By Ken Tucker
November 11, 2011 at 09:29 PM EST

The Cartoon Network’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series premieres Friday evening with an hour-long special that’s a lot of fun for both dedicated GL fans and newcomers, thanks to the clever animation and storytelling of executive producers including Bruce Timm and Sam Register (Batman: The Brave and the Bold).

Executed with computer-graphics animation that gives the adventure a glossy sheen, Green Lantern: The Animated Series — a kind of preview for the DC Nation programming block the Cartoon Network is planning to premiere next year — is a sleek production that moves with the quickness of a familiar but effective adventure tale.

Green Lantern is first seen as hotshot pilot Hal Jordan, wrested from the arms of a slinky Carol Ferris only because he’s summoned by the Guardians of the Universe to Oa. There, he teams with the burly Lantern Kilowog to rescue a dying Lantern on a faraway “frontier” Lantern outpost.

The cartoon maps out the Green Lantern mythology including the Red Lanterns, who, led by Atrocitus, rage against Hal and Kilowog for power. If all this is beginning to sound like inside-comic-book baseball to non-comics readers, rest assured that Kilowog’s line “What the nards is a Red Lantern?” is your cue to knowing that the cartoon is going to take the time to explain all the principal players and their various animosities.

But not too much time. The production does a good job of balancing the info needed to educate newbies and action designed to satisfy those in the know. I also appreciated that the dialogue was neither a string of wisecracks in the manner of the Ryan Reynolds-powered movie, nor the jumble of mock-heroic-poetry babble that much of the dialogue in the various Green Lantern comics titles can be.

In other words, Green Lantern: The Animated Series looks like the best of both worlds, and welcome to it. Please tell me what you think after you watch it, tonight at 7 p.m. EST.

Twitter: @kentucker