style so closely. When Coccolo does break off from Eaglesham’s house style for Sinestro and add some shading and close-ups, the work gets appropriately bleak and the horror ambiance is clearly represented. The group of other artists joining the fray of this series are utilized exceedingly well. Lyssa Drak’s innocence as a young girl is lovingly captured by Victor Ibanez. Arkillo’s somewhat predictable inception is pointed out with the jangly linework Andy Kuhn. The psyche of Rigen Kale depicted by Ronan Cliquet is admirably broken. The Mirko Colak art is solid addition to the line-up. Still, the true star is Martin Coccolo – the artist perfectly captures the linework of the female villains with a sublime emphasis on facial expressions.

After all of those reflections of a murder, were finally given a revelation that builds up some plot aspects for the next installment of this story. Bunn goes a long a way in addressing some of the problems with this title within the Annual while giving us some perspective on the different components making up his team and giving committed fans a reason to actually step back and pickup the next issue. Martin Coccolo needs to stay on this comic for the foreseeable future, as his pencil style truly adds something extraordinary to this work. This is an important issue of the series that is more successful than most and will hopefully mark a sea change for this comic. Sinestro is coming back after Convergence, and it’s time for the title to really live up to it’s true potential with more issues like this.

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