Review: Green Lantern: The Animated Series (Episode 1 Season 1)
Proving his popularity is still at an all-time high even though he is not currently starring (at least it looks that way after Green Lantern #3’s climax page) as a Lantern in any DCnU book, test pilot Hal Jordan swooped into Cartoon Network Friday night in a one-hour special that did the franchise proud and may have added many new lights to the Lantern firmament.
Overseen by animation maestro Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) along with producer Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender), the computer-generated series stars the Jordan incarnation of Green Lantern (voiced by Josh Keaton) longtime comics fans are familiar with and tells of his adventures as one of the elite cops of the Green Lantern Corps who work to keep the peace under the direction of the obstinate blue munchkins known as the Guardians of the Universe.
It is obvious that the series’ creators drew a lot from comic book writer Geoff Johns’ reestablishment of the GL mythos, including his creation of a rainbow of other ring-wearers. From what we saw Friday night, Atrocitus (Tony Todd) and his Red Lanterns will be the villains of this piece, an apparently unknown quantity in this cartoon reality, even to the Guardians.
According to the storyline, Atrocitus has a personal vendetta against the Guardians. He is convinced that they decimated his homeworld and countless others, and they need to pay for it. Whatever terrible things happened in his past, he wants payback for it, and so does the rest of his army.
All of the “players” were in character for “Beware My Power!” with perhaps Atrocitus and Kilowog (Kevin Michael Richardson) being the outstanding successes. While there was high adventure, many creative uses of red and green light constructs and a very dramatic conclusion, there was also a very unexpected adult emotional undercurrent to the hour and some very intriguing characterization that should be appreciated.
Although not from the DC Comics universe, the message is the same: With great power comes great responsibility.
Writers Jim Kreig and Ernie Altbacker do a brilliant job of placing the right words in the right characters’ mouths, and the computer animation, I must admit (old school hand-drawn art fan here), gives the production a sleek look that jibes with its cosmic content.
I hate to say it, but the creative disparity separating this show from the Ryan Reynolds live-action movie only illuminates why animation is often so much better at bringing superheroes to life. The dialogue here is crisp and sparse, the better to emphasize action over exposition.
I am overjoyed at what I watched Friday night and it only whets my appetite for when the program begins its weekly run on Cartoon Network next year.
Don’t miss this one. It’s a good one!