More Shorts! Shorts everywhere! But this time they’re far better framed than any of the others. Green Lantern: Emerald Knights reads like a crash course in corp lore, which is a lot of fun but still a bit disjointed. Basically, as the corp prepares to deploy on a mission against Krona, Hal Jordan and Sinestro talk new recruit Arisia Rrab through her nerves, by telling her stories of the Lanterns.
Surprisingly, we never see Sinestro betray the corp, but obviously, we all know that it’s going to happen some day. (I always think of Firefly, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!) but the stories themselves are plenty enjoyable. First up is the “The First Lantern,” which tells the story of the scribe Avra, who discovered that the power of will is not enough on it’s own, a GL must also call upon imagination and creativity to defeat their enemies. I love that this is how we start because it’s one of the coolest things about Green Lanterns, that they can make anything, so long as they believe enough. It’s very artsy.
Then, while waiting on line to charge their rings, Arisia has a run in with Kilowog, who she admits to Hal kind of intimidates her. Hal laughs it off, says that Kilowog is nothing compared to his training officer, a Lantern named Deegan, who used to create elaborate death traps and take away his recruits rings. After Kilowog confronts him and they beat some bad guys together, Deegan dies and Kilowog carries on his hard boiled training methods.
Hal consults with Laira, about what she sees in the future, and then tells her story to Arisia. Laira was raised as a princess and a warrior before becoming a lantern and when her planet goes rogue against the corp, she’s the one who has to get them in line. We see her hugely dysfunctional family, and she chooses life as a lantern at great cost. It’s a touching piece.
We also get the story of Mogo, the planet being who is an undefeatable Green Lantern. “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” is a cool story but tough to animate because there’s not a ton of action. But it was enjoyable here.
Finally, Sinestro tells Arisia about Abin Sur, and their friendship, despite their philosophies, namely, that Abin but his faith in Destiny. After confronting an enemy, Abin Sur is given a glimpse of a possible future, after his own death, the rise of The Sinestro Corps, and the fall of The Guardians. Abin says that he believes in destiny, but his friend more. It’s a bittersweet tale.
Finally, as Krona attacks, Arisia is the one who figures out how to beat him, earning the respect of those in the corp.
I greatly enjoyed watching Emerald Knights, especially getting to know Laira a little bit more. She’s a character I’ve seen before but didn’t know much about. Also, of course, the voice performances made the show. Nathan Fillion is Hal here and he does for Hal what Kevin Conroy does for Batman, there is him and everyone else just gets in line. Jason Isaacs takes on Sinestro which is great, because you really get the dignity of the character from him. And the last really notable performance is Elisabeth Moss as Arisia. (Peggy Olsen!)
Definitely recommend this one as a top tier Green Lantern story. Up next is Batman: Year One, which has a new layer of fun because of Ben McKenzie voicing Bruce.