“Justice League Action” Episode Review – S01E19 “Rage of the Red Lanterns”

Superman Homepage reviewer Thomas Dreyfuss reviews episodes from the “Justice League Action” Animated Series, airing on Cartoon Network.

Check out his review of the 19th episode of Season 1 in which Lobo steals rings from the Red Lanterns and pits Atrocitus, Zilius Zox and the rest of the Red Lanterns against Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in order to get a score. After Lobo unlocks the Spider Gauntlet’s power, the Justice League and the Red Lanterns must team up to defeat him.

Justice League ActionOriginally Aired: December 18, 2016 (Poland); May 20, 2017 (U.S.)

Written by Ernie Altbacker
Directed by Jake Castorena

CAST:
Kevin Conroy as Batman (voice)
Jason J. Lewis as Superman/Dex-Starr (voice)
Rachel Kimsey as Wonder Woman/Bleez (voice)
Michael Dorn as Atrocitus (voice)
Armin Shimerman as Zilius Zox (voice)
John DiMaggio as Lobo (voice)
Khary Payton as Cyborg (voice)

3Rating – 3 (out of 5): Not many people remember this, but there was a brief moment in time where the Green Lantern comic books were the center of the DC Universe. This was primarily due to Geoff Johns’ legendary run on Green Lantern in the mid 2000s where he not only revitalized the character, but also expanded upon the cosmic mythos. It’s no wonder why they made a Green Lantern movie in 2010… and it’s also no wonder why the only good thing about that flick is that it lead to the creation of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. While short lived, I felt that the series was a fantastic representation of the Green Lantern mythos with a surprisingly heartfelt love story that carries the entire series.

Now this episode of JLA isn’t really going for what GLTAS did, but it does feature the Red Lantern Corps and it was written by GLTAS staff writer Ernie Altbacker. So the set up for “Rage of the Red Lanterns” is that Lobo pits the Justice League to fight against the Red Lantern Corp as a distraction to achieve his real goal: stealing an alien spider gauntlet and wielding it to become an unstoppable badass. Once Lobo acquires said super weapon and both parties realize they’ve been duped, the League and the Red Lanterns put aside their differences and team up to take down Lobo.

Personally, this episode felt routine. We’re nearly half way through the season so I’ve already developed expectations regarding JLA‘s episode structure and in that respect, “Rage of the Red Lanterns” felt kind of predictable. This episode uses the tried but true comic book superhero tropes “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” and “Batman always wins so long as he has time to prepare”. But what elevates the material is characterization through dialogue which has been Altbacker’s greatest strength (see also: that Judas Contract movie). While they definitely toned down the look of Atrocitus, it was nice seeing all the Red Lanterns in action and each actor fits their role perfectly. Hands down the best purr-formance is Jason J. Lewis as Dex-Starr. Every meow-ment Dex-Starr is on screen makes me so glad to see this character animated fur the first time.

Speaking of action, the fight scenes were on point with plenty of cool visuals like Wonder Woman punting Zilius Zox and seeing the little poozer bounce around like a pinball. They even did a riff of the classic Fleischer Studios Superman moment where the Man of Steel punches a laser beam back to its source. Overall, “Rage of the Red Lanterns” isn’t a bad episode by any stretch. If there’s anything you can take away from this review is that I currently have high expectations for JLA and I miss Green Lantern: The Animated Series so much. If you liked this episode and want to see more of the Red Lanterns, seek out that CGI cartoon.

Check out the “Justice League Action – Episode Reviews” Contents page.

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MattComics
Member

the Red Lanterns blood vomiting gimmick is perhaps a pinnacle of DC grimdark excess and stupidity but I’m glad that here it was interpreted as just breathing red laser fire.