This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.
This fall, pick up a powerful accountof one of DC’s youngest and brightest heroes, Jessica Cruz, as she fights to overcome her fears and protect her family.
Debuting on September 14, 2021, Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story is a new young adult graphic novel from DC that provides a fresh retelling of Jessica Cruz’s origin story, that captures the experiences of many immigrant families today. Like the Green Lanterns who came before her, Jessica must fight for what she believes in, and develop her willpower, determination, courage, and tenacity—hallmarks of every Green Lantern—while facing overwhelming odds as xenophobia takes root in her hometown, Coast City.
This poignant and heartfelt tale about the trials that immigrants face in America is crafted by Pura Belpré Honor-winning author Lilliam Rivera and rising illustrator Steph C. Their modern refresh of Jessica’s story shows the budding hero take on challenges that ordinary immigrant families face every day. As she struggles with a new reality in Coast City, Jessica must overcome her fear to become a beacon of hope for her community.
Jessica Cruz has done everything right. She’s a dedicated student, popular among her classmates, and has a loving family that has done everything they can to give her a better life in the United States. While Jessica is a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing her to go to school and live in the U.S., her parents are undocumented. Jessica usually worries for her parents, but her fears and anxiety escalate as a mayoral candidate with a strong anti-immigration stance runs for office.
As the xenophobia in Coast City increases, Jessica begins to debate whether it’s worth renewing her status to stay in the U.S., or if her family would be safer and better off moving back to Mexico. And despite her attempts to lean on her friends and family, she finds herself constantly visited by visions of Aztec gods, one pulling her towards hope and the other towards anger.
But when her father is detained by I.C.E., Jessica finds herself being pulled into an abyss of fear. With her father gone and feeling helpless, Jessica must find her way out of her fears and ultimately become a voice for her community.
It’s a bright night for Green Lantern as HBO Max has given the series an order Variety is reporting. That’s not surprising. The big news is who the show will be focused on as the cast of characters and those that wear the Green Lantern ring is varied and large.
The show will feature numerous Lanterns including Guy Gardner, Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz, and Alan Scott — Earth’s first Green Lantern, and many more. That’s a diverse cast as it features a white man, woman, Muslim man, and Gay man as the focus. The series will also feature other Lanterns like Kilowag and introduce new Lanterns to the Corps.
The series will feature 10 one-hour episodes. It will be co-written and executive produced by Seth Grahame-Smith and Marc Guggenheim, with Grahame-Smith serving as showrunner.
HBO Max is going heavy on DC properties. It not only has inherited the shows from the “defunct” DC Universe app but also has series spinning out of The Batman and The Suicide Squad in the works. Coming from DC Universe is Doom Patrol, Harley Quinn, and Titans. There’s also Strange Adventures and Justice League Dark somewhere in development.
Let me set the parameters on this one right away. This isn’t an exhaustive look. It’s more of a highlight reel of the past few assortments of DC Multiverse figures. I’ll be checking back in with DC Mutliverse a few times throughout the year; unfortunately, as the DC master license leaves Mattel, the line is on a ticking clock. On the upside, I think that the character selection and sculpts have steadily improved over time; the downside, again, is that Mattel will stop making DC figures after a couple of years filled with some exciting choices.
Presently, a new assortment is making its way to stores; it’s a four-figure wave featuring Batman Beyond, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner (in his classic outfit), Kingdom Come Superman, Kid Flash (DC Rebirth), and a Lobo Collect & Connect figure. We don’t have any of those to show yet; as for myself, I only plan on getting the Kid Flash, as I have representations of the other characters that I’m pleased with. And that brings up a salient point. Be a completest if you want, but you’ll be a happier collector if you simply buy what you dig.
So, with our column today, I’m going to go back to a pair of
figures from 2017, and several more from throughout 2018. First up is Batwing, which featured in the Batman
Exo-Suit/Rookie Wave from Summer of that year. I chose to go all the way back
to Batwing because he’s an interesting figure and it’s running fairly
inexpensively on eBay. If I’m not interested in a C&C figure for a
particular wave, then I’m totally comfortable picking up loose figures online
for less rather than paying full price with pieces I don’t want.
At any rate, Batwing is a decent, not spectacular, figure. I’m really glad he was made, particularly because of the key role he plays in the excellent Detective Comics run in Rebirth. I do wish there had been a swappable head for him because I’m certain that not a lot of people outside of the direct readership realize that he’s a member of an underrepresented community. I do like the wing assembly; despite the weight of the thing, the figure is still able to stand, which is a huge plus. Not great, but certainly good.
