Review: Sinestro #2 (Spoilers!)

Hello, everyone! Today I’ll review Cullen Bunn and Dale Eaglesham’s Sinestro #2. This contains some spoilers, so be forewarned.

Sinsestro2

Continuing from the conflicts set up in the first issue, Sinestro spends a lot of his time this month reasserting his control over the lantern corps he founded. With the Sinestro Corps under Arkillo‘s control, it has grown, but not in a way Sinestro sees as being worthy of his ideals. As Sinestro states, he created his army to establish order and pursue justice across the universe using methods the Green Lanterns’ Guardians had no stomach for—namely, fear. Arkillo’s recruitment of untrustworthy criminals into the fold does nothing for this mission, leaving the Sinestro Corps a bloated force of bullies and murderers in need of guidance. Much as he has in the past, Sinestro demonstrates that the yellow rings he created for his corps will ultimately answer to him over their own wielders, and he gives Arkillo the trashing of his life.

After, Bunn sets up an interesting scene between Sinestro and his daughter, Soranik Natu, who had been kidnapped last issue to be used as leverage by Arkillo (this doesn’t go as he planned). Soranik, much like everyone in her generation on Korugar, grew up despising the tyrant Sinestro and still has no love for him after the revelation of her true parentage several years earlier. It appears their relationship may finally be on the mend once Sinestro reveals his ultimate goal of rescuing what survivors remain from the destroyed Korugar and settling them on a new homeworld. We will have to see how this continues to develop as the series takes shape. I would actually like to see Soranik rise to her birthright as Sinestro’s heir and become a terrifying dark queen in the process.

Bunn also introduces several new members of the Sinestro Corps that do meet Sinestro’s personal criteria, namely Dez Trevius and Rigen Kale. I am interested to see what he eventually does with these new, younger characters in the title. So far, they have certainly proven themselves loyal and capable in Sinestro’s eyes, which probably means a betrayal is coming soon. Good thing Sinestro is rarely caught off guard and hardly ever unprepared. As he tells Lyssa Drak, his closest friend and adviser at this point, he doesn’t even trust her. Why would he trust anyone else?

All of this is framed by an early appearance of the characters who are becoming the main antagonists of the story, the heads of the religion of anti-emotion taking hold across the universe. As I have seen mentioned elsewhere, these beings are becoming known as the Pale Vicars, which certainly shows off Bunn’s British identity. I am eager to see how they factor into the larger story being constructed here, especially since they are now aware of Sinestro and the fearful power he wields.

Side Notes and Further Recommendations

A good place to start with background readings to get caught up on Sinestro is to dive straight into the Sinestro Corps War vols. 1 and 2. I’ll recommend more next review.

I was pleased to see this issue contained a few preview pages for Superman #32, the beginning of Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr.’s run on the title. This is appropriate given Johns’ long tenure writing Sinestro in Green Lantern. I highly recommend catching the beginning of this new era in Superman’s ongoing story beginning this month.

As I mentioned in my last review, Sinestro is also currently factoring rather heavily into Tom Taylor’s Injustice: Gods Among Us series. As I have said several times before, it is certainly worth a look. If interior artwork is any giveaway, Sinestro may also become an important player in the new digital-first Infinite Crisis series written by Dan Abnett that started recently. I’ll be returning to this title for a future review.

Finally, I strongly recommend checking out the recent Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, both of which are available in their entirety on Netflix. It is a shame they were both cut short too soon. Sinestro does not have a strong presence in Green Lantern, but he does appear in one episode and is voiced by Ron Perlman, which works wonderfully. Go and give these series a shot; I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

That’s it for this review. What do you all think so far? Who among you is also reading this title? Do you find my rundown fair? I’m definitely sticking with the series for now. In fact, come back within the next month for my review of issue #3. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @quaintjeremy.

Image: Unlettered Sinestro #2 cover by Dale Eaglesham. All characters and likenesses thereof copyright DC Comics or original authors, etc.

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Penny Dreadful: “Closer Than Sisters” Review

“Closer than Sisters” might’ve been better titled “Ambivalence.” It marks the fifth hour of our 8-hour season, and the episode is an odd combination of satisfying and annoying. The entire episode is a flashback to Vanessa’s past with the Murray family and after the oft-alluded to Point of No Return for former friends Mina and Vanessa. This means, of course, that we don’t know anything more about Dorian, Ethan, Brona, or the rest of the gang.

