Writer: Ryan Cady
Artists: Sami Basri & Tom Derenick
Cover Artists: Bernard Chang & Alex Sinclair
Publisher: DC Comics
The Green Lantern Corps is in disarray. The Central Power Battery is destroyed, the Guardians of Oa are crippled, and the Lanterns are powerless. During this time, Lantern Jessica Cruz was left to fend for herself against three Yellow Lanterns on a far-away outpost. She bested them and was made a candidate for the Sinestro Corps. In Green Lantern Annual: 2021, we learn if she has what it takes to be in the Sinestro Corps.
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of this idea of making Jessica Cruz a Yellow Lantern, for both how she bested the other three lanterns and the reasoning behind how she could join the Corps. But it’s here to stay for a while, so it’s worth giving it a shot and there’s no better place than the annual that actually explains how and why she joins the Sinestro Corps.
In all likelihood, Jessica Cruz would turn down this idea, but if you read Green Lantern #5, you already know she chose to stay as a Yellow Lantern. Ryan Cady uses the story to explain why. The story picks up with Jessica returning the Lanterns who attacked her back to Sinestro, only for her to get “educated” by Lyssa Drak on really wielding the light of fear.
This comic is far more action-packed than the main Green Lantern series right now, and the art by both Sami Basri and Tom Derenick proves to be great to look at. The colors by the colorist Hi-Fi (yes, that’s their name) also look exceptional especially when Jessica and anyone else uses their ring powers. The only big issue I see with the art is the environments, they look a little too much like legos from a distance. Later, Sinestro shows his more charismatic side as he persuades Jessica to keep the power for a while as she heads back to Earth. There she has the opportunity to use the power of fear to help some people in distress and see the potential good she can do as a yellow lantern.
Cady nails down the characterization of Sinestro, Lyssa, and Jessica Cruz pretty well, providing some solid character exchanges between them in the comic, especially between Sinestro and Jessica. However, the writing falters when Hal Jordan shows up and we get a classic case of “senior hero jerkiness”. That’s not the official name, but you recognize the problem. A writer makes a senior superhero be excessively judgmental of the newer hero for making an ill-advised decision. But the writer has them take it to explosive degrees, making the senior hero look like a jerk to prop up the new hero before they win them over. We see plenty of that with Jessica and Hal’s interactions in the comic.
I’m also surprised the book doesn’t have Hal mention Soranik Natu, a former Green Lantern turned Yellow Lantern and Sinestro’s daughter who temporarily took over as the Sinestro Corps’ leader before DC’s Death Metal event. She thought she could use her power for good and make the Sinestro Corps a force for good. Clearly that didn’t happen, and it would’ve been a strong point for Hal to bring up as a cautionary tale for Jessica. Overall, I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that Jessica’s time as a Yellow Lantern is temporary and she’ll be back wearing green again when the Future State storyline wraps up.
Green Lantern Annual: 2021 does its best to present a case for Jessica Cruz joining the Sinestro Corps. The reasoning of why Jessica stays is debatable, but it pulls on the right connections based on her history with fear. The change is likely temporarily, and the real question is what DC will actually do with her as a Yellow Lantern. Ryan Cady delivers solid characterization for the major characters, notably Jessica and Sinestro with the exception of Hal Jordan. The art team did a good job with the visuals and colors, especially the action scenes.