“Sinestro” #1 ” : Everything That’s Wrong With The New 52 In Microcosm

Posted: April 24, 2014 in comics
Tags: , , , , ,

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If you’ve followed my reviews regularly — or even semi-regularly — around these parts, two things are readily apparent : first, you need something better to do with your time, and second, I’m not terribly fond of DC’s “New 52” reboot.  By this point — nearly three years in — I was hoping it would have grown on me somewhat, I guess, or that I’d be at least so resigned to its inevitability that I’d just shut up and move on, but unfortunately neither of those things have happened, and I still feel the need to bitch about it for whatever reason, —even if it’s just tilting at windmills. Sorry, but I can be stubborn like that.

And DC’s being stubborn, too, aren’t they? I mean, a series that deviated from the norm a little bit would be welcome relief to those of us who like their characters but are bored to tears by how homogenized their universe has become, but so far they don’t seem too interested in catering to us in the least. We can take the stuff they’re putting out or leave it, but they’re not going to change.

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Oh, sure — by and large it’s fair to say that I’ve walked away from the entire enterprise (apart from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, which is terrific stuff), but every now and again I find myself with nothing better to do with three bucks (I really should consider crack addiction at this point as a viable alternative) and pop my head in at some random spot to see if things have improved. Such was the case just like week, in fact, when I took a flier on the first issue of the new Sinestro monthly series written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham.

I can’t profess any particular love for this character, or for the entire “Green Lantern Universe” (or whatever you want to call it) as a whole, but Bunn seems to be a talent worth keeping an eye on if his work on Marvel’s Magneto is any indication (he seems to be drawing the short straw at both of the “Big Two” publishers and landing assignments on the villain books), so I figured what the heck? And I’ve heard that crack can be hazardous to your health, anyway.

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Unfortunately, I think even a low-grade crack rock (and I’m assuming that’s all three dollars would get me) would probably give my brain cells more to do than Sienstro #1 did, because this book sucks all the way across the board. It suffers from the acute lack of personality that seems to be the calling card for the “New 52” in general, and while I’m sure the creators put a fair amount of sweat into this thing, the heavy editorial dictates that they’re forced to comply with in order to get a paycheck have resulted in making this yet another completely interchangeable, mass-produced, cookie-cutter offering.

The plot, near as I could be bothered to remember it, goes thusly : Sinestro is holed up on some barren rock floating around in space, determined to lead a life of solitude and contemplation, when his old ally/adversary (depending on the situation), Lyssa Drak, shows up and convinces him to don his tights again and fight to free the few people of his homeworld who are still alive. So he does, since he thought they’d all been wiped out. And the first person he’s called upon to save in his one-man cosmic rescue mission is — well, that would be telling. But that’s all that happens, and that’s where the story ends, so trust me when I say I’m not skimping on any details here.

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As I said earlier, Bunn can write. but his talents are wasted on this drivel. This is a story that literally seems to have been born in an editorial meeting and then farmed out to freelancers to do the actual dirty work. The prose is stiff, the dialogue even stiffer, and the wretchedly formulaic nature of what DC has in mind for the character in the long haul oozes from every panel. Get ready for more of the same here, people.

Likewise, I’m willing to be that Eaglesham can draw pretty well, but you’d never guess it from the stale, derivative style he’s tasked with undertaking here. His Sinestro looks like the same guy we’ve always seen plus about 20 pounds of steroid-induced muscle growth, and the overall look of the book is, as with the “New 52” in general, that of a mid-’90s WildStorm comic that just happens to feature DC characters. Yeah, I know, I’ve made that exact same complaint before, but DC keeps putting out comics that have the exact same problem, so I’m just gonna keep it up until they either produce something even marginally different or I finally give up. Whichever comes first.

In any case, the end result here is a book you’ve already seen a thousand times before, even if it was called Green Lantern #20, Justice League #16, or Flash #9. DC either doesn’t care about letting their creators do anything unique these days, or has flat-out forgotten how to get out of the way and allow them that sort of freedom. Doug Mahnke’s variant cover (pictured above, underneath Eaglesham’s main one) comes as close to looking a little bit out of the bog-standard ordinary as anything we’re like to see from this series, but that’s about it as far as breaking loose from the assembly line goes.

Hmmmm  — if I have a few extra dollars left after picking up my usual stuff at the LCS this week, I think maybe I’ll track down that crack dealer after all.

Comments
  1. MojosWork says:

    I’m kinda surprised you’re into Snyder’s Batman, just cuz you seem really critical – and I don’t mean that in a negative or condescending way. The ending to Court of Owls was so trite and insulting to fans’ collective intelligence, and nothing really happened in Death of the Family.

    That said, Dan Slott really went out of his way to top the “major comic book/character/hype machine falling flat on its face with anticlimactic conclusions” with the shit he gave us in Superior Spider-Man 31 (and the final arc as a whole). If you really wanna get mad, read Goblin Nation.

    • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

      I read it, and it sucks. Slott is a total hack, and as much as I like Mike Allred, I’m avoiding the new “Silver Surfer” series simply because of Slott’s involvement. I stuck with “superior” from start to finish simply because it was so goddam nice to have self-pitying, self-absorbed, stupid, shallow-ass Peter Parker out of the way for awhile, but now that he’s back, I’m gone. As for why I like Snyder — look, “Batman” is nowhere near as good as “The Wake,” and “Superman Unchained” is positively awful, but “Batman,” while suffering from some serious letdown endings, at least is coherently structured so that it hits precise story “beats” in each issue and reads well — hell, reads better — as single monthly issues than as collected stories. Too many other monthlies are obviously structured solely to be collected at some point and their pacing from month tom month is flat-out awful. Snyder and Capullo’s “Batman” is far from perfect, but at least it bucks the prevailing trend and reads best when read sequentially with a break between each installment.

      • MojosWork says:

        Well, that all makes sense to me. I’m also off the Spidey train, but I did like Surfer #1. Can’t really put my finger on it, but it had a certain something. I’m hesitant about it given how Superior just ended (Osborn in a new face – terriblest reveal ever; Osborn escapes, ON FOOT, and TWO HEROES CAN’T GET HIM – fucking horrific), but fingers crossed it turns out okay.

      • trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

        Maybe I’ll pick up “Silver Surfer” #1 — I’m tempted. But Slott always lets me down.

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