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With episode seven of Green Lantern: The Animated Series we have the return of the greater underlying plot for the show’s first season put squarely back into the limelight.  “Reckoning” brings with it a lot of drama and action that puts our protagonists face to face with their red ringed adversaries and the crew of the Interceptor don’t make it out unscathed.  

After weeks of observing the Red Lantern base ship, Shard, Razer seemingly turns his back on the crew and sabotages the Interceptor to rejoin Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns.  Razer’s true goal is to rid the universe of Atrocitus but when his plan backfires it’s up to the Green Lanterns to risk it all in order to save him.  In the mayhem we learn the origins of the Red Lanterns and the truth behind Razer’s loss with the show ending on a solemn note with the revelation of the plans that Atrocitus has put in motion.
With a few episodes behind us it was a great decision to refocus our attentions on Atrocitus and what the Red Lanterns have been doing since the two part debut of the show.  “Reckoning” is filled with dramatic tension and serves as a cornerstone for the whole season with the foreshadowing of the coming conflict and how it propels the series forward.  To drive home the weight of the conflict we see Razer witness a revelation that drives a permanent wedge between him and his former master, and now that Razer has a power battery of his own he won’t have to worry about how to charge his ring.  While I won’t give away the ending the physical cost of the rescue mission and the foreboding of the information the Green Lanterns uncover adds the right amount of seriousness to the series for anyone who might have thought that the lighter tone of recent episodes was the direction the creative team is shooting for.

Hal goes undercover

Long time fans are once again rewarded by the producers of the show as we not only got an excellent comics continuity laced origin for the Red Lanterns, but the animated debut of Skallox, Bleez and Veon as well.  To see a character as minor as Veon get some screen time is a strong indicator at how much effort the producers are putting into bringing the Green Lantern universe to life and I applaud them for the extra effort.  The Red Lantern oath retains its dramatic tone despite being retooled for an all ages audience, and I think it might actually be better than the original in my opinion.

Original Comics version-

“With blood and rage of crimson red, 
Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead, 
Together with our hellish hate, 
We’ll burn you all–That is your fate!”
Animated Series version-
“With blood and rage of crimson red, 
We fill men’s souls with darkest dread, 
And twist your minds to pain and hate, 
We’ll burn you all–That is your fate!”

The perception of the Guardians as “blue devils” and their demands for being worshiped is an interesting one and I wonder how much of that is simply Atrocitus’ manipulation versus the truth given how we’ve seen more and more that the Guardians are not quite the altruistic beings we’ve always thought them to be.  I totally geeked out during Cleric Loran’s recounting from the Book of Rage of the fall of Ysmault at the hands of the Manhunters and the inclusion of the existence of the Five Inversions!

Cleric Loran provides a great comics’ continuity laced history lesson that’s one of the highlights of “Reckoning”

Throughout this episode we continue to see the interpersonal relationships of the crew given room to breath and grow.  Kilowog’s distrust of Razer and questioning of Hal create great dramatic tension and the fact that they don’t all get along is a welcome dynamic.  Likewise seeing Hal have to make some difficult choices and  making decisions like trusting Razer to do the right thing shows that he’s more than just another Saturday morning action hero and further establishes him as a guy you’d want on your side in a fight even though you might scratch your head at how he operates.  I’ve often described Hal and equal parts Indiana Jones, James Bond and Han Solo so I’m really satisfied in seeing those qualities shine in his portrayal.

On the other side of the conflict Zilius Zox gets some great moments in this episode and his dislike of Razer provides some opportunities for him to show his more sinister nature, something that is needed due to his somewhat comical appearance.  Cleric Loran is a new character that I found very captivating to me and I really like the creativity in his character design.  Bleez sees her look toned down a bit for the animated series by getting more skin coverage and getting her bat wings restored.  Skallox is a bit more beefed up to make him appear a more formidable foe for Kilowog to deal with later.  While Veon isn’t given much to do it’s great that the producers chose to include a minor Red Lantern that hasn’t been heard about since Boodikka killed him way back in 2009’s Green Lantern issue 45 rather than create another new character.  Atrocitus himself is portrayed as a more cunning adversary that he appears in the comics and he’s definitely more manipulative in his dealings that the “in your face” persona he has on the written page.

Bleez, Veon and Skallox serve as Razer’s Welcoming Committee

For action fans the battle as the crew of the Interceptor fled Shard was a treat and I really liked how the producers elevated Skallox to be an adversary worthy of Kilowog, who elevated his construct creation to a new level with the four Gatling gun assault on the Red Lanterns.  The humor was downplayed this episode with good reason as it would have distracted from the seriousness that the plot for “Reckoning” calls for and when there is a light moment it is something as in-character as the snarkiness of Razer chastising the Green Lanterns for the level of precaution they seem to have.

“Reckoning” is a prime example of the richness that exists in Green Lantern lore that makes it stand out in the DC Universe.  This episode captures so much of what I love about the mythology while providing moments of great emotional depth and drama.  There are a lot of great reasons for comics’ fans to rally behind this show and “Reckoning” is just one more example of why Green Lantern: The Animated Series is such a great series.

Five out of five lanterns.

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