Batman: In Darkest Knight — A Review

Good day, everyone! It’s good to be back from my hiatus, and I’m hoping to keep a regular second season on my column here at Sourcerer. So, thanks for reading and please do keep coming back. This first entry is a review of a work I have touched on before–DC’s Elseworlds story Batman: In Darkest Knight by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham, in which Bruce Wayne becomes a Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan and instead of becoming Batman.

The story begins with a moment familiar to fans of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Young Bruce, wounded and delirious from blood loss following his first vigilante outing, is in the process of simultaneously apologizing to and demanding a life purpose from a bust of his deceased father, Thomas Wayne. In this iteration, however, the familiar giant bat that sets Bruce on his life path as Batman is vaporized by Abin Sur‘s Green Lantern ring seeking a new wielder.

At this stage, I feel I need to step back to say a few things about this work as a comic, as a Green Lantern story, and as an entry in the Batman mythos. I’m going to be completely honest with you; this is not a particularly well done story. Though the artwork also has its weaknesses, the writing, especially, feels uninspired and contrived to force the story into being more than elegantly shaping it into something worthwhile. The best example of this is in the story’s treatment of Sinestro.

As many readers know, I am a huge fan of Sinestro. I hate to see him misused. Sinestro’s role in In Darkest Knight is a hodgepodge of altered earlier Green Lantern stories, such as his expulsion from the Corps (originally the fault of Hal Jordan). This series of convenient events continues with Sinestro coming to Earth to attempt to uncover his new arch-enemy’s greatest secrets. In furtherance of this, Sinestro hunts down Joe Chill, somehow fuses minds with him through his yellow ring, and then inexplicably begins wearing a purple suit identical to that of the Joker.

The next odd narrative choice is the establishment of a Green Lantern-themed Justice League by the Corps’s Guardians of the Universe. The Guardians approach Clark Kent, Diana of Themyscira, and Barry Allen individually in order to recruit them all into a defense force for the Earth that would allow Bruce Wayne more free time to pursue his Green Lantern duties around Sector 2814. Needless to say at this point, many of the characters’ motivations and the convenient results (such as the costumes) that follow are never satisfactorily explained.

Image of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash taken from https://sourcererblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/7d637-reign075.jpg

There are a couple of other gripes I have with the story, and those are the sudden and useless murder of Commissioner Jim Gordon by Sinestro and the Green Lantern Batman costume. Seriously, look at it up above. He looks like a lame facsimile of Space Ghost.

Complaints aside, the story does contain some redeeming qualities. Chief among these is a line following Sinestro’s attack on Bruce that ends with Alfred’s death. When asked whether or not he would step down from his duties to take an appropriate time to mourn his loss, Bruce simply replies that his entire life is an act of mourning. If through nothing else and at no other time, the creative team truly expresses their grasp of Batman’s essential narrative here.

And that’s my Season Two premiere. I hope you all enjoyed it, or at least got a chuckle out of it. As a reading recommendation to start things off, I suggest reading this comic and drawing your own conclusions. The entire story is available on comiXology for $1.99. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

For at least the first few posts of this season, I’d like to do more reviews of comics I’m currently reading. I’ll admit I’m a bit behind the industry these days because of past financial difficulties, but I am trying to get ahead in my consumption with trade paperbacks. Future reviews will likely include the first volume of Sinestro (so I can finally finish out what I started last year) and a recently reprinted Marvel classic called Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment. Look for more from me in coming weeks.

It’s good to be back! Now go out and support your local comic shops.

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.

Sinestro #1. Finally. With Minor Spoilers.

SINESTRO_Cv1Unlettered

by Jeremy DeFatta

Good day, everyone! Here at last is my review of Cullen Bunn and Dale Eaglesham’s Sinestro #1. I will try and keep things general where appropriate, but be forewarned. This review contains spoilers, but hopefully nothing that will ruin the story for potential readers. I hope to go more in-depth with reviews of future issues. Issue #2 is out this week, so look for a review of it soon. I promise it will come out more quickly than this one did. Anyway, let’s dive in.

The issue opens with Thaal Sinestro in self-imposed exile on some miscellaneous alien world with creatures that look like 12-legged sabretooth tigers. He no longer appears to be bound to the Parallax entity, which might be explained in Forever Evil #7, also out this week. Lyssa Drak, keeper of the Book of Parallax, appears to Sinestro and pleads with him to once again take an interest in events across the universe, apparently continuing the mission she began in Green Lantern #23.4 during Villains Month.

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Imagine Batman with a Lantern Ring. Just Imagine it.

Batman8217s-willpower

by Jeremy DeFatta

I hope you all had a nerdtastic weekend, what with Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day happening and all. In this week’s installment of my Batman column, I’d like to drum up some excitement for my upcoming spoilery review of Sinestro #1.

Who remembers that time Batman was judged worthy of joining the Sinestro Corps?

Early on in his war against the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro sent many, many rings out into the universe to find worthy hosts that he could field as soldiers. In our own little corner of the universe (Sector 2814), the person who inspired the greatest amount of fear in others was none other than our old friend Bruce Wayne. This—the ability to instill great fear—is the chief trait sought by the yellow power, and stands in opposition to the green power of will, whose chief trait is (as fans know all too well) the ability to overcome great fear.

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