Sinestro is an evil man among evil people.
Things have been heating up in Sinestro by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dale Eaglesham (with Rags Morales also lending a helping hand). The survivors of Korugar resent Sinestro almost as much as his daughter Soranik Natu does; his Yellow Lanterns are a bit more intelligent and manipulative this time around; and the deadly Lantern killers known as the Paling are making their move against him.
IGN Comics: Soranik Natu has her work cut out for her. She wants to care for her people, but she has to stick by Sinestro to do so. What is her goal in all this? Does she have an endgame in mind with what to do about saving her people and dealing with Sinestro?
Cullen Bunn: I’m not sure Soranik has a goal in mind at this point. Events are unfolding too quickly for her to do any real planning… and that’s the way Sinestro wants it. She’s rescued from Arkillo, shown that her people need her help, given a fully charged green ring… all in rapid order. She doesn’t have time for much more than snap decisions.
Maybe this is Sinestro, as the spider, getting Soranik, as the fly, tangled in his web. Over time, she’s going to need to refocus and recalibrate. Once she has her feet under her, she’ll need to make some tough decisions. But by then Sinestro will have had plenty of time to make counter-plans.
IGN: Umaraal Jarta, one of the survivors of Korugar, has a crown-like headpiece. Is this coincidence, or can we expect her to play a bigger queen-like role in the future?
Bunn: I think I described Umaraal as a priestess or healer. Dale, knowing the plans we have for Umaraal gave her a bit more of a regal design. That works well for the character, as she becomes something of the spiritual leader of her people. She’s very much a foil for Sinestro, and you’ll be seeing quite a bit of the contention between them in the days to come.
IGN: We’re seeing more and more of the Paling, the evil dark Lantern killers. Is there any reason they are going after just Yellow Lanterns? Or are all Lanterns the same to them?
Bunn: The Paling is a church of anti-emotion, so they would see the entire emotional spectrum as blasphemy. They’ve been at work at the farthest reaches of space, and it just so happens that Sinestro is the first Lantern to draw their attention. They could, in theory, turn against any of the Lanterns.
IGN: Dez Trevius is quickly becoming a standout character. He’s manipulative and duplicitous in all the best ways, and you have to hand it to Dale Eaglesham for giving him that devilishly angular face. He seems to be a bit smarter and quick-minded than most of the Yellows – what was it like creating him?
Bunn: I wanted a really sinister, manipulative, and devious foil for Sinestro, and that’s where Dez came from. Under Arkillo’s rule, the Yellow Lanterns were a bit more simple and violent perhaps, and we can imagine that Dez was at busily pulling strings of that group. Now, of course, Sinestro is back in charge, and he presents much more of a challenge for Dez. There’s definitely a bit of cat-and-mouse gameplay between those two.
Dez Trevius and Rigen Kale were both quite a bit of fun to create. I’ve had a little more opportunity to explore Dez’s personality, though.
You mentioned his devlish design, which I think works quite well for him. In early sketches, he looked hideously inhuman, which would have also been cool, because I intended to write him the same way—charming and smooth and crafty.
IGN: The slave market battle was incredibly well-done. Again Dez was a standout with his sweet samurai facemask and sword. What was it like orchestrating that scene?
Bunn: Action scenes like that are a lot of fun to write. My goal is to layer telling character beats or moments throughout the action. Dez’s mask and sword reveal a little about his character and history, and we’ll be seeing more of that as time goes on. Dale and Rags [Morales] both really go out of their way to bring those panels to life.
I typically write pretty detailed panel descriptions for these fight scenes. I do quite a bit of choreography rather than just writing “They fight.” But most of the artists I work with feel pretty comfortable changing things up a little if it helps the visual storytelling.
IGN: You’re obviously highly experienced in writing villains, but what are the challenges unique to writing Sinestro?
Bunn: After writing a few issues, I have to keep reminding myself that Sinestro is a bad guy. I think he plays a little too nice in some of my early drafts, and I’ve had to go back into the script and make him a little more cold, devious, and cruel. He might be a likable bad guy, but he’s still a bad guy. I have to tread carefully so that I don’t make him seem too much like a hero.
IGN: Anything else you’d like to add to get fans excited for what’s coming up in Sinestro?
Bunn: There are some pretty interesting issues on the horizon. In issue 4, Sinestro has his first encounter with the Paling. In issue 5, he runs into Hal Jordan. Also in issue 5, I’ll answer the question about where Parallax has gone! We’ve also got a Future’s End issue coming up, and I’m pretty excited about how awesome it turned out!
