EPISODE REVIEWS - "HOMECOMING"
Green Lantern: The Animated Series
The New Guy
Original Airdate - September 29th, 2012
Hal finds out that a new Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, has been named his replacement on Earth. Hal and Guy get along like gas and fire, which doesn't help in their battle against an entirely new threat -- autonomous killing machines known as 'Manhunters.'
Written by Tom Sheppard
Directed by Rick Morales
Review #1 by The Talon, Review #2 by Medinnus
After a summer-long hiatus, Green Lantern: The Animated Series has finally returned with new episodes on DC Nation. When we last left off, Hal Jordan had saved the Guardians of Oa & the Green Lantern themselves from an invasion of the Red Lanterns. In this episode, we see new villains, a new season-long plot thread, & a brand-new cast member in the form of Guy Gardner.
After a scientist dies from mysterious circumstances, we see Hal Jordan return to his loving girlfriend & boss, Carol Ferris. Lately, I've been disappointed with how animated shows devote show much time to romance plot-lines that are astoundingly under-developed despite the amount of time devoted to them. Yet, Hal & Carol's relationship feels completely natural to me, just like Razer & Aya's have been. After a discussion on how his job as intergalactic super-hero has been affecting his work life, Hal is fired from his job. But he's invited to a lunch date with Ms. Carol in order to soften the blow.
While sulking, Hal soon runs into the new Green Lantern, Guy Gardner. Guy's bragging & attitude doesn't sit well with Hal, so they fight. Guy definitely stole the show this episode. Instead of being a all-out jerk like he is in the comics, he shows charisma & likable "bro" attitude to him. As long as Guy can straddle that line between likable & annoying rather than step in either side, he just might become the part of the show.
After a fight in a canyon, the go back to city to see a news report. They decide to rescue an egotistical reporter in a desolate mountain range. After running into some booby traps in cave, they meet our villain of this half-season, the Manhunters. I didn't see that much personality form the Manhunters in the episode. But that's probably intentional, seeing as how they're emotionless robots.
Hal & Guy use their fight against the Manhunters to bond with one another. A couple of superheroic football plays & fistbumps later, the day is saved by the two Lanterns. The reporter they saved Vinessa, while necessary, seemed a tad bit annoying to me.
Hal calls Carol after realizing that he missed the lunch date. She tells him that being a GL is just too much more important than their relationship, so they're officially breaking up. Hal then goes to Oa where the Guardians tell him that he's now an Honor Guard Green Lantern.
All in all, this was an amazing way to start out the season (or half-season). I can't wait to see the returns of Kilowog, Aya, Razer, St. Walker & the rest of the Green Lantern. Absolutely stand out episode, I just hope the next one doesn't disappoint.
And we're off to a running start with Season Two and the rise of the Manhunters as a threat.
The animation is still all CGI, and I still find that a little off-putting; the humans look flat and creepy, everyone's hair is a perfect model, so to speak. My understanding is that CGI is also more expensive than standard animation, although with the extensive use of alien races, I have to wonder if there are not cost savings over the length of a season, or if I'm just trying to find a reason for CGI beyond it being a "cool" gimmick. In any case, its adequate for aliens, even if it makes Earth look like a planet of cheap plastic toys.
I can find little fault with the writing; its a good workman-like job, with well-timed scenes and cutaways. My only issue with the writing is that it seems unnecessarily restrained and devoid of emotion; is that a side-effect of the lack of nuance in the facial expressions? Perhaps, but the effect on me is to make the emotional scenes seem muted and bloodless. If these were real actors, I'd be calling them poor practicioners of their craft; for example, Carol and Hal, when they break up, seem very rational about it - OK, so I don't want a "Jerry Springer" special, but these are supposed to be people in love, who are breaking up for reasons beyond their control (and no, I don't mean the directors and writers, although that's true as well, I suppose); where is the passion, the sadness, the tragedy of (virtuallly literally) star-crossed lovers? I know this isn't Green Lantern Corps 90210, but even so, a little more emotive expression would have been appreciated. Of course, Carol's own frustration with her self-terminated relationship is more fuel for a Star Sapphire appearance, but its hard to believe that she has the passion to be a Star Sapphire with such a flat emotional performance.
This season introduces us to this universe's version of Guy Gardner. Guy Gardner has, perhaps of all the Green Lanterns, suffered in the comics from bad writing; the character is a hero, however abbraisive his manner, and far too many writers have skipped the nuance to just write him as a big jerk. This version is given a lot more care, and hopefully some of the hinted-at depths of his personality - the deep personal hurts that have grown his emotional exterior armor of cynism, for example, that are implied by his commentary with Hal in matters of the heart - will be slowly made known to us. With just one episode out of the gate, he's already a much more likeable fellow than his past DCU counterpart (who knows about the post "new 52" version; I don't think we've seen him yet since the reboot, but I could be wrong).
Clearly, the Anti-Monitor is going to be the "boss fight" of this season, with the Manhunters playing a large part. So far, I don't get why they are such a threat - big, physically strong and powerful robots. Yawn. So far, they show little potential as a threat; their blaster sticks and their strength don't seem to be much of a big deal for the two Gren Lanterns, who dispatch them with ease once they're allowed to focus on them. Only in multiples do they seem to be threatening, but hopefully that is due to them just having been re-awakened after a long sleep; the comic version had many more subtle tactics, and hopefully we'll see their AI adapt to modern times and a more formidable resistance.
All in all, a very well-crafted episode for all my nit-picks. I eagerly look forward to the next installment
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