The Psychology Of Supervillains Club..April 2020 - Sinestro

Welcome to The Psychology Of Supervillians Club. This month we will delve and dissect Sinestro . Step into his mind and determine what makes him tick

WARNING :
This club will be discussing darker aspects and elements within the DC Universe. These aspects and elements could be viewed as overtly violent, malevolent and possibly offensive to some.

  • We acknowledge that we are not mental health professionals, and are not able to provide any diagnosis or guidance in this regard.
  • This thread does not suggest or support any mental health diagnosis or any guidance of or for people in the real world. We are dealing with purely fictional characters within fictional worlds.
  • Supervillains are potentially driven by deep seated and often dark or disturbing concepts of what they feel is the right thing to do and why the villain is the hero of their own story.
  • We will explore if the supervillain is actually correct in their views and actions, are they justified in what they do and potentially would their fictional worlds be better off if they actually did win and defeat the hero.

The club gives this warning because some may find such discussions disturbing, distasteful, and/or possibly immoral and we want the community to be well aware of what the contents of these discussions can involve.

The Ground Rules: ( Yes…even villiany has to follow a few rules . Don’t take my word for it…Go ask The Legion Of Doom or The Crime Syndicate, they have rules too.)

  • Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • This is a “ safe space ” to explore a sometimes taboo topic…villainy. Why it’s necessary and possibly why villains are often more interesting than the heroes that oppose them.
  • Be respectful of the opinions of others. Did I mention thatPosts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • There is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” opinion here.
  • The views expressed are the opinions of the poster and deserve to be acknowledged as a valid opinion, even if you might disagree and debate items. What does that mean? Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • We are dealing with the intricacies of the mind. The one thing we do know is that we can never be ultimately sure what is actually going on in the mind of a supervillian.
  • However, we can conjecture based on what we do know about them and form our own points of view on what makes them tick and have blast while doing it.
  • In case you missed it the 3 times earlier…Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines

Don’t be afraid to be bold, to challenge the status quo, to think in unique ways and be outspoken. Their is no “right” or “wrong” point of view here. There is what we each find in delving beneath the surface and into the mind of our Supervillian Of The Month.

Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy your process. Revel in it. Don’t be afraid to let some of your “evil” out. We’ve all got a bit of it in us somewhere. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t find villains interesting, now would we. :smiling_imp:

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Reminder: Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines

Our April 2020 Supervillian of the month - Sinestro

“I don’t think anybody should ever call themselves “the greatest” anything, except for Sinestro. Sinestro is the greatest Green Lantern.”
Geoff Johns

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Below are some video and comic book resources for Sinestro available on DCU. This is by no means a definitive list. Just a few pointers to some of his “adventures”. PLEASE feel free to add to it. Watching and reading the entirety of the resources below is not expected.

Video Resources:
Green Lantern: First Flight

Green Lantern The Animated Series - S1 E18 - Prisoner of Sinestro

Superman The Animated Series: S3 E7 - In Brightest Day

Comic Resources:
Secret Origins (2014) Issue 6

Green Lantern (1960) Issue 7 , Issue 11 , Issue 18 , Issue 52

Sinestro (2014) Issue 1 , Issue 2 , Issue 3 , Issue 4 , Issue 5 , Issue12

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War Special (2010) Issue 1

Green Lantern (2011) Issue 20

Green Lantern Feat. Sinestro (2011) Issue 23.4

What resources you use or don’t use is up to you. The only limit is your imagination and deduction.

Use whatever materials you like in building up your case for his psychology. Although noting what you’re basing it on could be helpful as resources for the club and our members.

Sinestro has been around a long time and been a major player in the Lantern mythology. I specifically didn’t include the Sinestro Corps Wars or Blackest Night as those storylines contain 18 and 30 books respectively, in the comics. I don’t want folks to feel like there is a 50+ book reading catalog. They are both great arcs and are worth a read at some point. If you want to use them, awesome!! I know with the current pandemic circumstances, some folks may have more time on their hands than normal.

Since there are video resources, if someone one the club wants to volunteer to setup a watch-a-long for something Sinestro related, GO FOR IT!!

