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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Battle of the Origins - Green Lantern Part Two

Today, I'll talk about the villains of the stories and Sinestro himself.

Villains

When it comes to villains, Green Lantern doesn’t have the best. Some of them have gotten more play since Geoff Johns has been on the title but I can’t really think of any other than the recent ones. So, which origin has the best villains? I’ll try to figure that out.

Emerald Dawn has one villain: Legion. Deriving its name from the Bible, Legion is actually a collective of what was left of the Tchki-tchki. Years ago, they were a war-like race that the Guardians imprisoned on their home planet. Over the years, they evolved into a gelatinous collective and developed a yellow battlesuit in order to fight the Corps. With the suit, Legion causes a lot of rampage on Earth and Oa. Legion’s the main reason Hal gets the ring since it kills Abin Sur. It also kills Hal’s paralyzed friend on Earth. Hal does get his revenge on Legion at the end.
Uh-oh. Hal's about to get beat up by Big Bird's cousin!

Emerald Dawn 2 really doesn’t have a main villain per se. A bank robber that Hal captures at the beginning of the story causes a serious prison riot toward the end. He also injures Hal’s cellmate, Willie. He gets dealt with by Sinestro who erases his memory. The other villain is Sinestro. This is essentially his downfall from the Corps. I’m actually saving Sinestro for his own section since the character plays a heavy role in Secret Origin. Still, Sinestro was pretty nuts here. He’s a complete control freak and that led him to become a dictator on Korugar and come against the Corps. In the end, he gets exiled to Qward.
Oh Sin... what a funny nutball.

Secret Origin has a main villain and the origins of two villains. The main villain of the piece is Atrocious. He is one of the survivors of Sector 666, a sector that was destroyed by the Guardians’ first protectors, the Manhunters. The Manhunters had a glitch in their programming that led them to destroy the sector a long time ago. Atrocious and other survivors (the Five Inversions) have the power of prophecy and this is what leads Abin Sur to that sector. In order to learn more about “the Blackest Night,” Abin takes Atrocious off his planet and to sector 2814. Atrocious breaks his bonds and fatally wounds Abin which leads them to crash on Earth.  Atrocious then kills some soldiers on Earth in order to find who will bring upon "the Blackest Night." It takes both Sinestro and Hal to beat him and take him back to Sector 666.

The other villains who appear are Hector Hammond and Black Hand. We see Hammond before his accident as he tries to court Carol. He gets exposed to a meteor that gives him mental powers. It also enlarges his head. He attacks Carol and Hal but is fortunately taken out by Sinestro. We get creepily introduced to William Hand (Black Hand) who’s checking out a corpse… yeah. He got issues, yo! Just read Blackest Night and see what he does to “Bruce Wayne’s” skull… ugh. Atrocitus tries to kill Hand since he knows that Hand will bring upon the Blackest Night. After Atrocious is beaten, Hand finds Atrocious’s weapon which he eventually uses when he turns to crime.
Wow, Hammond's good at stating the obvious.

I can definitely say that these aren’t the greatest villains in the world. Well, I can probably exclude Sinestro off that list. Legion is really the only villain in these origins who really provides a threat to Earth and Oa. Its yellow armor deflects the Lanterns’ rings. Its motive is simple; it wants revenge on the Guardians for what they did. Atrocitus is kind of in that same boat. His motives are more geared at one person: Black Hand. His actions do lead to things happening later on in Geoff Johns’ run on the book.

Sinestro’s a dictator. I think that’s all I can say about him. While he is a control freak, there is a part of me that understands what he wanted to do. All he wanted was order. Unfortunately, he ticked off his whole planet to do it. His banishment ended up creating one of Green Lantern’s best foes. The random bank robber really does nothing for me. He’s just there to cause trouble in the prison and that’s it.

As for Hammond and Hand, I got mixed feelings on both of them. Their origins are okay but I’m not their biggest fans. I will say that Hammond is a little better but not by much. He’s just Professor Xavier with a large head. He may be threatening and pretty gross, but he’s not interesting to me. Then we get to Black ‘Necrophiliac’ Hand. All I can say is this: what the heck was Johns thinking? I mean… that’s it? He likes his women dead and isn’t afraid to show it? How can I be interested in a villain that’s so… Ugh!
Aaaaaaa!!!!!

Ultimately, I have to go with Emerald Dawn on this one. While I think Legion doesn’t go anywhere after this story, he provided a credible threat to Hal and the Corps. Sinestro’s dilemma in the second mini-series sealed the deal for me. As for Secret Origin, Atrocitus is okay but he is really the only one I sort of liked in that origin. The other two don’t do much for me. 
 
Emerald Dawn – 2
Secret Origin – 1

Next up, I will look more at Sinestro and basically see which version of the character is better.

Sinestro

Sinestro is one of Green Lantern’s biggest and best foes. While he’s not one of my favorite villains, there’s something about that purplish-red dude that’s cool. Maybe it’s the yellow ring, but he doesn’t get that in these stories. For those who don’t know, Thaal Sinestro hails from the planet of Krougar. The Guardians considered him to be one of their best officers.  He ended up losing his ring and was exiled for overstepping his boundaries as an officer. He eventually became a big thorn in the side of Hal and the Guardians.

Sinestro serves as Hal’s mentor in both stories. He was ordered by the Guardians to mentor Hal in Emerald Dawn 2. Unlike Emerald Dawn 2, Sinestro comes to Earth in Secret Origin (at the behest of Ghanhet) to find out what happened to Abin Sur. He meets Hal and does his best to get Hal under some sense of order with his ring.  Both versions are obsessed with order with Emerald Dawn Sinestro being more OCD about it. They also regarded Abin Sur as a good officer and friend.
Hey, he doesn't sound like a completely loony person here! Cool.

They really don’t differ that much. They’re a little snobbish and would rather talk out a situation. As I said before, Emerald Dawn Sinestro is more obsessed with order and with keeping his sector constantly in check. He also thinks he’s the greatest thing ever because of his orderly keeping. He even has a slamming flat-top that would have easily made him the next member of New Edition. Secret Origin Sinestro isn’t as obsessed with order but it is there. We do get a hint that he will go down the dark path that Emerald Dawn Sinestro went towards the end. For now, he’s just fighting for the good guys.

Their relationship with Hal is also different. In both stories, Sinestro tries to teach Hal in how to use his ring and be a good GL. In Emerald Dawn 2, their relationship starts off rocky and gets worse when Hal finds out about Sinestro’s dictatorship. Their relationship in Secret Origin starts out rocky as well, but it does end at a good place. Sinestro was the one who basically told Hal to stop being such a bull-headed idiot which is always nice to see. We do get a hint that it could go the way it did in Emerald Dawn 2.
I think this issue (as well as the whole series) truly shows this Sinestro as a loon. Also, nice flat-top. He'd fit in nicely with New Edition.

In the end, I’ll have to go with Johns’ Sinestro for a few reasons. First, he’s actually kind of likable. He may be full of himself, but he’s not a complete snob. He also gets to berate Hal who is a bit of a jerk in the story. I definitely like him for that! Johns did so much for that character in order to make him kind of cool. I just didn’t like Sinestro that much in Emerald Dawn 2 even though we get his completed fall from grace.
Hmm... looks like foreshadowing to me!

Emerald Dawn – 2

Secret Origin – 2

Next time, I’m actually going to be looking at how the Green Lantern Corps is presented in both stories. I'll also be looking at other supporting characters in the stories. So, get ready for a ring-slinging, Guardian-bashing time!

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