Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #8: Sinestro

Real Name: Thaal Sinestro
First Appearance: Green Lantern #7 (August, 1961)
Group Affiliation: Sinestro Corps, New Guardians, White Lantern Corps
Gaming Credentials: DC Universe Online (TBR/2010); Green Lantern (TBR/2011)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #284

'And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness,' - Genesis 1:2-1:4.

In the world of DC comics, the first light to splinter from the white of existence was green -- representing the fundamental expression of life's will to live. This power of will was harnessed by the Guardians of the Universe, who granted control over it's power to their intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps. Other energies manifested from life to create an entire spectrum of emotion and would-be ring barers: Yellow (fear), Orange (avarice), Red (rage), Violet (love), Blue (hope), Indigo (compassion).

It was in the Green Lantern saga, Sinestro Corps War, that we were first introduced to Sinestro as leader of his own Yellow Corps of fear-inspiring baddies. He was defeated by his protege and arch-nemesis, Hal Jordan (with help from Kyle Rayner), but not removed entirely from the board. The actions of he and his Corps inspired the initiation of a new Green Lantern law -- authorized lethal force. It also resulted in the defeat of Anti-Monitor, whose helpless form was tossed through the gulf of space until it landed in Sector 666, from whence a new threat to the universe did rise -- the central power battery of the Black Lantern Corps!

Flash forward a couple of years, and you have the biggest event of 2009/2010 -- Blackest Night!
It turns out the darkness didn't much appreciate the creation of light, and thinks the universe would be a much more peaceful place if the light of life were extinguished! Enter Black Hand and Scar; heralds of a creature representative of the darkness personified, and master over death -- Nekron!

Sinestro and representatives of all the other Lantern Corps have no only had to unite against the power of Nekron and his endless hordes of raised Black Lantern corpses, but also deputize several representatives in order to double their might as the affectionately dubbed, New Guardians!
The universe's champions of light line-up as: Hal Jordan (green), Ganthet (green), Sinestro (yellow), Scarecrow (yellow), Carol Ferris (violet), Wonder Woman (violet), Atrocitus (red), Mera (red), Saint Walker (blue), Barry Allen (blue), Indigo-1 (indigo), Atom (indigo), Larfleeze (orange), and Lex Luthor (orange). Unfortunately, as we've seen in the pages of Blackest Night, even this mighty assembly hasn't had much luck against Nekron and the Black Lantern battery.

In Blackest Night #7, we've seen the situation go from bad to worse as the end game finally becomes apparent. Nekron, who's nested on Earth and enslaved the heroes you once thought had died but he allowed to be resurrected (Superman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, etc) -- and he's uncovered his ultimate prize: THE ENTITY!

What's The Entity, I hear you ask, intrepid reader?
Each power in the cosmic emotional spectrum has a creature inherently linked to it. When Green Lantern went nuts and started calling himself Parallax? Huh! That was actually the sinister machinations of the yellow fear creature! Similarly, Kyle Rayner and Sodam Yat, a couple of green ring slingers, have also been boosted up by possessing the power of the green will whale, Ion!

The Entity represents all life in existence and is a shiney white creature that -- if destroyed -- will wipe out all existence. Which would be really bad news for all of us pathetic humans, but fortunately, just as the other creatures can be used for great power, so too can the white light of The Entity be taken as a weapon. ENTER SINESTRO: the most qualified guy you never expected to save the day at the last minute!

Yes, indeed! The fallen Green Lantern who became one of the greatest villains in the universe actually managed to do what he'd always set out to do -- save us!

Sinestro's version of saving us led to some distinctly Nazi overtones, which actually makes his possession of the white power somewhat unpleasant, but I trust the heroes will have an ace up their sleeve if they need it. For the time being, this exciting development makes Sinestro the undisputed Hero of this Week!

