Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Redemption of Sinestro?

Originally posted by me on the Green Lantern Corps Message Board in response to a topic about whether or not we might see Sinestro "redeemed" in the aftermath of Blackest Night (the idea was that maybe we would find out that he was possessed by an entity all along):

I realize I'm in the minority here, but I wouldn't mind seeing Sinestro redeemed in some way. The problem is that no matter how it was done, it would just feel too contrived. As someone said, he was created to be a bad guy, and I'm not sure anyone could ever accept an alternate explanation for his behavior. And it would only be a matter of time before another writer came along and decided the whole thing was stupid and retconned the retcon so that he was really evil all along, after all.

So yeah, I don't think it would work. :(

I desperately want to see some stories about Sinestro when he was a rookie GL. It's not really fair that we only know him as the maniac he is now because we have no way to compare (and no, just saying "Oh, he was the greatest Green Lantern at one time" doesn't really give us a clear picture of the man he used to be). Was he ever young and hopeful and gung-ho to make a difference in the universe... sort of like a rookie cop who later becomes jaded and cynical? Only instead of giving up and becoming numb, he decided he could do it better his way? Or was he always just a power-hungry jerk with phenomenal will?

One of the few things I like about Emerald Twilight is Sinestro's narration before he appears to fight Hal. If I recall correctly, there's a part where he's talking about all the things you do as a GL, and then one day you start to ask yourself "What has this ring done for me?". That's a very natural response to living a dangerous life serving others, I think. Power alone is enough to corrupt, but the temptation must be even worse when you're not just powerful -- you're putting your neck on the line every single day. And people being what they are, the public probably comes across as a bunch of ungrateful wretches most of the time.

I'm actually surprised that more GLs haven't gone bad. Maybe none have been as delusional, or had the will to be as powerful, as Sinestro, but I suspect that more than one GL out there uses his power for personal gain in small ways.

It has also occurred to me that we don't know anything about how Korugar was run before Sinestro took control of it. It's all relative. I mean, think about it this way (and I realize this is a super over-simplification of the Civil War, but bear with me in my metaphor here): if the south had won the American Civil War, what do you suppose the history books would say about Abraham Lincoln? If you try to make sweeping changes to a society too quickly, or before it's ready to accept them, you're reviled.

So what if the status quo on Korugar was something like America two hundred years ago, and Sinestro's "despotism" was in taking control of the government and freeing the slaves, giving women the vote, and making it illegal to put orphans to work for twelve-hour days in factories? Sure, he's still a dictator and it was still wrong (and definitely against GL rules) to use/abuse his power to take control, but it does change the perspective a little.

I'm not saying any of that is true or even an option or anything -- I just like to look at things from every possible angle. And either way, he's still a mass murderer and terrorist, so none of that would wipe it all clean.

Sorry, Sin. I love you, but you're still dirty.


Sea-of-Green said...

I imagine he'll probably be "redeemed" the same way Magneto was "redeemed" -- in that something happened to make his behavior totally understandable, but not excusable. Just a guess.

Duskdog said...

I could live with that. That's part of what has made Magneto into such a strong character, after all.

SallyP said...

So...was Korugar better or worse off, after Sinestro took over? Well, I imagine that for some things, it would have probably been better off. He would have made the trains run on time, that's for sure!

And at first, I imagine that the people were also probably enthusiastic, at the cleaning up of the streets, the reduction of crime, and all of that. It was only a little later that they realized all the personal freedom that they may have lost, and started getting antsy.

Sinestro's intentions in the beginning were probably least in his eyes. I would think that when you are an absolute dictator, it is a bit difficult to know when or how to draw back.

Duskdog said...

I agree. I imagine a lot of dictatorships start out that way... people like a strong leader to give them hope, but somehow things end up all wrong.

He probably didn't demand the worship in the beginning, either. Maybe they gave it to him freely at first, and he just got addicted to it. Or didn't even realize that he had started having such temper tantrums that people were only cheering for him because they were afraid of him.