Previously on Green Lantern: Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Aya, and Razer (with a little help from Saint Walker, Mogo, and the Star Sapphires) stopped Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns from invading Oa and killing The Guardians. After personally defeating Atrocitus, Hal brokered a tentative alliance with the remaining Red Lanterns to make amends for past sins committed by The Guardians in Frontier Space. With the crisis averted, Hal returns home to Coast City and his lady love Carol Ferris.
“The New Guy” picks up with Hal’s return to Earth, though it’s not quite the homecoming he imagined. Missing for months, he learns that Carol hired a new pilot to replace him, so he’s out of a job. Not only that, she’s hesitant about rekindling their relationship now that she knows about his duel identities. To top it all off, Hal discovers, in the midst of a conveniently timed crisis, that The Guardians found a new, and well liked, Green Lantern for Earth in his absence, Guy Gardner (voiced wonderfully by Diedrich Bader). It’s a showcase of territorial machismo that leads Hal and Guy to rescue a missing scientist who unfortunately discovered the reactivated Manhunters buried on Earth.
As the beginning of the series’ second story arc, “The New Guy” definitely lays a fairly solid foundation. Hal is a hero but only in regards to his victory in another galaxy. On Earth, he’s been absent as a superhero and presumed missing or dead by those he loves. Though we get a hint of our antagonist for the rest of the season, The Anti-Monitor, and a great action sequence with the newly activated Manhunters, it’s a credit to the series that the episode is primarily concerned with the aftermath and consequences of Hal’s decision to hijack a ship to Frontier Space in the first episode. Yes, it was the right thing to do, but it’s a punch to the gut for Hal to learn that everything can’t go back to normal anymore.
Not helping matters is Guy Gardner, the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814. In many ways Guy and Hal are similar. Clearly they’re both Alpha males (if the sports constructs didn’t make that clear enough), but both are possessed of a confident arrogance that still makes them likeable. Again, Diedrich Bader does a superb job voicing Guy. He’s a narcissist, for sure, but competent enough at his job that everyone likes him, even Appa Ali Apsa. It was a good choice for the creators not to go with hot-headed Guy Gardner, though there’s still time for that to happen. What separates the two Lanterns are how they deal with the job of being a superhero. Hal continues to wear a mask, disguising his identity in hopes of maintaining a life outside of being a Green Lantern. Guy, on the other hand, fully embraces the job. He doesn’t bother with a mask, everyone knows his name, and he freely gives his cell number to pretty journalists (“That’s Vanessa with an ‘I’”). In a lot of ways, Guy understands the job better than Hal. How can you maintain a normal life when your life is very much not normal? Might as well embrace the now instead of worrying about the future. It’s a great contrast and their competitive dynamic gives the whole episode a lot of energy and humor.
All in all, this is a good start to the second half of the season and with Hal now promoted to Honor Guard of The Green Lantern Corp, with patrolling duties over all sectors of space, hopefully we’ll be seeing more of the greater universe of Lanterns.
Favorite Moment: The fist bump conversation. That’s some major bro-bonding right there! Alien cultures are so weird.
Nitpicker’s Corner: If The Guardians were going to promote Hal, why didn’t they do so before he went back to Earth? Were they just waiting for him to save the day again as an excuse? Man, The Guardians are dicks sometimes, amirite?
Season Predictions and Hopeful Wishes:
- You just know with the introduction of The Anti-Monitor that we’re gonna learn a whole lot more about what crappy beings The Guardians are.
- Though Carol and Hal are no longer together, I don’t think this is the last we’ll be seeing of her. I imagine Hal’s going to be beaten down pretty bad and only the love of his life can save him! ‘Cause that’s the power of love!
- More Green Lanterns! I missed Kilowog in this episode, but I imagine he’ll be showing up soon. Also, more Tomar-Re!
- What’s Saint Walker been up to? Starting a Blue Lantern Corp maybe?
- We still haven’t met Agent Orange, the Indigo Tribe, or Sinestro yet. Just sayin’.