Ever since the new Sinestro title launched in April, the villain has been kicking butts and cleaning house as he took back leadership of the Sinestro Corps.
But the title's launch by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dale Eaglesham also kicked butt on the sales chart, surprising critics and readers with its straight-forward stories about the title's antihero protagonist.
And coming in the fall — echoing what Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti told Newsarama yesterday — the Sinestro title will be involved in a "big" storyline that involves all the Lanterns.
But for now, the Sinestro title is introducing a new headquarters for the Yellow Lanterns and a new status quo for the title character. With last week's Sinestro #3, the title established Sinestro's daughter Soranik Natu as an ongoing cast member, while also introducing new characters and Corps members. As Sinestro has been trying to find the remnants of his home world's people, he's finding out that the Korugarians aren't exactly thankful for his efforts.
So what's next for Sinestro and the yellow corps? And might a love interest for Sinestro be in the mix? We talked to Bunn to find out more about the title.
Newsarama: Cullen, I'd like to start by discussing Soranik Natu. She decided, in this last issue, to stick around in the Sinestro title. What's motivating her to stay by her father's side?
Cullen Bunn: Soranik is motivated by her compassion for her people and her sworn duty as a physician. She wants to make sure that her people are cared for when Sinestro and his brigade rescue them, and she doesn’t want to see her father return to his despotic rule. There might be a part of her that wants to see her father redeemed, but she’d never admit that.
Nrama: I think there's a part of all of us that would like to see that. But how would you describe the character of Soranik right now? And why does she appeal to you as a writer, besides her obvious potential as Sinestro's daughter?
Bunn: One of the reasons I like the idea of Soranik joining the cast is that she is the voice of reason, the voice of “good”, and the reader’s window into a group of “evil” characters. I want readers to be able to understand Sinestro’s motivation, but I don’t want them to get too comfortable with his behavior. Soranik gives us a character that is a little easier to relate with.
And, yeah, she’s spunky and can stick up for herself in the face of Arkillo and Lyssa and even her father. What’s not to like?
Read the full interview here.
Sinestro's series at DC Comics is dark and unforgiving. Writer Cullen Bunn has put one of DC's most infamous villains into the spotlight as Sinestro tries to rebuild his corps. Bunn answered a few of our questions about this series and what fans can expect in future issues of this new series.
COMIC VINE: We're only 3 issues in, but what have you enjoyed about writing this series thus far?
CULLEN BUNN: Hey! Bad guys are just more fun!
Sinestro is one of those characters who, by the nature of his overwhelming ego, is just a blast to write. He presents an interesting storytelling perspective. He’s completely convinced that his way… his methods… are right. So great is his conviction, he’s willing to take almost any step, no matter how devious or cruel, to reach his goals.
Also, there are some really great inter-team dynamics with the Sinestro Corps. I haven’t had the chance to explore the intrigue and backstabbing and posturing I have planned, but it’s something that I’ve been planning on since my earliest brainstorming. I’ve been able to hint at it, but there’s much more to come!
CV: Why did you choose to tap into Lyssa Drak so heavily?
CB: There’s a certain horror vibe I really wanted to tap into for this series, and Lyssa Drak fit in perfectly with that. That sense of eldritch terror and strangeness only became more pronounced when Lyssa branded herself with the words of the Book of Parallax. Her prophetic visions… her cryptic utterances… her sinister insanity… These things just bring a new level of creepiness to the story.
Lyssa has a pretty interesting role to play. Even though Sinestro doesn’t trust her, she is perhaps his closest allies. She worships him. Whether Sinestro would admit it or not, he can appreciate that kind of adoration. Their relationship will be growing and changing in some unexpected ways.
CV: There's this on-going discussion of trust in this book, which Sinestro flat-out states he doesn't really trust anyone, except maybe his daughter, Soranik. Was this a theme you intended to be a part of the book or did it just happen naturally, and is Sinestro capable of trusting anyone or is that just part of the nature of a yellow lantern?
CB: Trust is one of the things I wanted to explore in the book. I think that trust is something that’s pretty difficult to come by in a group like the Sinestro Corps. Every member of the Corps has their own agenda, and you have to remember—these are hardcore villains. They will go to some extreme lengths to accomplish their desires, and they’ll backstab anyone to get what they want. And that’s saying nothing about their secrets. Many of these characters have something to hide. Rigen Kale, for example, has a pretty wild secret he will be struggling to protect. Sinestro has to remain ever on-guard. That level of distrust breeds a lot of paranoia.
CV: Issue #2 has some pretty brutal moments. Is this level of brutality going to continue through the series and what do you think that says about the main character of this book?
