Beware My Power…Green Lantern's Light (Part One)
Beware My Power…Green Lantern's Light (Part Two)
Ghost in the Machine
Nothing to Fear
…In Love and War
Synopsis: Warner Bros. Animation is bringing the Green Lantern to television in an all-new CG animated action series from world-renowned producer, artist and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, DC Universe Original Animated Movies). Based upon the DC Comics super hero, the 26-episode Green Lantern: The Animated Series will debut in 2011. As Earth’s Green Lantern, Hall Jordan is used to being in dangerous situations- but he’s never faced anything like this! Set at the farthest reaches of deep space, Green Lantern: The Animated Series finds Hal on the Guardian Frontier, where he must face down an invasion from the Red Lantern Corps. Powered by pure rage. The evil Red Lanterns have sworn to destroy the Green Lantern Corps and everything they stand for. Dispatched with his friend and former drill sargeant- the gruff, hulking alien Kilowog – on the experimental spacecraft The Interceptor, Hal is soon joined by an all-new group of heroes on a mission to protect Guardian Space – and the Green Lantern Corps itself!
By James Harvey
If you haven’t had the chance to try out the new Green Lantern: The Animated Series on Cartoon Network – which wrapped up its first 13 episodes earlier this year – you now have a prime opportunity to watch yet another great DC Comics-inspired cartoon on DVD. Not only does this animated series impress by creating an accessible avenue to Green Lantern’s impressive expansive mythos, but it packs a powerful, emotional punch, too. Everything that happens here it driven by emotion in one form or another, and it all culminates in a pretty epic climactic battle that should satisfy those who tag along for the entire ride. Even if you hate Green Lantern Hal Jordan for one reason or another, you can watch him get beat up quite a few times here. Hated the live-action movie? You will love this! It’s a win-win, folks.
Warner Bros. Animation brings the Green Lantern to television in the all-new CG animated action series from world-renowned producer, artist and animator Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Teen Titans, Batman Beyond, DC Universe Original Animated Movies). Based upon the DC Comics super hero, Green Lantern Hal Jordan is used to being in dangerous situations- but he’s never faced anything like this! Set at the farthest reaches of deep space, Green Lantern: The Animated Series finds Hal on the Guardian Frontier, where he must face down an invasion from the Red Lantern Corps. Powered by pure rage, the evil Red Lanterns have sworn to destroy the Green Lantern Corps and everything they stand for. Dispatched with his friend and former drill sergeant- the gruff, hulking alien Kilowog – on the experimental spacecraft The Interceptor, Hal is soon joined by an all-new group of heroes on a mission to protect Guardian Space – and the Green Lantern Corps itself
When this series was first announced, fans were somewhat skeptical (aren’t we always when something new is announced?). Many weren't sold on the CG factor, the lack of Earth-based adventures, or the buddy-cop premise that would cut back the focus on the Green Lantern Corps to mostly just Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kilowog. Well, as most of you likely know by now after watching it, things turned out better than imagined. Green Lantern: The Animated Series is completely fantastic, with nary a weak episode to be found. Filled with genuine surprises, superb casting, great writing and ever-evolving characters, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is a show not to be under-estimated. It manages to easily walk that fine line of appeal for both the younger and older crowd. And, actually, I’d hazard to say there’s even more here for adults than children (but kids should check it out, too!). I’m going to avoid specific spoilers, though episode-specific details can be found elsewhere on this site.
The series kicks-off with Hal Jordan already established as the Green Lantern and, after only a few minutes on Earth, he’s already called out to Oa for a mission. Within The first fifteen or so minutes of the first episode, we get out basic premise for the entire season, we’re introduced to the overall threat, and we’re off! And while it may seem like the show is setting us up for week after week of the repetition, we get the opposite - the series builds week after week. Introducing new characters, yes, but new characters who we revisit and actually grow throughout the first season. Some characters who appear friendly early on may not be so toward the end, for example. Not to give away any spoilers, but there’s a good chance that a character’s debut appearance will not be their only appearance, especially as things ramp up considerably toward the final three episodes included on this release.
What Green Lantern: The Animated Series manages to do – something a surprising amount of other shows can’t – is include some genuine surprises. Things don't always go as planned here, and the consequences of the Green Lantern's actions feel painfully real at times. We get a few moments where, at the end of the episode, a victory feels bittersweet. While our heroes tend to fly off at the end of each episodes, it is rarely off into the sunset. There is a price to be paid, and there are times when the cost is quite steep. Kilowog actually gets a surprisingly emotional arc during these first thirteen episodes, perhaps some of the most heart-breaking moments of the entire collection.
Another thing this series does considerably well is building up the threat of the main protagonists. The two-part series opener "Beware My Power" establishes the Red Lanterns as the dominant threat for our heroes for the thirteen episodes included here, and does so in a pretty convincing fashion. For example, two Red Lanterns off a Green Lantern within the first two minutes of the first episode, and then continue to cause a considerable amount of mayhem as the season rolls on. While the Red Lanterns may not drive appear in every episode, they are the driving force and their presence is always felt. These guys are not pushovers, and Jordan and Kilowog will have their hands full with this legitimate menace.
