With an intriguing turn of events, Green Lantern 2021 Annual #1 makes a number of brave choices in talking about the topic of fear. As a new player seems poised to switch teams, the concepts of "good" and "bad" get a little blurry in a way that feels new and fresh.
Jessica Cruz has gone from a woman terrified of her own shadow to being a well-regarded member of the space cops called the Green Lanterns. With her colleagues, she helped bring order to a lawless galaxy … until the light in her ring went out, nearly taking her confidence with it. Now, she's got a new look, a new modus operandi, and maybe a new job.
There are a number of interesting things that writer Ryan Cady did with this script, intentional or not. First of all, his characterization of Sinestro — part Tarkin, part Doctor Doom, part Tom Ellis Lucifer, part David Xanatos — is absolutely fabulous. There are a number of quotes here that can be used in nerd conversations for years to come. Likewise, the interaction with Hal Jordan — a white "cop" giving a woman of color a hard time without all the facts — was an unexpected, refreshing choice as well. The action itself was a savvy lesson that — as Sinestro anticipated — revealed things about Cruz that even she may not have suspected. There's also the question: does this make Cruz a supervillain now? An anti-hero? Do you become a fascist by working with fascists? The philosophical implications are fascinating. It also begs another question: who is the antagonist here? Jordan? The supposed problem in space? Cruz herself?
The visual presentation here by Sami Basri, Tom Derenick, Hi-Fi, and Rob Leigh do a great job making these "alien" environments feel real. The montage of fear is a great gag; there are new approaches to the yellow-shaded power of the Sinestro Corps.
Aside from trying to figure out who to root against, the six-dollar price tag is perhaps the biggest villain here. Without that, this is indeed an enjoyable work that maybe gives us something new to consider. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Green Lantern 2021 Annual #1
By Ryan Cady, Sami Basri, Tom Derenick
Once an agoraphobic scared to even leave her room, Jessica Cruz overcame her fear to become a Green Lantern and face the darkest and deadliest threats in the universe. But now, Jessica's gone from overcoming fear to using it as a weapon. When Yellow Lanterns attacked the Green Lantern Sector House she took refuge in when the Central Power battery was destroyed, Jessica turned the tables on them, giving them something to be afraid of, as she beat them one-by-one. But now that she's been offered a place in the Sinestro Corps, will she accept?