CB: Sinestro’s story is punctuated with these lightning strike instances of brutality, so you’ll be seeing that from time to time. I think brutal violence is just one weapon in Sinestro’s arsenal. When the Yellow Lanterns were under Arkillo’s control, they might have relied too heavily on brutality. That works to Sinestro’s advantage to some degree, because he knows what to expect from them, but he has tricks they might not suspect.
CV: Sinestro does have a soft side, for his daughter. Will we see Soranik's more caring side rubbing off on Sinestro, or is this all about Sinestro trying to get her to follow in his footsteps?
CB: There’s this kind of tug of war between Sinestro and his daughter. Soranik does not trust her father, and Sinestro wants his daughter’s love and respect. With Soranik becoming a permanent member of the cast, she becomes the voice of morality. She’s going to see some things that she cannot condone. At the same time, Sinestro is going to be hiding some of his actions from Soranik. The question becomes… will Soranik sway Sinestro toward the light? Or will Soranik become more like her father?
CV: Is SINESTRO going to stay separate from the other GL books or will there be some crossover?
CB: As much as I like telling stories that stand on their own, SINESTRO is part of a greater universe, so you’ll definitely be seeing him crossover with the other GL books. In issues 4 and 5, Sinestro and Hal Jordan will be meeting up. It’s an encounter that will answer some of the big questions that have been looming since our first issue—most importantly, where’s Parallax?
CV: What can you tell us about the Church of Anti-Emotion, which has been mentioned a couple times in this series?
CB: When I first started working on the series, I wanted a boogieman—someone or something that is lurking out there in the depths of space, surfacing from time to time to plague the Sinestro Corps. I wanted this antagonist to be above petty concepts of good and evil. And so, the Paling was born. Part Borg, part Holy Inquisition, part horror show. Sinestro first draws their attention when he strikes at a congregation of their “worshippers” in the first issue. From that point, they target the Sinestro Corps, but they could potentially become a threat to all of the Lanterns.
CV: Getting into character design, we've seen a giant robot, a creature that looks like a tumor on top of a hand, and a character that looks made up of surfboards. Are there any weird character designs that you and artist Dale Eaglesham have come up with for future issues?
CB: Dale comes up with many of those designs on his own. I often write suggestions in the scripts for some of these tertiary characters, but they are pretty loose at best. For example, I never expected a character who looked like he was made of surfboards! It’s tough sometimes, because some of those characters are slated for a terrible death before I see the awesome design. Then I feel bad that we’re killing them off!
And, yes, you can expect some more wild designs popping up in the series.
CV: How do you and Dale get into the darker mindset to not only create some more sinister looking character but develop these darker stories?
CB: I think maybe we’re both just a little messed up to begin with.
I can’t speak for Dale, but I tend to be more comfortable with darker, more horrific tones and stories.
CV: Finally, does Sinestro truly have the best mustache in DC?
CB: For many years, I sported a mustache. Well, it was probably more of a pseudo-stache. When I was 16, a cute girl told me it looked good on me, so I kept that mustache for many, many years. And it was awful. So, it makes me genuinely happy to write a story about a character who wears a mustache so well!
From Comic Book Resources
When Robert Venditti took the reigns on "Green Lantern" last year from Geoff Johns, his primary goal with the series was to make a leader out of Hal Jordan. Mission accomplished.
As the current arc, "Uprising" comes to a close this week in DC Comics' "Green Lantern" #33 and next week in "Green Lantern Corps" #33, Hal has proven indispensable and absolutely capable of leading the Corps against a full-scale Durlan invasion utilizing a wide range of tactics including a Stonewall Jackson-like field assault and a bait-and-switch covert operation that would leave Jack Bauer grinning. And Jack Bauer doesn't grin.
But it hasn't been all Hal all the time with Venditti, The increasingly busy writer -- he is currently working on "Green Lantern," "The Flash" and "X-O Manowar" while completing his debut novel "Miles Taylor and the Golden Cape" -- has also delivered new heroes and villains to the Green Lantern mythos including game-changing Zezzite Gorin-Sunn.
With the Billy Tan-drawn "Uprising" Part 5 in stores this week and the final chapter coming next week, CBR News connected with Venditti to discuss Hal's growth as a leader, Gorin-Sunn's unexpected, yet well-received, prominence in the current arc and the upcoming return of one villain he created for the series (Relic) and an undead army that he didn't (Black Lanterns).
Venditti also teased that as big as "Uprising" was for Hal Jordan and the Corps, what's coming this fall is even bigger.
