Don’t know much about Jessica Cruz? We have you covered.
Welcome to another week of DC Weekly! As I thought about this week’s column I thought about all the subjects that I could talk about. With day two of DC FanDome happening last Saturday, there is a treasure trove of subjects just there. I also thought about doing a review on the fantastic new DC animated film, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, but that can wait until next week when hopefully more people have seen it. This week, I wanted to dive into something a little more personal.
This past Tuesday was the start of National Hispanic American Heritage Month. In honor of that, I thought this would be the perfect time to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite characters in the DC Universe, the Green Lantern Jessica Cruz. I am half Mexican-American, half Salvadorean-American and have always thought it would be so cool to have a character like Marvel’s Black Panther to root for. Lucky for me, Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver created Cruz who is a half Mexican-American, half Honduran-American. For those of you who don’t like geography, El Salvador and Honduras are neighbors and share similar cultures. Some of my closest friends growing up are from Honduras so I would know. This makes Jessica Cruz a fantastic choice for me to root for. The interesting thing is that I became a fan of hers even before I knew her ethnicity. So let’s dig a little deeper and find out why.
THE ORIGIN OF JESSICA CRUZ
Fortunately, Jessica Cruz’s origins don’t go too far back. We just have to go back to the end of the Forever Evil crossover event in May of 2014. After the death of the Crime Syndicate of America’s Power Ring (their version of the Green Lantern), the ring of Volthoom sets off to find a new replacement. At the end of Justice League #30 by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, Scott Hanna, and Rod Reis we find the ring had picked Cruz. This was because the ring was specifically was looking for someone who felt great fear and anger. Cruz had experienced a horrible tragedy while on a hunting trip with her friends. They had the bad luck to run into mobsters that were burying a body. Since they couldn’t have any witnesses, they shot and killed Jessica’s friends. Lucky for her she was able to escape. But this left her extremely traumatized to the point where she developed debilitating anxiety and could not leave her home for four years.
She was overtaken by the Ring of Volthoom that forced her to attack her home town. The Justice League and Doom Patrol came to her rescue. Batman was able to empathize with her and calm her down. He talked to her about the fact that he too saw loved ones die in front of him. That he had no way to save them and it caused him to be afraid of the darkness. With Batman’s embrace, she is then finally able to overcome the ring’s influence over her and work with the Justice League.
Her first really big moment comes at the end of the Darkseid War. During Justice League #50 by Geoff John with fantastic artwork by Jason Fabok, Cruz finds herself in an impossible situation. She knew that Valthoom was never going to let Jessica go, and she also realized that the Black Racer, the new God of Death was going to kill The Flash. So she took enough control of her body to step in-between The Flash and the Black Racer. Seemingly sacrificing herself to save the Flash. But in a twist, the life that the Black Racer had taken was not Cruz’s but Volthoom’s. This caused her power ring to crumble off of her finger. For her act of heroism and her mighty ability to overcome fear, she was chosen to become a Green Lantern, becoming Earth’s newest emerald protector.
SAM HUMPHRIES’ GREEN LANTERNS
Jessica Cruz was then featured in a fantastic series written by Sam Humphries titled, Green Lanterns. This came during the launch of the Rebirth titles and featured Cruz being partnered with another Green Lantern, Simon Baz. After failing a test set up by Hal Jordan, he forced them to work together by combining their power batteries before going away. They had no choice but to be partners. Despite being an official Green Lantern, Cruz struggled to manage her powers due to self-doubt and her anxiety. To make matters worse Baz and she had to deal with an attack by the Red Lantern Corps. I highly recommend this series to everyone.
The best issue in that series is Green Lanterns #15, called A Day in the Life. Here Humphries gives us an inside look at the struggles that Jessica Cruz has to go through despite being a superhero. In this issue we see her describe how her biggest battles don’t come against supervillains, but her anxiety. We see her rise up and fight side by side with the rest of the Justice League to save the day. De-escalating huge threats. But then a simple bank robber triggers an anxiety attack that she had been able to control up to that point. We then find her at her home in the dark doing her best to regain control. Her narration on what she is feeling is something that so many people in the real world can relate to. Being that she has been dealing with her Anxiety for a long time now, he gets to work on what she knows will calm her down. Her struggle with herself is captured through many pages until we get to the end where she once again back in control.
What makes this such a beautiful issue is how relateable Jessica Cruz is. Despite the fact that she is a Green Lantern and working with the Justice League, she is unfortunately grounded by this crippling feeling that has brought many of us down. Many of us know the way that anxiety and self-doubt can just shut us down completely and seemingly drain our life force right out of us. It’s not her heroic action with the League that impresses me here, but her actions she takes to get control of herself that to me make her a hero in this issue. She even goes as far as calling her anxiety her Joker or Lex Luthor, knowing that it is an ongoing battle that she is going to have to face. Recognizing that the more she fights it, the better she will become at handling it. Humphries really hit a home run with this issue.
Since then we have seen Cruz start to be featured in other books like Justice League Odyessy. She was also added to the animated television series, DC Super Hero Girls. She also appeared in the DC Universe Original animated film, Justice League vs. the Fatal Five. Here she was voiced by Diane Guerrero. My hope is that in the upcoming Green Lantern Corp project that they are developing at HBO Max, they will be sure to prominently feature her character. With everything that she has been through so far, I am very proud of the fact that we share similar heritages.
What do you guys think of Jessica Cruz? Let us know in the comment section below! Before we go, let’s go ahead and wrap it up once again with my top three DC books of the week!
My Top 3 DC Comic Books Released 9/15/2020
3. Catwoman #25
Written by Ram V. Artwork by Fernando Blanco with colors by FCO Plascencia.
2. Batman #99
Written by James Tynion IV. Artwork by Jorge Jimenez with colors by Tomeu Morey.
1. Detective Comics #1027
Written by a lot of writers. Artwork by an even larger creative team.
(This issue is the 1000th appearance of Batman)
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