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Here are some questions that popped into my head as I was doing my research. If you find any of them interesting, please let the club know your take. As always, posing your own questions is great too,

Is Sinestro a moral character?

“As long as there is life there will be fear.” Is this observation correct?

Was removing “sin” from Korugar an act of love for his people, even if he used fear to do it?

Is he smarter and more rational than the guardians, by acknowledging and accepting that emotions are what drive the universe?

If this is the case, is he justified in removing them as the “moral source” of the universe, enforced by the Green Lantern Corps?

“The Guardians had billions of years to bring order to this universe. They failed. Now it is our turn to spread our light. Our turn to take control.”
If the goal is to bring order to the universe, is this a reasonable and logical rationale?

Sinestro was an archeologist before becoming a Green Lantern. Did his knowledge of history and ancient cultures give him deeper insight into the nature of people and society?

In Green Lantern 23.4, Lyssa Drak recounts the origin and history of Sinestro. Does knowing all this back story change your view of the character? Do you see why Sinestro took the path he did?

“It is our edict to bring order, to enforce justice through fear.” Is that all that different than our society? How many people keep to the law because of the fear of the penalties if they get caught? Do our social construct follow this same basic reasoning? If so, are we, as a society) any “better” or “worse” than Sinestro’s fundamental observation of society. If not, how does that validate Sinestro’s philosophy and what does it say about our own cultural philosophy?

Sinestro “has subdued the purest form of fear.” He has made Parrallax his “pet” (Sinestro issues 4 & 5) In doing this, is Geoff Johns correct that he is the greatest of all lanterns, regardless of ring color?

If the people who had imprisoned you, also released a monster that destroyed you family & your entire planet and all you got was “Oops, our bad,. It was an unintended consequence. Sorry about that.” Would you believe them? Is taking justice for that heinous act justified?

In Green Lantern (1960) issue 7, Sinestro is certainly painted as a fascist. dictator and Green Lantern as the “good cop” upholding America’s values during the Cold War. Yet when Sinestro is brought before the Guardians (the “good guys”), he is has no opportunity to plead his side of the case. Even in this early stage, are the guardians actually just as fascist as he is? Does this validate Sinestro’s view that the Guardians are just as controlling (and fascist) as he is, but on a galactic level?

In Green Lantern (1960) #11 and #52 we see that it takes the combined might of multiple GLs to defeat Sinestro. His desire and will power is stronger than a single Green Lantern. Does his psychology, based upon his desire for success of his mission, validate Geoff Johns view(even before Geoff was born) that Sinestro is the greatest Lantern of them all?

Since he is “all about the mission”, are there psychological similarities in Sinestro to that of Batman?

In your view, is Sinestro “the greatest Lantern of them all”? If so, why or why not?

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Without further ado, we delve into the mind of Sinestro
Let the adventure begin!!!

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While I think I have a pretty good handle on my take on Sinestro, definitely looking to dive into some of this reading before I pontificate

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Awesome.

I will confess, I’m really interested in looking at Sinestro and Nietzsche in both nihilism and The Will to Power. Is Sinestro, by killing the guardians, essentially declaring as Nietzsche did, “god is dead” and what that implies.

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I don’t know if I’m smart enough to join in on the conversation, but I am gonna be following along to see everyone else’s input and ideas. I’m down for a WAL . How do i go about that?

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We are all smart enough. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Your own observations and opinions would be considered very welcome here.

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it’s a good mix of observation and headcanon.

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I say yes and no. Neitzche would probably agree with the fundamental of the quest to be the strongest lantern, as it qualifys as ones duty to their species to strive to be the sharpest example of whatever it is they are. But Neitzche was also a self declared immoralist and deemed morality as nothing more than a tool of enslavement, hindering that “will to power” within anyone who abides by an external moral standard. So, I think Sinestro loses some Nihilism points simply because he doesnt necessarily disagree with the Guardians plight for instilling and enforcing a morality onto the universe, he just thinks he’d be better at it. As far as Neitzche is concerned, control through will power and control through fear are different flavors of the same poison.