CBR News: When you are writing characters with a long history like Green Lantern, obviously developing a threat not only worthy of a confrontation but who is also fresh and exciting for readers, is of the utmost importance. Can you talk about the big bads of "Uprising," the Durlans, and how you were able to build them up into such a worthy adversary for the Green Lantern Corps this time around?
Robert Venditti: It started in "Green Lantern Corps" with a story featuring the Durlans and the Khunds -- two alien races with a history in the DCU so we didn't create them as villains. They were working in the background in "Green Lantern Corps" and at the same time, Hal was going up against the Outer Clans, which is like the Wild West on the fringe of the DC Universe. Van [Jensen] and I were talking because there are certain things we want to do with the two books and those are going to continue to come to fruition throughout the rest of this year and this is one large piece of it. What we want to do with Hal and John is have a storyline that if you read both books together, you would get a larger story but each individual one stands on its own, too. For example, the three "Uprising" issues in "Green Lantern" are about Gorin-Sunn and the people of Zezzen and the energy aspect of Durlans; and over in "Green Lantern Corps," it's about Sodam Yat and the Daxamites and finding out about DNA aspect of the Durlans' plan. There is two individual plots that you didn't really realize were connected until the very end and everybody ends up in the same spot for the final big battle. That was the challenge that we set for ourselves -- to tell a story that would do those things and have big moments in both books and sew them together to make something even bigger.
Read the full interview here.
Since Robert Venditti took over the Green Lantern title a year ago, he's been re-molding Hal Jordan and the Corps with a slew of new challenges, new characters and new villains.
But coming this fall, the writer promises the Corps will face an adversary that's "possibly the largest adversary the Green Lantern Corps has ever faced."
The villain — or rather, villains, as Venditti revealed — is yet another new concept, and this time it's going to be significant for not just for the Green Lanterns, but the DC Universe as a whole.
This week, Green Lantern #33 finished up the title's participation in the crossover event, Uprising, setting up the story's finale in next week's Green Lantern Corps #33. In August, Simon Baz comes for a visit in Green Lantern #34.
But in September, readers will not only get a tie-in to the Futures End weekly with Venditti's Green Lantern: Futures End #1, but they'll also see references to what's coming in 2014-2015 for the whole Green Lantern universe.
Venditti was previously best known for his work with Top Shelf, including his comic-turned-Bruce Willis film The Surrogates. More recently, he's been helping Valiant revive its characters.
But in June 2013, Venditti became one of the key architects of the Green Lantern titles, not only writing Green Lantern solo, but also helping out Van Jensen on Green Lantern Corps (although Jensen has since taken the book over).
As the Green Lantern Corps finishes up its war with the Durlans and heads toward this new adversary, Newsarama talked to Venditti to find out more about what's coming up in Green Lantern.
Newsarama: Rob, this week's issue felt like an ending, and it takes the Green Lanterns – and I'm sure your intent was, even the readers — by surprise when it turns out the story isn't over. Was that the plan from the start? And why go about it that way?
Robert Venditti: Yeah, that was the way the storyline was structured. It ties into the specific nature of the villain that the Green Lanterns are dealing with. The villains are all about deception, and all about lulling people into a false sense of security, and then they strike. And that's exactly how we tried to model the story to reflect this particular enemy, and how it will be different than any other adversary that the Green Lanterns have faced — really try to tap into the Durlans' unique quality.
Nrama: One of the things that happened during this storyline that we haven't talked about yet is that we found Sodam Yat still alive. Can you speak to the introduction of that character to your story, and whether he'll play a role in the Green Lantern universe going forward?
Venditti: Yes to the last part of that question.
But for the first part, you know, it all happened very organically. As Van and I had been working on Green Lantern Corps together, and we were researching and reading up on all the histories of the books, Sodam Yat was a character who just seemed to disappear from the pages. You know? He was a big part of the series, and all of the sudden he was gone. And it was never really, clearly explained what happened to him.
So that was a mystery that Van and I had always wondered ourselves. You know, what happened? Where did he go?
And so when we were putting together the storylines for the Durlans, we thought this was an opportunity to bring Sodam Yat into it. And it just sort of struck us that it would perfectly explain where Sodam Yat has been all this time, and also add a lot of dimension to his character, because he comes from this world that was very isolationist, and he was fascinated with alien life and traveling and things like that. But his parents always told him to stay home, and we're not supposed to leave the planet. Of course, Sodam Yat would become a Green Lantern anyways.
