I’m just gonna wipe the tears from my eyes right now, if you don’t mind. I never would have thought that a show like Green Lantern: The Animated Series could end on such a bittersweet yet hopeful note. While the door is closed on the series (for now, at least), the creators were smart enough to give us a satisfying ending while leaving just enough of an opening for future stories to be told. The biggest surprise about the series is that, despite being called Green Lantern, the show was never really about its title character.
“Dark Matter” opens with the Guardians giving a remorseful rallying speech as they’re pretty much sending the corp to face Aya and the Manhunters, which could mean certain death should Aya succeed at recreating the universe in her image. Hal, feeling guilty that everything is his fault, consults the Oan archive and looks at a star chart of the systems destroyed by Aya. After a brief conversation with Tomar-Re, Hal discovers that the planets and systems absorbed by Aya were all uninhabited. Factoring in the knowledge that Aya was born from a sliver of the green entity within the Green Lantern battery, Hal puts it all together that Aya’s ability to feel empathy and sympathy prevented her from actually killing organic beings.
As the battle between the Green Lantern Corp and the Manhunters rages on, Hal arrives and basically confronts Aya head-on. Instead of listening to him, she allows him to be the last organic being alive so he can witness the end of the universe as he knows it. Not deterred in the slightest, Hal calls for Razer to be sent into the Anti-Monitor’s body by Kilowog and Guy Gardner. It’s their last ditch effort since Razer’s red constructs are the only thing that can truly penetrate green energy, which effectively forces Razer to be Aya’s assassin. Hal continues to appeal to Aya, showing her the recording of Scar’s admission that she is truly alive. Though Aya doesn’t believe him, the evidence speaks for itself and just as Razer is about to strike, Aya fires on him defensively, mortally wounding him. It’s enough to jar her out of her madness and she uses all the energy she absorbed to stop the universe from ending and heal Razer – with both finally admitting their love for each other in the process. Unfortunately, the Manhunters, all uploaded with pieces of Aya’s madness, are still firing on the Green Lanterns and the only way to stop them is to eliminate the Aya program, which includes Aya herself. Though Razer tries to stop her, it’s too late and one-by-one the Manhunters cease as Aya “dies” in Razer’s arms…again. But hope is not lost for Razer since he believes that a being as clever as Aya could never truly be dead. He decides to leave Oa in search of her with a Blue Lantern ring following him close behind.
As endings go, this one was a doozy and it gives you pretty much everything you’d want as a closer to both a season and a series. There’s a huge battle, the stakes are high, there’s emotional resonance, and it’s the completion of a character arc…but not for anyone with a green lantern ring. Though the show would have you believe, based on the title, that Hal is the main character, what we learn by the end of the series is that the true story of the show belongs to Razer. When we first met him at the beginning of the show, Razer was an angry, hate-filled Red Lantern more than willing to follow the orders of Atrocitus in order to get revenge for the destruction of his home world and the death of his wife. But by the end of the series, Razer has come to terms with his anger and, despite the loss of another love – multiple times – he doesn’t give in to his anger and rage. Instead, he retains hope that Aya is still alive and commits himself to searching for her, no matter how long it takes. That’s a real and true character arc.
In comparison, Hal never really goes through a character arc. From the beginning of the series we knew who Hal was and what he stood for. Yes, there were episodes where Hal “learned a lesson” or discovered the underhanded dealings of people he once trusted, but you can’t say that Hal actually changes in any way. He’s still reckless, still takes matters into his own hands, and other than a rekindled romance with Carol Ferris, his relationships with others remains the same. If you think about it, Hal is really more of a catalyst for the series. Had he not stolen the Interceptor, Razer never would have been captured and Aya would have remained an emotionless A.I. Through one act of defiance, Hal set in motion a pretty epic story. It just wasn’t his. He may be a little wiser for the events that have transpired, but nothing about Hal has fundamentally changed in the same way as Razer. The only thing you can say that’s truly changed about Hal is his perception of the Guardians, which I have to believe would have been the central story had the show gotten a second season. We’ve already met Sinestro, so it’s not hard to believe that the Sinestro Corp War would have made for a fantastic storyline. You may now proceed to cry over what might have been.
Final Thoughts: I’m glad I stuck with Green Lantern. It proved to be worth the time spent and I got to see the best parts of the Green Lantern mythos brought to animated life! If it never comes back, at least I know it ended on a hopeful note.
Nitpicker’s Corner: If the Manhunters are robots, why do they need ships?
DC Nation Short: Claymation superhero repeat
- Pretty much every interaction between Guy and Kilowog
- “You want that I should send the guys out for a smaller, weaker universe threatening enemy?”
- Razer tearing through a whole ship with his construct scimitar like a boss!
- Like in Justice League: Unlimited, the window to the Door of Time looks gorgeous
- Razer bullet!
- The last shot. Perfect.