Unearthed by Lilliam Rivera, Steph C. (Illustrator)
Pub Date: September 14, 2021 by DC Comics
Acclaimed author Lilliam Rivera and artist Steph C. reimagine one of DC’s greatest Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz, to tell a story about immigration, family, and overcoming fear to inspire hope.
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.
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I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the Publisher as part of the Blog Tour. All opinions are my own.
My Thoughts 🧠
As a comic book reader myself, I’m always excited to see YA authors write for comic books. Not to discredit other comic writers but the characterizations and development in the story are more nuanced in a sense. At least in my experience, especially for BIPOC authors writing for comics. I feel like there’s more gravitas in terms of the issues and representations tackled in the story.
Now, I’m not the biggest DC comics fan so I was a little hesitant in reading Unearthed as I’m not exactly familiar with Jessica Cruz. My DC knowledge only extends to some of the animated series and a bit of The CW shows. So I have no background about her character, though I am familiar with Green Lantern. So I was totally excited to jump into Unearthed and learn more about Jessica Cruz.
The story was so grounded, which makes it easy to relate and root for Jessica’s character. She’s an undocumented immigrant along with her family, though she’s part of DACA so the constant fear of deportation looms around her. On top of that, the pressures about her school and future career add to her stress.
One day, Jessica saw her father get arrested by ICE. Watching her take action was really inspiring to see. The illustrations of her struggle between her emotions added to the Two Aztec Gods giving her advice were really stunning. I love the art style and how it paints emotions on every page.
Of course, I can’t speak about the Latinx rep, but I think it was done beautifully. I always enjoy seeing communities get together to fight for the common good. For this one, it was the racism and rising xenophobia in their community.
Also Read: Unstacked | The Sam Wilson Edition
Overall Thoughts 💡
Unearthed is an inspiring take on immigration, family, and hope. We get to see lived experiences of the Latinx community through Jessica’s eyes. It truly is a sweet, short, and wonderful story that inspires us to take a stand and find our voice.
Do I recommend this? YES!
If you’re looking for a short but powerful read about Latinx voices, definitely check this out!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning author of the young adult novels Never Look Back, a Pura Belpré Honor winner, Dealing In Dreams, The Education of Margot Sanchez, as well as the Goldie Vance series for middle-grade readers, and the stand-alone middle-grade novel Barely Floating. Her forthcoming works include a young adult science fiction novel, We Light Up the Sky, for Bloomsbury (Oct 5, 2021) and a graphic novel for DC Comics, Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story (September 14, 2021). Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, the New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.
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