Green Lantern: The Animated Series Series Finale Review: Love at the Dawn of Time

Green Lantern: The Animated Series S01E26: "Dark Matter"

Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. Love causes artificial intelligence constructs to go on space-destroying sprees that culminate in an attempt to reconstitute the Big Bang so that no organic life ever comes into existence. 

Love is grand.

The second half of Green Lantern: The Animated Series was significantly better than its generally generic—albeit still entertaining—first half. There was a tighter, more focused threat in the form of the Manhunters and the Anti-Monitor. Yes, the Red Lantern arc was necessary to set up that threat, and by extension everything that came after, but it was never as compelling as the home-brewed force of the Manhunters. It was something that the Guardians were responsible for, could be held accountable for, and it helped to ground the Anti-Monitor beyond just a space-sucking entity because it associated him with the Manhunters.

It could've been a huge threat, a galactic one, the likes of which the Green Lantern Corps had never seen. But then the show went and did something damn clever. 

Aya and Razer have been the only characters on the show with character arcs, with the opportunity to grow. Aya's learned about humanity and emotions, and Razer has learned to let go of his rage (to certain degrees) and to realize that there is some good that can be achieved in the universe. And they reached these conclusions because of one another. Their arcs intersected, creating an adorable little relationship as they attempted to navigate what their emotions and their inter-entity coupling meant for them. And all this in the face of the Manhunter threat that would wipe out emotional beings and the Anti-Monitor that would wipe out all life. If there was ever a bigger obstacle to complement their journey, it was this one.

And then the show just went and upped that threat. Aya's death. And then her return. And then Razer breaking her A.I. heart by saying that he never loved her (liar). And then, in her grief, she kicked the Anti-Monitor's butt and became the Aya-Monitor. Suddenly the show was no longer about the Guardians and their galactic screw-up regarding the Manhunters. It was about saving/stopping Aya, a decidedly more personal and character-driven story than what had been previously set up. It was an elegant bait-and-switch, and wildly effective.

It's to the show's credit that while I sort of hated how this arc positioned Aya as the vengeful ex-girlfriend who reacts very badly to a break-up, making her the Alex Forrest of outer space, I still really loved it how it all played out. That it was emotionally brutal for everyone—or as emotional as Hal and Kilowog are allowed to be since they're painfully static characters—helped ease some of my dislike for how they went about executing it.

"Dark Matter," named for that hypothesized matter that holds the universe together, sort of like love, concluded that arc, and the series. It was the best damn looking episode of the whole show, with a terrific space battle and Aya and Hal at the Dawn of Time to allow that to happen (gotta balance those budget demands). But it was also probably the most emotional the show has ever been, and had you told me back during the first half of the season that the show would be able to reach such heights, I would scoffed. The episode managed to bring together several elements, including the Science Director's story and the map of destroyed sectors, to land a big emotional blow against Aya, and allowed just enough of her emotions to bleed through when they were most needed.

So, yes, I sniffed and teared up a bit as Razer attempted to kill Aya with his ornate assassin's dagger construct and then when Aya healed him, using up all her anti-matter energy and returning to her Green Lantern self. And then, maybe, a couple more tears happened as Aya sacrificed herself—AGAIN—to wipe out the Manhunters, with her dying words being "It is just a feeling." Gah. 

And so the series ended with Razer going off in search of Aya, claiming that she's too adaptable to have allowed herself to just die like that. And a Blue Lantern's ring, a ring's power that is derived form hope, zoomed off after him. It was an incredibly optimistic message for such a downer of an episode, but it fits with the show's never-say-die attitude. 



Notes & Quotes


– I appreciated Guy's presence in this episode. It was a good tension reliever. "Get Red Pajamas here inside the giant robot corpse." Cracked me up.

– "I make this decision based on cold reason." Gee. You think they were maybe talking about the Cartoon Network executives, too? This entire episode could sort of be treated as an analogy to the treatment of both this show and Young Justice.

– So did not need a DC Nation Short after this episode, let alone a rerun of a World's Funnest. Mood killer in the worst possible way.

– Teen Titans Go! promos have started running. It looks... fine, I guess, for a lighthearted superheroic comedy. We'll know more next month.


What'd you think of "Dark Matter" and the series as a whole?

