DC has been releasing new animated features on a consistent basis since Gotham Knight. In fact, DC has always striven to provide material straight from the DCU and make it accessible to fans who do not read comics or TPB’s. Their attempt at a Green Lantern story that does not center around one particular Lantern is worth consideration. A warning to all, spoilers below!!!!
Emerald Knights is more of a compilation of experiences from several Lanterns, as DC always attempts to place as many familiar faces from the comics in their features. These Lanterns consist of Sinestro, Hal Jordan, Arisia, Tomar Re, Kilowog, Abin-Sur, and a favorite for those of us who read the comics. It is interesting to see Sinestro in a Green Lantern uniform and not preaching his elitist principles. The placing of him in the film implies that this short is either meant to provide a little insight for non-Lantern readers who are about to see the new film, or merely a more accessible version of the Green Lantern stories without having to provide too much back story. True readers will know… there are many volumes. There are several Corps series’ and several runs of Green Lantern with either Hal, John, or Kyle, plus several offshoots featuring Guy Gardner (who sadly doesn’t appear in this film).
Before I indulge what I enjoy about this short, I must point out something that I consistently have a problem with. Whenever DC decides to use classic stories from amazing writers, they alter something instead of staying true to it. Two stories are referenced in this that I have read, both written by the enigmatic, but brilliant Alan Moore. Moore is my favorite comics writer. His insightful stories have changed how fan boys and girls everywhere think about comics and the superhero genre has changed forever as a result.
Yet, both stories, “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize,” and, “In Blackest Night,” are slightly altered from their original printings. I will not divulge what the differences are, because you should go and read these. They are in both the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps TPB’s and in DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, which has an exceptional collection of stories including the Superman stories “What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and, “For the Man Who Has Everything;” and the classic Batman story, “The Killing Joke.” Buy it, read it, love it. However, DC’s inclusion of the stories do show that they appreciate the quality of these stories and realized the importance of making them into animated shorts (which is the only format these single issues could ever have been made into).
There were several enjoyable shorts, and several actors whose names you should recognize: Jason Isaacs (seen as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films); Nathan Fillion (Firefly!!! For those who haven’t seen… you’re missing out); Henry Rollins; and Arnold Vosloo (Darkman II & III and The Mummy and Mummy Returns). Vosloo and Isaacs have voiced before, but this is Fillion’s first outing with DC Animated Films, but voiced the character Vigilante on Justice League Unlimited.
I’ve already mentioned two of my favorite stories in the short, but I’d say that Kilowog’s story about his own Lantern training, and the story of the First Lantern were the most character driven and include history about the Corps that even those of us who do read did not know. It’s possible they are also stories from pre-existing comics, but there are too many to really know. (But kudos to anyone who does.)
The special features on the regular DVD release (apologies to those of you with the Blu-Ray, as you have several documentaries that I did not have the chance to see) are the usual. There’s an advertisement for the DCU application for iPhone and other Apple products. Plus, two sneak preview shorts. One is for Batman: Year One which will be released later this summer, and was posted for a limited time by this website. The other is for All-Star Superman, which is odd considering it’s been out on DVD for a while. Overall, an enjoyable romp through the Green Lantern Universe.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights DVD:
Reviewed by Chris Gering