Watched the premiere screening of the Green Lantern: The Animated Series this morning, and I must say it impressed me more than I would have guessed. A Warner Bros./DC animated program from the genius of Bruce Timm, how could this be a bad cartoon? But then again, the Green Lantern movies was, well, let’s say uninspiring. The premiere episode called, “Beware My Power” will run at about an hour once commercials are edited in and I was pleasantly surprised at the mix of action and comedy. The new CG animation is a little jarring, though. It’s still very much in Timm’s style, and the style of many of DC’s animated television shows, but it’s weird. I’m sure we’ll get used to it as the show continues, but human characters in particular look like a first draft from Pixar without any finesse. The aliens don’t look half bad in the CG, which good because the show promises to spend a lot of time in space.
The Animated Series isn’t an origin story, which is a huge relief. Hal is already established as a Green Lantern, working at Ferris Air, kind of sort of with Carol and just as cheeky as ever. Kilowog is also here, a total badass as can be expected, but he’s a big softie, too. Not that I’d ever say that to his face. He’s critical of Hal’s reckless behavior, but you know he has faith in his abilities as a Lantern.
Some spoilers below.
The episode starts out in space when a Green Lantern is attacked by Red Lanterns. I was a little surprised they introduced us to them right from the get go, I thought they might have been a secret evil we learned about as the series progressed. Another surprising thing, these Red Lanterns can talk. They spew blood vomit too, but they articulate better than their comic book counterparts. Introducing the Reds right away make me hopeful more colors of Lanterns might be only episodes or seasons away. These mysterious murders of Greens at the hands of Red Lanterns out in the far off frontier space have been increasing in number and the Guardians seem to know more than they’ll share. Per usual.
Watch a clip of the opening scene:
Hal learns of the murdered Lanterns while he’s on a trial for something stupid he did, typical Hal. He demands to go and search for their killers and the Guardians are all like, no, you’re on trial and we don’t want to talk about Lantern killers. The blue guys are the same little shits they’ve always been; know everything and do nothing. Except for Ganthet, the sympathetic Guardian has the makings of the Green Lantern series’ very own Yoda. Complete with dry wit.
Best thing? This series is funny, and not just in their choice of dialogue (which is hilarious, particular in some exchanges between Hal and Kilowog) but in their animation sequences as well. At one point Hal and Kilowog steal a fancy, new Oan jet and as they escape the disapproving Guardians chase after them, clinging to and banging on the windows for them to stop. Surprisingly funny bits like this are littered throughout the episode.
I really don’t want to spoil too much for you, but I will say the final battle and resolution are kick-ass as well as heartfelt. There’s some awesome action bits, like Hal pulling a last minute recharge from their ships’s power battery to a touching sacrifice that saves an entire alien race.
The show has a very good grasp of tying in the fast-paced action into the quieter, more intimate moments. The comedy is hilariously delivered, and the animation is good, not great. Then again I think I’m partial to 2D, cell style, but as CG cartoons go this is probably one of the better. I say definitely check this show out when it airs. It’s no Batman: The Animated Series, but, y’know, Green Lantern is no Batman.