Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Young Justice

Since it just very recently got released on DVD, I finished watching Young Justice season 2 last night.  This joins a long list of superhero animated shows that share a number of features:
  • Complex characterizations and plots--although it works as such, it's arguable if the show's creators are really targeting kids for these shows so much as they're targeting adult and subadult fans of the comics and characters.
  • Combination of some humor, ensemble cast, and a fairly dark premise.  Maybe not Dark Knight dark, but certainly not the old Superfriends type bright n' polite either.
  • Mostly (although there's an exception to this) packed with pretty solid action that avoids the rather obvious "let's not show the kiddies any violence" syndrome.  This doesn't mean that they're bloody and gruesome, just that you can tell that these characters are actually fighting in their action scenes, and that they actually hit each other and stuff.
  • They all ended on cliff-hangers, and then were cancelled before being able to continue.
These features all held forth for Young Justice (as well as for Spectacular Spider-man, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and Wolverine and the X-Men.)  In Justice's case, it was especially sad to see, given that they teased as at the very end with Darkseid, who we'll now never see anyway--at least not in this show.  In the case of some (Spider-man, Avengers) it was because the IP owners wanted to reboot and do something different, or award the contract to someone else, so it's not a total loss--but it's still disappointing because the show that was cancelled was quite good, and the show that replaced it is... well, maybe it is and maybe it's not.

An interesting comparison can be made, especially with the second seasons, of Young Justice and Avengers because both primarily deal with a covert invasion of Earth by aliens, and how the superheroes deal with that.

It also managed to put most of the actual Justice League members out of pocket for the entirety of the season, which made the fact that the teenaged (and early 20s) "Team" of Young Justice and Teen Titans style members having to solve all of the problems more believeable.  It also managed to do away with the inconvenient (from a story-telling perspective, anyway) fact that Superman is just too good, and therefore automatically "kills" any story in which he appears as a major character (luckily, writers tend to mostly conveniently forget that he is at least as fast as Flash when he wants to be.  They also tend to forget his ice breath, and just make him a really strong, flying, heat-vision blasting hero.  To make this official would bring Superman down to Thor-like levels--still one of the "big guns" of the League by any stretch of the imagination, but not so completely over-the-top that he ruins everything that he's in.)

And finally, for someone like me who's not terribly invested in (or knowledgeable about) the DC Universe, it is an interesting arena for me to get to know more characters--both heroes and villains.  Some of them are kinda silly (Toymaker?) but still--it's nice to see the others who aren't.  It's also funny to see the obvious correspondances between Marvel and DC characters in many ways. 

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