Monday, July 15, 2024

Jessica Takes Command of the Green Lanterns

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Last time, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz were flung back in time to an ancient primordial Earth. They did battle with the local fauna as they tried to find any signs of the Green Lantern Corps. But it seems the Corps found them. Or rather, the first seven Lanterns have been guided to Earth to prepare for battle against Volthoom at the height of his power (and at his most crazy).

Before we begin, there is still one more first lantern to meet. We’ve already met the warrior Alitha, the vengeful White Martian Z’Krann Z’rann, Tyran’r the Tamarin general, Kaja-Dox a menial level Brainiac, Calleen a tree-lady, and Brill a sophisticated artificial intelligence. That makes six. So who is the seventh?

Meet Jan-Al

An explorer narrates the travails of her crew through the galaxy. Their communications and eventually their ship were destroyed. Marooned on a barren world, they cling to survival. After surviving a cataclysmic storm, a leader emerges from among them. Jan-Al is a thoughtful, intelligent, pious member of her group, and she saves them from panic and ultimately death in the storm. For her trouble, she is awarded the seventh of the newly minted green lantern rings.

Like, you know… whatever…

Fast-forward a bit to ten billion-year-old Earth where Simon and Jess are stranded. Seven lanterns have appeared, directed there by the apparition of a much younger Rami. They have assembled there under the cloaking energy of the white lantern entity Simon and Jess discovered at Earth’s core. There, they must prepare to fight Volthoom with their new rings.

Not all of them seem to keen on following Rami’s instructions. Kaja-Dox and Tyran’r in particular seem more interested in serving their own whims. Z’krann notices that there aren’t seven lanterns, but nine, and one of them doesn’t have a ring. Tyran’r goes on the offensive believing Simon to be after his ring. That’s when Jess steps in big-time.

Jessica’s All Grown Up

One of the highlights of the Green Lanterns series has been watching Jessica Cruz progress. From where she began as a frightened mouse who could barely use her ring, to a powerful woman who has control of her own fear and a command of the ring, her growth has been tremendous. Here in this issue we get to watch her take her next step to leader.

She creates a construct of an axe to defend Simon. None of these new lanterns know how to do that yet, so they are all of them taken aback. Jessica seizes the moment to welcome the first lanterns into the Corps. She knows Rami, and if he says there is a dangerous fight ahead, they should all listen. Jessica proposes to train them all to use their rings and fight together.

Box their ears, Jess.

Again, Kaja-Dox would rather use her ring for selfish reasons, while Z’krann seeks only justice for his kind. Not all the new lanterns are without honor, however, and Alitha tries to set them straight. Brill agrees, which puts the team’s focus on him. Calleen and Tyran’r don’t believe he is a living machine and the latter attacks in order to rip out whatever being is piloting the robotic exterior.

Jan-Al, who has been watching this transpire, decides that all the rings were meant for her and her crew. She’ll have all of them. All of the new lanterns begin brawling. Jess tries to restore order to no avail. Finally, Calleen entraps them all in constricting vines. The melee is halted, but Jan-Al’s willpower is overloading her ring. Jessica tries in vain to calm her as the new ring, which has no safeguards whatsoever, burns her alive with her own green light.

Jan-Al didn’t die in vain, however. Her self-destruction has convinced the others that maybe they ought to listen to Jessica after all. Now it is up to Jessica Cruz to train the first ever Green Lanterns and build the Green Lantern Corps from nothing.

The First Leader of the Corps

This is an amazing thing happening right now. Green Lanterns has been adding cool details to the lore of the early Green Lantern Corps and their founding for the better part of its run. That stuff is all fun to read, but it all seemed so distant until now. It was like hearing about ancient elves during Lord of the Rings. (Yes, I went there). Now, we are here, experiencing it firsthand with Jessica, and she’s the one in charge! Our little Jess has grown up so much.

So now we get to watch as Jessica Cruz (and presumably Simon, as there seems to be a ring available now that Jan-Al is only a skeleton) start the Corps from scratch. Which begs the question, has it always been this way? Are Jess and Simon Barry Allen-ing the past and rewriting the Corps? Was Jessica always the first leader of the Green Lanterns?

Personally I like to think it was the latter. Jessica has quickly become our favorite Lantern of all time here at the Fandomentals, and I want to believe that she was instrumental in building the Corps as we know it today. That would solidify her as the most important Lantern of all time in our minds.

Oh, you…

Imagine if she hadn’t been there? Three of them would have left immediately, and who knows what the others would have done. Only Alitha seemed keen on following Rami’s instructions. Volthoom would have won and hunted them down one after another to reconstruct his travel lantern. No Green Lanterns, no Green Lantern Corps. All the good they have done over the millenia never would have happened. It’s all because of Jess.

Pansica, Ferreira and Blond continue the high level of art we’ve become accustomed to in Green Lanterns. The first seven lanterns all have distinctive looks, even the humanoids. Pansica’s facial expressions work well to establish characters we know very little about from the gruff feral Tyran’r to the flippant Kaja-Dox. We learn a lot about these characters just from the way they are drawn, and their lantern outfits are cool.

Green Lanterns keeps our blood pumping while dishing out some great story, as always, and I can’t wait till next issue when Jessica’s training camp goes into full swing. What could go wrong? Probably plenty, but our Jessica can handle anything.

Fanfinites Rating: 9/10

Green Lanterns #28: Out of Time Part Two: Miracles

Writer: Sam Humphries

Pencils: Eduardo Pansica

Inks: Julio Ferreira

Colors: Blond

Letters: Dave Sharpe

Images Courtesy of DC Comics

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