Welcome to Boomb Tube! Here, I chronicle and give recaps for the various comic book related animated series on the air. Unfortunately, due to Cartoon Network putting DC Nation on hiatus for months and Marvel’s cartoons in between seasons, I switched focus for the past few weeks towards live-action abominations of the past like Generation X and Justice League of America . This Saturday, however, DC Nation will finally return and with it Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. While Green Lantern is a fine show in its own right, something must be said for Young Justice, the best Cape Cartoon currently on the air.
Young Justice loosely the adventures of the Young Justice team from the comic series by Peter David. The Team (never actually called Young Justice for reasons I still don’t understand) are a squad initially comprised of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad and sometimes Roy “MY NAME IS NOT SPEEDY!” Harper. After being rejected for Justice League membership due to their young age, the group sans Not Speedy strike out on their own and investigate Cadmus Labs while the League is busy fighting Wotan. There, they discover Superman’s clone, Superboy, who also joins The Team along with other members, Miss Martian, and Artemis. Over the course of the first season, The Team unravel a conspiracy by The Light, this show’s version of the Secret Society of Supervillains, to destroy the Justice League and set out to stop it while at the same time dealing with their own securities and a mistrust amongst the entire team when they learn that a mole is in their midst.
This all sounds like relatively simple stuff: teens fighting bad guys, teens being emotional, and more than a few scenes containing “feels” for the Tumblr-inclined. One could say, just looking at the premise, that Young Justice is just Teen Titans without the stylization or 80% of the cast. In fact, the first few episodes do come across as just a little stale, but at some point during the first season YJ is more than able to find its footing and deliver some amazing plots. Roy Harper alone, yes Roy “I Mistook a Dead Cat for My Dead Daughter While on Heroin” Harper, turns into the most complex character(s) on the show through a brilliantly executed story thread that I could not in good faith spoil here. Every character on this show changes somehow, be it Miss Martian dealing with being potentially corrupted by her powers or Superboy emerging from an angry brute into someone who could live up to his namesake, as ambivalent as he may feel towards the man.
Now, if there is one problem with Young Justice has it would be its own broadcasting schedule. The show has been defined by hiatuses; the one supposed to end this Saturday was not initially announced which led to many fans accidently tuning in to How to Train Your Dragon with a tinge of confusion and a lot of rage. Keeping up with this show can be a little exhausting as a result due to the idea that a new episode could be swept out of your feet at any moment or you may forget some important details in between breaks. As a result of these numerous hiatuses, the season one finale and the season two premiere ended up airing within a week of each other. Thankfully this ended up working well for the series as the absence of a break helped both ease the transition and increase the shock at the idea that season two takes place entirely five years after the conclusion of season one.
A quick mention should also be made towards how much of the DCU is fit into Young Justice.
As ridiculous as that idea sounds, the five year gap really helps demonstrate how much the characters in the series change over time. Superboy and Miss Martian break up their relationship established last season, Kid Flash gives up his costume, Roy deals with his identity crisis brought on by recent revelations and Aqualad… well you have to see what Aqualad is up to for yourself. Not to mention the array of new Team members introduced including, but not limited to, Batgirl, Wondergirl, Blue Beetle, and Impulse. Thankfully, the focus isn’t lost solely upon the new batch of kids and the writers are able to strike a very neat balance between the old guard and the new.
Young Justice offers a look at the DC Universe that can please fans both old and new. Through the focus on characters that is unparalleled when compared to the other cape cartoons it has to compete with, Young Justice is a show that, if you are a fan of DC or really superheroes in general, you should be watching, especially when you consider that the numerous hiatuses indicate that the show is not getting nearly as many viewers as the executives would enjoy. Please give this show a chance, if only so it doesn’t get cancelled before resolving the numerous plotlines it has left dangling so far.
Young Justice returns to Cartoon Network, along with the rest of DC Nation, this Saturday morning on January 5th. Episodes are also available for download on iTunes.