If you've missed out on the exploits of Blackest Night, extra print runs of this top selling series should make it possible for you to catch-up. Don't let the plethora of tie-in titles intimidate or confuse you. Satellite stories add plenty of character-specific fun, but to get all the key points of the story, check out Blackest Night #1-7 (already on sale), Blackest Night #8 at the end of the month, and Green Lantern #44+! Hopefully you'll enjoy the epic cosmic madness! More information is available, as always, at!

Sinestro deals damage with the yellow light of fear in test screens for DC Universe Online!

Sinestro also recently appeared in his earliest guise (as a dodgy Green Lantern) in the Direct-To-Video animated feature, Green Lantern: First Flight. He'll appear alongside Hal Jordan again, in 2011, when Ryan Reynolds takes the feature role in the first live-action Green Lantern movie. As if that wasn't enough, you'll also find Sinestro front-and-centre in the inevitable movie tie-in game, and DC's long coming Sony MMO, DC Universe Online. So fret not, you'll be able to Sinestro to your heart's content for years to come!

<< Hero of the Week 03/07: Green Arrow       [Home]       Hero of the Week 02/21: Lex Luthor >>

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #7: Lex Luthor

Real Name: Alexander Luthor
First Appearance: Action Comics #23 (April, 1940)
Group Affiliation: Orange Lantern Corps, New Guardians
Gaming Credentials: Superman (1978); Superman: The Game (1985); Superman (1987); Superman: Man of Steel (1988); Superman: Man of Steel (1992); Superman 64 (1999); Justice League: Injustice for All (2002); Superman: The Man of Steel (2002); Superman: Shadow of Apokolips (2002); Superman Returns (2006); Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (2008)DC Universe Online (TBR/2010)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #323

I know what you're thinking! Lex Luthor -- Hero of the Week?!
Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! This week's HOTW might not be someone you want to leave your kids with, but when the Earth is in peril, he stands ready to protect it on not one, but two different Earths. Intrigued? So you should be!

It's a parallel universe Lex Luthor that joins the Justice League in DC/WB's latest DTV animated feature, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. While the name borrows from the 1985 seminal DC crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, the story actually owes far more to Grant Morrison's 1999 heroes-as-villains graphic novel, JLA: Earth 2, which itself borrows from a mid-sixties JLA story which introduced a universe where the DCU's heroes and villains were reversed!

The Kryptonian Kal-El of this universe is Ultraman -- leader of the Crime Syndicate of America!
It's from those villains that the last hero alive, Lex Luthor, has fleed, with the hopes of recruiting a crack team of Justice League heroes who can counter the CSA and end their tyrannical reign over the Earth, once and for all. Oh, and there's also the little matter of Owlman (Batman's counterpart), who has plans to destroy all the universes. Whoops!

The story of the feature was originally conceived as a bridge between the Justice League animated TV series and it's amped-up sequel series, Justice League Unlimited. As that never eventuated, it's been dusted off and remade as a feature film unto itself, featuring a more faithful version of the DCU, rather than that of the cartoon series. You'll notice a contemporary Martian Manhunter fighting alongside fellow JLA original, Hal Jordan, Earth's feature Green Lantern and a star on the rise thanks to some incredible comics (ie; Blackest Night), and a 3D live-action feature coming next year with Ryan Reynolds in the feautre role.

What's so significant about Green Lantern?
It's in Blackest Night that Lex Luthor once again rises to the challenge of evil, joining the collective of coloured-ring baring deputies now known as The New Guardians. It was receiving an orange ring of avarice from it's principle barer, Larfleeze, that brought Luthor to the epic end game -- a battle against the guardian of non-existence, Nekron.

For those who don't know: it's Nekron that raised a Black Lantern central battery from the broken corpse of the Anti-Monitor, and spread black rings across the universe to recruit the dead as his/it's undead Corps. Yes: zombie Black Lanterns. No: it's not as silly or complicated as it sounds!

