Ever since the new Sinestro title launched in April, the villain has been kicking butts and cleaning house as he took back leadership of the Sinestro Corps.
But the title's launch by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dale Eaglesham also kicked butt on the sales chart, surprising critics and readers with its straight-forward stories about the title's antihero protagonist.
And coming in the fall — echoing what Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti told Newsarama yesterday — the Sinestro title will be involved in a "big" storyline that involves all the Lanterns.
But for now, the Sinestro title is introducing a new headquarters for the Yellow Lanterns and a new status quo for the title character. With last week's Sinestro #3, the title established Sinestro's daughter Soranik Natu as an ongoing cast member, while also introducing new characters and Corps members. As Sinestro has been trying to find the remnants of his home world's people, he's finding out that the Korugarians aren't exactly thankful for his efforts.
So what's next for Sinestro and the yellow corps? And might a love interest for Sinestro be in the mix? We talked to Bunn to find out more about the title.
Newsarama: Cullen, I'd like to start by discussing Soranik Natu. She decided, in this last issue, to stick around in the Sinestro title. What's motivating her to stay by her father's side?
Cullen Bunn: Soranik is motivated by her compassion for her people and her sworn duty as a physician. She wants to make sure that her people are cared for when Sinestro and his brigade rescue them, and she doesn’t want to see her father return to his despotic rule. There might be a part of her that wants to see her father redeemed, but she’d never admit that.
Nrama: I think there's a part of all of us that would like to see that. But how would you describe the character of Soranik right now? And why does she appeal to you as a writer, besides her obvious potential as Sinestro's daughter?
Bunn: One of the reasons I like the idea of Soranik joining the cast is that she is the voice of reason, the voice of “good”, and the reader’s window into a group of “evil” characters. I want readers to be able to understand Sinestro’s motivation, but I don’t want them to get too comfortable with his behavior. Soranik gives us a character that is a little easier to relate with.
And, yeah, she’s spunky and can stick up for herself in the face of Arkillo and Lyssa and even her father. What’s not to like?
Nrama: Sinestro's determined to rebuild both the Corps and Korugar. How does this fit with who he is? How would you describe the core character, and what's motivating him now?
Bunn: Sinestro is ruled by his own pride. He doesn’t like what has happened to Korugar, and he sees it as something that has marred his own credibility. That will not stand. At the same time, he wants the Sinestro Corps to be elevated to a place of respect. Right now, he doesn’t want to get caught up in a war with the other Lanterns. That doesn’t serve his purpose. In order to control them, he’s giving them a goal that falls in line with his own agenda—save the Korugarians.
Nrama: Now that The Paling has shown up to confront Sinestro, is their role as antagonists short-lived?
Bunn: Not at all. The Paling and the Sinestro Corps will likely clash several times before Sinestro runs into the Pale Bishop, the mysterious power that runs the show. This initial encounter is just with a small group of the Pale Vicars, who are really just foot soldiers for the greater power.
Nrama: Ah, OK. But with this group singling out Sinestro and his Corps, is The Paling particularly targeting fear?
Bunn: Initially, the Paling is targeting fear, but that’s only because Sinestro stepped on their toes and drew their attention. They could potentially pose a threat to all of the Corps, unless they’re stopped. Lyssa claims that the Yellow Lanterns are the best hope for defeating them, but that might be wishful thinking.
Nrama: Can you speak to your creation of The Paling, and why you thought they'd work well as foes for Sinestro? And how much are they modeled on the Inquisition experienced in Earth's history?
Bunn: The Inquisition was a huge influence on the Paling, and I think that’s pretty apparent from their appearance and mannerisms.
When I created them, I wanted a strange, scary alien power that might be hard to understand at first. I liked the idea of an anti-emotion religion, something that would stand in direct opposition to the Yellow Lanterns… and all the other Lantern Corps, really. As you’ll see in issue #4, the Paling can turn a Lantern’s greatest power against them.
Lovecraft wrote that the oldest and strongest emotion was fear, so a group of religious zealots who denounce emotion would really get their dander up at the thought of the Fear Lanterns.
Nrama: Although Sinestro seems to be confiding in Lyssa Drak quite a bit, I got the feeling that Umaraal Jarta might serve as more of a love interest. Am I off base?
Bunn: It’s funny. I never considered Umaraal Jarta to be a potential love connection for Sinestro, but a lot of readers have that same idea! I thought she would make an interesting foil for Sinestro, someone to speak for the Korugarians… someone who would try to urge Sinestro to let them live their lives the way they want… someone who would absolutely drive Sinestro crazy with her talk of peace and harmony. But who knows? Maybe opposites attract?
