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Interview: Cullen Bunn Gets Dark on SINESTRO

Writer Cullen Bunn discusses his new DC series and upcoming story lines.

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Sinestro's series at DC Comics is dark and unforgiving. Writer Cullen Bunn has put one of DC's most infamous villains into the spotlight as Sinestro tries to rebuild his corps. Bunn answered a few of our questions about this series and what fans can expect in future issues of this new series.

COMIC VINE: We're only 3 issues in, but what have you enjoyed about writing this series thus far?

CULLEN BUNN: Hey! Bad guys are just more fun!

Sinestro is one of those characters who, by the nature of his overwhelming ego, is just a blast to write. He presents an interesting storytelling perspective. He’s completely convinced that his way… his methods… are right. So great is his conviction, he’s willing to take almost any step, no matter how devious or cruel, to reach his goals.

Also, there are some really great inter-team dynamics with the Sinestro Corps. I haven’t had the chance to explore the intrigue and backstabbing and posturing I have planned, but it’s something that I’ve been planning on since my earliest brainstorming. I’ve been able to hint at it, but there’s much more to come!

CV: Why did you choose to tap into Lyssa Drak so heavily?

CB: There’s a certain horror vibe I really wanted to tap into for this series, and Lyssa Drak fit in perfectly with that. That sense of eldritch terror and strangeness only became more pronounced when Lyssa branded herself with the words of the Book of Parallax. Her prophetic visions… her cryptic utterances… her sinister insanity… These things just bring a new level of creepiness to the story.

Lyssa has a pretty interesting role to play. Even though Sinestro doesn’t trust her, she is perhaps his closest allies. She worships him. Whether Sinestro would admit it or not, he can appreciate that kind of adoration. Their relationship will be growing and changing in some unexpected ways.

CV: There's this on-going discussion of trust in this book, which Sinestro flat-out states he doesn't really trust anyone, except maybe his daughter, Soranik. Was this a theme you intended to be a part of the book or did it just happen naturally, and is Sinestro capable of trusting anyone or is that just part of the nature of a yellow lantern?

CB: Trust is one of the things I wanted to explore in the book. I think that trust is something that’s pretty difficult to come by in a group like the Sinestro Corps. Every member of the Corps has their own agenda, and you have to remember—these are hardcore villains. They will go to some extreme lengths to accomplish their desires, and they’ll backstab anyone to get what they want. And that’s saying nothing about their secrets. Many of these characters have something to hide. Rigen Kale, for example, has a pretty wild secret he will be struggling to protect. Sinestro has to remain ever on-guard. That level of distrust breeds a lot of paranoia.

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CV: Issue #2 has some pretty brutal moments. Is this level of brutality going to continue through the series and what do you think that says about the main character of this book?

CB: Sinestro’s story is punctuated with these lightning strike instances of brutality, so you’ll be seeing that from time to time. I think brutal violence is just one weapon in Sinestro’s arsenal. When the Yellow Lanterns were under Arkillo’s control, they might have relied too heavily on brutality. That works to Sinestro’s advantage to some degree, because he knows what to expect from them, but he has tricks they might not suspect.

CV: Sinestro does have a soft side, for his daughter. Will we see Soranik's more caring side rubbing off on Sinestro, or is this all about Sinestro trying to get her to follow in his footsteps?

CB: There’s this kind of tug of war between Sinestro and his daughter. Soranik does not trust her father, and Sinestro wants his daughter’s love and respect. With Soranik becoming a permanent member of the cast, she becomes the voice of morality. She’s going to see some things that she cannot condone. At the same time, Sinestro is going to be hiding some of his actions from Soranik. The question becomes… will Soranik sway Sinestro toward the light? Or will Soranik become more like her father?

CV: Is SINESTRO going to stay separate from the other GL books or will there be some crossover?

CB: As much as I like telling stories that stand on their own, SINESTRO is part of a greater universe, so you’ll definitely be seeing him crossover with the other GL books. In issues 4 and 5, Sinestro and Hal Jordan will be meeting up. It’s an encounter that will answer some of the big questions that have been looming since our first issue—most importantly, where’s Parallax?

CV: What can you tell us about the Church of Anti-Emotion, which has been mentioned a couple times in this series?

CB: When I first started working on the series, I wanted a boogieman—someone or something that is lurking out there in the depths of space, surfacing from time to time to plague the Sinestro Corps. I wanted this antagonist to be above petty concepts of good and evil. And so, the Paling was born. Part Borg, part Holy Inquisition, part horror show. Sinestro first draws their attention when he strikes at a congregation of their “worshippers” in the first issue. From that point, they target the Sinestro Corps, but they could potentially become a threat to all of the Lanterns.

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CV: Getting into character design, we've seen a giant robot, a creature that looks like a tumor on top of a hand, and a character that looks made up of surfboards. Are there any weird character designs that you and artist Dale Eaglesham have come up with for future issues?

CB: Dale comes up with many of those designs on his own. I often write suggestions in the scripts for some of these tertiary characters, but they are pretty loose at best. For example, I never expected a character who looked like he was made of surfboards! It’s tough sometimes, because some of those characters are slated for a terrible death before I see the awesome design. Then I feel bad that we’re killing them off!

And, yes, you can expect some more wild designs popping up in the series.

CV: How do you and Dale get into the darker mindset to not only create some more sinister looking character but develop these darker stories?

CB: I think maybe we’re both just a little messed up to begin with.

I can’t speak for Dale, but I tend to be more comfortable with darker, more horrific tones and stories.

CV: Finally, does Sinestro truly have the best mustache in DC?

CB: For many years, I sported a mustache. Well, it was probably more of a pseudo-stache. When I was 16, a cute girl told me it looked good on me, so I kept that mustache for many, many years. And it was awful. So, it makes me genuinely happy to write a story about a character who wears a mustache so well!

Thanks to Cullen Bunn for answering our questions and make sure to check out SINESTRO! Issues #1-3 are available at your LCS and digitally through the DC Comics app!