Wonder Girl from late 2017, however, is excellent. Great sculpt, solid presentation of a character that many have loved since Young Justice, then Teen Titans, then Young Justice on TV. The only bummer was that if you wanted the rest of the Doctor Psycho C&C figure, you had to get a DKIII Wonder Woman. I didn’t care for the story, the design, or the figure, so I passed. But, as for Wonder Girl herself, very well-done. I really like the way that the lasso hangs on the figure, and there’s some fine detail in the hair. She’s looks great next to the Superboy on the shelf.
Batwoman and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz came from the spring/summer 2018 Clayface C&C series, and that’s a great set overall. With that one, DCM went all in on Rebirth. I vastly prefer those to the TV and film figures; in fact, I think that the overabundance of TV, Justice League film, and Dark Knight Returns figures really hurt the line. Some of those figures continue to hang in stores. While the face on Jessica Cruz isn’t the greatest, I’m simply delighted the figure exists at all. I took a picture of the back to show that the costume detail continued on both sides, which is great. The power battery is well-done, the power effects are okay, and it’s generally an agreeable figure. Batwoman is the superior of the two; the extra head is great, but the mask is particularly well-sculpted. It’s kind of shock to consider how few Kate Kane figures there have actually been between DC Direct/Collectibles and Mattel, so we should be glad that we got this one.
The final two I’m looking at come from the DC Rebirth Lex Luthor C&C wave, and those are The Ray and Spoiler, which started dropping in November. This is a generally solid wave, and a strong reminder that DCM was doing their best when they were doing Rebirth. Their plan through 2019 really shows that they were determined to present a strong assemblage of characters from Detective, Justice League, Justice League of America, and the Titans titles, and they were doing pretty damn good job of it. Again, a shame this license is leaving now.
The utter lack of a mass market Spoiler until now has been confounding, but I’m glad she’s here. I’m a little bummed we didn’t get the original look first, but for God’s sake, at least it’s Stephanie! This is a rock-solid figure. Well-designed, well-sculpted, and with nice hood and hair elements, I’m sure it made a lot of fans happy. I wish that she had a little more articulation, but it’s a damn fine addition to Bat-or-teen-hero shelf.
I’ve been a fan of The Ray for years, and I’m glad he’s gotten more a spotlight with the CW Seed animation, the Crisis on Earth-X CW appearance, and his prominent role in Justice League of America. This is a GREAT figure, hands-down. Speaking of hands, it comes with two extras and a “smiley” head; I prefer the serious in this case. But this just another solid, well-sculpted, well-painted figure. I know he’s a little hard to find, but I grabbed one on eBay for less than store price, so I felt pretty good about that. As a matter of act, all of these figures are fairly findable on eBay for decent prices, outside of Jessica Cruz; that one takes more work, but it can still be found in the 20s, despite the fact that some people are pricing Buy It Nows in the $60 range.
At this point, I plan to get Vixen and Rebirth Kid Flash,
which are still in release, Katana at year’s end, and several entries in the
Killer Croc C&C wave, notably Red Hood and Alfred. Have you been enjoying
DC Multiverse? Will you be sad to see it go? What do you want to see before the
end of 2019? Thanks for reading, and comment away.
Sam Humphries has been delivering a fun spin on the Green Lantern mythos with Green Lanterns starring Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, two characters who while not new, haven’t had a lot of the spotlight.
The second volume of the series introduces a new spin on the infamous ring with the introduction of the Phantom Ring and the Phantom Lantern along with a familiar foe who’s pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
I got a chance to talk to Sam about the series and what’s to come. In this first part, we discuss the series and the second part tomorrow, we’ve got a big reveal!
Graphic Policy: Green Lanterns is interesting in that it’s a buddy cop story at its core and Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are both finding their strength through their weaknesses. For you, who are Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and why do they stand out from the Green Lantern Crops.?
Sam Humphries: It’s interesting because these aren’t brand new characters but they’re essentially new in the long timeline of the Green Lantern legacy. That was something that was extremely attractive to me as a writer. The more I thought about Simon and Jessica, the more I was really and truly interested on them as characters and focusing this book on them. To me, Simon and Jessica certainly have a lot of differences and we mine those differences for a lot of character interaction in the book, but one of the biggest things that they have in common is that these are two characters who never give up. They both have had some pretty formidable obstacles in their lives. Things they couldn’t avoid. Things that they didn’t bring on themselves. Life in different ways threw them in different pits and both of them climbed their way out and I think they’ve displayed not just what a Green Lantern is, but what a hero is.
GP: The second volume introduces the Phantom Lantern and Phantom Ring who’s being manipulated by Valthoom. Instead of just using Valthoom, where’d the idea of using the Phantom Lantern and Phantom Ring come from?
