Soooo we have those days where we catch up on a show. We missed the buzz. We become busy and forget an episode. Some of us are just plain old lazy. Thanks to the wonders of DVD box sets, Netflix, and the internet, more people are watching television shows than ever. This is what I’ve been catching up on.
The show debuted in 2011 alongside Young Justice and unfortunately, I was wary of this series for a few reasons. One of the reasons was Cartoon Network’s notorious history with ending DC shows abruptly (Young Justice, Beware the Batman, Teen Titans) and getting attached to doomed shows is the worst. Secondly, although I love The Incredibles style and direction, I enjoy traditional two-dimensional animation (Avatar, Batman, Dragon Ball, Full Metal Alchemist) over heavy CGI (Star Wars Rebels, Cubix, Donkey Kong Country, Iron Man: Armored Adventures). So when I decided to give the show a chance, I went in with high hopes for one of my favorite characters. By the grace of Oa, the show is incredible and every episode makes an impact in this 26 episodes series.
The Lanterns Aren’t Just Green
The show opens up by introducing test-pilot Hal Jordan, who at this point is an established Green Lantern. If you don’t know Green Lantern, he is one of many that is equipped with a ring that is powered by will and can create any construct the user imagines. It is considered the most powerful weapon in the universe and each Green Lantern is given a sector in the universe to patrol (akin to cops and precincts). Hal meets up with fellow Green Lantern Kilowog to answer a distress signal and the two board a secret spaceship to investigate the murders of Green Lanterns in outer sectors. Turns out these murders are caused by an opposing faction of Red Lanterns, whose rings work by tapping into the rage in their hearts and letting anger run rampant. From there, each episode slowly builds to an overall arc, while developing each character on even grounds. Red Lantern Razer, ship A.I. and honorary Lantern, Aya, and the Guardians of the Universe all become major parts of the story. After the first few episodes of the season, it is discovered that there are more emotions in the spectrum that are synced up to corresponding Lantern powers, introducing a whole new world of the galaxy that allows characters of all archetypes to find a place in the overall narrative.
The Source Material does Geoff Johns Proud
Famed DC writer and a man of the people, Geoff Johns is a key architect in reviving great DC characters and reinventing them for the modern era. He’s taken Justice Society, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern to the forefront by bringing their rich universe to the forefront. His run on Green Lantern introduced many new key elements, including the introduction of the elemental spectrum and connecting every element into the Green Lantern mythos. Episodes dig into his characterization of Hal Jordan and his post-Spectre days (Green Lantern: Rebirth), but we also see some spotlights on other planets and Lanterns, such as Iolande, Guy Gardner, Solaak and more from the Green Lantern Corps comics. There are plenty of deviations from the comics (such as introducing Red Lanterns before Yellow), but the right inspirations and tones are taken with the overall handling of the universe, leading to another point…
There’s more to the show than the Main Man
I enjoy Hal’s character and story arc, but luckily, we’re also treated to spotlights on many of the characters in the Lantern Corps. Learning about Aya’s struggle to humanize herself, Razer’s struggle with Anger and his past, Kilowog’s dedication to duty over family, and Hal’s leadership role often leading him headstrong into trouble, the teams bounces off each other well and it feels natural that the teams works off each others strengths and shortcomings. The plot of the villains, the Guardians of the Universe, and of the non-Lantern characters create a much larger universe that stands on its own. You never wonder what Superman could do in this situation, because the problems call for the work of the Lanterns and the threats are conquered by teams, not necessarily heroes. Serious problems such as soldiers sacrificing themselves for their families, mind controlled attacks, and cover-ups that lead to rebellions and war are heavy in the store and the show delves into these risks with incredibly emotional payoffs. Planets are revisited, supporting characters stay relevant, and every detail seems to come full circle by the big finale. The saddest thing about the show is that it was cancelled due to its coincidence with the live-action film, but for one season, Green Lantern proves itself worthy in every episode.
While the series has been taken off Netflix, the Blu-ray release has the full season on 2 discs, and it definitely worth it if you’re a fan of the DC Comics Universe.
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