Led by Hal Jordan, Green Lantern: The Animated Series features a wealth of great characters, all voiced to perfection. Josh Keaton brings that rogue-ish quality that makes Jordan just a fun, attractive character. He's perfectly matched with Kevin Michael Richardson's Kilowog, who brings great heft and authority to his role. Jordan can be kind of...straight-laced in the comics. Very stiff, very serious, just...well...kind of boring. That has changed over the past couple of years, but it still lingers. But here, thanks to the snappy dialogue and Keaton's acting, he's given a bit of a reckless, devil-may-care attitude that fits right in with the Lantern's ability to overcome fear. Jordan is usually cocky, but it comes from him believing that what he's doing is right. He's instantly likeable and the perfect focal point for a series which features some pretty out-there adventures and characters. Most importantly, he feels like a real character. No matter where the show goes, he's our guide, and we will follow. I could honestly repeat the same compliments to the rest of the voice actors on this show and it’d still pretty much hit the mark. Every character is casted that well here, including a great turn by the late Ian Abercrombie as Ganthet, and complex turns by Grey DeLisle and Jason Spisak as new characters Aya and Razer.
So what have we covered so far? The story is great, the characters and acting are great, and that just leaves the animation. Personally, while it did take a bit to get used to, and the budget constraints do seem to pop in from time to time, everything looks very well polished here. The show just looks like Bruce Timm's style...CGed. And that's all it is. The barrel-chested heroes, sultry women, abstract/deco-ish buildings and landscape is all accounted for. All the hallmarks we come to expect from the Timm-heralded cartoon are there. Yes, it's in GC now, but it's all there, all apparent, and looking pretty sharp. And besides, thanks to the CG animation, the show has been able to pull off some amazing shots and angles that couldn’t be done otherwise. Don’t skip this show on account of it not being traditional animation, the CG actually works in benefit to the series.
This cartoon just brings to life what I enjoy about this character so much and deep-sixes some of his more stiffer qualities. Green Lantern: The Animated Series exudes this sense of confidence that's hard to discount and easily infectious. I’ve tried to remain as vague as possible because, for those who haven’t had a chance to watch this series, it should be experienced as fresh as possible. After the two-part series opener, I am pretty confident it’ll be impossible to turn away for the remaining eleven episodes. And there is pay-off as the first half of the first season, as billed by Warner Home Video, comes to a close. If you want a series that reminds you of the likes of Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Animated Series, this is it. It's simply that good. Don't miss it, folks. It's awesome!
And if you want to learn more about this show, continuing exploring this subsite.
Moving on, as superb as the show is, I’m not sure the same can be said for the home video release The DVD itself has a couple problems that hold it back, but by no means are an actual strike against picking it up. I’m going to tell you now - buy this DVD. That being said, I feel Warner Home Video dropped the ball a little bit here. And I’ll get to that, I will.
Up first is the audio and video quality and, to no shock, it’s pretty stunning for a standard definition transfer. Yes, there is some color banding present, but that’s to be expected when downgrading a high-definition product to standard definition. This show deserves a Blu-ray release, it really does. What we get here is great for a DVD release, but imagine how it’s look on Blu? There’s no doubt it would look just as stunning as Warner’s Blu-ray releases of the CG Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. As for audio, again, it’s all top-class across the bar. While center-focused, each speaker does get a bit of a workout, especially during the major action beats. Quieter character moments also come through free and clear.
Moving on to the disc itself ...sigh... not really impressed. To get it out the way, bonus material consists of a Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0 digital comic book and a selection of trailers. Pretty standard for these releases nowadays. While it’s disappointing we don’t get any behind-the-scenes content, especially when the creative team has expressed an interest in having bonus features for this release, it’s not a deal-breaker. The main feature content along is worth it, but still ... a letdown. But an even bigger letdown is the cheap-looking menu system. Look at the menu grabs above. It looks likes someone slapped this release together through some cheap DVD program. While the main menu page looks fine – and actually features artwork from the series – the rest just feels ... lazy. This is identical to the terribly cheap-looking menu system from The Best of Batman. I really, really dislike Warner’s new default menu set-up for their home video releases. Just ... not good.
But please, don’t let that deter you. Pick up this DVD. Green Lantern: The Animated Series is a lush, exciting, and emotionally-driven animated series. Yes, there’s plenty of action, jokes, and great adventures to be had, but the show’s ongoing narrative is driven by the characters themselves. Nothing feels artificial here. Every action makes sense, even if it’s clouded by complicated emotions. The creative team has done a great job in humanizing a very far-out concept – one that could be very difficult to relate to – and bringing it to a relatable level. We get by Hal Jordan does his job. Why Kilowog does. But, we’re also learning what drives the villainous Atrocitus and the conflicted Razer and their demons bring out some of the more interesting aspects to this space-faring jaunt. Green Lantern: The Animated Series – Season One, Part One: Rise of the Red Lanterns comes Highly Recommended.
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