By: Geoff Johns (writer), Doug Mahnke (penciller), Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen (inkers), Alex Sinclair & Tony Avina (colorists)

The Story: Instead of power rings, maybe it’s best the mob goes back to pitchforks and torches.

The Review: It’s a funny thing about people.  We spend a great lot of our time figuring them out, usually to no success, and then we end up pinning semi-arbitrary labels on them anyway.  We hold onto those labels far longer than reasonable, even with all the evidence to the contrary, and then at the drop of a dime, we switch out those labels for new ones, sticking to those just as fervently and with just as little support.

That’s pretty much what’s happening between the people of Korugar and Sinestro in this issue.  In a few blinks of the eye, they go from readying themselves to waste him to shouting hoorahs in his name.  In their defense, Sinestro does accomplish exactly what he set out to do, which is to free his homeworld from the corps he created, and it’s mostly the impressionable children who look at him adoringly, while the adults seem to have no idea what to make of him now.

But that’s completely understandable.  As this series has gone on, it’s gotten harder and harder to remember that Sinestro is considered a villain in the grand scheme of things.  He’s just so darn competent that objectively, you can’t help admiring the guy to some degree.  In fact, as you watch him coolly whip out back-up plan after back-up plan, executing each one with perfect precision, you get vibes of Batman, master of prep-time himself, and you understand why Hal seems to rub against both men the wrong way.

I suppose it’d be poor form to talk about an issue of Green Lantern without mentioning Hal at some point.  Really, though, he’s been so overshadowed by his “partner” these issues that he’s become a sidekick in his own title.  In a way, he deserves that status.  The first issue saw him down on his luck, with no job, no house, no mode of transportation, mooching dinner off his girlfriend, who he can’t bring himself to commit to, all of which makes him seem like the boy who won’t grow up and throw down some roots.

Poetic indeed that when he returns to Earth, as much of a vagabond as before, he finally gets his act together and does the grown-up thing for once.  It’s actually a very moving moment, when he’s just about to have a fit about once again losing his powers, saying it’s all he wants, only to trail off, leading into a reconciliation with Carol that climaxes with this rather winning bit of romance: “I know you and I will never, ever work.  But I want it to work.”  And with Hal, that line pretty much means he’ll make it work.

I’d like to note one throwaway detail Johns drops in the thick of the action on Korugar, which you might easily overlook, but which has more significance than you might think.  Hal accuses Sinestro of trying to get him killed when he sent him into the Yellow Central Battery a couple issues ago.  Sinestro corrects him, “It was trying to help you.”  “…By unzipping my molecules?  What it’d do to me?”  “Nothing…harmful.”  So there’s something with Sinestro’s fingerprints lingering inside Hal somewhere; we’ll have to wait to see how it manifests itself.

With such a massive art team on board, it’s hard to believe the issue looks as consistent as it does, but the army of inkers meshes their work very well, emphasizing the very best of Mahnke’s lush, detailed figures.  I know of few artists who sell a close-up the way he can, not afraid of getting right in the characters’ faces, letting the intensity in their expressions glare at you.  And he really knows how to portray the spectacular scope of the Lanterns’ powers; check out that panel of Sinestro dragging the massive Yellow Central Battery and four equally large cell blocks behind him as he guides it through space.

Conclusion: This is Johns doing his most consistent work on a title for which he has an obvious love and endless imagination for.  Solid throughout and a good return to form.

Grade: A-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – And if you’re still not convinced that Sinestro’s a total badass, how’s about this gem of a line: “You can [break the ring] if you push it hard enough.  I’ve done it. Twice.”