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!
IGN Comics: Anyone who has read your work knows that you have a penchant for villains, or at least anti-heroes or heroes with checkered pasts – Wolverine, Deadpool, Magneto, and even Drake Sinclair from your Sixth Gun series – so you writing Sinestro feels like a great fit. What makes Sinestro different from the other “bad guys” you’ve written before?
Cullen Bunn: I definitely have a preference for writing anti-heroes and bad guys, especially when they have motivations that the average “good” person can understand and get behind. Snake Plisken, Vick Mackey, Boyd Crowder, Walter White, Parker… these are characters I love (or love to hate), and they tend to be the types of characters I want to write. These folks do “bad things” but we can almost understand their reasons (if not their methods). I think there’s a kind of joy in dancing between wanting to see one of these villains succeed… and wanting to see them finally get their comeuppance.
My hope is that each of the villains I write will have his or her own motivation that readers can understand, whether they agree or disagree. In every case, I think there is a kind of personal tragedy behind these characters.
What makes Sinestro stand out is that he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. He legitimately believes that “his way” is the “only way” to save the universe. His pride has cost him everything, really, but he fails to see that. That’s what makes him so tragic.
IGN: How did you come to be on Sinestro's new series? Were you a fan of Green Lantern before or is this new territory for you?
Bunn: When editor Matt Idleson asked me if I’d like to write the series, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I always liked Green Lantern, but I wasn’t necessarily a diehard fan. I read stories here and there when I came across them. I did, however, follow Johns’ run on the character pretty closely, and I especially liked the “Sinestro Corps War” storyline. As mentioned, I like writing villainous characters, but I’ve also always wanted to write an epic space opera type story. So this was a natural fit for me.
IGN: Fans have been clamoring for a Yellow Lanterns/Sinestro Corps series for years. What was the thinking behind the decision to make this comic about Sinestro himself, not necessarily his Corps?
Bunn: Well, the Sinestro Corps will feature prominently in the book, but I believe that in this case, with a group of characters that is so vast, it’s important to have that one constant point-of-view character. While there will be many Yellow Lanterns at play in this book, we’ll be seeing the story through the eyes of Sinestro and a few key Lanterns. Another reason it’s important to see much of this story through Sinestro’s eyes is because we need to understand why he’s taking these drastic actions. Sinestro is a treacherous character, and he’s running a number of dangerous games, but I want the reader to have a pretty good idea of what he’s up to.
IGN: Could you clarify the time frame that this story takes place? It seems as though it’s post-Forever Evil because he no longer has Parallax.
Bunn: This story definitely takes place post-Forever Evil. A few months perhaps. As for Parallax, we’ll hint at what happened there, but you’ll have to wait until issue 5 or so to find out the whole story.
IGN: We see a quick glimpse of these awesome necro-priests that you call the Shepherds of a religion of Anti-Emotion. First of all, just seeing that page gave me chills, they’re pretty awesome, in a creepy way. Will they be the antagonists of the series?
Bunn: Ah, yes! The Paling! They are an extremely creepy bunch. When you’re dealing with bad guys like Sinestro and the Yellow Lanterns, you have to introduce foes who are much, much worse. The Paling will fit that bill, and they will be a constant thorn in Sinestro’s side for some time to come.
IGN: What were the conversations like that you had with artist Dale Eaglesham about how you wanted the book to look and feel?
Bunn: Dale and I always seemed to be naturally drawn to the same kind of tone for the story. We talked a little about it early on, and it was really exciting how we were on the same page from the get-go. I can’t remember which of us first spoke the word “Arthurian” in relation to this story. I think it was Dale. But that is a tone I’d always had in mind… sort of an Excalibur in space.
IGN: Anything you’d like to say to someone interested in picking up this title to get them excited?
Bunn: I think if you’re a fan of Sinestro… or of space epics… or of cosmic horror… or of the political intrigue… this book will have something for you. It’s a dark book, yes, but we’re also further developing Sinestro’s rich character and introducing a number of new Lanterns I think people will like. There’s plenty of interpersonal dynamics among this new iteration of the Sinestro Corps. Hell, there’s even some romance! And there are plenty of surprises in store for long-time Lantern fans and new readers alike!