The universe's champions of light line-up as: Hal Jordan (green), Ganthet (green), Sinestro (yellow), Scarecrow (yellow), Carol Ferris (violet), Wonder Woman (violet), Atrocitus (red), Mera (red), Saint Walker (blue), Barry Allen (blue), Indigo-1 (indigo), Atom (indigo), Larfleeze (orange), and of course, Lex Luthor (orange).

As you'll already no doubt know, if you've read previous HOTW articles about the subject, the cosmic emotional spectrum that makes up the powers of life are: Will (green), Fear (yellow), Hope (blue), Love (violet), Rage (red), Compassion (indigo), Avarice (orange), Death (black). Each power in the spectrum manifests rings, most of which have abilities that somehow reflect their emotions in execution, which is possibly bad news for the New Guardians team-up -- since the greedy who wield an orange ring are only made more so!

Fortunately, Lex Luthor and other less desirable allies of the New Guardians have just as much to lose from the destruction of all life and existence in the universe, as any hero. So today, we mark Lex Luthor's two triumphs of good as our motivation for this HOTW! You'll find all the action in the Blackest Night mini-series, and in the pages of Green Lantern. For more information, be sure to check out!

<< Hero of the Week 02/28: Sinestro       [Home]       Hero of the Week 02/14: Silver Surfer >>

Originally posted:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #6: Silver Surfer

Real Name: Norrin Radd
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #48 (March, 1966)
Group Affiliation: Heralds of Galactus
Gaming Credentials: Silver Surfer (1989); Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems (1996); Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006); Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #35

I let these things stack up a bit there, but if we all just pretend the post-date is totally accurate, we can remember that the great, all-seeing inspiration for this week's HOTW is something I haven't really given a lot of attention. Namely, Marvel's kid-friendly super-deformed toy-inspired animated series, Super Hero Squad! The direct inspiration? Revelations about Silver Surfer's super-deformed kid-friendly past as a herald for the devourer of worlds, Galactus! [Gasp! Shock! Awe!]

Superhero History Lesson: Norrin Radd was chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, shootin' some B-ball with his favourite lady squeeze, Shalla-Bal, when disaster struck! Galactus showed up with a serious case of the cosmic munchies and decided the peaceful planet Zenn-La was ripe for the picking. Recognising that the consumption of all life on their planet would put a serious crimp on his love-life, Radd made the noble sacrifice of offering himself as a herald to Galactus in exchange for the promise that the Devourer of Worlds leave Zenn-La alone.

One cosmic chrome coating later -- Norrin Radd is the Silver Surfer.
Perks include a cool energy-based surfboard to cruise around on, near limitless abilities granted by the power cosmic, but on the major bummer side, he was stripped of his emotions and sent to find other planets to condemn to death. Heavy, dude! Fortunately, when it came to consuming Earth, the Surfer got slapped around, fell into the loft of blind sculptress (and Thing's main squeeze), Alicia Masters, and remembers his inner humanity and uses the power cosmic against his master. Yay!

Chances are you'd know all this if Rise of the Silver Surfer had managed to be a better film.
Otherwise, there's probably an equally good chance that you picked this oh-so useful information up along your way through life from other cartoons and video games. Which you'll get another opportunity to do through Super Hero Squad, which, as already mention, squishes the Marvel Universe action down to funny little squat dimensions, and generally makes it silly and cute.

It's fun, it's got a buttload of superheroes and villains that once never had a shot at cartoon stardom, and it's not all together awful. All in all, a great gateway drug to get you hooked on the real thing. As far as cartoons based on toylines go, it puts a lot of the eighties to shame, while playfully winking at the decade and making a Hulk poop joke.

Over the past few decades he's fallen into supporting character obscurity, but the Silver Surfer remains one of the great Marvel characters. I was disappointed that he didn't return for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but what're you gonna do? Maybe check out some of Marvel's cosmic comics, which have made a quiet but successful return throughout the late 2000's!