SH: Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern is legendary. It’s something I read at the time and I reread before starting to write this book. One of the great things about his run is the way he took the concept of Green Lantern and expanded it to Green and Yellow Lantern and then all the colors of the spectrum. And then the Black and the White. But, it’s all still the Green Lantern mythos. I didn’t want to just add another color to the rings because that’s something Geoff did and did well. I wanted to take the Green Lantern mythos and extend it in another direction. I wanted to go a different direction and rotate the concept a little bit and look at it from a different angle. And the way I wanted to do that was with a new ring and new character. Frank Laminski is someone who has a lot in common with Simon and Jessica but he goes about his life and what he wants in a very different way. It was very attractive to me to give a character like that an unlimited access to the spectrum. Kind of somebody who didn’t earn it or you might say didn’t deserve it. Then you have people like Simon and Jessica who earned the ring and fought for it only having a sliver of the spectrum. It felt like a great character dynamic and a great drama dynamic.
GP: The volume starts off at Simon’s home with Jessica hanging out. The volume starts exploring Simon’s history and how it impacts his family life. Then you pivot to this new character and his history and legacy. It felt like a natural flow from one to the other.
SH: One of the great traditions of superhero storytelling is the supporting cast and bringing in the supporting cast showing them with the main characters and helping illuminate something with the main characters. Bringing something forward the readers might not have seen before or the characters may not have seen themselves. Everybody also loves an origin story so being able to go right in what’s almost a stand alone issue with Frank Laminski becoming the Phantom Lantern was a lot of fun for us to do.
GP:With the addition of the Phantom Lantern and this Guardian… as a comic series with so much history to it, do you find it difficult as a creator to add new layers to it as you go along?
SH: I don’t know. To me, it’s not just part of the job, but part of the tradition. The tradition is not just the continuity but expanding on the continuity. The tradition is to not write like Geoff, but do what Geoff did which is find new territory in the same legacy. So, to me it’s a lot of fun to look back at these stories, Geoff’s stuff or the old Polaris storyline, a very old villain we found a new take on him. That’s part of the fun for me and I know if I can find something in these old characters or legacies like Valthoom. If I can get excited about that, then the readers can get excited about that.
GP: I loved the Polaris story, it was fantastic.
GP: We’ll do an interview for volume three I guess.
SH: Yeah exactly, we’ll table that for now.
GP: Another thing that has stood out to me about this volume is that you have this interesting discussion as to what it means to be a hero. You have Frank go and save a girl and her dog. Then Jessica and Simon still have to confront him and even they debate it a bit. That discussion of what’s a hero, was that something you set out to do?
SH: For me it came out of Frank the character. He desperately wants to be a Green Lantern. He sees characters we regard as heroes and says he wants to be like that. But, because of his own personal demons he doesn’t deal with, his own execution is flawed and faulty and downright dangerous. In day to day life when dealing with people like that it’s not always apparent, they don’t wear signs around their necks. I thought it would be natural for Frank to copy the surface aspect of being a hero without having the deep down understanding of what it means to be a hero. So he might do what appears to be a hero, but long term it was all going to fall apart.
GP: You’re reintroducing Valthoom who’s been on the sideline for a bit. Where did you wanting that character come from?
SH: Valthoom’s going to be around for a long time. We see some of that in volume one. We start to see him more in volume two with his appearance. We talked about this earlier, but part of the tradition of this job is being able to look back at the story before you and see a character like Valthoom and see something no one has seen before or see something that hasn’t been on the page before. With Valthoom I saw somebody who had the makings of a great tragic character. Somebody who has undoubtedly become a villain but didn’t start out to become a villain. The more I thought about it, there was a lot of glimpses of history but not really a definitive history. I started to connect the dots of him being here at this point and there at another point. This guy is all powerful and he’s tragic and the story, not just his origin story, but the story we’re telling got bigger and bigger and bigger. It started in volume one and really starts coming to ahead in volume two and then in volume three and four get really big. Volume two is about the Phantom Lantern but it really kicks off what happens in the next couple of volumes.
GP: For this iteration of Green Lantern, what are some of the things you really enjoy about writing about Simon and Jessica?
SH: I don’t know if any of this is visible on the page. I love writing Jessica when she has anxiety or is feeling anxiety and is covering it up. Does that make sense?
GP: Yeah absolutely.
SH: She’s making an effort and I think that comes from myself and my own experiences with anxiety. With Simon, I really enjoy writing him when he’s with his family but also when his family is on his mind. When he’s trying to balance his family with being a superhero. He’s trying to balance these relationships he has that are sometimes are rewarding and sometimes they’re trying and balancing them in his new role that sometimes is rewarding and sometimes is trying.
GP: So, on to the reveal….
Tune in tomorrow for the big announcement and reveal!