Comics have power: a form of escapism that provides a world of heroes originating during times when America seemed to have none. Loving comics has been criticized for humor in television and films, often painting those who love comic books as the strange loners. Liking comic books didn’t use to be the cool thing to do, but with the rise of the Marvel and DC Comics films, pop culture has accepted comic books as a dynamic and interesting form of storytelling. Some of the most meaningful stories are the ones that not everyone else is reading, but the ones that are underrated and often overlooked.
Green Lantern comics go back to the 1940’s with the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Over the decades, the character title has undergone several personas, with the newest Green Lantern being Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. Jessica Cruz first appeared in the comics in 2013, later to be introduced in Justice League volume 2 #30.
Her beginning is a typical origin in the comic book world. She and her friends witness men burying a body, but are caught, and the men murder her friends while she barely gets away. This leads to Jessica locking herself away in her house for three years. For those that don’t know, like most superheroes, Green Lantern is chosen. The Ring of Volthoom feeds off fear, so it chose Cruz based on the traumatic experience she underwent.
“I’m a Green Lantern. A superhero. (Somehow.) And I have anxiety. I’m Jessica Cruz, the anxiety Lantern. And getting out of bed every day is a struggle. Every morning, the same thought haunts me. I can’t do this.”
~ Jessica, Green Lantern # 15
The newest edition of Green Lanterns, #15, A Day in the Life, is a standalone issue that follows a couple of ordinary days in the life of Jessica Cruz. From the moment she wakes up, she struggles with anxiety. Cruz constantly fights against the fears that crowd her mind, going through each day unsure if she’ll be able to go through the motions, or if her anxiety will prevent her from facing the situation. These two seemingly normal days for her are anything but ordinary as she struggles to block out the inner voice that says ‘I can’t handle this.’ Using text boxes, writer Sam Humphries dives deep into Jessica’s mind to show the real impact anxiety has on her, showing her thoughts in ordinary and heroic situations.
“But today…. I believe in the healing power of pancakes. (Even if I don’t believe in myself.) And Simon didn’t come all the way out to Portland from Michigan because he likes to fly. (Okay, he likes to fly, too.) He did it because he’s worried about me. Telling him not to be doesn’t help. He doesn’t understand. Sometimes he takes it personally. And that just makes me feel guilty.”
Just getting out of bed, or going to meet Simon for breakfast is a win for Cruz as she fights against the anxiety telling her that she can’t do it. Sam Humphries shows through her daily struggle that anxiety isn’t logical. It just happens. It doesn’t send a warning, or validate the reasoning, it’s just something she has to live with. Jesssica constantly doubts herself, and whether the ring chose the right person to be a Green Lantern.
Anxiety isn’t something she’ll be able to put behind her, but this comic shows how Jessica overcomes every struggle daily. One of images in the comics shows Cruz in bed surrounded by several text boxes that contain: ‘I’m gonna be the girl who can’t go outside again,’ ‘Hal will take the ring back,’ and several that say ‘I can’t handle this.’ To be a Green Lantern, one must possess the power over will. Every time Cruz faces her anxiety and keeps going is a win. This standalone story proves that Jessica Cruz is truly a hero in her own right.
Will you be reading Green Lanterns #15? If you struggle with anxiety, what ways do you cope?
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Featured image via DC Wikia
h/t Movie Pilot