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EPISODE REVIEWS - "RAZER'S EDGE"

Green Lantern: The Animated Series
"Razer's Edge"

Original Airdate - March 17th, 2012
Hal and Kilowog are ordered to drop Razer off at a prison asteroid operated by the Spider Guild. When the escaped creature Goggan tells them that the prison is not as it really seems, Hal and Kilowog must return to the prison asteroid to rescue Razer and bring down the Spider Guild.

Written by Eugene Son
Directed by Sam Liu
Review by Andrew T. Hingson

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Review:
Following the conclusion of the literally explosive two-part premiere “Beware My Power”, “Razer’s Edge” begins with Hal (Josh Keaton) and Kilowog (Kevin Michael Richardson) trying to decide what to do with their captive Red Lantern Razer (Jason Spisak). They call up the Guardian’s to report on their situation and they determine that Hal and Kilowog must stay in the frontier and monitor the Red Lanterns and Razer would need to be sent to prison. With their orders determined, Hal and Kilowog set out to the nearest jail to drop off Razer. When they reach the facility they come upon some yellow rocks and you can probably figure out that means trouble. They leave Razer in the care of the Spider Guild and are just about to set out in their ship the Interceptor when they come upon a creature trying to stowaway on it. It turns out this creature Goggan (Rob Paulsen) managed to escape from the Spider Guild’s prison where he had been tortured for years. Hal and Kilowog are not quite sure he’s on the level but decided to investigate the prison to ensure justice was actually being served. Aya (Grey DeLisle) the Interceptor’s artificial intelligence questions why Hal would consider going back for Razer when a criminal deserves their fate and Hal explains that criminals deserve justice which sometimes involves punishment but not torture. Inside the prison Razer is going through the Spider Guild’s unique rehabilitation process which involves a device that repeats a prisoner’s worst memories over and over again.

Hal and Kilowog sneak around the facility but are caught and overpowered by the Spider Guild mostly due to being caught off guard by a sudden inability to use their power rings. The warden Myglom (Robert Englund) explains to them that the yellow rocks that power and light their facility just happen to nullify the green energy making their rings useless and in classic comic villain cliché informs them that because they have seen their “humane cells” they cannot be allowed to live. After some amusing banter with Goggan about whether the Green Lanterns are still alive, Aya determines she will have to rescue everyone herself. Aya enters Razer’s holding cell to tell him that she needs his help to save the Green Lanterns. Razer retrieves his ring and sets about saving Hal and Kilowog much to Kilowog’s chagrin. Then in the final battle, Kilowog and Razer fight off the Spider Guild while Hal goes mono-e-mono with Myglom proving he doesn’t need a ring to win his fights. With a report to the Guardians Hal leaves Goggan as the temporary warden and tells Kilowog Razer will join them on their mission to protect frontier space from the remaining Red Lanterns to which Kilowog laments that he has a new worst moment for those torture devices to exploit.

The plot was admittedly cliché but Green Lantern: The Animated Series is still just getting its’ feet wet. However, this episode offered a lot of growth for some characters and introduced the yellow element which undoubtedly will play a larger part in the series at some point. I’m impressed that they already covered Razer’s backstory. In the emotional department GL: TAS pulls very few punches. We see a glimpse of the pain Razer has been living with and better understand why he feels so compelled to suffer for his wrong doings but still felt justified in his actions against the Green Lantern Corpse and the planets they protected. There is some dark and compelling drama in this episode not only in the depiction of Razer’s beloved dying but also in Razer admitting to Aya that he understands the vision is intended to bring him pain but the pain is worth seeing her again. Speaking of Aya, she seems to be growing as a character as well and beginning to understand emotion. Razer and Aya’s conversations were particularly interesting. She bases her knowledge on facts but through her interaction with Hal, Kilowog and Razer she is adapting that knowledge to include intuition or compassion. One can only wonder how far the writers will go with their learning computer.

There was some excellent casting for the presumably one-off characters of this episode. Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund made for a delightfully creepy Myglom. I wonder if the connection to reliving moments in nightmare fashion came into play with that casting decision. I was also delighted to hear Rob Paulsen as the Goggan. His frantic rants and constant mentions of the word dead were quite entertaining. The primary cast also brought their A-game and I cannot hardly get enough of Josh Keaton and Kevin Michael Richardson as Hal and Kilowog. They have such an excellent buddy cop dynamic going for them and Greg DeLisle does a wonderful job giving Aya a sense of naïve innocence to her voice. However the true show stopper is Jason Spisak as Razer. I am used to hearing him as the calm collected Kiyo on Zatch Bell and the wise cracking spirited Kid Flash on Young Justice so hearing him give such an emotionally charged performance as a snappy brooding Razer is a real treat.

The CGI animation lent itself well to the design of the space caverns where the prison was located and the fight choreography made use the design aesthetic to offer smooth action sequences. If I have one gripe with this episodes animation it is they tend to change angles to lessen the impact of blows during fights. I realize that by design and intended to make the scenes perhaps a bit less violent but the way the series often implies and even shows death makes the fight sequences seem dramatically tame in comparison. Perhaps that will loosen up over time but for now it is perhaps the one blight on an otherwise marvelous action series.

While it was arguably not as strong as the series opener, “Razer’s Edge” fleshed out Razer and Aya and proved the darker turns in “Beware My Power” were only scratching the surface of the depths of the emotionally charged stories Green Lantern: The Animated Series will offer in the future. Now that is sharp entertainment.

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