Green Lantern may not be as popular as his fellow Justice Leaguers Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but in comic-book circles, he's a fan favorite with a vibrant decades-long history in the pages of DC Comics. Though the character's theatrical debut last summer was underwhelming, a new TV adventure finally gives the character his due. The fast-paced and eye-popping Green Lantern: The Animated Series gets a special hour-long sneak preview tonight on Cartoon Network before returning for weekly episodes next year.
Overseen by animation maestro Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) along with producer Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender), the computer-generated series features Hal Jordan, a member of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps, who wields power rings which can form constructs in whatever shape they imagine. "Hal really enjoys the thrills of danger," Timm says. "And like all Green Lanterns, he's pure of heart, he controls his fear. Personality wise, he's somewhere between Captain Kirk and Han Solo. He's not quite as roguish as Han Solo and not quite as much of a grown-up as Captain Kirk can be."
Timm and Volpe drew inspiration from comic-book writer Geoff Johns' reintroduction of the character over the past few years. "We focused more on the recent stuff that Geoff has done, but a lot of his work is inspired by stuff he grew up reading as a kid," Volpe says. "It's a little bit more of the recent take on Green Lantern, as inspired by the rich back story."
One of Johns' biggest innovations to the Green Lantern mythos was to introduce an entire spectrum of Lantern corps, including the rage-fueled Red Lanterns, the hope-filled Blue Lanterns, and the greedy Orange Lanterns. The Red Lanterns, who will be the villains of this series, are a nasty bunch led by the ruthless, appropriately named, Atrocitus. "He has a personal vendetta against the Guardians, the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps," Volpe says. "He is convinced that they decimated his homeworld and countless others, and they need to pay for it. Whatever terrible things happened in his past, he wants payback for it, and so does the rest of his army."
It remains to be seen if — or more likely, when — other Lantern Corps will show up in the series. "One of the challenges of CG is that you can't really load up a show with countless characters like you can in a traditionally animated show," Volpe says of the expensive, labor-intensive format. "So we have to be economic and prudent with who appears in the show. We have our wish list and we go down it very slowly. But there are plenty of other opportunities to get the other Lanterns in for sure."
Green Lantern: The Animated Series premieres tonight at 7/6c on Cartoon Network.