Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story

Written by: Lilliam Rivera Art by: Steph C

This graphic novel was a hard and easy read at once. The writing was amazing. I was taught to read with comics, DC specifically and I’ve seen some good and bad writing.

This was great.

If you don’t know the story of Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, for a lot of reasons I won’t get into here, she suffers from severe, world shattering fear. It is her biggest hurdle.

Green Lanterns are about willpower. You can see how overcoming that fear is integral to her character.

Take all that and set it in modern America. Where xenophobia is everywhere and it’s a perfect fit for the character.

It was a hard read because it’s prescient.

Jessica Cruz is a DACA recipient who has to make the choice to renew or convince her undocumented parents to go home because the hate surrounding them is too much.

And after a federal ruling July 16th, the day I finished this graphic novel, it makes it even more of the times.

Jessica has the weight of her family on her shoulders. Renew. Get good grades. Go to college. Good job. Clean the house. Cook dinner. Somehow have time to sleep.

She has a small friend circle and works at a museum with an amazing Aztec Gods section and her coworker? None other than John Stewart.

Seeing my two favorite Green Lanterns interact as teenagers made my heart so happy. The moments the two of them are together allow Jessica a reprieve from the stress of her life and he has a first hand appreciation of a lot of what she’s going through.

Plus they’re cute together. I ship it.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s a mayoral candidate running on a very anti-immigration campaign and her racism and xenophobia aren’t hidden at all.

Jessica sees someone get arrested by ICE while she’s on the bus headed home. It amps up her fear an anxiety to new levels. And then her father is taken and it’s hell.

She starts having dreams about the Aztec Gods and I won’t spoil any of that.

I will say, this graphic novel was amazing. We see Jessica overcome her fear. That’s not to say that her fear is gone, that’s impossible. But she’s got a better handle on what to do to help herself and her community. Even her friends join in and it’s the support system she needs.

Now for the art.

At first I found it a little unnerving. Everyone has black eyes and it kind of freaked me out. By the end though it had grown on me and I found myself actually liking it by the end of the story.

I actually can’t picture this with any other style of art.

The artist was so skilled at drawing emotion. It was so raw and real, I really loved that.

So, all in all? 5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and DC entertainment for this ARC.


Author. Reader. Reviewer. Interested in Sci-fi, Fantasy, and everything in between. Ya, and Adult. Looking for representaion where it matters! BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, everything! We all deserve stories!

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