It wasn't too long ago that Silver Surfer locked horns with Beta Ray Bill [who recently replaced him in the Planet Hulk animated feature] in the three-issue Godhunter mini-series, and you'll probably find him hanging around in a variety of series Marvel have teased for 2010! I'd love to give you more information, but it's a bit sketchy right now. So be sure to stay tuned to for more information!

<< Hero of the Week 02/21: Lex Luthor       [Home]       Hero of the Week 02/07: Green Lantern >>

Originally posted:

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #5: Green Lantern

Real Name: Alan Scott
First Appearance: All-American Comics #16 (July, 1940)
Group Affiliation: Justice Society of America
Gaming Credentials: DC Universe Online (TBR/2010)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #115

The first thing you might have noticed about this Green Lantern is that he's wearing a lot of red.
It's fair to say that this probably isn't your father's Green Lantern, your Green Lantern, and maybe, if you're a super-advanced-infant, not even your grandfather's! If you aren't a genetic freak, however, it probably is just your grandfather's GL -- the 1940s Golden Age original, Alan Scott!

If the runaway success of the Green Lantern franchise in comics hasn't captured your imagination yet, then there's a good chance it will very soon, when Ryan Reynolds steps into the role of Hal Jordan in his third comic book feature, Green Lantern. Of course, that's only a tangential point of interest, because the chances of seeing the original Green Lantern in there any time soon are slim!

Unlike the multitude of other Green Lanterns you'll find in DC comics (and animation), Alan Scott does not hold ties with the ring wielding cosmic policeforce created by the Guardians of the Galaxy. [Scott]'s ring is fashioned from an ancient mystic lantern that existed for thousands of years on Earth, before falling into his hands. Which, believe it or not, makes this particular Green Lantern a very interesting and unique character in the pages of DC comics.

Scott possesses many of the quaint traits that might turn your nose upward when examining older superheroes, but don't let his ring's inability to effect wood and his subsequent battles with the villainous Sportsmaster (wielder of sports equipment) put you off a classic. Afterall, not all of the Green Lantern's exploits have suffered the so-assumed maturation of the comics medium.

The Lantern's undying arch-nemesis, Solomon Grundy, is one of the facets that have withstood the test of time, launching last year into a simple but interesting action-packed mini-series [featured accordingly as HOTW]. There's also the modern incarnation of the Justice Society of America, which is what's hopefully been featured to it's fullest potential in Smallville, running alongside the introduction of Checkmate, another organization Scott briefly held membership with. Not to mention the inspiration the character provided for that previously mentioned franchise which has already been turned into one of DC's biggest cashcows with Blackest Night, and will no doubt continue to expand as we look forward to the feature film -- [now confirmed to be in full 3D, kids]!

I'm surely not doing a great job of selling the character, but sometimes the best way to experience the expansive universe of comic books is to learn at your own pace. I've written in the past about certain popular misconceptions that surround the penetrability of comic book fiction. The simple truth is: as a pulp medium in constant production, one of comics' greatest talents is to tell a story about neverending worlds, which in turn, does not mean you need to catch-up on the last sixty years, but rather, should jump in wherever you like and appreciate the massive world you can play in.

A product like the Smallville TV-movie will probably struggle to adequately capture the spirit that made the mid-2000's resurrection of the JSA brand delightful, but it provides the asterisk that will hopefully spur some of you to explore more. As you do, you will find new branching points, and this is how you will learn to love these characters, and decide which ones it is you do. That's certainly how I came to regard Green Lantern Alan Scott as one of my favourites.

You'll meet Alan Scott and many other characters in the Sony MMO coming some time in the future, DC Universe Online. Another fine cross-promotional product that will give you a glimpse through the looking glass, and provide threads for you to follow to exciting new comic book adventures. It's a good time to become a fan! You can also find Alan Scott fighting the good fight in the pages of JSA, JSA: Blackest Night, and in tiny cameos in the core Blackest Night. Check out for more info on all that!

<< Hero of the Week 02/14: Silver Surfer       [Home]       Hero of the Week 01/31: Black Panther >>

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