Since the sneak peek two part Green Lantern: The Animated Series debut this past November I've been counting the days until we had a chance to see more of the CG series on the Cartoon Network. The "Beware My Power...." episodes provided us with a great look at what to expect when the new episodes began airing and this week the third episode of the series, "Razer's Edge", provided us with a look at Razer's backstory as well as the first appearance of the Spider Guild.
The episode revolves around Hal and Kilowog dropping the Red Lantern Razer off on a prison planet run by the Spider Guild, who this continuity are not the ancient enemies of the Guardians they are in the comics. The leader of the prison, Myglom takes Razer off to his cell and the Green Lanterns depart on the Interceptor. When an escaped prisoner is discovered hiding out on their ship, Hal and Kilowog recapture him, but when the creature, Goggan, tells them of the torture the prisoners live with Hal calls for an investigation, nobly pointing out that justice is justice for everyone, even the criminals.
Hal and Kilowog sneak on the prison planet while we learn that Myglom is using a device to force prisoners to relive their worst memories in an endless loop. We learn about Razer's tortured past and what the sources of his rage is in a well played out sequence which makes Razer a sympathetic character. When the two Green Lanterns are discovered they, too, become captured when their rings prove ineffectual as a result of the strange yellow mineral deposits that line the walls of the prison, a nice nod to Lantern history. While Myglom tortures Hal and Kilowog Aya leaves the Interceptor and when her path is blocked by the yellow minerals she releases Razer who uses his ring to free Hal and Kilowog and aid in their defeat of the Spider Guild.
|The yellow minerals play havoc on Green Lantern power rings|
The story of Razer's tragic past is well played and does much to create the back story we need for him since he is completely new to the Green Lantern universe. The scene in which he is chosen by Atrocitus is powerfully dramatic and when the time comes for Razer to make a choice between leaving the Green Lanterns behind or helping them knowing his motivations made his decision seem right for someone is supposed to be "bad". I found, too, that Aya's witnessing Razer's memories created a bit of a bond between them as much as there can be one between synthetic and organic life. While Razer certainly hasn't made himself one of the guys yet, you can see that he's just not another black and white character and watching him making some difficult choices as the series progresses will be fun to watch.
|Razer is given a lot of screen time to develop his character|
If I have one criticism it's that we don't get to see the visions that Hal and Kilowog have while in Myglom's clutches, and while I think that the uninitiated would benefit from seeing the loss of Hal's father as a motivation and effect of the destruction of Bolovax Vik on Kilowog I thoroughly understand that it would have affected the show's pacing as well as created a problem with the running time. I'm hoping that we see some character background for Hal in particular for those that don't know it because I've always felt that there's a great strength that can be provided for those who live with very legitimate fears by calling upon the Green Lantern mythology. I know first hand how rooting for a hero who can overcome fear can inspire us to rise above our own fears and nightmares and I'd love to see that gift given to a whole new generation.
Myglom was voiced by horror legend Robert Englund, best known for his role as Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films as an one of the aliens in V. The fact that Myglom uses nightmares to torture his prisoners made the casting one of those things that you inwardly smile about when you know the connections and you realize that the makers of the show really get it. Josh Keaton does a great job as Hal, adding a lighter edge to the cockiness that might make Hal an unlikable hero. And Kevin Michael Richardson has become THE voice of Kilowog for me after only three episodes.
The music for the series, composed by Frederik Wiedmann, does a wonderful job of conveying the sense of high adventure as well as the dramatic beats along the way. Animation wise I'm still new to the CG animation game, but while I think that sometimes there's a lack of detail that I miss from hand drawn animation I do see the benefit of using CG for the animation in terms of what you see here by the way of camera movement and lighting. It's a trade off that works well for a show like Green Lantern that maybe you couldn't get away with using some other characters, but again I'm being exposed to this style for the first time and don't have enough background to compare it to other CG shows.
I caught myself grinning like a kid many times during the show, either at the great humor or just seeing the Green Lantern universe come alive in a new medium and reveling in it despite the fact that I'm not the target demographic. If "Razer's Edge" is an indication of what we can expect for the whole season I fully anticipate a lot of smiling on my part. In a couple weeks time I'll be watching the show while enjoying my Green Lantern Happy Meal!
Green Lantern: The Animated Series airs every Saturday morning on the Cartoon Network as a part of the DC Nation block and can be found digitally on Zune Marketplace, iTunes and Amazon video.
Five out of five lanterns.