Sunday, 29 April 2012

Seizing The Yellow Ring: Succession Planning in the Sinestro Corps

Welcome back to Funding the Kryptonite, a blog that will take a look at comic book super villains and discuss them from a business perspective.

Before getting started I want to give a big shoutout to Astro Books here in Montreal. Since getting back into comics just before Infinite Crisis, they've been my shop of choice. Ray, their comic guy, offers great personalized service and is hugely helpful for suggesting good new things to read or getting you older stuff. Plus they've got some excellent discounts. Check them out! 

Today’s article will be a continuation of the series on the Sinestro Corps. The first article in my overview of this organization, centered around their training and recruitment, can be found here. This article is going to be about the succession planning of the Sinestro Corps. How well positioned are they to handle the loss of their top talent up to, and including, their namesake leader Sinestro?

The Upper Echelon:

The Sinestro Corps boasts two primary members who might be called upon to lead the Corps. The first is their training taskmaster, the monstrous Arkillo. He serves Sinestro loyally, and is trusted to hammer new recruits into the fold. At the same time, his only displayed traits of leadership are in that specific realm. His attempt at seizing leadership of the Corps following Sinestro’s imprisonment at the end of the Sinestro Corps War event came only as an attempt to stop the hostile takeover by new recruit Mongul. He failed at that, but is otherwise considered a top-ranking member. His position in the planned succession is that of temporary placeholder, a man to keep things together until the real leadership returns. It’s also important to note that there does not seem to be anyone who would be positioned to take over his previous training position while he holds the top spot.

The second top recruit is Lyssa Drak, previously discussed as a sort of historian/morale officer/training combination role. While never having taken the leadership of the Corps proper, it seems likely that she had the skills and abilities needed for the top spot due to her high position and seat of trust as lore keeper in the Corps. However, at the same time, her loyalty to the Sinestro Corps is extremely suspect as she is later recruited by another enemy (Krona) to serve him as lore keeper. Again, as with Arkillo, there does not appear to be a plan in place for someone to replace her and her position in the case of her death, defection, or other departure.

Succession planning is especially important for these two roles because they are key elements of the training and recruitment process in the Sinestro Corps, especially given the high mortality rate amongst members. If either is removed from their duties due to a need to replace Sinestro, their own replacements would be woefully under equipped to perform at the same level as their predecessors and there would be a rocky transition period. Proper succession planning prevents, or minimizes, that concern.

Knowledge Transfer:

Another important element of succession planning is making sure that important information and contacts are managed and stored in such a way as to minimize changeover periods and ensure that the organization can survive the sudden loss of its leadership. A couple of important pieces of information, known only to Sinestro, are that there is a failsafe designed into the rings to trigger a feedback/shutdown process and that a green lantern power battery brought into the heart of the central yellow lantern power battery would trigger a process that shuts down the entire Sinestro Corps. While keeping this information secret allows Sinestro to ensure a strong measure of control over his Corps against betrayal, it also prevents future leaders from doing the same should he be removed (as he is).

The Big Man Himself:

Sinestro himself has been removed from the leadership of his eponymous Corps twice in recent memory. The first, after his imprisonment by the Guardians of the Universe after the Sinestro Corps War, led to Mongul seizing the leadership of the Corps and renaming it the Mongul Corps. This did not last that long as, after his release, Sinestro challenged Mongul to retake the leadership and used his failsafe mechanism to shut down Mongul.

The second loss of leadership comes now that he has been retaken into the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps, leaving a void in the top rank of his former Corps. Rather than an established succession, now the Corps is offering the leadership to whoever can personally slay Sinestro. Again, this is causing a long transition period as ambitious members work to find and kill Sinestro instead of going about the business of actually running the Corps and leading them onwards to some sort of goal.

Closing comments:

It perhaps comes as no surprise that the Sinestro Corps does not have a strong plan to actually replace Sinestro, nor is it overly shocking that the man himself would keep certain secrets about the workings of his organization. In a large sense, the Corps is a cult of personality around himself and his personal goals. Without him in place, they fall apart and devolve into a pack of powerful and unguided thugs. If they want the Sinestro Corps to survive beyond their founder, they really need to put some succession planning in place.

As an aside, succession planning is a process I am currently working on with a group of colleagues as we hand over the reins of a student event group that we founded last year. It’s absolutely necessary to do this if we want the things we built to stand past us.

Do you think me foolish enough to create something I could never control over anyone else?” –Sinestro (Green Lantern #46)

Final Rating: Bad business!
Thank you for reading and please hit me up with your comments.

P.S: The story arcs covered here can be primarily found in the Green Lantern: Blackest Night, Green Lantern: Sinestro Corp War Vol. 1 and 2 and Green Lantern Corps: Emerald Eclipse trade paperbacks. Check out my Pinterest board for more scans!


  1. Power Succession is very important in a business where there is so much of responsibility to be undertaken. From a Sinestro corps view this is disastrous but from Sinestro's view this has to be the perfect plan of never losing leadership, hence having dual control over the green and yellow rings.

    1. Setting aside plot-based immunity though, he's leaving the next guy in charge at a serious disadvantage if he just got jumped by like five Green Lanterns tomorrow and killed under the new Oan laws.

      You are right though, it does allow him some measure of control over his old Corps under his current situation of being back in the GL ranks.