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A few episodes into the animated series and with every one I end up saying to myself that this is the best of the series only to have that trumped the following Saturday.  It’s a wonderful problem to have and this week’s installment, “Heir Apparent’, continues the trend.  With a script by Jennifer Keene that pulls from the rich history found in the Green Lantern comics the audience is treated to the origin of a fan favorite character and more great character moments that continues to define the traits of our main cast.

On Betrassus, a world where feudal society meets futuristic technology, the crew of the Interceptor arrives with hopes to recruit the Green Lantern of the sector, Dulock [sp], and when he goes missing before taking the hand of Queen Iolande it’s up to Hal to prevent a Betrassian warrior from getting the crown while he and the crew solve the mystery of the missing Green Lantern.
“Iolande…..your name sounds like a waterfall.”
“Heir Apparent” is loosely based on a story that took place in Green Lantern Corps (volume 2, issue 2) where Guy Gardner and Soranik Natu investigate the murder of a Green Lantern by a Betrassian who longed for the power that comes with being a Green Lantern.  Being familiar with that story it was obvious to me who was behind the treachery, but regardless of that the story was really entertaining for all the original elements that made up the episode.  There’s some great moments where Hal proves his heroic mettle and we continue to see the relationship between Razer and Aya grow.
The balance of humor, characterization, action and plot continues to be a strong suit for the series with just the right amount of each packed into the twenty or so minutes of the episode.  It’s important to me too that the humor doesn’t come at the expense of the characters, but supports the relationships between them or underscores some of their more endearing traits.  Seeing Hal overextend himself because of his cockiness (or as I prefer to say, hyper self-confidence!) and then having a bit of an embarrassing moment relates his humanity in a way that doesn’t undermine him as a hero but shows a part of his character that is at once both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

Hal vs. Kothack – a battle between two alpha males

While Iolande and Hal don’t have a romantic relationship in the comics there’s more than a hint of infatuation between them here.  While it’s not overplayed the moments where Hal’s weakness for the fairer sex are well used and will pay off when we see him reunited with Carol Ferris down the road as we saw in the sizzle real that the show’s producers showed recently at WonderCon.  Iolande’s rise to leadership of her planet and her new status as a Green Lantern come into conflict and her bittersweet denial of joining the fight against the Red Lanterns to serve the duty of her birthright plays out nicely and a part of me felt like I was reliving the ending to any number of classic Star Trek episodes where Captain Kirk beams to Enterprise waving goodbye after getting a kiss from the pretty woman left behind.  I don’t mean that in a bad way at all – I found the nostalgia fun even if it was unintentional.  Update: Producer Giancarlo Volpe tweeted after reading my review that if we were to ask Bruce Timm or Jim Krieg it would be intentional!

Aya continues to evolve as a character in this episode, asserting herself as a potential member of the Corps despite Kilowog’s continued downplaying of her role as an artificial intelligence.  Her dialogue with Razer suggests a friendship of sorts bordering on infatuation if she is indeed capable of feeling any kind of emotion.  Combined with her visual appearance looking much like the woman we saw Razer lose via the flashback during the “Razer’s Edge” episode and it’s not hard to see a brewing internal conflict between what he knows to be right and the rage that fuels him and the red ring on his finger.

Will Aya provide the calming influence that frees Razer from his rage?

Either the CG animated looked even better this episode or it has just grown on me more quickly than I’d thought, but if it is the former then I think we’ll continue to see things get even better visually as the creators develop their abilities to get the best out of the technology driving the visuals in the series.  

I enjoyed hearing a couple of familiar voices appearing in this episode, namely Will Friedle and John DiMaggio as the voices of Iolande’s brother, Ragnar, and potential suitor, Kothack [sp], respectively.  Friedle is best known to comics animation fans as the voice behind the future Batman, Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond, Kyle Rayner in Justice League and Blue Beetle in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  John DiMaggio provided the voices for Samson in All-Star Superman, Joker in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Aquaman in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and is probably most notable for his role as Bender in Futurama.  

The CG animation and action sequences add to the fun and excitement

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 Amazon video, iTunes, the Playstation Network and the Zune Marketplace for the Xbox.

 Five out of five lanterns.

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