Sunday, July 01, 2007

Occasional Reviews:
"Annihilation" Vs. "Sinestro Corps"


"Annihilation Conquest: Prologue" & "Sinestro Corps" pretty much set out to do the same thing: establish the framework of a comic book sci-fi epic and get readers to buy all the tie-ins and spin-offs. The level to which both have succeeded in said mission is the focus of this review.

The books take distinctly different approaches to storytelling. "Annihilation" is a classic science-fiction narrative, with careful world-building and development of political intrigue. "Sinestro Corps" is an unabashed love-fest of both the Green Lantern mythos and the pencil-shavings from the recent "Infinite Crisis." Which approach one prefers depends a lot on the fan.

Basically, if you are not familiar with the Green Lantern Corps, you may find this book a little confusing. The book is fun and full of those exaggerated moments of four-color sturm und drang (my new $10 phrase) that have made "World War Hulk" such a hit. But it also assumes a lot.

"Sinestro Corps" assumes you know all about Hal's troubles, that you know who Parallax is, that you know who "evil Superboy" and "evil Superman robot" are, that you know and care that Kyle's ma was sick, and that you know that the big guy on the last page of the book (the "big reveal") is not Chemo, as I assumed, or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or whomever.

On the other hand, I approached "Annihilation Conquest" with zed knowledge of the previous "Annihilation" series or the characters. I mean, at least I knew who Hal Jordan was -- who the hell is this Quill guy?

But "Annihilation Conquest" walks you through its universe as if every reader was new, as if every reader was as damn clueless as I was. And the result is that by the last page I was on-board to buy most (not all) of the "Annihilation" tie-in books. To actually get me to show any interest in purchasing "Star Lord" -- freakin' STAR LORD! That takes a lot.

I don't think you can get two more different writers than "Sinestro's" Geoff Johns and "Annihilation's" Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning. Johns is writing for the fans, for all those who followed "Infinite Crisis" & "52." Abnett & Lanning are writing classic sci-fi stuff; as they did with "Legion," they carefully build their worlds.

In the end, I chose to follow "Annihilation" through and to assume a wait-and-see stance on future "Green Lantern" books. But if you are specifically a DC fan, I could see how "Sinestro" could get you pumped; it out-Countdowns "Countdown."

As an aside, there is a really strong central female character in "Annihilation" and "Sinestro" is more or less a boy's club until (I assume) crazy mating Star Sapphire flies on the scene. Though I'm expecting a psychedelic girlfriend-in-refrigerator flashback to torment Kyle.


  1. I'm pretty happy with my space books, but more so with Annihilation at the moment (it doesn't hurt to have three hardcovers' worth of material already out). I like how Annihilation is rebuilding Marvel's cosmic ground from the ground up, and I like how the Sinestro stuff is finally providing some proper menace for the space cops with the universe's most powerful weapon to deal with.

    Annihilation is definitely the friendlier read, though. As much as Johns has improved as a writer over the course of Infinite Crisis and 52 (I'd never read a Green Lantern book till I picked up the first issue of "One Year Later", and it's been a blast so far), he's more interested in making old concepts work today. Abnett and Lanning are all about ripping it up and starting again, and everything they touch is charged with the same mad lunacy. Both work, but the edge goes to Annihilation, easy.

    Yay space comics!

  2. Umm... There are female members in the Siniestro Corps. It's kinda unfair to say it's a boy's club when half the members are non-antropomoprhic monsters.

    Also, they explain who the big guy is at the end, when they have that VERY good story about the first meeting between Hal and Siniestro. Putting an interesting spin on the official version of the story.

    I read Annihilation and was not interested at all, it seemed as boring as the pointless saga that preceded it.