Ok, no more stalling.
There was a certain amount of hype and anticipation prior to the purchase of this particular book. Lots of comments and speculation on the various blogs and message boards. Nothing...and I do mean nothing, could have prepared me for how totall frickin' AWESOME this book is!
Firstly, the art is exquisite. The detail, the attention paid to the little things, there is a feast for the eyes on every single page. As there is no separate inker listed in the credits, I must assume that Ethan Van Scriver also did his own inking...and it is all rendered so very beautifully.
Secondly, the coloring by Moose Baumann is spectacular. You can almost feel the heat from the glow of the flames, all the various shades of green and so on. The shading, the mood set by the use of the colors. Again, it is exquisite.
Thirdly, the story itself.
The plot summed up, is that Sinestro wants revenge, enslaves the Qwardians and starts assembling the nastiest bunch of SOB's in the Universe, giving them yellow rings, and creating the Sinestro Corps. Since Sinestro is completely obsessed, he apes the format of the Green Lantern corp right down to the creation of the book of Sinestro, trains his rookies in the best ways to instill fear, and gives them snappy uniforms. He kidnaps Kyle Rayner, beats the snot out of him, tears down his defenses and infects him with Parallax. In the meantime, the Sinestro Corps also attack Oa and the Green Lanterns, kill a bunch, break Superboy Prime out of his red sun-eater prison, and also nap Cyborg Superman and probably a few other baddies out of the Sciencells. Finally, with Kylellax at his side, he goes and meets up with the newly rescued villains, and his new Master...the new Anti-Monitor!
Put baldly like this, this summing up, can't begin to express the twists and turns of the plot, or the various subtleties. Geoff Johns refers to a whole lot of DC history here, and in his usual fashion, transforms it all into gold.
On the very first pages, Sinestro is reciting his new oath, and expressing his loathing for Kyle Rayner, who not only helped defeat him, but personally humiliated him. (see Rebirth) Sinestro may hate Hal and blame him for his downfall, but he also really really hates Kyle.
Next, Hal is on earth, trying to figure out clues about what Sinestro is up to, since he's been informed by Batman of the attempted induction into the Sinestro Corp. Zoom shows up and basically spanks the entire Justice League.
Hal doesn't really get too much help on Earth, so he's off to Oa.
In the meantime, Graf Toren and his new partner are being annoyed by a yellow ring that is flying through their sector, taking out a floating space church and endangering lives. They're having a little trouble, so it is a good thing that Ion shows up.
Apparently the yellow rings make a buzzing noise that is annoying Kyle. He grabs the ring and heads back to Oa, to check it out. Oh, and Bedovian is awakened from his lair,and decides it is a good time to join the action.
Back on Oa, the Guardians are having a confab, and not really accomplishing much. They are interrogating the head and torso of Hank Henshaw, aka Cyborg Superman, who isn't being particularly helpful. This is when we learn the secret of the "52". Earth is the nexus, and if Earth is destroyed, then all the other Earths, and their Universes are also destroyed, leaving only the Anti-matter Universe. Coincidentally, that's where Sinestro is. Ganthet keeps trying to be the sole voice of reason, seconded by a female Guardian named Sayd. Naturally, the other Guardians ignore them.
Meanwhile a couple of Lanterns are coming in to guard SBP in his little green prison. They make some comment about Hal Jordan, and Guy Gardner lays a verbal smackdown by reminding them that it was Parallax, and they they should "study the damn book of Oa" He also leaves a little present for SBP.
