Saturday, March 3, 2012

DC Nation - First Thoughts

At what point did I know DC Nation was going to be worth watching? Sometime after the first commercial break, when they did a spot showing how a Boxing Glove Arrow could work at 40 feet. I still want to see the MythBusters crew tackle that someday but I was glued to the TV from that point on.

So let's take a look at the component parts, shall we?


Seemingly set in the same continuity as the Green Lantern: First Flight anime, this pilot episode - Beware My Power - does a decent enough job setting things up for those who might not have ever seen anything Green Lantern related before now. Hal Jordan is quickly established as a heroic and well-meaning man, who doesn't always think things through. Case In Point - he causes a billion-dollar jet to be destroyed because he left his plane in mid-flight to save a train that was endangered by an earthquake.

After apologizing and making nice with his boss/love-interest Carol Ferris (who, unlike the live-action movie, doesn't know Hal is Green Lantern), Hal is summoned to the planet Oa for a disciplinary hearing. Apparently Hal was asked to preside over some manner of peace treaty and wound up attacking one of the delegates, who was later revealed to be a slave trader. This leads to the line of the episode when Hal, in response to the charge that he punched said delegate in the head, says "No, sir. I punched the Viceroy in the stomach. THEN I headbutted him in the face. Sir."

The hearing is put on hold when a Green Lantern ring lands in the middle of the room, signifying that a Green Lantern somewhere just died. Nobody has any idea jut how this happened but we viewers know, thanks to the opening scene, know that this Green Lantern died at the hands of two rage-empowered Red Lanterns, who are hunting down and killing all the Green Lanterns they can find. The Guardians reveal that the Lantern in question is one of several charged with exploring and protecting the outskirts of known space and that many of these Lanterns have been getting killed.

Hal, naturally, is ready to charge to the rescue but it is quickly pointed out that as far out as the outskirts of the universe are, even at top speed it would take Hal 18 months to get there. This is the cue for Ganthet, who is very much a Trickster Mentor in this incarnation, to show Hal the experimental FTL space ship the Guardians have been secretly working on. Taking the hint and wiping the drool from his chin, Hal hijacks the ship and head off to deep space faster than you can say "To Infinity and Beyond!", with GL Drill Sargent Kilowog in tow.

The story thus far is pretty good for what it is - a family-friendly streamlining of the Green Lantern mythos. Some aspects of the show may bother the Green Lantern purists (i.e. The Red Lanterns aren't mindless grunts, the Guardians bothering with something as menial as developing a spaceship is a little weird) but the basic set-up of the show is true to the spirit of the Green Lantern concept. And you have to love the scene where a Guardians is hovering alongside a speeding spaceship, banging on the glass and motioning for Hal Jordan to land the ship while scowling with disapproval. :)

The voice acting I can take or leave. There's nobody who stands out as being particularly excellent or absolutely terrible. But Nathan Fillion has spoiled me and I can't read the comics without hearing him as Hal anymore.

The animation is better than I expected. I've never been a fan of CGI animation in general, but what we see here is of remarkably high-quality for a television production. The character design seems to blend elements of Pixar's The Incredibles and Darwyn Cooke's Justice League: New Frontier, particularly in the early sequences with Hal on Earth. I suppose comparisons to The Clone Wars is inevitable, since both shows feature exotic-looking aliens. For my money though, the animation in GL: TAS is a lot smoother and more natural looking. The only thing that bothered me was not seeing a glow around the Lanterns when they're flying, but I can understand them eliminating that so it doesn't obscure the characters during the action scenes.

Overall, this is fine cartoon and one I'll be keeping an eye on.


Easily the weakest of the new material, in my opinion. Maybe I just don't get the humor but... this does nothing for me. Sorry. Next!


Not a new show, but a good jumping on point for those - like me - who weren't usually home on Friday nights when this show first started airing. Simply put, this is everything a series centering on young heroes should be and somebody needs to sit Scott Lobdell in a chair and force him to watch this, Clockwork Orange style with his eyes wired open, until he gets it.

This first episode of Season Two is basically a retelling of the classic World Without Grownups storyline that kicked off the original Young Justice comic series. Karlion The Witchboy, along with four other mages, do a ritual that splits Earth along two dimensional lines - one housing the adults and one housing the children. Why? Well, to spread chaos, of course! Captain Marvel, who is able to switch between both worlds whenever he changes to Billy Batson (or vice versa), takes center stage as two groups of heroes have to coordinate their efforts to fight the magicians on both sides of the rift.

The biggest change here is that a teenage Zatanna is part of the new Young Justice team. Truthfully, the idea of Zatanna being younger than usual in this reality doesn't bother me too much. I am a little bit bothered that with all of the great teenage heroines that could be included on the team (Can they not use Wonder Girl for some legal reason relating to anything Wonder Woman related?) they decided to de-age one to balance out the team.

Still, this is a good show. I just wish we had a Justice League companion show to go along with it, so we could see what the adults are up to at the same time.


It's a crying shame that this hasn't been picked up as a regular series and is being limited to a couple of minute long-shorts. If there's any justice in this world, there will be a huge demand for more full-length episodes like this at some point. It's funny in all the ways the classic Warner Brothers cartoons were funny, despite the Ren And Stimpy style animation and the voice acting is pitch-perfect.

All in all, this isn't a bad start at all and a darn fine way to spend an hour of my Saturday morning. What a shame I'll be busy for the next two Saturdays and will have to DVR all this...

No comments:

Post a Comment