(DC NATION) MAY 26, 2012

Green Lantern: The Animated Series

Season 1, Episode 13
“Homecoming”

SAINT WALKER!!!!!!
I know I’ve ragged on GL: TAS before. Multiple times, actually, and with some pretty solid malice behind my words. And honestly, this show struggled for the first six or seven episodes before it really shifted into it’s groove and became comfortable with Hal and Kilowog actually using their power rings. Fortunately, the latter half of this group of episodes has been getting better and better each week. Bruce Timm, the show’s Executive Producer, obviously has a lot of love for Green Lantern, as evidenced by his various fan service inclusions this season like the Zamarons, the episode about killing a GL for his ring, Saint Walker, Mogo, the Thanagarians, and oh so much more. “Homecoming” is by and far the best episode of GL: TAS, marking a turning point in quality and content.

This episode, the Red Lanterns are moving in full-force toward Oa as Atrocitus has stolen the GL Interceptor, and the rest of the fleet moves toward the path through the asteroid field and into Oan space. Oh, and Hal, Kilowog, and Razer are stuck at the edge of Guardian space, and 18-month flight away from the Guardians and Oa. It’s not looking too good for the Green Lanterns right now.

Hal and Razer travel to Zamaron to get help teleporting across a great distance like the Sapphire’s did to Carol Ferris in “In Love and War”, while Kilowog stays at the asteroid field to stave off the Red Lantern invasion fleet all by himself. Though Hal is able to travel to Earth – based on his base emotions for Carol – and therefore much closer to Oa, he loses his memory in the process. This sequence seems somewhat unnecessary since amnesia usually lasts a long time, and it takes Carol all of ten minutes – after she realizes Hal doesn’t even know what a Green Lantern is – to find Hal’s power battery and “reboot” him. Again, it simply feels unnecessary. Why couldn’t Hal just come to Earth and fly off? That’s what ended up happening anyway, it just took longer.

Kilowog, on the other hand, has a very necessary role and is soon joined by Saint Walker, complete with his new Blue Lantern ring and the ability to super-charge Green Lantern power rings. Of course, “two soliders won’t change anything,” as Kilowog points out. That’s when Mogo shows up. Like I mentioned earlier, this is my favorite episode of the series thus far and part of it comes from this scene. Seeing Kilowog, Mogo, and Saint Walker ripping up some Red Lantern armadas was breathtaking and something that should have been on the screen years ago. It’s such a compelling scene that I had to pause my DVR and just sit for a moment and think about how awesome it was.

Atrocitus succeeds by landing on Oa and nearly bringing the Guardian’s to their knees. I was a bit confused by this scene at first. I kept wondering, “where are all the GL’s?” Of course, they’ve all been sent toward the asteroid field to prepare for Atrocitus’ armada. But this is a plot point that was only glossed over a few times in the past couple of episodes, and it just kind of felt like a way to get rid of the Green Lantern Corps so the animators wouldn’t have to render 3,600 GL’s at the same time. Salaak – the Guardians’ right-hand-man/secretary/assistant – makes a fantastic appearance and even throws his computer module aside in favor of four energy daggers that seriously make Salaak cooler than he’s been in years in the pages of the comic books.

I really have loved watching Green Lantern: The Animated Series grow from a childish, non-ring-having show that could be about any old space travelers, to a solid series that takes the legacy of Green Lantern and molds it into a more digestible form for a wider audience. If Blue Lanterns, Mogo, and Villius Vox as the leader of the Red Lanterns doesn’t excite you for second season (which, at the time of this writing, hasn’t been announced), then this just might not be the show for you. If space odysseys, the Rainbow Brigade, and action is your thing, I’ll see you right here when season two begins!

GRADE:
A+


Young Justice
Season 2, Episode 5
“Beneath”

So far, what’s made Young Justice: Invasion compelling has been the deft way the writers balance the A and B stories each episode. In the first season, there was a group of six main characters to follow, so splitting them up was usually confined to one-on-one interactions. This season, however, the extended cast gives writers room to create diverse teams that can be interchanged whenever they want. At the same time, more characters means more character development, which is never a bad thing. This week, Blue Beetle stars in his own solo adventure, while the Team’s female furies – Miss Martian, Bumblebee, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl – gather to investigate one of Queen Bee’s many illegal military compounds for signs of alien technology.

The girls, the girls.

Jaime Reyes’ background has been tweaked a bit (as seen in last week’s “Salvage”), but he’s still the same character at his core – constantly fighting with the voice of the Scarab in his head. This episode, though, Jaime spends little time as Blue Beetle, instead forced to keep the Scarab at bay as he attempts to investigate the disappearance of his friend, Ty. It’s not the most interesting plot, but it’s nice to see any character in street clothes and it gives Jaime more personality that simply being the crazy kid who seems like he talks to himself.


On the other side of the globe, the girls’ mission in Bialya takes a turn for the worse when Wonder Girl is spotted and taken down by a group of metahumans led by Psimon – who was thought to be safely under watch in an induced coma. Again, this is not a very plot-heavy tale. I would even argue that it was simply a narrative designed to bring the female members of the Team together in some meaningful way. There didn’t need to be a very deep story, so there wasn’t.


Overall, this might be one of the weaker episodes of the season plot-wise, but as far as fan service and character inclusions, this one’s a winner.

GRADE:
B-
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