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I think this a fundamental point, it is not that Nietzsche felt ethics/morality was bad or not useful. But being bound to a pre-existing morality, and an element of the Will To Power is creating ones own moral compass.

So I’m not sure Sinestro is fundamentally wrong (or certainly no worse than the guardians) but his flaw is the more fear the greater the control (perhaps predicated by his “id”, as opposed using the least amount of fear required to get the end result to his Will to Power, which is pretty deep dived and often a missed portion of Nietzsche’s philosophy, and that is Sinestro’s error in judgement.

That’s currently my working hypothesis, but, I still need to do more in depth research.

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I like all of this. I left out an important word; I should have said “external moral standard.”

Also, the point of the will to power quest is not necessarily to achieve said power, but to motive us to never stop sharpening ourselves, and Sinestro has been nailing that since day 1 for sure.

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How accurate is the “God is dead” line being attributed to Nietzsche?

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In what regard?

There is the graffiti joke:
God is dead - Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead - God

And i think i saw it on Benny Hill

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He said it in The Gay Science, which is one of my favorites. The reoccuring sentiment is that we’ve outgrown our concept of a devine ruler, and without divinity how can there be good and evil ir even right or wrong? He prescribes that we replace the scale of good and bad with healthy and unhealthy being the scale we use to make our decisions with. This allows each person to develop their own compass on a situational basis, since what might be healthy to you in one situation might be unhealthy to me in the exact same situation, ect. It also allows personal growth to come into play, as it is a much more fluid scale then the static concepts if right and wrong.

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Finished the Silver Age stories and I think his base instincts differ at this point from what they will become later. He appears more motivated at first by the exercise of power, but only in ways that interest him in some way. He listens to pleas from his planet’s citizens and acts only if the potential good rebounds to him in some way. He has yet to gain an appreciation of the exercise of power for the sake of exercising power or imposing order. Then, once he is defeated his plans revolve are demonstrating he is the most evil or gaining some revenge against Hal Jordan. This is very small ball thinking compared to what we will see from Sinestro in the future.
As for the idea that he is even at this point the “greatest” GL, it really depends on the definition of greatest. Does that mean most powerful, having had the most impact on the world around them, being the game changer in their field. You can easily argue that Babe Ruth is the greatest baseball player of all time based on the combo of talent, impact on the sport, star power in the country, etc. But, you cannot seriously argue that he is the most talented player of all time. Sinestro is the most talented GL, that doesn’t necessarily make him the greatest.
Finally, as for the Guardians. They are benevolent, attempting to protect the common-good, and generally acting to improve the universe not subjegate it. But, they are not particularly concerned with due-process or democratic input. They are imperfect, but that does not make them as fascist as Sinestro will become.

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Is the core storyline to the Sinestro Corps Wars enough? or doies it need all the tie-ins

@AntLeon
No, I don’t feel that it does and I didn’t come up with the reading list around tie-ins.

I’ve never been a fan of tie-ins. I’m sure it provides little snippets of background, but, I don’t find them worth the time and energy. If I’m into a book that just so happens to tie into another book/arc I’m reading, that’s a happy accident. But, I don’t go out of my way for tie-ins.

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I have always felt that the Silver Age Sinestro stories were very much a representation of the Cold War with GLs playing the US, Sinestro playing the USSR, and the Guardians taking on the role of NATO.
I suppose I look at it that way, as Hal Jordan in particular was on the sociopolitical “conservative” side as opposed to Green Arrow who was on the “liberal” side. (As we see in the “trek across America storyline in the early 70’s) I think the stories he was given in the Sliver/Bronze Age support that. I agree that they are very small ball and “what’s in it for me” when comparing them to his later, galactic scale, story arcs.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Sinestro only really starts to grow into a DC Universe “big bad” after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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Agree and to take the US political analogy a step further, Ollie represents the old school liberal Cold War warrior in the JFK type mode. Left on domestic issues but closer to Nixon than Eugene McCarthy on foreign policy.

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After doing some additional GL reading, I’ve added Green Lantern (2011) Issue 20 into the comic book resources.

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