Comments (29)
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Oct 11, 2015
https://www.change.org/p/netflix-netflix-please-acquire-rights-to-produce-more-seasons-of-young-justice-and-green-lantern-the-animated-series#petition-letter
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Apr 26, 2013
Like come on people this is a good show u never leave a series wide open stop ending good shows and start ending the stupid ones already when I watch a show I should feel like I have to be on a hard core drug to understand it. Like I love superheroes and some these Herod need a show there are millions of fans for it so why end it and make their fans hulk out over it wolverine and the xmen also good show ended after two seasons made a ton of people made their are a ton of crappy shows that aren't worth watching that are so stupid they make me feel stupid wake up people young justice all for that I'm almost to the point were there is nothing worth watching tv because every good show gets canceled and the ones not worth watching that are for stupid people continue that doesn't seem right at all. Now just continue green lantern already it's too early to end it. And a note for the future stop pissing off the comic fans if ur going to make a show then cancel don't bother starting the thing
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Apr 21, 2013
Did anyone else notice how when they were searching for answers in the science director's (Scar's) secret lab they scanned over the book case and right next to the journal they were looking for was the book of black! The book that is linked to the black lanterns and the whole blackest night story arc! That excited me so much.. Bittersweet that it was in the finale..
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Mar 29, 2013
Every Saturday morning my husband and I would watch GL and Young Justice, now we spend Saturday in mourning. These shows have the moral ethics we want subliminally instilled in our future children. Not the mindless ADHD rantings of the poorly drawn carelessly written blobs of crap spouting noise and self righteousness through the tv all day. The story in Green Lantern helped me to accept the CGI Animation. I NEED to know if Razor finds Aya, I NEED to know if Wally is really dead or possibly trapped in another dimension only to return later on in the future. Then if he does come back will Artemis ( Tigress) have already moved on or does she wait for him, having hope for his return? I NEED TO KNOW! Wait... Might TNT be interested in the series?
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May 09, 2017
You know something Sammie? (You're absolutely right on many points!)
The Green Lantern show in 2011 was truly a diamond in the rough for CN &
I think the show ended a little too early & at the very least deserved a third season!
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May 09, 2017
Also, we all want to know if Aya is alive! & if Razer found her!
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Mar 29, 2013
P.S. Comcast needs to make DC Nation it's own TV channel. I miss JLU too.
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Mar 19, 2013
A fitting ending... with a quest... this could be a feature DC movie on it's own, Razer's quest for Aya
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Mar 19, 2013
I think the most amazing part about this show is the fact you knew how it was going to end, but it was still able to make you care.
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Mar 19, 2013
And lets be honest, TT GO is going to be nowhere as good YJ, GL or the original TT. The pitch isn't teen superheroes fight evil while dealing with the hijinks of teen life. It's a show about teens dealing with hijinks who just happen to have superpowers. Granted I enjoyed the banter between BB and Raven and Cy and Robin's bromance and the awkwardness between Robin and Star, but I don't think I could watch a show that was only that without the Slade arcs, or Terra arcs or Raven arcs. Those were the stories that I really cared about.
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Mar 18, 2013
i just hope tron /kung fu panda tv shows return...and will be even sadder when transformers prime ends after this next season..
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Mar 18, 2013
Note to self: When the AI asks, "What kind of love do you have for me?", pull the plug. :)

Of course, that didn't quite work when the Science Director tried it, nor did it ever work on HAL9000, Skynet, KARR, ...
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Mar 18, 2013
I read somewhere a comment from Cartoon Network, at least I think it was Cartoon Network that this was NOT the series end but an hiatus to give other DC comic lines a chance. I'm not sure if what I read is true or if I misunderstood it.

I'm hoping I got it right because I prefer GL to more Batman, etc. Honestly, while I know lots of people love Batman, I get / got enough of him and his sidekicks from Young Justice.

If Cartoon Network does bring back GL, I'll be happy to return to CN during this time period. For now, though, 30 minutes just freed up to explore and try out Marvel anime / cartoons.

Honestly, from what I can tell Marvel does a much better job in the film and TV arena than DC!! It is quite a shame, but its been downhill for the most part (NOT ALL) since Richard Pyor and nothing really to correct it. Whomever or whatever thought Richard Pyor would be good for Superman seems to be still influencing some of DC. Honestly, though, this Green Lantern and Young Justice looked be completely RiP free. Unfortunately, though, its seems the RiP attitude is still there influencing DC and now maybe CN.
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Mar 18, 2013
CN cancelled both GL and YJ which is a shame. I personally found DC cartoons much better than Marvel cartoons (though animated shows is a better term). I liked JL, YJ, Batman, TT much more than X-Men. I liked Spiderman way back in the day, but honestly Batman was better. Avengers EMH is really the only Marvel cartoon I consider remotely on the same level as anything DC puts out.
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Mar 17, 2013
This was a solid finale. It had all the elements of making it memorable. Emotional, a very strong climax, and a sense of hope of something lying ahead past the current season. I just can't believe this show is ending. That just breaks my heart because I want to see more of Razer and Aya and what will become of them. I'm just absolutely disappointed in the current route of CN in how they've handled great shows. Symbionic-Titan, Young Justice, and Green Lantern. I hate hearing these news of cancellation but they provide no reasoning as to why it's happening.
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Mar 17, 2013
Because the season was slit into two parts it feels like we've had two different seasons. But had we got more of the series it's likely we would have got more about Hal Jordan's character. We did get a little of it in the first part of the series, especially with the Pink Lanterns, but not much after that.
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Mar 17, 2013
Probably, but I'm not totally convinced. They seemed pretty content to not develop Hal too much, or his relationship with Carol. I really didn't care for that first Star Sapphire (or Pink Lantern) episode because there was no emotional or character connection to drive it (and Hal was busying macking on a space princess two episodes before that, and Carol was never even mentioned).
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Mar 17, 2013
Despite feeling like the stopping a bad guy's rampage by appealing to their inner good nature is a rather overdone experience (Terra in Teen Titans for example) I must admit, I enjoyed this far more than the YJ finale, I also shed tears, but then Timm never has disappointed. Just sad they could never conceive a toy line.
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Mar 17, 2013
Noel, as an Avengers:EMH fan, I'm surprised you never said so, but I have to admit that I grinned from ear to ear when Hal's attempt at using a Hank Pym-esque logic to stop Aya fell flat.

