There is green fever at the moment, Green Lantern fever to be more precise. With Ryan Reynolds playing the big screen version of the DC Comics hero later this month (17th June), the tie-ins have started to surface. One of the more interesting is the release of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights on Blu-Ray.
The latest offering from DC’s animated division is an anthology, and focuses on Hal Jordan (voiced by geek favourite Nathan Fillion), who is sharing tales of the Green Lantern Corps with new recruit Arisia (Elisabeth Moss), while preparing for battle. The stories focus on a particular Corps member each time, detailing their strengths and weaknesses to get Arisia (and the audience) up to speed before her first fight. The main plot revolves around the return of an ancient enemy that threatens the home planet of the Corps. From the discovery of this threat to the climatic battle, it is the weakest plot-thread in my opinion, and sometimes feels like filler, or a launchpad for further adventures. Which, in a way, isn’t bad…Emerald Knights just never got me interested in its outcome. The pieces are stronger than the whole.
I have found some of the animated comic book films, from both DC and Marvel, to be uninspired and I get the impression that they only exist to push comic book sales (or, in this case, promote a blockbuster). But this one feels different. This could be down to the writers on the project, which include current Green Lantern scribe and DC poster boy Geoff Johns, as well as past writers from the character’s history. This is tied to a strong voice cast, which includes 80’s hardcore legend Henry Rollins, Jason Isaacs (who is best known as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films), and wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper!
Another reason why Emerald Knights is so enjoyable, is the involvement of Bruce Timm – the man responsible for creating the DC Animated Universe as we know it, with such great shows as the 90’s Batman and Superman animated series, as well as Justice League and JLU (Justice League Unlimited). For me, the look and feel of the animation brought back memories of these beloved cartoons from my youth, and makes this Green Lantern animated feature stand apart from its predecessor, First Flight, which wasn’t in keeping with the design of other ‘Timmverse’ films released by DC.
Emerald Knights is a good starting point for anyone wishing to jump into the Green Lantern world before watching the film, or even people hoping to delve deeper into the universe after picking up recent issues or graphic novels from their local comic book store. The stories provide an insight into the myth of both the Green Lantern Corps and its members, and I would recommend it to anyone looking forward to seeing Ryan Reynolds wield the power ring. You never know, this might be superior to the live-action version.