Spotlight on ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’

With the release of the Ryan Reynolds-lead flick, you just knew a ‘Green Lantern’ series was in the pipeline. The only surprise was that they went the cg route as opposed to traditional animation. Admittedly this made me weary but I tried to reserve judgement until I could actually see the pilot. Well, now I have and the verdict is…

I actually dig it.

The two-part, hour-long premiere titled “Beware My Power…Green Lantern’s Light” follows Hal Jordan as he and fellow Lantern Kilowog investigate the deaths of Corps members patrolling “Frontier Space.” They encounter members of the Red Lantern Corps and must foil one of their big dastardly plots. Yes, I’m being purposely vague.

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As much as I prefer cel animation, especially on tv, the cga of  ‘Green Lantern TAS’ thankfully excels stylistically. There’s something about the big, broad shoulders and perfectly quaffed hair that just rings true for Hal – the epitome of the brash ’40s flyboy by way of a Hollywood actor. There is a simplicity to the design (still rippling from the influence of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ on almost every subsequent DC Comics tv toon) but the show does not suffer from it. I’m only slightly bothered by Kilowog’s head but I think it’s just that I’m still getting used to it.

The writing is strong. They establish character and story quickly without confusing the viewer, there’s lots of great one-liners, and they manage to make it all-ages without over-simplifying, condescending to young viewers, or losing the adult viewer’s attention.

But let’s get to why I really liked it – the voice acting.  VO veteran Josh Keaton (The Flash – ‘Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths’; Spider-Man – ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’ and several recent games) is great as Hal, a character who personality I often have trouble grasping. Keaton manages to give me a better sense of who Hal is in three sentences than I got watching the whole live-action movie.

Kevin Michael Richardson (Panthro – new ‘Thundercats’; Joker – ‘The Batman’; Cleveland, Jr. – ‘The Cleveland Show’) is equally impressive as Kilowog but that’s par for the course for KMR. There’s also Grey DeLisele, Jason SpisakTom Kenny Kurtwood Smith, and Jonathan Adams who all deliver high-quality performances as well. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I loved the Guardians of Oa, primarily voiced by Ian Abercrombie, Brian George, and Susanne Blakeslee.

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As for the future of the series, one would have to assume the other spectrum Corps will make an appearance – especially the Yellow Lanterns and Star Sapphires since they’re integral to Hal’s rogue’s gallery – but does this mean they’ll tackle “Blackest Night?”  I guess it depends on how the good people of Cartoon Network feel about zombies and how their demo audience might react. But I’m actually hoping they go there. Could be a lot of fun to watch.

So I recommend you at least check out the premiere. The series has a lot of promise and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ premieres Friday, November 11th at 7/6pmC on Cartoon Network.

About Tamara Brooks

A few things I wondered about as a kid: Why didn't Wonder Woman punch more bad guys in the face on the tv show?; How does Superman flying around the Earth turn back time?; Could someone really catch bullets with their teeth?; Why didn't the liquid bits of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man cause 3rd degree burns on whoever it landed on? Because melted marshmallow is up there with molten hot lava.