While Green Lantern: The Animated Series owes a lot of its premise to Geoff Johns and the revamped GL Universe, the show exceeds its comic book origins by using the various lantern corps and the emotional spectrum of power as a means of emphasizing its overarching plot or instigating character growth. And where it would be easy enough to use the base emotion of each corp as generically as possible, Green Lantern TAS has, over the entire season, managed to give each corp nuance, respecting that the base emotion is just that, a base emotion from which to build.
The Red Lanterns were the central antagonists of the season’s first half, but their rage stemmed from very real places. Razer’s rage was the result of the death of his wife and the destruction of his home planet by war. Atrocitus and many of the other Red Lanterns were enraged by the Guardians and the Manhunters that destroyed their home worlds, resulting in the deaths of many at the hands of emotionless machines and their creators. The Star Sapphires were, at first, antagonists using love to seduce and capture men while recruiting the women they love to gain power. It’s a skewed view of love, but one that is eventually set right and proclaimed to be the emotion that will save the universe. Though pain can result from love, it takes strength to conquer that pain and continue to love. The Blue Lantern Corp, the newest of the corps to be established, is the only one that was a result of the war with the Red Lanterns when Saint Walker discovered that hope lights the way even in the darkest of places. Hope bolsters us and strengthens our resolve, but it is not easily learned or conquered.
Which leads us to the Orange Lanterns – sorry – Orange Lantern. After getting chewed out by Appa for the fiasco that has become the Aya-Monitor, Hal and Kilowog are at a loss for how to deal with the situation, though Hal is certain that he could talk some sense into Aya if they only had a way to counter her power. Razer suggests the legendary Orange Lanterns, a group said to be so powerful that they even gave the Red Lanterns a run for their money until they mysteriously disappeared. Luckily, Razer knows where their homebase was rumored to be and it’s off to Okaara we go! There, while waiting for the new A.I. to upload (hello again, Lame-O!), the boys search for the Orange Lanterns. Splitting up to cover more ground – like ya do – Razer and Kilowog spend some time bonding, which is a thinly veiled attempt on Kilowog’s part to check on how Razer’s doing since his not-girlfriend went robo-crazy (here’s a hint: not well). Hal, on the other hand, ventures further into the planet’s cavernous depths and finds the orange lantern power battery and its sole keeper, Larfleeze. Though Hal’s intentions to borrow the power battery are good, he quickly becomes entranced by the power of the orange battery and claims it for his own. The power of the battery is so strong, he’s willing to kill anyone he believes might get between him and his “shiny.”
The episode is fairly straight forward in terms of the story. Hal is corrupted by the light of avarice coming from the orange lantern, Kilowog, Razer, and even Larfleeze try to stop him, but only through strength of will, and the help of his friends, does Hal overcome the influence of the orange lantern. But the entire purpose of the episode is to push our heroes to one conclusion: Aya can be saved because even when Hal became a monster he found his way back because his friends were there to help him. It’s explicitly stated, but necessary because Aya’s actions have left the guys with very few options as to how they can stop her. To the episode’s credit, they lay out all of their options and none of them end well for Aya. It isn’t until Hal has gone through the experience of becoming a monster, albeit very briefly, that he believes there’s a way to truly save Aya. It’s an excellent use of the Orange Lanterns and the intoxicatingly destructive power of greed.
But it’s not all super serious stuff. The episode makes great use of its titular character, Larfleeze, as a humorous buffoon despite his unhealthy attachment to his “shiny.” Other than a few deadpan lines from Razer, Larfleeze is the main source of humor and his interactions with our heroes is hysterical. I especially love his bit at the end. The timing, the animation, the acting (well done Dee Bradley Baker!)…absolutely perfect.
From the Wishing Well: I know there isn’t enough time in the season, but wouldn’t it have been awesome if they could’ve gotten the Indigo Tribe into the show?
DC Nation Short: Animal Man! Still doesn’t get old that he’s voiced by Weird Al
- Splitting up is never a good decision
- “My name is Hal Jordan and I’m a Green Lantern…we also have gifts of free soap.”
- Just the visual of the orange lantern battery surrounded by all of the orange rings is beautiful and unsettling
- Larfleeze, the Gollum of the Green Lantern Universe
- “Lame-O. I understand now. Hilarious.” – I love Razer
- Nice homage to that one time when Hal went crazy-evil
- “He’s touching my stuff!!”