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But we do get many of our questions answered–what happened between Vanessa and Mina? Who is the voice talking about in the seance? Did Vanessa witness incest between Mina and Sir Malcolm, or did Sir Malcolm have an affair with Vanessa that was witnessed by Mina? What is Vanessa’s part in this? And does she know what’s haunting her? (Spoilers!)

So we begin the episode with Vanessa writing to Mina, and we quickly move to the flashback, which then progresses linearly. The Murrays and the Ives were neighbors and friends. Mina and Vanessa, around the same age, were bosom friends, one light and one dark (Mina is fair,

Peter, Vanessa, Mina, and Sir Malcolm

Peter, Vanessa, Mina, and Sir Malcolm

golden, and kind to a fault; Vanessa is dark, curious, and impetuous.) We see Vanessa’s first encounters with her darker side after she sees her mother and Sir Malcolm having an affair. (So it was Vanessa the seer, looking at Sir Malcolm and her mother, that was alluded to in the seance.) This moment, in which Vanessa discovers that there was something enjoyable, something delightfully wicked about seeing Murray and her mother together, is Vanessa’s moment of departure.

Vanessa and Mina continue their friendship as they grow older, though they become less alike. Peter, Murray’s young son whose death was revealed in episode 2’s seance scene, seems to be just a bit older than the girls, and we know from their childhood that many expect Peter and Vanessa to grow up and be married. But they don’t, of course. In a pivotal scene, the two are in a garden labyrinth together, and he rebuffs Vanessa’s sexual advance. Oh Peter. Vanessa later wishes she’d run after him, told him she loved his weakness. Oh Vanessa.

And then we finally come to the moment when the friends are no longer friends. On the eve of her wedding to a gallant man with a wonderful mustache, Mina discovers Vanessa and her future husband having sex. We know now what sin she is paying for–and why she and Sir Malcolm have such a tenuous relationship. There’s a direct line between Murray’s transgressions and Vanessa’s.

This affair spawns a full-on possession of Vanessa. She’s treated by a host of doctors, download (4)diagnosed with epilepsy, and committed to an asylum. We get several squicky moments here, pictures of mental healthcare in the 19th century that include ice baths, hydrotherapy (the download (2)patient is tied up and shot with high power water) and trepanation (drilling holes in the head). Vanessa is then allowed to return home, but she doesn’t seem to be any “better.” She’s visited by a demon in the form of Sir Murray, who seduces her. We then get the most disturbing in an episode that has many disturbing images—naked Vanessa, eyes rolled back in her head, spread naked on her bed, having sex with an invisible force. The shock kills her mother (presumably a heart attack).

Later, we see Vanessa walking on a beach, and it is then that she is confronted by Mina, who has come to her in a vision. Mina speaks of forgiveness, of being sure that Vanessa’s suffering has made up for her crimes. She speaks of Peter’s death, of her marriage to Jonathan Harker. And then things get really weird for Vanessa, as Mina mentions Peter’s refusal of her advance that day in the garden, something Vanessa never told Mina. And Mina finally speaks to Vanessa of her master, one who has taught her so much. Her face falls, voice faltering a bit, as she manages to say “things no one should ever know” before being, quite literally, snatched away.

Cut to Vanessa at Sir Malcolm’s door, drenched in rain, asking him to help Mina. It’s obvious that tensions are still high between the two, but Murray consents to work with her to get Mina back (and where is Harker, I wonder). And then we hear the ominous last bit of Vanessa’s letter—“I love you enough to kill you.”

I’ve no doubt that she does. I do wish, though, that Vanessa’s transgressions weren’t so largely sex-based. It just seems so——done. That Eva Green is an amazing actress made the story shine. But the familiarity of punishing a female character for sexual curiosity and desire makes me roll my eyes a bit, especially after seeing nameless women brutally torn apart before the opening sequence in the first few episodes and with the trope of the consumptive whore present in the character of Brona. I get that the show is playing with tropes, and I think that can work—but there’s a fine line between playing with tropes and playing into them, and this seems a little close to that line.

Either way, I’m glad to hear that Showtime has announced a 10-episode season two of the series, and it looks like we’ll be returning to our present story-line next week.