Sinestro: Who is the Renegade Lantern?

Why would you trust a guy named Sinestro?

Sinestro:In blackest day, in brightest night
Beware your fears made into light
Let those who try to stop what’s right
Burn like my power… Sinestro’s might!

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War

A ship is being chased by space pirates. Their shields have kept them safe, but they are failing. A brilliant light shines ahead. They swerve as a magenta-skinned figure flies past. Golden beams shoot from his ring and destroy two of the attackers.

The pirates return fire, but their lasers dissipate against the figure’s force-field. He disables their engines and focuses. His next beam takes the form of a giant dragon that slowly tears the ship apart. The figure seems to bask in their fear. He finally focuses on the construct. The dragon shape inhales and Sinestro watches golden flames incinerate the pirates.

Sinestro is one of DC’s more complicated villains. He was originally The Joker in space, but has evolved into an ambiguous character. So who is he? How did he become a villain? What is the Sinestro Corps? I’m afraid it’s time to find out.

Fall From Grace: Sinestro’s Backstory

Sinestro: [holding Hal by the throat] “Let me tell you, ‘friend.’ The only way to operate out here is by fear. They hit, I hit harder. They attack, I annihilate. I am the one, constant, unassailable force against their chaos and YOU MADE THEM FORGET THAT!

Green Lantern: First Flight

Sinestro debuted in Green Lantern #7 in 1961. He was created by John Broome and Gil Kane, who said that they based his appearance on David Niven and his personality on Adolf Hitler. Modern Sinestro is often written like Denzel Washington’s bad cop from Training Day.

Thaal Sinestro was the Green Lantern Corps’ model member. The space sector he protected was one of the universe’s safest. Unknown to his colleagues, Sinestro had conquered his homeworld of Korugar and ran his sector like a police state to protect it.

Sinestro was assigned to teach a new Green Lantern named Hal Jordan. While defending Korugar from invaders, Jordan called for reinforcements and exposed his teacher’s tyranny. The Guardians of the Universe expelled Sinestro and banished him to an antimatter universe for his crimes.

While wandering the antimatter universe, Sinestro encountered The Guardians’ counterparts, The Weaponers of Qward. They made him their agent in the positive universe and forged a yellow Power Ring that could overpower a Green Lantern ring. Sinestro returned to his universe and began a campaign of fear.

Parallax: Sinestro’s History

Sinestro: I never fathomed that the impurity was alive. That my Qwardian ring was tapping into sentient fear.

Green Lantern: Rebirth

Sinestro launched many attacks on the Green Lanterns, bolstered by their inability to affect him or his ring because of a “yellow impurity” in their rings. Despite his success, he was never able to kill Hal or the Guardians. But that all changed when he examined the Lantern’s central power battery and discovered the source of the yellow impurity, Parallax: the embodiment of fear.

The Guardians had sealed away Parallax millennia ago, and the emotional entity agreed to help Sinestro in exchange for its freedom. The duo manipulated Jordan into being possessed by a fragment of Parallax and faked Sinestro’s death. Jordan nearly destroyed the Green Lantern Corps before he was seemingly freed and sacrificed his life to save Earth.

Jordan’s soul was merged with a powerful being called The Spectre. Parallax used its connection to manipulate the Spectre’s power and freed itself with Sinestro’s help. The terrifying duo nearly conquered the universe, but were defeated by the four human Green Lanterns and the Justice League.

Parallax’s defeat taught Sinestro that he can’t take on the Green Lanterns alone. It was time to fight fire with fire and a corps with a corps.

The Sinestro Corps: Sinestro’s Modern Stories

Sinestro:It’s my dream that one day, all this rot will be wiped away. A new order will prevail, one that will end the chaos. But it won’t be built by the faint of heart.

Green Lantern: First Flight

Sinestro returned to the Weaponers and had them mass produce yellow rings that would seek out wielders with “the ability to instill great fear.” By sheer coincidence, that included several evil counterparts to famous Green Lanterns. This motley group was named the Sinestro Corps and set out to slaughter the Lanterns.

The Sinestro Corps wreaked havoc across the galaxy even before they recruited two ringers: Superboy Prime and The Anti-Monitor. Those nigh-invincible villains helped decimate the Green Lanterns, who broke their greatest taboo by authorizing lethal force. The Corps was eventually defeated by an alliance of Lanterns and heroes from Earth, but escaped to fight another day.

Sinestro’s actions unwittingly led to the creation of five more Lantern Corps, each drawing on a different part of the Emotional Spectrum. It also caused the Blackest Night, where a being called Nekron raised the dead as zombie Black Lanterns to kill everyone. Sinestro briefly became a White Lantern to fight Nekron, but that power was lost and bonded to Hal Jordan, who defeated Nekron.

Sinestro eventually killed the Guardians of the Universe after merging with Parallax. He fought a final battle that he quickly forfeited against Jordan. He had done what he set out to do and forgave his former pupil. Sinestro left the known universe and went into exile with Parallax, where I’m sure we’ll neeeeeever see them again.

Yellow Light of Fear: Sinestro’s Powers and Personality

Sinestro:You were going to ask me a question, Jordan. Long ago when we were trapped on Ysmault and we both believed we were about to die. What was it?
Green Lantern:Were we ever truly friends?
Sinestro:That’s the tragedy of all this Jordan. Hal. We’ll always be friends.

Green Lantern: Wrath of the First Lantern

They didn’t call Sinestro the greatest Green Lantern for a laugh. He is a master at using Power Rings, which allow him to fly, generate force-fields, fire lasers, and create energy constructs. He even managed to overload and break two rings, which was thought to be impossible.

A yellow ring is similar to a green one, but draws on fear instead of willpower, and seeks wielders who can inflict fear. They have the unique ability to discern a victim’s greatest fear and create constructs from it. The yellow light weakens Green Lanterns by eroding their willpower, but is vulnerable to the blue light of hope. After all, what is better at dispelling fear than hope?

Sinestro’s good intentions have helped pave a few highways to hell. He truly believes that the only way to protect others is by controlling everything and killing evildoers. He is one of the only beings able to wield every light of the Emotional Spectrum and become a White Lantern. Sinestro’s mastery of fear also makes him the perfect host for Parallax and the only one who can control it.

The Actors Who Play Sinestro

Vic Perrin – Challenge of the Super Friends
Charlie Callas – Legends of the Superheroes
Ted Levine – Superman: the Animated Series, Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited
John de Lancie – Duck Dodgers
Miguel Ferrer – The Batman
Xander Berkeley – Batman: the Brave and the Bold
Ron Perlman – Green Lantern: the Animated Series
Darrin De Paul – Justice League Action
Craig Ferguson – DC Super Hero Girls
Victor Garber – Green Lantern: First Flight
Jason Isaacs – Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Mark Strong – Green Lantern (2011)
Rick D. Wasserman – Green Lantern: Beware My Power

Didya Get All That?

A fallen Green Lantern turned master of fear.

Image source Green Lantern: First Flight Screen Capture

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