Young Justice

This is the latest animated series featuring DC Comics’ teenage superheroes. The last one was Teen Titans, which was very popular during the last decade.

Funny story behind this show. You see, Young Justice was the team DC came up with after the Teen Titans became too old to be called teens anymore. (Yes, in a rare violation of “comic book characters never age” Robin and the rest were allowed to grow up into young adults (though it took decades of real time to happen.) Of course, new kid heroes were then invented to take their places, and it wasn’t long before DC decided to have those star in their own comic, except they couldn’t use the name Titans because the originals were still using it (without the “Teen” part) so: Young Justice (League), then.

Even stranger: while the Teen Titans comics was a straightforward, action-and-angst superhero series (that got adapted as a semi-wacky cartoon, for some reason) Young Justice was a mostly funny comic that has now been adapted…as a typical action series. Funny how these things work, eh?

So far, the series looks pretty good, and considering it’s being written by Peter David (who wrote the original YJ comic, and also happens to be one of the best writers in the whole business) and produced by Greg Weissman (who made the Gargoyles and Justice League cartoons) I have nothing but great hopes for it.

So far, we have seen how the team formed: After being pissed that their adult partners don’t give them the respect they feel they deserve, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad (plus Superboy, a clone of Superman created without his knowledge by criminals) demand that they be allowed to form their own team. The League agreed, though Speedy (Green Arrow’s sidekick) thinks they are just being pandered to and quit in disgust (that will probably have consequences later.) The team is given the League’s old Secret Mountain headquarters as a base, and the robot superhero Red Tornado as a mentor. They are also joined by Miss Martian, the Martian Manhunter’s niece.

We also know there’s some conspiracy called “The Light” going on, which will probably turn out to be an alliance of DC mad scientists such as Luthor.

I should point out that there IS humor in this show, but it’s mostly from what the characters say, as opposed to silly things happening out of nowhere like they did in the Teen Titans cartoon. And you know what, these teenagers SOUND like actual teenagers, as opposed to little kids or miniature adults; that’s rare in a series like this. Robin has been reinvented as a hacker but hey, I can live with that. On the other hand I don’t like Superboy being so angry all the time, but hopefully he’ll grow out of it (though I really, REALLY hope he doesn’t turn out to have half of Lex Luthor’s DNA, as in the comics; I hate that.) Oh, and for those of you familiar with Aquaman, no, Aqualad isn’t supposed to be Black. But there’s a good explanation for that in the show, actually: This guy is actually the son of Aquaman’s foe, Black Manta. He doesn’t know it yet, though; it should make for an interesting revelation. I also hate that Red Tornado is ALWAYS treated as just a robot (and sounds like one); in the comics, he was created to infiltrate the heroes but changed his mind and joined them- which means he LOOKS and SOUNDS human, AND has emotions- but the cartoons never get that right. Again, I hope they do something with that later.

The animation is also very good; I love the redesign of characters such as Robin’s. The CGI in Martian’s spaceship was a little too obvious, but I still liked it.

So far, other than exposing the secret project that created Superboy, nothing major has happened. I can’t wait to see the kids acting in a real mission (as opposed to just running into bad guys.) Knowing David and Weissman, we should be treated to plenty of surprises soon. I recommend the show.