John, Hal and Kyle have all showed up on Oa, and are trying to get in and see the Guardians, but are naturally being stalled. The red tape on Oa is something fierce. They all end up in the cafeteria, where Ke'haan, Laira and some of the other formerly lost Lanterns are being a bit on the prickly side. John is quite indignant about this treatment, but Hal is trying to be diplomatic and just let it go. Guy shows up and is all jovial, teasing Kyle about being the Torchbearer and even giving him a noogie on the head, which just cracks me up. Kyle however isn't in the mood, and Guy backs off immediately. Turns out he was supposed to hear his Mother's will today, and he's all sad and depressed. Poor Kyle
All of a sudden the yellow ring that he had brought back with him to show the Guardians breaks free, and starts causing a full-blown panic. It's zipping all over the place, and nobody can seem to catch it. At first it seems to be trying to go for the lost Lanterns, but it receives new orders, and grabs Kyle, and in a horrific scan dissolves him, and kidnaps him to the Anti-Matter Universe. Understandably, Kyle is a little off-balance, but still trying to make sense out of things, when he finally sees and hears what is going on. There is a magnificent two-page spread of Sinestro giving a speech to his newly gathered evil hoards, and gosh darn it, there are some impressive bad guys on display! Sinestro wants to spread fear throughout the Universe in order to bring order and control to the Universe. In his own mind, he's being perfectly reasonable, which is one of the scariest concepts that Geoff brings to this tale.
Kyle tries to summon the others, but only calls attention to himself, and led by Sinestro the ENTIRE Sinestro corps attack. Kyle is completely alone, but he's doing a pretty good job of fending them off, when he's hit from behind and overpowered.
Back on Oa, there is some understandable consternation at Kyle's abduction. The force of the explosion tore a hole right through Oa's Lantern construc defense, and Guy, Hal, John and some other Lanterns fly out to investigate. That's when Bedovian decides to enter the picture, and starts picking off Lanterns. One shot misses Guy by inches, and takes out a rather large-headed gentleman, whose blood and brains is thus sprayed all over Guy. They get a shield up, and are trying to get the rookies to safety, but Bedovian takes out another one.
And then a whole crapload of Sinestro Corp bad guys show up and physically attack Oa. Guy is going toe to toe with Karu Sil and her ring-generated pack, and having a bit of a tough time. John in the meantime, has figured out that he needs to take out the sniper, who is still at it, and assembles a rifle, and manages to track where the shots are coming from...and takes out Bedovian! Too bad about Chaselon. This is such a really splendid John moment, he's so cool and calm in the middle of all the absolute chaos that is going on.
Kilowog and more of the Lanterns show up, to fight the incoming hoards, which is nice. There are all sorts of lovely little visual nuggets of goodness. Speaking of nuggets, the little Racoonish Green Lantern pelts one of the Sinestro baddies with a giant green acorn, which is a lovely touch. Guy still beating on the beasts encircling Karu Sil, while they tear his vest off. He gives one of them a good crack, and it runs to her for comfort, while she smacks Guy but good. Guy ends up with John and Hal, when in an utterly chilling scene, we see dozens of emptly rings go whizzing past. Realizing this is NOT a good thing, they all head post haste for the Sciencells, which are then rocked by a massive explosion.
The red suneater that was imprisoning SBP is now gone, and in its place is the yellow outline in fire of Parallax, which silhouettes all the dead bodies of the Lantern guards.
Crappity crap crap. Oddly enough that is about what Guy says.
Back on Qward, Kyle has finally been subdued, although he has certainly given it his best shot. Sinestro of course is in his element and REALLy enjoying himself. He starts pontificating, calling John angry, Guy dim, and Hal thrill-seeking. He makes fun of the Guardians and then reallys starts to get into it, by reaching into Kyle's chest and pulling out the living embodiment of Willpower that gave Kyle his Ion powers. Kyle is seriously screwed now of course, but he's still spitting defiance at Sinestro, who then informs him that it was one of his minions, Despotillis that killed Kyles' mother, and that it is ALL KYLE'S FAULT! He then gives Kyle to...Parallax!
Sinestro then takes Kylellax down a hallway to meet with his Master.
I think that the Universe is in BIG trouble.
Finally, Dave Gibbons and Geoff Johns give us another chapter in the Tales of the Sinestro Corps, with Lyssa Drak, keeper of the book of Parallax, tells the tale of Sinestro, from HIS point of view. In Sinestro's eyes, he's the hero, who was betrayed by Hal Jordan and the Guardians. The Universe is a messy and scary place, and it needs order, not chaos. He was the greatest of the Green Lanterns, and who knows, perhaps he will be again!
Scary eh? I'm going to be looking at all the little nuances and character interaction and questions and blogging about them for a month! Thank you Mr. Johns!