WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Green Lanterns Annual #1 by Andy Diggle, Mike Perkins, Andy Troy and Dave Sharpe, in stores now.
Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz have been true success stories in the Green Lantern mythos, adding an air of diversity to the modern comics. Most importantly, they've shown their worth, not just to their fellow Corps members, but also to the Justice League, proving time after time they are truly worthy of policing Sector 2814.
In Green Lanterns Annual #1, the pair play an even bigger role in helping shape the future of their Corps, as they make a game-changing discovery which introduces us to one of the first ever Green Lanterns selected to protect the universe. As a result, the Lost Lantern is lost no more.
Not only does this powerful entity undergo a rebirth of sorts, he's also ushered into the Green Lantern Corps once again to help strengthen their ranks against the cosmic threats to come.
The issue starts with Jessica and Simon heading to the Vaikean System, where they're due to give speeches at a ceremony which occurs every thousand years to commemorate the Lost Lantern. He's somewhat of a myth, rumored to have disappeared in the field of battle just before Vaikea's dying sun scorched the planet and killed everyone. At the event, with the rest of the Green Lanterns in the audience, and under the watch of the new Vaikean Green Lantern, Yli'laatua, the rookie Lanterns comically bomb in their tributes. Jessica takes the issue to heart, heading to the surface of the planet to vent. However, she's quickly overpowered by mysterious green energy constructs and taken to the planet's core.
She quickly realizes this planet isn't Vaikea at all, but a massive energy construct disguised as a planet. As she investigates, we learn the planet is actually a construct of the Lost Lantern, a four-armed, bug-looking alien who's in some sort of energy web. When Jessica taps into his memories to try to break him out his slumber, she gets a lot more than she bargained for, including his past actions and the truth behind Vaikea's demise.
It turns out the Lost Lantern was told by his planet's rulers, the elite lawmakers known as the Autarchs, to quell the sociopolitical uprising by imprisoning the majority of the populace. Afraid to betray them, he does this but is wracked by guilt. As a result, he places the citizens in these stasis cells made from his ring, and confines himself into a deep-sleep, with his entire construct more or less acting as a self-made prison. Sadly, with him incarcerated, there's no Lantern to protect the planet from the ensuing supernova. After the planet's destroyed, the remaining material aggregates to form a new planet around the Lost Lantern's prison, which people go on to believe is a scorched Vaikea.
After processing all this information, Jessica snaps him out his self-loathing and he eventually agrees to stand trial for his failure. Simon defends him, but the Lantern tribunal of Yli'laatua, Hal Jordan and John Stewart strip him of his power ring and sentence him to confinement. However, they indicate the incarceration is a retroactive one, thus he already served it in his self-imposed exile. They reinstate the Lost Lantern to the Corps, but under the condition of him serving under some familiar faces; parole officers in the form of Jessica and Simon.
It's a win-win for all parties as Jessica reveals one final surprise for the Lost Lantern (whose real name we never find out in the issue). She re-introduces him to his fellow Vaikeans, who have been awakened from their stasis, thus allowing the species to start rebuilding their society once more.
As for the Corps, well, they don't just enlist one of the first ever Lanterns, they've also recruited someone who actually managed to hold a planet together for eons. If that isn't an example great willpower, then we don't know what is. In fact, it's entirely possible this new/old recruit just might be the most powerful member of the Corps, which is something they're probably going to need considering the looming threat the breach in the Source Wall (suffered in Dark Nights: Metal and explored in Justice League: No Justice) has let loose upon the DC Universe.