For many fans “Blue Hope” is the first new episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series since the abrupt hiatus, an apt title considering the circumstances. Fans have been wondering what Ganthet has been up to since his departure from Oa and we not only find out where he’s been, but we meet up with his new allies.
“Blue Hope” clearly takes place a little while after the events of “Steam Lantern” since Aya has her body back and Tomar-Re is no longer on the Interceptor. Writer Jeremy Adams’ script smartly avoids going into too much detail about what’s transpired recently, instead focusing on the reuniting the crew with Razer, who has joined Saint Walker on Odym to try to better himself. Following the path laid out in the comics, Odym has become home to the Blue Lantern Corps, although at this early stage it is a three being show with Saint Walker and Ganthet being joined by Brother Warth.
The Manhunter menace has brought Hal and the crew to Odym to take advantage of Ganthet’s knowledge about the history of the Guardians’ failed experiment. While mentioned, Hal’s distrust of the Guardian Council is not elaborated upon other than mentioning Aya’s dismantling – a thread which I’m sure will become more important as the rest of this season unfolds before us. There’s a lot going on in “Blue Hope” between the less than perfect reunion of Razer and Aya, the ignition of the Blue Central Power Battery, and the increasing threat of the Manhunters.
|Brother Warth gets his small screen debut
But Adams does a wonderful job of giving due diligence to all of the plots and manages to sprinkle in some wonderful moments for the cast. Saint Walker’s musical prowess is on display and I found myself immediately reminded of Spock’s Vulcan harp from Star Trek, probably another intentional nod to the classic series. Aya’s evolution as a sentient being gets great play in the episode as does the complex nature her relationship with Razer, who himself gets to explore the feelings for Aya that he seems bent on denying.
Aya’s conversation with the damaged Manhunter is a great piece exploring what it means to be sentient and to have a soul, a great bit of science fiction and moral debate that, while not over played, can certainly provide food for thought long after the episode ends. Aya’s “Sigh” is a perfect line for her at this point of her character arc along with the reveal of what the Manhunters see when they look at both Razer and Aya – another great example of the kind of detail and forethought that the show’s creators continue to pour into the series. Grey DeLisle and Jason Spisak continue to do an amazing job of providing the voices for two of the show’s most strongly written and endearing characters.
Of course “Blue Hope” is clearly the moment for the Blue Lanterns to shine and Saint Walker’s continued portrayal as THE Shaolin Monk of the universe is so completely on point with the character as fans see him. The moments between he and Razer reveal so much about both of them and each moment is a treat for fans of the characters. Phil Morris continues to do an amazing job with Saint Walker’s voice, and Adams’ script gives him so many great moments to bring to life, guaranteeing the Blue Lantern’s place as one of the most popular characters in Green Lantern mythology. One can clearly see by the way that Brother Warth conducts himself that being a Blue Lantern means very much learning the Tao of Saint Walker – and that’s a very good thing.
Brother Warth is voiced by Brian George, who also provides the voice for Appa Ali Apsa and M’Ten in the series opener. The voice is fitting if a bit higher in tone that the voice I’ve heard in my head when I read the comics, but it’s certainly not unfitting and in time I’m certain it will become the new voice I hear. Hearing the voice of the late Ian Abercrombie as Ganthet recite a comics accurate Blue Lantern oath was both powerful and a sad reminder of his passing. Had it been someone else stepping in for him I don’t think it would have carried the same weight as this clearly did for me.
|Ganthet’s ignition of the Blue Central Power Battery is wonderous and dramatic
Hal and Kilowog are not the main focus of the episode, but their presence serves to provide much of the action for “Blue Hope” and they both get plenty of opportunity to throw down with the Manhunters when the activation of the central battery brings a squad to Odym. The action scenes are fun to watch as the overpowered Manhunters and Green Lanterns battle each other in spectacular fashion. Sam Liu, who is probably my favorite animation director, does a great job with the battle scenes and they have a greater scale to go along with the greater power that they wield.
If there’s any criticism to be made for the episode it would be in the unclear way that the presence of the Blue Lanterns to the Green Lantern’s super charges them. We’ve seen previously where just the proximity of Saint Walker affected Kilowog, but here it seems to be almost a matter of what’s needed for the moment rather than following a consistent pattern of behavior. The Blue Lanterns, contrary to their comic counterparts, have the ability to make constructs even when not in the proximity of a Green Lantern ring, but this could simply be how the producers intend to have them work in the series.
|Hal and Kilowog take it to the Manhunters
Musically Frederik Wiedmann does a superb job of creating an aptly hopeful suite for the Blue Lanterns which adds a great deal of character to Odym. The score for the episode continues to add a cinematic quality to Green Lantern: The Animated Series which is one of the show’s many great attributes. If I have a hope of my own it’s that not only does this show have a long run, but that Wiedmann gets a chance to score a something like an animated version of the Sinestro Corps War or Blackest Night. Hey, since it’s an episode about hope, I’m hoping big!
The Manhunter threat serves as a reason for Ganthet to put his Blue Lantern Corp plans on hold for now and the episode comes to a close with Razer re-joining the crew of the Interceptor just in time for Sinestro’s arrival next week. While on the surface “Blue Hope” seems to do little to propel the over arcing story for the season’s second half, it does much to flesh out the characters and the Green Lantern animated universe in a fun and thoughtful way that continues to entertain Green Lantern fans of any age. Five out of five lanterns.
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