In a year of huge superhero "event comics" like Countdown and World War Hulk, one of DC's most surprising successes was a crossover with a somewhat narrower scope. The Sinestro Corps War was almost entirely limited to Green Lantern, its sister title Green Lantern Corps and a handful of one-shots, but almost every issue went into multiple printings, and fan reaction was strongly positive.
According to Geoff Johns, who masterminded the entire story line and wrote most of it, "the title was initially Sinestro Corps, but somewhere along the line people added the War—it sounds funny because it rhymes. I'd been involved in a lot of these big stories like 52 and Infinite Crisis, but this was the easiest one I'd worked on. It was me and [Green Lantern Corps writer] Dave Gibbons and a couple of other guys, and that was about it. I wanted to keep it under a certain amount of creative control—I really didn't want it to cross over into a lot of books."
DC published The Sinestro Corps War, volume 1, as a hardcover this month, to be followed in June by both volume 2 and Tales of the Sinestro Corps, which will collect the backstories and tie-in issues that connect to the main plot. The first two volumes will alternate between issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, in the order that they were originally published. DC's vice president of design and retail development, Georg Brewer, explained why the company decided to release Sinestro Corps in that format: "We actually had a lot of dialogue internally about how best to collect it—it's an evolving process. We're doing more hardcover-first collections recently, as we're getting deeper into the bookstore market and a mature direct market. There's a certain percentage of consumers who want a hardcover collection that will last through multiple readings and look good on their shelf."
One of the most vivid sequences in the story is a spotlight on Superman Prime, a murderous, furiously indignant refugee from the world of comic book readers. Prime, Johns admitted, is close to his own heart. "He's the evil fanboy. If you read every line he has in Infinite Crisis, he's a deranged fanboy gone wrong. And I'm a fanboy, too, but his sense of entitlement is ridiculous. I just love writing him. It's the easiest dialogue to write." In one scene, the young Prime is seen reading an old Green Lantern comic book from 1986. According to Johns, that particular issue was a deliberate choice: "That was an issue published right before Crisis on Infinite Earths—he was reading that right before he got yanked away into the DC universe. He was even a bigger Green Lantern fan than he was a Superman fan—he mentions that in one of his DC Comics Presents appearances [in the mid-'80s]. I always thought that was ironic."
Many of Johns's recent projects have included "previews of coming attractions"—scenes from issues as much as a year down the line—and The Sinestro Corps War ends with a teaser for "The Blackest Night," a Green Lantern story line that won't appear until the summer of 2009. "I'm trying to pioneer a way of letting people know that there's a big story here," Johns said. "I know every single broad project and story line I'm working on at DC through 2010. I like plotting far ahead, because I can let things sit in my brain and grow and change, and I can have little things pay off. There's actually a mention of 'The Blackest Night' in Green Lantern #6 [from mid-2006]. It's much more satisfying for me to work that way."
The final sequence of The Sinestro Corps War, according to Johns, is almost exactly what he planned more than two years ago. "I knew Coast City was going to play a part in the ending, all the way back to when I wrote Green Lantern #1. That's my favorite moment in the entire story, where Hal and Kyle are flying over the city and it's lit up green. That's the part where I'd get watery-eyed and hide my eyes from my wife if it were a movie."