Animated GREEN LANTERN: a Semi-Solid Construct

GREEN LANTERN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Episodes 1 & 2 “Beware My Power” pt. 1 & 2

So, the new series has kicked off. And the disproportionately-designed action figures are now animated 3D maquettes of sorts. And for the most part, the animation works, even if I could stand to see more detail in the faces and fabrics…

But that’s not what bugged me about this episode.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’m not going to go scene-by-scene and run down the whole episode. The basic premise is that the Atrocitus has started gathering Red Lanterns into his own Corps to obliterate the Guardians, and is slowly moving through the “Guardian Frontier” destroying Frontier Green Lanterns – members of the Corp who haven’t had the full-on training on Oa, but have been chosen as GLs to patrol this “wild country” type of space.

Meanwhile, Hal Jordan has been summoned to Oa to answer charges of roughing up a suspect while performing his duties as a Green Lantern. It gives us a good sense of the dynamic between Jordan and Killowog, and tells me that this is going to be a buddy-cop show. Which is fine. The banter is fun, not too deep that kids tune out, not too silly that the grown-ups leave the room…

And a ring drops in. There’s a dead GL. From Frontier space, which would take a GL at top speed 18 months to get there. So the Guardians have built a ship, the Interceptor, which has a built-in giant power battery and an artificial intelligence that instantly warms up to Hal’s schmoozing. So they steal the ship and head out to find the killer of Lanterns who haven’t been trained to be Lanterns but who are Lanterns that no one told the real Lanterns about.

OK so far?

What I didn’t like about this particular episode: everything is derivative of other science fiction properties.

  • Saving the train during the earthquake. – Superman
  • Crashing the plane. – Green Lantern (the movie)
  • Stealing the starship. – Star Trek III
  • The ship in a wormhole because of an engine imbalance. – Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Blowing up someone’s home planet to make a point. – Star Wars
  • Chases through asteroids. – The Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones
  • No light speed?
  • Ship stranded a long way from home. – Star Trek: Voyager, Lost in Space, Stargate: Universe
  • Very big ship moving past the camera to show that it’s a Very Big Ship. – Star Wars

I’m going to assume the writers through all of the fanboy shout-outs (along with certain franchise sound effects) into the first episode(s) to get them all over and done with. Yeah. I’m going with that. Otherwise, I have to lower my expectations. And I’m not quite ready to do that.

Now, just so you don’t think I’m not happy with it, here are some things that work:

Killowog. I like the buddy-cop relationship this episode sets up. And Kevin Micheal Richardson makes for a very good Killowog. Josh Keaton is a passable Hal Jordan, too.

The dialogue is crafted pretty well. And I Hal Jordan has obviously been a GL for a while. There’s no Sinestro in sight, which leaves room to assume he’s already gone bad. Origin stories are getting done to death, and I’m sick of the same story being told a hundred different ways. “Green Lantern: The Animated Series” starts in a different place with a premise that – while it’s derivative on the whole – is a refreshing change of pace from the boring tale that has to be told before you tell the story you really

And it seems like there’s a darker story building in the background. The Guardians obviously know more than they’re telling. As Ganthet says, history is written (or unwritten) by the winners. That, combined with the Red Lantern position that the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps are planet killers, could make for an interesting arc. At least for this season.

And some nit-picking:

Coast City has earthquakes? Since when? And would somebody tell me if there’s ever been a female Guardian? Because I sure don’t remember one…
And Oa sure does look a lot like Coruscant…

And why didn’t Killowog call anyone a Poozer??

And where was the Wilhelm Scream?

OK, I’m ready for next week.

[Official Show Site at Cartoon Network]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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