Green Lantern Annual #1 is a fantastic one-shot issue that promises to alter not only Jessica Cruz’s future, but that of the Green Lantern Corps.
Green Lantern Annual #1 is an issue with a very clear hook: Jessica Cruz joins the Sinestro Corps. Historically, comic issues with juicy hooks designed to catch devoted readers’ interest can easily disappoint. However, Green Lantern Annual #1 delivers an incredibly thoughtful dissection of fear as a force in the universe. The result is a wonderfully paced, perfectly truncated issue that neither oversimplifies its message nor overstays its welcome. Amongst the complex discussion across Green Lantern Annual #1, the issue soars to new heights.
Green Lantern Annual #1 follows former Green Lantern Jessica Cruz after (yet another) annihilation of the Green Lantern Corps as she tries to make her way home to Earth. Written by Ryan Cady, drawn by Sami Basri and Tom Derenick, and colored by Hi-Fi, the issue finds Cruz welcomed on New Korugar, homeworld of the Yellow Lanterns, by Sinestro himself. To the surprise of Cruz, Sinestro attempts to recruit her to his corps, before allowing her a yellow ring to return home. En route, she encounters a refugee ship heading for disaster, but in her attempts to save the inhabitants all of her notions of good and evil will be tested.
Ryan Cady spins a captivating web with Green Lantern Annual #1 and sets up a narrative that pushes its heroine in just the right ways. The story balances a well-positioned internal philosophical debate with fun and engaging superhero antics. The value of fear, uniquely positioned amongst the emotional spectrum, is heavily scrutinized and considered for Jessica Cruz in a way that few Green Lanterns have experienced before. What initially looks like a dramatized hook on the cover becomes a real test of faith for Cruz. Cady’s script seeks not just to entertain, but to question philosophical ideas around fear. Green Lantern Annual #1 is supremely thoughtful with the questions it tackles and is entertaining to boot.
Initially, the switch between the cool, focused simplicity of Sami Basri’s panels and the old-school boldness of Tom Derenick is jarring. But upon second consideration, the transition is fantastic. Derenick takes over just as Hal Jordan enters the fray, and the switch from Basri’s more modern art style to a look that harkens back to a time — when Green Lanterns were good and Yellow Lanterns were bad — that lends itself beautifully to the discussion Cady is having. There is a release of tension when the artists switch, but only because the tough questions Cruz is dealing with are reduced back to blacks and whites when Hal Jordan comes to “set things straight.” By the end of the issue, Basri returns, just as Cruz reaffirms her right to be considering these questions. Aided in the transition by stellar colorwork from Hi-Fi, the art on Green Lantern Annual #1 is novel and never misses a beat.
Storywise, Green Lantern Annual #1 is a wonderfully self-contained one-shot that hefts an entire character’s future on its shoulders with grace and purpose. While the main narrative concepts in the issue might not be anything new, the way the writer and illustrators approach and dissect those concepts is incredibly engaging. There is a patient eagerness buried beneath the issue, an excitement to begin a new chapter of Jessica Cruz’s story.
Green Lantern Annual #1 is recommended for all fans of Green Lantern Corps. Rarely does such a unique take on an established franchise manage to be this much fun. If this issue is any indication, Jessica Cruz’s upcoming future in the DC Universe deserves special attention.
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