Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DC NATION (SEP 29, 2012)

It's been a long summer, but 'DC Nation' is finally, finally airing new episodes of both Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. I'm just going to go ahead and pick up where I left off and do reviews for both shows each week in this DC NATION column. Sound good?

Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 14
"The New Guy"

The first 13 episodes of GL:TAS are a mixed bag. Some of them are dynamite examples of how well the Green Lantern universe can be adapted to TV, and some are just lame excuses at character development by way of making them ringless. I hated the episodes where Hal and Kilowog's rings wouldn't function - the whole idea behind Green Lantern is the power ring, and when you take it away as many times as this series did, it starts to get really annoying. Fortunately, Bruce Timm and this production staff must have realized this quickly, as episodes 10-13 were generally the best of the series as they focused on the invasion of Oan space by the Red Lanterns.

Now, I'm really excited for the rest of this first season going forward. Especially after "The New Guy", which is a double entendre referring not only to Earth's newest Green Lantern, but also to that GL's name, Guy Gardner. Voiced by the masterful Diedrich Bader, Guy was chosen to the the new GL of Sector 2814 while Hal was stuck in the far reaches of the universe stopping Atrocitus and his rage-filled soliders. Guy is a favorite on Oa, loved by the Guardians and other Lanterns alike, which is a huge departure from the hard-nosed stubborn Guy from the comic books. And while this show often stumbles in it's attempts at humor, the constant reign of compliments on Guy after Hal gets chewed out time and time again is very, very amusing.

While Guy is the focus of this episode, the real revelation is that the Anitmonitor has come to destroy the universe! Comic book fans know the Antimonitor as the catalyst for the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover in the 80s that streamlined DC continuity by merging different timelines and multiverse dimensions. In GL: TAS, the Antimonitor has sent a universe-wide signal to all of the Guardians' old Manhunter robots, reactivating them to slaughter any and all sentient life. It's a big, complex, and somewhat terrifying concept for a children's show, and I applaud DC, Warner Bros., and Cartoon Network for allowing such a bleak arc to be produced. It shows how much faith these companies all have in Bruce Timm's amazing ability to bring superheroes into animated form.


Young Justice
Season 2, Episode 14

While Green Lantern: The Animated Series keeps things more evenly balanced between the action and humor, Young Justice has been heavy on the story, trading in laughs for constant plot growth. Before the summer break, it was revealed that Aqualad had indeed not gone AWOL, but is instead working undercover to take down Black Manta's organization from the inside - as Manta's son, it made getting in all the easier. In tandem to Aqualad's position as a double agent, Artemis faked her own death so she could aid Aqualad in learning more about The Light, the still-unmasked big bad of the entire Young Justice series thus far. Oh, and Clone Roy finds Real Roy finally! Yes, "Satisfaction" has a lot of work to do.
Brooding is as brooding does.
Fortunately, the writers and producers are sticking to their guns and rolling out their story little by little each episode. For instance, Aqualad and Artemis are nowhere to be seen this week, Superboy gets to flirting while on a college campus, and the female members of the Team (as well as Black Canary) take on Captain Cold. But none of this comes even close to the main story, about a revived Roy Harper seeking answers about his missing arm, the other Roy Harper, and his life after being cryogenically frozen. Green Arrow tells Roy everything - from Lex Luthor's involvement, to the amount of time Roy's been frozen, as well as the fact that Ollie and the other Leaguers gave up looking after a relatively short amount of time. One-Armed Roy (which sounds like an awesome cowboy name) has a bit of a mental breakdown and sets off to take revenge against Lex Luthor.

Most of the episode is taken up by a fight between the handicapped Roy and Lex's bodyguard, the robotic Mercy, but near the end, the true meaning of this episode is revealed. Even though Luthor kidnapped Roy, cut off his arm for DNA supply purposes, kept Roy frozen for eight years, then tried to have him killed, Roy accepts the gifted offered by Luthor because at the end of the day, revenge is about making up for something lost. Usually, that something lost is totally irreplacable, meaning that taking revenge is the only option. In Roy's case, a bio-mechanical, weapons-infused arm is a new option that quickly becomes more favorable that killing one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.


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