Blogging A to Z Day 22: Sinestro

What frightens you? I’m not asking for the big things that nearly everyone would name. What are the day-to-day stresses and experiences that frighten you? I’m writing this right now during a heavy and potentially tornadic thunderstorm, so I’m a bit on edge myself. I would not consider myself a coward, but I’ve dealt with anxiety all my life, and about a lot of different things. That’s a big reason certain characters—Batman and Daredevil, to name but two—really appeal to me; they operate in a state without fear, having conquered it long ago. Admiring those sorts of characters led me to the Green Lantern books five or so years ago, and to one character in particular: Sinestro.

It is said that Thaal Sinestro was the greatest of all Green Lanterns—an order defined by its ability to overcome great fear—before his rather dramatic falling out with the Green Lantern Corps’s Guardians. Perhaps his strength of will grew too great once given the powers of a Green Lantern; regardless, it was his forcing of his will, of his sense of order, upon his war-torn homeworld of Korugar that led to his expulsion from the Corps and his banishment to the Antimatter Universe, where the Weaponers of the world called Qward created for him the first yellow ring that drew from the portion of the Emotional Spectrum powered by fear, the opposite of the green light of willpower.

As a former high ranking and well-traveled Green Lantern, Sinestro was familiar with the prophecy of the Blackest Night, and he created his own corps of yellow lanterns in preparation. As he revealed following his defeat in his war against the Green Lantern Corps, his goal was not necessarily to win. Rather, it was to make the universe strong enough to face the darkness to come; either his philosophy—strength through conquering one’s own fears and mastering others through theirs—would win out, or the Green Lanterns would have to adapt and become more savage in order to defeat him. Either way, a powerful army awaited whatever was coming.

Is Sinestro rightly classified as a hero, or as a villain? In all honesty, I have pondered this and cannot rightly say one way or the other. What defines either of those roles? Sinestro may not be the most classically righteous of individuals, but if the ends ever do truly justify the means, then he certainly sees the well-being of others as his greatest priority. Many may shy away from his methods because of the harshness of his example, but you have to acknowledge that when he puts a threat down, it never gets back up again. For all of these reasons, Sinestro is one of my very favorite comic book characters.

That’s it for my contributions to this year’s A to Z challenge. Thank you all for stopping by and reading! I look forward to seeing your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to check out some of my other thoughts on Sinestro in my reviews here at Sourcerer of his ongoing comic series written by Cullen Bunn. Do check back in the future, because I have plenty more to say about this character and his stories. Have a good day, everyone!


22 thoughts on “Blogging A to Z Day 22: Sinestro

  1. I do not think that we can ever use the argument the ends justifies the means. To me, that means that someone or group is unfairly used or abused or both. I think that Sinestro’s driving purpose was good, even heroic, but his methods were most definitely that of a villain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve not read him, but he comes across to me as a villian — albiet a tragic one.

      Agreed about the ends and the means. How we go about accomplishing things is just as important as the final result.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never read the Green Lantern comics, but he sounds about as complex (and divided) as Magneto. I’d probably class him as an anti-hero.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I usually connect him with Magneto, too. 😀 It may be because Sinestro has appeared in fewer stories thus far, but I think he usually makes a bit more sense than Magneto, too.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, the early Magneto period with the “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” was always a bit confusing, much like other villain groups with “Evil” in the name. Who self-identifies as Evil?


            • Never fear, I can make this relate to Sinestro again!

              As I mentioned, Sinestro makes more sense than Magneto — and many other similar villains. For instance, the Star Trek episode “Return of the Archons” or the recent My Little Pony episodes “The Cutie Map” part 1 and 2. In those stories, “harmony” is achieved by forcibly removing differences — which, in my opinion, utterly misunderstands the idea of harmony. Sinestro commits no such error. He makes a self-aware, reasoned decision to forego choice in favor of order and comparative safety. The aim is completely different, and essentially coherent. You have to argue against his premises, not his argument or ability/intention to fulfill his promises.

              And that is why Sinestro is best pony. To hijack an unrelated meme.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Or the book The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. Racism is solved via everyone becoming grey. Also read: boring. Just read that so it’s sharp in my mind 😉

              Also, there was this one scene in Chappie… 😉


            • Same thing in The Forever War… When you get far enough in the future, everyone’s sort of a middling brown… And everyone’s gay, to keep things orderly.


              Liked by 1 person

            • Oh yeah, had forgotten that 😀

              Yeah, this is a theme that comes up a lot in Science Fiction, it’s one of the big questions really. Glad to see Sinestro does a good job of it as well 😀

              Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. He strikes me as a classic case of a guy who does bad things for good reasons. I don’t read him, but I read everything Jeremy posts, so I am somewhat familiar with the character.


  3. I want to play devil’s advocate and reply to the general consensus among the comments here. I think it’s dangerous to hold to an old cliche here–about ends and means. What sets Sinestro apart from other DC characters for me is the fact he’s willing to get his hands dirty and sully his own honor for a desirable end. In that way, he’s sort of like Ned Stark. In another way, he’s like Ozymandias in Watchmen. If you had to choose between murdering 10 million people or letting seven billion die in nuclear fire, which would you choose? In this scenario, inaction is choosing the latter option. Sinestro, again, is the sort of character to choose the former and save the greatest possible number of people.

    Further, does it matter if we can label him a hero or villain? In this way, we treat him like Rorschach sees himself. We beg him to save us and clean up our messes when it’s convenient, but otherwise he’s a monster. I think that the armchair moralizing about a fictional character is easy, but it does betray how far you’re willing to push a conflict (physical, verbal, what have you) even when you know you’re right if you’re not willing to do the necessary but undesirable thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s some of what’s great with comics. Here we have a debate about Utilitarian thinking. It also ties into a lot of Cold War decision-making, with dictators being helped because they were “on our side.” The sorts of things we’re still trying to sort out now. Ends and Means… relevant there, and yet still something most of us can only armchair philosophize about.


    • Yes.

      There’s one point in The Authority where, after an arc of machinations, The Authority just asks the villain to join them. He can put his inventing genius to work for them, and possibly contribute a different, more dirty-hands perspective. And that way they can keep an eye on him and be proactive, not reactive. It was totally unexpected, because when has any other hero done that… But it works. I always wish they could come to some kind of agreement like that with Sinestro. Occasionally they do, but it usually ends up with Sinestro being “the villain” again. Always combative, never cooperative.


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  5. I didn’t know all that about him. Well put!
    Heather M. Gardner
    Co-host: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    Blog: The Waiting is the Hardest Part []


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