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Thursday, April 17, 2014

'Green Lantern: The Animated Series' BD: Makes Lesser Shows Emerald With Envy

Green Lantern Animated Series S1
The recently released Warner Archive Blu-ray set of the complete series of "Green Lantern: The Animated Series" is perfect companion to the Blu-ray set of fellow Cartoon Network series "Beware the Batman" that is the subject of a March 2014 Unreal TV review.

This "Lantern" release also provides a good opportunity to comment on the current phrase "binge watching." The continuing story lines and cliffhangers make it a perfect candidate for watching multiple episodes in one sitting. Referring to such MARATHONS as binges creates images of shoving junk down your Twinkie hole (no euphemisms intended) at warp speed, rather than enjoying a feast of well-prepared treats.

Having fanboy god voice actor Josh Keaton, who uber-shines as the voice of Peter Parker in the magnificent "The Spectacular Spider-Man" animated series, star as the voice of Hal Jordan alone makes "Lantern" a must-own for super herophiles of all ages; spectacular graphics that look incredible in Blu-ray, clever dialog, and well-written multi-multi-multi episode story arcs spectacularly show that the set provides hours of awesome entertainment.

For the benefit of folks unfamiliar with "Lantern" lore, an incredibly bare bones recap of this background is that Oa-dwelling Guardians of the Universe create the multi-species Green Lantern corps to battle evil and generally maintain peace across said universe. The corps members are selected based on having the virtues that fulfilling their mission requires.

The Lanterns derive their power through a ring that grants them the power to fly and that allows them to form a protective shield around themselves. The rings additionally allow these heroes to form objects, known as constructs, to aid them. A very early scene in the "Lantern" pilot establishes that Jordan literally is additionally faster than a speeding locomotive.

Common constructs include fists and other blunt objects to pummel the bad guys, vises to grab malfeasors, and barricade-style shields to fend off laser blasts and other threats to bodily integrity. Jordan's former trainer and current evil-fighting partner Kilowog (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson of virtually every Fox "Animation Domination" series) is especially fond of creating a Thor-like hammer to bat evil aliens around space.

A primary limit on the ability of a Green Lantern is that their ring only holds a finite charge and must use a lantern to restore its power; this ritual also requires uttering a chant that is well known to every Lantern fan.

Additionally, the element of a kryptonite equivalent that prevents the rings from functioning is introduced early in the series.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, is a good representation of the overall quality and themes of "Lantern." It also recaps the events that set the series in motion.

"Lantern" gets rolling with Jordan going to Oa in response to evidence that Green Lanterns stationed in the outlying area known as Frontier Space are being killed off; in typical super hero fashion, Jordan hijacks the experimental state-of-the-art spacecraft known as the Interceptor so that he can quickly come to the aid of his comrades.

The next several episodes revolve around battles with Red Lanterns, led by the aptly named Atrocitus, who are waging the war against the Green Lanterns. The former obtain their powers through rage-fueled rings.

Depth in these episodes partially come in the former of former Red Lantern Razer, who joins Team Jordan early in the series, struggling to suppress the rage that he still feels regarding the death of his highly significant other.

Related substance comes in the form of a revelation that shows that the indignation of the Red Lanterns regarding the Guardians is somewhat righteous; this development is only a portion of the evidence that the alleged good guys, who increasingly engage in political battles, are not as omnipotent as they would like the universe to believe.

Having the Interceptor's artificial intelligence system take a large evolutionary step forward also contributes to the weight of this exceptional Saturday morning cartoon; this development additionally plays a major role in the series finale.

The Red Lantern threat evolves into another daunting challenge for Jordan and his crew; this conflict leads to an even larger conflict that jeopardizes the literal existence of our universe.

The good news for kids and the adults who love them is that keeping things at a fairly basic level and providing recaps at the start of each episode keeps "Lantern" digestible for kids from 8 to 80.

Additionally, the scenes that are set in space are particularly well animated; a sequence that literally involves expanding our universe truly is worthy of an award.

Also, the writers mix plenty of light-hearted humor in with the action and peril. Watching Jordan battle a squirrel-like Green Lantern is hilarious, and having Jordan team up with  uber-arrogant Lantern  Guy Gardner who takes over defending earth in the absence of our hero is equally amusing. This further involves a few awesome moments of Zen.

The final thoughts to share before the figurative charge that is powering this review runs out of power is that "Lantern" achieves the near impossible of being a show that truly has something for everyone.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Lantern" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.