This year’s Green Lantern Annual: 2021 picks up on threads first started back in Future State: Green Lantern #1 and connects those events to Jessica Cruz’s recent appearance in Green Lantern #5. Returning is the creative team of Ryan Cady and Sami Basri, with some additional artwork by Tom Derenick.
We knew that Future State was full of possible futures, and in this case “The Taking of Sector 123” the story was by Cady and Basri was an accurate depiction of the near future. The Annual allows the story to continue, telling us why Jessica chooses to keep the yellow ring in a story which makes the creative choice work. When I first read that Jessica was going to join the Sinestro Corps I wasn’t sure if I could buy it – but Cady’s script does a good job of making it make sense for the character.
Cady also plays up the dynamic between Jessica and Lyssa Drak, which for me was the high point of the issue. I also thought that giving Jessica Lyssa’s outfit during the dream/nightmare scene was a nice touch.
The other strong part of the issue was how Cady gave us another perspective of how the power of fear could be used positively and how much the integrity of the ring bearer impacts the use of the ring. Jessica makes a mistake but corrects it in the end by embracing what the ring can do for her. There’s also a tease that this isn’t the end of the story – although whether that plays out in the main series or another avenue is unclear. A heroic Yellow Lantern isn’t a new concept and this tale did have me looking for Soranik Natu hiding in the background. Her’s is an even more powerful story than Jessica’s in my opinion and Natu is one character that is long overdue for exposure.
Where Cady falls flat is in his depiction of Hal Jordan’s reaction when he encounters the yellow-clad Cruz. Sure, seeing Jessica in a Sinestro Corps outfit is cause for concern, but Hal’s overreaction is way off point. One has only to remember the “War of the Green Lanterns” to remember that Hal himself had to wear the very same kind of ring in a pinch. His big brother relationship with Jessica combined with his own experiences should have carried the day, but Cady falls into that trap of the trope of having to prop up one character at the expense of another. Sure Hal comes around once Jessica explains, but Hal’s over-the-top reaction was out of character and lessened the reading experience for me.
Basir and Derenick’s art styles complemented each other in my opinion and I honestly didn’t notice when the changes took place. Visually the book looked very solid.
Green Lantern Annual: 2021 was the stronger of the Green Lantern books this month and fans of Jessica Cruz will no doubt enjoy her getting a major spotlight with this oversized tale. Hal’s out-of-character depiction was a bit disappointing, but overall this was a pretty good effort.
Seven out of ten lanterns.