The new SINESTRO series digs deeper into Sinestro's fears
There's a new Sinestro series out featuring the writing of Cullen Bunn and the art of Dale Eaglesham. The book follows the once leader of the Sinestro Corps and is the first time, in quite some while, that a villain has had his own on-going series at DC. Cullen Bunn took the time to answer some questions about this series.
COMIC VINE: What will the focus of this series be about?
CULLEN BUNN: As this series begins, Sinestro has gone into a self-imposed exile. He’s abandoned his quest for control over the universe. But he soon learns that he can’t go into retirement just yet. He believed that his people—the Korugarians—had been lost when his home planet of Korugar was destroyed. But he discovers that many Korugarians are still alive. They fled Korugar in secret while it was under Sinestro’s rule. They now live as refugees cast throughout the galaxy, and they are persecuted and mistreated, in part because of their connection to Sinestro. That’s enough to bring him out of exile. He has a new mission—save his people —but he needs help to accomplish this. For that assistance, he turns to the Sinestro Corps. The Corps, however, has fallen far from what Sinestro had envisioned for it.
So, the focus for Sinestro (and for the book) is saving the Korugarians and returning the Sinestro Corps to its former glory. Of course, those are just the first steps for Sinestro. As he sees his plans coming together, greater plans begin to take shape.
Sinestro’s own pride and ambition will be both his greatest assets and his greatest enemies.
CV: Why is it time for a Sinestro on-going series?
CB: I think it’s past time! Sinestro has been one of the most popular villains (and most popular characters in general) for several years. He’s not a character who is suited to long periods of obscurity. He’s made a mark on the DC Universe, and readers want to know what’s next for him.
CV: For some of the newer readers out there, what's changed about this character, since the New 52 began?
CB: Sinestro has gone through a number of significant changes in recent years, but the events that have rattled him to the core have been the destruction of his homeworld of Korugar, his abandonment of the Sinestro Corps, and the estrangement of his daughter, Soranik Natu. These things will all play a major role in his new adventures, because he’s really setting out to “make things right” with his people, his daughter, and his army.
CV:In Sinestro's past, mainly pre-52, there's been a power play for leader ship of the Corps. Is Sinestro going to be leading again, and if so, will there be those in the corps that don't want him in power?
CB: Sinestro doesn’t necessarily see leading the Corps as something he wants. He sees it as a necessity. In his mind, he’s the only person who is good enough to control the Yellow Lanterns. So, yes, he’s going to make a move to take control again. And, yes, there will be those who do not want anything to do with Sinestro. He’ll spot some of these dissenters right away, but there will be those who are a little more secretive and cunning. Some of Sinestro’s greatest detractors will be in positions of great power within the Corps.
CV: In GREEN LANTERN CORPS, we've seen Arkillo pop back up. Will he have any connection to this series?
CB: Most certainly! Arkillo will be a regular supporting character in the series, along with many of the Yellow Lanterns. You’ll see most of your favorite Yellow Lanterns in this book, but there will be a core group of focal characters. Sinestro, Arkillo, Lyssa Drak, and a couple of new characters and surprise characters.
CV: What tone are you going for on this series?
CB: There are a couple of moods playing against each other in this series. Because the Yellow Lanterns are fear-based, there will always be an undercurrent of horror and darkness in the book. At the same time, the series will depict epic cosmic adventures—other worlds, other cultures, aliens—and I’m hoping to get the idea across that the universe has a deep history of its own that we’ve only seen glimpses of. Exploration and discovery will be important story elements. Finally, there will be a lot of intrigue and politics at play here, a lot of double-dealing and backstabbing as Sinestro tries to control the Yellow Lanterns. All of those elements should come together to give the book its own distinct flavor.
CV: Aside from Sinestro, what are some of the other aspects, within his life you wanted to focus on?
CB: Sinestro’s relationship with Soranik Natu is of great interest to me. Here we have a terrible villain who wants to be a father to a great hero. How he deals with his daughter is something that will inform readers as to the type of character he really is.
CV: Will this series be new-reader friendly? How much of the recent GL-events will need to be known?
CB: I’ve tried to keep this book as new-reader friendly as possible. There’s obviously a very rich history with Sinestro, but I’ve tried to summarize it pretty quickly in just a couple of pages. Those are elements that I’ll layer on as the series progresses. In the meantime, as long as you can buy into the idea that he was once a great (if somewhat misguided) man and lost everything because of his actions, you’ll be able to follow the book pretty easily.