Jessica Cruz is a relatively new Green Lantern. Introduced back in 2014 in Justice League #30, she’s a character that grew into her own thanks to Sam Humphries’ work on Green Lanterns. A character who has incredible anxiety her struggles to maintain her composure were highly relatable and it was endearing to see her grow stronger and become a great Green Lantern. But now, it appears she’s turning yellow and leaning into the fear she once fought against.
This issue opens with Jessica handing over a few of Sinestro’s goons. She’s suited up as a Yellow Lantern only because she lost the Green Lantern ring thanks to events centered around the Central Power Battery being destroyed. It was a last resort to escape an outpost station. But is this newfound Yellow Lantern power something she can get used to? That’s the story Ryan Cady, Sami Basri, and Tom Derenick are trying to tell here.
This issue further shows the development of Sinestro in the modern era as he’s not some psychotic supervillain, but a leader of people with a different point of view. That leadership screams through in the earlier scenes in this issue as he subtly manipulates Jessica to convince her to use the Yellow Lantern ring to get home. He does so not in an unfair way, mind you, but simply shares his point of view. It’s a smart way to continue to develop how Yellow Lantern’s aren’t pure evil.
That’s further expressed with the main conflict of the issue when Jessica must decide to use the Yellow Lantern’s abilities to save a crew of people in a spaceship barreling towards the moon. There’s also a major confrontation between her and a key figure in this realm of the DC Universe you’ll wanna check out. By the story’s end, Cady does a great job establishing Cruz’s new path that feels earned and believable.
Art by Basri and Derenick is strong. Cruz’s concern and unease about being a Yellow Lantern can be read by her facial expressions. She’s not taking this lightly, which is important given the seven years she was a Green Lantern. Fans who love her as a Green Lantern will connect with her on an emotional level thanks to the art. If you thought a key Green Lantern was a jerk, these artists make it very evident, too.
There are two stand-out moments in the art, one of which is Sinestro detailing his point of view as a leader and why using fear can work to help others. Another is a double-page splash montage of Cruz feeling the power of fear and how it connects to key figures in the universe. Both do well to expand minds and help convey the Yellow Lantern perspective.
As a fan of Jessica Cruz, I was hesitant to accept her turn as a Yellow Lantern in Green Lantern 2021 Annual #1. Cady and his collaborators proved a character can make a jump like this one and make it work. This issue also does a great job of showing how fear and the way of the Yellow Lantern can be used for good, even if it draws its power from a negative feeling.
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