Where Umaraal is a sensible, calm voice, Lyssa Drax is pure insanity. She was already pretty far gone, but when she branded herself with the words of the Book of Parallax, she really went off the deep end! That makes it all the more strange that she is Sinestro’s closest confidante. He doesn’t necessarily trust her… and he shouldn’t… but he likes that she seemingly adores him. That (in Sinestro’s mind) makes her easy to manipulate. Of course, Lyssa can see the future and knows almost everything there is to know about Sinestro. Maybe it’s Lyssa who’s manipulating Thaal.
Nrama: The Korugarians hate Sinestro, but does he care? Isn't their fear what he desires?
Bunn: Not completely. At one time, fear might have been the only thing Sinestro wanted, but he has seen how that didn’t work out so well for him. Now, he wants their respect and admiration, and it puzzles him that they aren’t falling all over themselves to worship at his feet.
Nrama: You've introduced new Sinestro Corps members like young Dez Trevius and Rigen Kale, while maintaining some of the pre-existing members. What are your goals for the Corps — or rather, I suppose, Sinestro's?
Bunn: Sinestro believes the Corps is too bloated. He thinks it is time to clear the ranks. He is forming a core group of Lanterns—an inner circle, if you will—and those will be our focus for the most part.
With the core lanterns, there’s a tentative connection to the five basic fears. These are the fears they will exploit in their enemies: extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death. I drew some connections to each of the core members. I think these five basic fears will become more clear as the series progresses, although I don’t plan on hitting readers over the head with that idea.
We’ll also be seeing many fan favorite Yellow Lanterns, giving as many as possible a little panel time. But there’s nothing to say that the fan favorites… or even the members of the inner circle… will survive the weeding out process.
Nrama: Do you intend for the comic to interact with the other Corps of the emotional spectrum?
Bunn: The Sinestro Corps will definitely be interacting with the other Lanterns. In issues #4 and #5, you’ll see some of that, but there’s more on the horizon!
Nrama: Yeah, in issue #4, Sinestro sees Hal. What can you tease about what happens between those two in Sinestro?
Bunn: Issues #4 and #5 will show some very different sides of Sinestro and Hal.
Nrama: After those two issues, you've got Sinestro: Futures End #1 coming out in September. From the look of it, it seems to demonstrate the best and worst of Sinestro. Can you describe what we'll see?
Bunn: This issue starts with Sinestro having been separated from his Corps, stripped of his ring, and imprisoned for his crimes. There’s a prison break aspect to the story, because you simply can’t keep Sinestro down, but I think readers will be surprised at what has happened to the members of the Sinestro Corps and how they might be going forward in the future.
Nrama: Can you hint about how we'll find out what happened to Parallax?
Bunn: This is probably the most frequently asked question about the series! And I’ll do more than hint at what happened to Parallax. I’ll show you exactly what happened to the fear entity when issue #5 rolls around!
Nrama: That works! Let's talk about the art we've seen, as the title has shown different places in DCU space. How do you and Dale come up with the settings for these scenes we've seen so far in Sinestro? Is he given free rein, or are you involved?
Bunn: I tend to provide details about the different settings. I find it easier to write a scene when I can picture the setting in my head. That said, Dale (and Rags Morales) are both running wild with the descriptions of locales and characters. That’s part of the joy of collaborating on comics for me—seeing what turned out exactly as I described it, and what looks vastly different.
Nrama: How has it been working with Dale?
Bunn: Dale has been great! He’s an artist I’ve admired for a long while and I was thrilled to be working with him on this. We were very much on the same page with how we wanted to present the majesty and hideous wonder of Sinestro and his Lanterns.
Also, he created a guy who was made up of surfboards! Surfboards!
That’s just crazy creativity that works so well in a book like this!
Nrama: With the success of Sinestro, will we see you working on more titles for DC? Anything you can tease?
Bunn: There are some other things in the works… but I’m sworn to secrecy! I think they will be announced soon, though!
Nrama: DC is announcing a lot this month, so hopefully we'll hear soon. Is there anything else you want to tell fans about Sinestro?
Bunn: We’ve got some really big issues coming up! Issue #5 will answer some of the questions about Parallax, which I know some readers are curious about. After that, there are some big things on the horizon — a storyline that will involve all of the Lanterns. Then, we’ll see Sinestro confronting one of his most hated enemies!