Maverick Hal Jordan (voiced by Josh Keaton) paired with tough-as-nails, by-the-book Kilowog (Kevin Michael Richardson).
Green Lantern: The Animated Series is everything you’d hope for from a Warner Bros Animated series featuring characters from DC Comics. The story focuses on adult themes, such as death and sacrifice, yet moves along at a quick pace with enough pockets of humor to attract younger audiences. DC’s first venture into CG delivers vibrant visual character designs that are reminiscent of Pixar’s The Incredibles. This series is easily poised to be one of Warner Animations best portrayals of a comic franchise. However, you don’t need to know your Red Lanterns from your Green Lanterns from your Indigo Lanterns to hop right in and enjoy the oncoming war that teases fond memories of the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night.
In the series premiere, Hal makes his first appearance just as you would expect – by wrecking military equipment in order to save the day. It’s almost a little reminiscent of Superman Returns, except instead of saving a crashing plane, Hal saves a crashing train (that rhymed). His relationship, or rather lack of a relationship, with Carol Ferris is teased, but never really explored. She wants to reprimand him destroying a million dollar plane but she just can’t help but kiss him. Unfortunately, their romantic interlude gets interrupted. Why? The Guardians, immortals who founded the Green Lantern Corps, on the planet of Oa beckon, and Hal, ever the galactic policeman, must heed the call.
On Oa, Hal is called before the Guardians because of a case of misconduct. However, it’s all a big misunderstanding. Hal quickly corrects the story, and lets the Guardians know that he did not hit a man in the face, but rather hit the man in the stomach and head butted him in the face. That’s the kind of maverick humor you’ll find in Green Lantern. However, at the end of the day, Hal is just trying to do the right thing, he just can’t deal with authority too well.
The series focuses on an oncoming war with the Red Lanterns. At the start of the premiere, the Red Lanterns kill one of the Frontier Lanterns – Green Lanterns that work at the outer reaches of the Universe. When that Lantern is killed, his ring is sent back to OA since it could not find an ideal replacement for the fallen Lantern. Against the will of the Guardian council (except Ganthet, the only Lantern who supports Hal), Hal and Kilowog steal a prototype airship and fly to the outer reaches of the Universe.
There, they confront Zilius Zox (Tom Kenny) and Razer (Jason Spisak), the two Red Lanterns who have been murdering Green Lanterns. It quickly becomes a rescue mission when Hal and Kilowog show up just when Zilius and Razer are about to kill another Lantern.
The action is intense and it has its fare share of “hurrah” moments. In episode 2, we are introduced to the Red Lantern leader, Atrocitus (Jonathan Adams). I won’t give any spoilers, but the stakes continue to build up and the action gets even fiercer. The characters also find ways to sneak in the quick joke here and there. Razer is the conflicted Red Lantern who doesn’t want to kill, while Zilius is gung-ho about killing to serve his master Atrocitus. Kilowog and Hal have an excellent relationship. Kilowog plays the part of the older, wiser Lantern who tries to do the rational thing when Hal’s actions are more reckless. As for comic lovers, they’ll dig the small references to the comic book and potential relations to the Sinestro Corps War.
In comics, the rule of thumb usually states that off-Earth adventures are generally not as good as on-Earth adventures. However, it looks like Green Lantern: The Animated Series will take place primarily off Earth – at least for the first several episodes. Episode 2 shows that this mechanism actually works out fine. The alien characters still feel human and the relationships are very real, if not somewhat sad at times. It also gives the writers more opportunities to destroy things without necessarily harming any humans. Which will keep the action naysayers in check.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series is definitely one CG adventure worth watching week-to-week. Warner Animation has done a great job in following up Thundercats with another instant hit.