The past few weeks we have been seeing a blitzkrieg of Green Lantern promotional material. 6 Warner Brothers, never one to shy away from some cross promotion, have also released the latest of the DC Animated film GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS.
Like most of the Warner Premiere DC animated films, this is a stand alone feature, with no connections to any of the other films, (Superman:Doomsday, Batman: Gotham Knight, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Green Lantern First Flight) or to the long running DC Animated Universe that began in 1992 with Batman:The Animated Series and ran thru 2006 with the Justice League Unlimited series.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Green Lantern mythos, this film serves as a primer to the world of power rings and Guardians of the Universe. While Oa, the homeworld of the Guardians is under threat from Krona, and the entire Green Lantern Corps is brought in to help defend it. Among the Lanterns we meet are new recruit, Arisia Rrab (Elizabeth Moss), just 3 days on the job and her fellow Lanterns use the preparations as a chance to give her stories about what it means to be a Green Lantern. Her main mentor is Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern from sector 2814 (where Earth is) and the first human ever to be a member of the Corps. Hal, voiced by fan favorite Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing along Blog, Castle) first tells her the story of Avra, the first Lantern to use the power of will to make light constructs and fight with them.
This first story and the framing story are original, but the remaining 4 stories are adaptions from 25 years, two of which were written by (an uncredited) Alan Moore. Mogo Doesn’t Socialize (with artist Dave Gibbons) and Tygers (with artist Kevin O’Neill) Both are tales that have had a lot of effect on recent Green Lantern comic storyarcs, Blackest Night and the Sinsestro Corps War. As well as more recent tales, including a story about Kilowog from when he was a Rookie from “Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps” #3 and the story of Laira, from 1993’s Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #6.
I enjoyed that these stories were pretty well adapted from comic stories, and used to tell an entirely new story for the Green Lantern franchise. I could nitpick about some of the adaption details, but it is clear that this movie was made by people who have reverence for the character and the history. Of course with writers like Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Eddie Berganza, Dave Gibbons, and Marc Guggenheim, it’s clear these are people with a comic pedigree.
My biggest complaint about this movie (and in fact with most of the DC animated films) is that they appear to take place in separate continuities. Now I understand that by keeping them all separate it unburdens the need for the viewer to know all that came before, but as Marvel is demonstrating with their live action films, fans like the idea that they could crossover. This film does use some of the same style and production design of Green Lantern First Flight, but with a totally new cast. I think DC and Warner Bros. Animation should start thinking about linking some of these films. Think of the richer stories they could tell.