The Green Lantern animated series is as much of a success as you could hope it to be, garnering over 1.9 million U.S. viewers
in its one airing and garnering two Annie Award nominations
despite only airing one two-part special. Like many other DC animated series, the Bruce Timm produced Green Lantern: The Animated Series has crossed back over to the comics medium with a special zero issue by the Eisner Award winning team of Art Baltazar and Franco. The special issue is exactly what one would expect it to be – a fun light hearted romp in the Green Lantern universe with lots of action.
The Story –
This issue picks up after the two part special with Hal Jordan, Kilowog and Aya, the artificial intelligence behind the super light-speed craft the Interceptor, deep in frontier space. In the first two pages we are given all we need to know about Green Lantern and what prompts Hal and Kilowog to be investigating an energy source floating in space. When the source is identified as a owner-less power ring Hal leaps first with his trademark lack of caution and after looking over the ring the two lanterns discover that the Green Lantern ring was really a Red Lantern ring in disguise.
|Hal Jordan – impulsive not matter what medium you use him in!
Instantly the two are surrounded by seven Red Lanterns. Outgunned, Kilowog and Hal make a valiant attempt to hold their ground as the rage ensues. It’s not long before Aya brings the Interceptor in range to help them escape, but Kilowog is captured before he can get on board. The Red Lanterns and their hostage disappear without a trace, leaving only the energy trail of the false ring as Hal’s only clue.
Tracing the energy signature to a nearby planet Hal unearths a small black box which Aya identifies as a “Quantum Refractor”, an up to now theoretical device capable of bending light around an object, rendering it invisible. In this case the Red Lanterns were able to program the device to change the color of the Red Lantern ring from afar, and with it Hal now has a device he can use to help him free Kilowog.
A short time later Hal and Aya have somehow managed to find the place where the Red Lanterns are holding Kilowog, and we discover that their goal is to try to capture a Green Lantern ring but cutting of Kilowog’s arm and ensnaring it before it can fly off to find a new owner. Hal instructs Aya to use the Quantum Refractor to turn Kilowog invisible, leading the small squad of Red Lanterns to become distracted.
Hal launches an assault on the surprised Red Lanterns and Kilowog is set free to fight alongside his human companion. The two Green Lanterns use the element of surprise to escape when Aya reminds them that the Refractor was left behind. Hal chooses to destroy it from afar, but when Aya informs him that there are two unique energy signatures coming from the device and one of them is coming from inside it, the mission becomes one of retrieval because the second signature is presumed to be coming from a living being.
|I half expected them to name him Itty!
Kilowog provides some more distraction while Hal makes an end run for the Refractor and the two make a hasty retreat before the Red Lanterns can recover. Back on board the Interceptor we learn that the being that was held captive feeds on the ions that float around space and was being used to power the Refractor by having those ion siphoned away before they could consumed by the hapless creature. The issue ends with the Green Lanterns setting the creature free.
In addition to the story, the comic includes a “Draw Your Own Hal Jordan” feature and some artwork from the animated series.
The Writing –
Art Baltazar and Franco have a gift in taking crafting a story that is family friendly while not being too watered down for adults. It’s certainly not a complex story and the dialogue is clearly written for a younger audience, but that’s fine. There are four other comics in the Green Lantern family that I can read as an adult, but as a parent I wouldn’t let a pre-teen child necessarily read them.
This book is that one book I know I could let a child who is interested in comics read without having to pre-screen it – and one I’d be apt to read with my child. So I can overlook some of the simplistic dialogue and goofiness that I wouldn’t tolerate in a regular book for the sake of being able to have something to stimulate a child who might have watched the animated special or movie and wants to explore Green Lantern more. And that’s a wonderful thing.
The Art –
Like the writing the art is clean and simple and something that might spur an artistically inclined child to explore illustrations a bit more. Darid Brizuela keeps it plain, but not without keeping that character design style we saw in the animated special. As you might expect the constructs are a bit chunkier as you might think a young person might envision them to be.
What Do I Think?
I know fun is a four letter word that comics fans seem to scorn these days, but this book was just that and it had more action in it than some of the other Green Lantern family members of late. Gone are the days when most kids can walk into a store and buy a comic book and find new exciting places and adventures to inspire and thrill them. So this book is unashamedly fun, and captivating and silly sometimes. But that’s okay because for a few minutes there I kind of felt like a kid again…and that’s worth $3 to me. Four out of five lanterns.