Also, did you notice Razer's subtle acknowledgement of Aya's family remark by calling Hal only by his first name at the end? I can't remember him ever calling him anything but Hal Jordan. Which actually leads to my main comment...

Funnily enough, this series did what George Lucas had said about the Star Wars films. While at first glance that story was about Luke and his friends, at the end of filming Ep IV Lucas had said that the story was really Vader/Anakin's story, and that the first 3 episodes/prequels would show that when he got around to making them. So here, Hal Jordan was supposedly the central character, but really it wasn't his story, it was Razer's. The story was basically Razer's redemption--from a rage-filled Atrocitus-flunky red lantern, to a hope-driven redeemed blue lantern at the end. And I really agreed with the fact that they handled the reveal the way they did, because I have been expecting a transformation all series long (originally green, especially when Saint Walker tossed the green ring onto Razer's chest the first time they met--Razer's expression to me indicated that there was a sliver in him that wondered if the ring was going to suddenly choose him). But the payoff on it being handled the way they did it here was much bigger to me. Like with Razer's shift to just calling him "Hal," I never knew modern animation writers could be so awesomely subtle.

Now if only Lucas had used the same less-is-more approach as these guys when he did his prequels... (and had left the originals well enough alone!). Oy.
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Mar 17, 2013
EMH sort of fell apart for me at the tail end of the Skrull invasion storyline, and then just continued to be just nowhere near as good as the first season. Bringing on Man of Action as story consultants was a smart idea, but it really felt too little too late by then. :-/
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Mar 17, 2013
The problem with emh was after that skrull arc they basically had too many stand alone eps that could've been better off as 2-3 ep mini arcs than condensed into a single ep. If they had another season, it could've been much better. Not complaining, but I would pick season 1 over season 2 because the 1st was better paced rather than to try and cram in so many story lines.
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Mar 17, 2013
This series definitely grew on me and overall the show was pretty great. It's a shame we won't get to see more of it.
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Mar 17, 2013
The green lantern series was great. Had action,romance and supspence. And the episode "Dark Matte" had me emotionally tied to the episode and also the show. It was a great way to end the season. With razor still having hope that his love is still out there. The show in all was outstanding
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Mar 17, 2013
DC Nation has really been an experience. It's everything I hoped a superhero-focused block of programming could be. The shows have so far lived up to their potential, showing the full powerful extent of the kind of storytelling the genre is capable of. Here I thought only Timm and company were capable of creating such engaging stories -- I can finally say the torch has been passed.

Well, for a little while, anyway. It's a different world, one in which action cartoons have a much harder time surviving than they did in the 90's. And that's a shame, but even if this never happens again, I'll always be grateful that for one brief moment, I got that childhood feeling recaptured.
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Staff
Mar 17, 2013
Timm was an executive producer on GL:TAS, and seemed to be fairly involved based on Volpe's tweets about the show.
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Mar 16, 2013
This reminded me of the finale of season 6 from Buffy with Evil Willow! One of my favorite episodes from both series, because it left the hero [Buffy and Hal respectively] powerless to act against such an overwhelming foe. I wish the show was given a third season, but the end was good enough for me.
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Mar 16, 2013
This finale was a bittersweet one in a good way. Aya sacrficing herself to undo her sins moved me.I wish we would see how they handled Sinsetro's arc, with his fall, harnassing fear/yellow power, and creation of his own Corps.
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Mar 18, 2013
I know, right? I also would have liked to see what they could have done with the Black Lanterns.
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Mar 16, 2013
Loved it. And the blue ring was heart-wrenching, I want to see more!

I'm excited for TTG! We knew it wasn't going to be the same and I like the idea of superheroes dealing with everyday, mundane things.

And honestly, I just love the TT too much to not watch.
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