With the abrupt disruption of the release schedule for the entire DC Nation programming block until January, the latest episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series might best be renamed "Steamed Lanterns" between now and then. Pun aside, at least for now fans can get the episode via iTunes until the forces of the Anti-Monitor have it taken down.
"Steam Lantern" literally drops Hal Jordan into another universe where the Anti-Monitor came from and right into a conflict set on a world best described as having a Victorian era Steampunk vibe. When Hal arrives he witnesses a confrontation where one side is a Steampunk inspired Green Lantern character named Gil Broome, an Easter Egg riff of Silver Age Green Lantern creators Gil Kane and John Broome. Broome and his Lady Catherine are opposed by Duke Nigel Fortenberry, who himself might be an ode to Nigel Thornberry, a character from The Wild Thornberrys.
|Fortenberry's robots remind me of Victorian Manhunters.|
What follows is a fun rollick as the lovable Gil learns what it means to be a hero by owning up to his dishonesty about his previous encounter with the Anti-Monitor. Meanwhile Fortenberry realizes he's not quite the benefactor of his people that he thought he was and how his attempt to save his world could lead to the deaths of trillions. Along the way there's a neat reference to Alan Scott that alludes to the existence of at least the Earth 2 part of the DC multiverse that existed before the Anti-Monitor arrived. If last week's "Reboot" planted seeds for a potential Blackest Night adaptation, "Steam Lantern" does the same for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Gil Broome is voiced by Robin Atkins Downes, an actor who I remember best as Byron from Babylon 5, but who has voiced dozens of characters in animation and video games. Jeff Bennett returns to provides voices for Fortenberry as well as for the returning Tomar-Re, who along with Aya and Kilowog appear briefly to provide support in trying to help Hal return to our universe through the remains of the rift created by the Anti-Monitor. Kilowog's concern for Hal is very genuine and provides for a fun moment when Hal is able to contact the Interceptor as Kilowog and Tomar-Re are debating Hal's fate.
Frederik Wiedmann does a stellar job as usual in this episode, summoning musical cues that evoke the Victorian era and feathering them with the shows familiar themes. It helps create the perfect atmosphere created by the rest of the creative team in making this new world very believable and a place where viewers are going to want to see again.
|Hal and Gil confront Fortenberry|
While Gil and his world are the central focus of this episode, Hal gets plenty of opportunities to mentor Broome by showing him that he's doing a great job despite what his conscience is telling him as well as walking the walk of a hero. Hal makes some of his decisions knowing that he may end up on the short end of the stick when as is said and done, but sometimes that's what happens when you choose to the do the right thing, and luck for him Gil is there to lend a helping hand in the end as Hal pushes his ring to new limits to save Gil's planet from the damage caused by the "Space Dragoon".
Ernie Altbacker must have had a lot of fun writing the script for this episode and creating a new fun world that is so different from the alien worlds we've visited so far, yet so familiar to genre fans. I've not gotten into the whole Steampunk genre myself but I understand the fascination with it and I think people who are into it will find this episode a lot of fun. I can see people cosplaying as Gil Broome now.
|Two heroes cut from the same cloth|
Rick Morales keeps the camera moving and the animation team does a wonderful job of playing with the color palette to evoke just the right atmosphere and it make for a visual treat. I'm sure they had a lot of fun creating Thortonberry's robots, "Battling Berthilda." and all the other trappings they came up with in crafting this fun new world.
While it's a shame that we are stuck waiting for the rest of the first season with this poorly executed and unwanted hiatus, we do have this gem to add to our growing Green Lantern animated library. January is a long ways away, but hopefully we can all get through it with a little "stiff upper lippery". "Steam Lantern" gets five out of five lanterns.