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Review: Green Lantern TAS “Dark Matter”

Dark Matter

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 Teamworkonly 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 Razer's Beginningthe 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.Blue Lantern Oath

Nitpicker’s Corner: If the Manhunters are robots, why do they need ships?

DC Nation Short: Claymation superhero repeat

Favorite Moments:

  • 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.

About the author

Samantha Cross

Sam is a self-described "sponge for information" soaking up little tidbits here and there that make her the perfect partner on pub trivia night! Hailing from the beautiful Pacific Northwest, she indulges her nerdy and geeky qualities by hanging out at the local comic book shop, reading anything she can find, and voicing her opinion whether you welcome it or not. An archivist and historian, she will research any and all things and will throw down if you want to quote Monty Python, Mel Brooks, or The Simpsons!

3 Comments

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  • Do you know that I was so very numb and such an emotional wreck at the end of this episode??? I cried when Razer shed a tear knowing that he had to “kill” his one true love..oh the box of tissues I went through! Then when Aya said: “My love..” Twice she called him that. OMG, I was just emotionally shaken. My heart could not take it anymore. Then when Razer said: “There is no hate in my heart for you, Aya, only love…” That’s it. I lost it then….!!

    It was such a beautiful gorgeous love story and I am such a hopeless romantic I believe like Razer does that there is no way Aya would have died. The virus she has unleashed only attacked the programme in her but not the organic, living part of her. So in that sense, she is very much alive. She told Razer that she will be with him always, watching over him as she lay “dying…” and I believe as she disappeared in that white dust, that maybe, just maybe, she might return as a White Lantern…and Razer definitely becomes a Blue Lantern. There’s my hope.

    I so agree with your review. I also agree that Hal’s character was more the catalyst, Kilowog more the supporting character although I love him being the cuddle bunny underneath that roguish appearance. The return of beloved characters – Chaselon, Ch’p, Guy Gardner, Luvox, Salaak, Tomar-Re made my day.

    It has been heart-breaking, it has been tears, but equally there has been such wonderful moments in this episode, if not in the entire series. I am definitely buying the DVD if not the episodes off ITunes or Amazons.com.

    What a journey. What an adventure. And thank you for such great reviews.

    • Thank you so much for being so enthusiastic about the reviews! It surprised me how caught up I got in this show once I really let it sink in how much they were doing and what they accomplished. Even though the show was a result of the Green Lantern movie, it really came into its own, so its unfortunate that it had to take the heat from the movie’s poor performance as well. But I think this is the most the Green Lantern Corp has ever been featured in animation. Even Justice League didn’t delve into the corp all that much, so at least they got something out there that might inspire a kid to pick up a comic book!

      Watching the finale with all of the other lanterns was a huge moment of Squee! They really made me like Guy in this (mostly because Diedrich Bader was voicing him) but Tomar-Re and Kilowog will always be my favorite GLs. Bringing in as many as they did, while introducing most of the other corps, was a huge achievement as well, though it would have been awesome to see the Sinestro Corp and the Indigo Tribe. But at least they went out with a satusfying ending that I can look at and go, “Yeah, that’s all right!”

  • I was scare to watch this episode, because i was afraid that Aya was gone to died as a villain, but I knew from the start that they were gone to make more seasons and I knew Aya was gone to turn good again. Man am tick that this show got cancel, but I have faith and Hope that Green lantern tas will continue and one thing i like about this episode is that not only Aya turn good again, but I found out the planets she destroyed were uninhabited. Because Aya’s empathy, emotions, and sympathy for living beings and planets with life stop her and they were controlling her along, its a buzz, whenever she tries to kill someone or destroy planets with life, they stop her like they’re saying “Aya stop or No Aya.” And not only was she gone to erase life from existing, she was also gone to erase herself too, that’s why Hal had to reason with her and the one emotion she never knew or learned was regret, because after Hal saw Razer trying to Aya, Razer was gone to regret killing the woman he loves and Aya was also gone to regret erasing life along with herself from existence. And I was proud she finally turned good again, because the Dark Aya/Aya Monitor plague me since Cold Fury If only Razer hadn’t been such a jerk and lied to her that he didn’t love her, but luckily he finally admits his love to her. And when are some people gone to get it in their heads the only character Aya killed was the Anti-Monitor, the Anti-Monitor was evil in the first place and the Anti-Monitor deserved to be destroy, but the Anti-Monitor might come back and become a Black Lantern along with Scar. And last but least Aya was the true hero of this episode, because she destroyed all the Manhunters with a virus and I cried”No” when the virus hit her and said it a second time when she disappeared. Razer, Hal, Kilowog, Guy, and all the Green Lantern Corp members mourn for loss and sacrifice as a true hero. However, Razer refuses to believe she’s dead, because no being is adaptive to be erase from exsitng because he knows she’s still alive and knows she might of had a backup plan to survived. But i have faith and hope that she will come back and the samething if Green Lantern tas does come back, because many shows that got cancel get revived later So please bring back Green Lantern the Animated series and this is like my favorite episode, because Aya finally returns to the side of good and the ending gave us a hint that she’s still alive as Razer because his quest to find her and the last thing he needed to find Aya was hope.

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