Before the big screen release of Green Lantern, DC is doing its best to keep the hype machine going on this character. The Green Lantern Corps may be very popular in comic reader circles, but in movie circles, the lantern symbol is much less recognized than say the “bat” or the “red S.” An origin story, Green Lantern First Flight, was released on video in 2009. Now, a week before the feature film, DC Universe presents Green Lantern Emerald Knights, giving fans new and old a look at just how truly powerful the Corps is. I would hope to see something like this when the big movie comes out but then I remember that somewhere along the line, Hollywood lost its balls. So while I am sure the Ryan Reynolds feature will be good, check Emerald Knights out if you want to see the real GL Corps.
While the name is usually used to refer to the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (which includes Earth), it is in fact the title of a universal paramilitary force known as the Green Lantern Corps. Emerald Knights explains how and why the Corps came to be and the difference between wearing the ring and actually being a Green Lantern. Similar in storytelling design to Batman Gotham Knight, here we have a tale of six different Green Lanterns. The main story is that of Arisia Rrab in her rookie days and how she found her place in the Book of Oa. The story begins with the violent death of Green Lantern Arkadian Trawl and the Corps’ response to what the Oa Guardians perceive as a direct attack on Oa. One of the guardians was disgraced billions of years ago and is returning to destroy Oa and the rest of the universe. While the Corps gets ready, Hal Jordan tells Arisia stories of a few of the other Lanterns, specifically: Kilowogg, Mogo, Laira Otomo, his predecessor Abin Sur and Avra, the first Green Lantern. In the comics, the first Green Lantern was Rori Dag of Sector 1234, but once you see how the story unfolds on screen, you will see why they took some artistic license. On the same token, you should not expect a panel for panel retelling of the original story in the live action movie (‘cause it ain’t).
Most of the recent DC movies have their own personal flair in terms of art style and animation. Emerald Knights is more reminiscent of the Justice League/JLU series. This is by no means a bad thing, especially since the feature is almost all storytelling in the form of flashback; paying some homage to one of the shows that sparked the interest in the DC animated movies is a no-brainer.
I always find myself in flip-flopping between love and hate when it comes to the voice actors for the DC movies because they change from one to another. This mainly applies to the Batman movies because the voices from the 90s animated show were so remarkable. Green Lantern, more specifically Hal Jordan, does not have any established shows that he or any of the featured Corps members were a regular part of. Much of the casting for this movie was taken from the talent for the upcoming series slated to air later this year. It is a shame that in said series I will not get to see Roddy Piper reprise his Bolphunga role.
Ultimately, Emerald Knights was a big ad for the upcoming TV series and a bump for the upcoming live action film (as if it needed any). Once again, this is not a complaint because the individual Lanterns’ stories were good enough to be episodes of the show if they want to do one-shot Lantern showcases. It also gives fans who may not be terribly familiar with the Corps a peek at what they might expect from the live action movie. The main bad guy in both films is of such scale that you can expect action from a whole host of Lanterns. I only hope Hollywood was as unafraid to show how brutal the life of a Lantern can be the way this movie did.