Well, it turns out in retrospect that, in some way, this almost abhorrent philosophy his father had ended up being accurate, because if Sodam Yat had stayed home, nobody would have ever known there were Daxamites, and the villains would have never come.
So this seemed like a way to bring a lot of storylines together and also develop a lot of character.
Nrama: I know, going forward, in the solicitations, there's mention of Simon Baz. Are you bringing him into the Green Lantern title, and can you tell us what role he's playing?
Venditti: It's not going to be a permanent position in the book. The way the Green Lantern universe is structured right now, Simon Baz is Earth's lone Green Lantern, so he's there watching over Earth while Hal and John and Guy and Kyle are out among the universe. So it's not going to be a permanent position for him in Green Lantern.
But he is, of course, a member of the Corps, and he does have a role to play in issue #34. And he will be back in the main series again, but it's still going to remain Hal's book.
Nrama: Getting back to the current storyline, it's finishing up in Green Lantern Corps, right?
Venditti: That's correct, yep.
Nrama: Although we don't know the end, I was wondering about the thoughts you guys had as you crafted this storyline and the themes you're exploring. Obviously, the Green Lantern Corps isn't very well liked right now. What has this storyline and the challenges of "Uprising" meant to the Green Lantern Corps?
Venditti: It's established this status quo for the Green Lantern Corps that, through some mistakes they've made themselves and that Hal has made himself, but also through some of the ways in which the villains have portrayed them inaccurately, they’ve become a force that the universe doesn't really necessarily be enforcing law anymore. There's some question about if they're the right people for that job.
The events of Green Lantern #33 certainly show the Corps acting and behaving in a way that's very heroic and they saved this world and this race and the larger universe from a pretty bad end, that's news that's never going to leave that world.
So it's almost like they're going to have to win back the universe's trust, one world at a time, which is obviously a very huge undertaking.
All of that's going to play into future storylines that we have planned, that are already in the works. It's going to be a theme that we're going to continue to play with.
And it just kind of mirrors law enforcement in the modern day, you know? Police officers are out there, doing what they can to keep neighborhoods safe, but a lot of neighborhoods, nobody's really happy to see a police officer. If you're speeding on the highway, and you see a cop behind you, you're not happy to see him. You know?
So it's kind of looking at that aspect of law enforcement, and what it takes to do that job in scenarios where they're not necessarily invited to do that job.
Nrama: You're writing the Futures End tie-in in September, with Green Lantern: Futures End #1. I'm curious what you're going to be exploring. In the weekly, we've seen what the Futures End world is like. Can you reveal anything about the story you're telling?
Venditti: Yeah, you've seen a lot of Futures End in the weekly series, which is all pretty Earth-based.
As Green Lantern has been since the new creative teams took over, it's going to be primarily a story set out in the wider universe. But it's going to pull on those same threads and those same conflicts that are going on in Futures End, and also hint at a lot of really big things that we have to come.
The back half of this year is going to be a very important year for the Green Lantern franchise. And it will all be hinted at in the five years later issue.
Nrama: So the September issue isn't just an "Elseworlds" type, what if story? It specifically refers to things you guys intend to have happen to the Green Lantern universe in the future?
Venditti: Yeah, it's one of those things where, when you read the stories over the next six months, you'll be able to go back to that issue and see how they tied in.
They won't necessarily be immediately apparent. But you'll see how those threads come together if you go back and give that issue another look, if that makes sense. Because we don't want to give anything away.
Nrama: I know we'll find out soon about what's coming in October, but can you tease this "important" story that's coming later this year?
Venditti: Yeah, it's not an understatement to say that it is possibly the largest adversary that the Green Lantern Corps has ever faced.
Nrama: Is this a new character? This adversary?
Venditti: Um, yes. It is new characters.
Nrama: Oh, not just one.
Venditti: Yeah, not one, but new "characters."
Nrama: And it's huge.
Venditti: It's going to be hugely significant, not just for the Green Lantern line, but the DC Universe as a whole.
So it's a big story. It's ambitious.
And it's also going to continue to follow a lot of the things we've been dealing with, particularly in Green Lantern with Hal Jordan in a leadership position.
What we've seen with this war, in Green Lantern #33, you know, he fights a final battle that involves artillery and ground forces and a pretty well-thought-out, well-planned strategy, with a rouse involved and all these kinds of things. I mean, this is all hugely forward for him as a character. He's a guy who just charges in with his ring and starts fighting. And now he's putting together battle strategies on a massive scale.
So we're going to see how these changes in his character, and how he's grown as a leader, work to his benefit, and potentially even work against him when going up against this new, greater threat."