Thursday, January 20, 2011

Young Justice 101/102 Independence Day Parts 1 & 2 Review

Well I finally got around to watching the premiere of Cartoon Network’s Young Justice. I’ve actually wanted to watch this for a while because Young Justice is in my top five favorite DC comic series of all time. It’s going to be hard for me not to be more critical of this show because I was such a fan of the comic series – but I’m trying to go into this with an open mind and I think the only way I can do this is if I remain completely spoiler free.

In the comic the original line up was Robin, Impulse and Superboy and they were quickly joined by Secret, Wonder Girl and Arrowette and Red Tornado served as their mentor and then later Snapper Carr. In the book Robin was Tim Drake, Impulse was Bart Allen, Superboy was Kon-El later going by Conner Kent, Wonder Girl was Cassie Sandsmark, Arrowette was Cissie King-Jones (it always bugged me that Cassie and Cissie’s names were so similar) and Secret was first known as Suzie but then later revealed to be Greta Hayes.

However in the TV series things are a bit different. Superboy’s origins remain the same but he hasn’t been given a name yet. Robin while sporting Tim Drake’s costume he’s actually Dick Grayson, Impulse is actually Kid Flash and instead of being Bart Allen it’s Wally West I don’t really mind this because it gives us a ‘sidekick’ from each era but I want the magic that was Bart, Kon and Tim. We still get Red Tornado as the mentor but we also end up with Black Canary who will serve as a trainer to help the team improve on their fighting skills. I’m actually okay with the addition of Black Canary I just hope they use her well. We have a new character in the form of Aqualad, Miss Martian joins the team. According to the promo images a character by the name of Artemis will be joining the team shortly – it makes sense since Speedy pulled a hissy fit and stormed out of the Hall of Justice. This is actually the most upsetting change to me – I want Arrowette and Wonder Girl – not Artemis. If you want to change the name because ‘Arrowette’ sounds too weird that’s fine, but don’t make it a mixture of two characters, omit Wonder Girl and name the archer of the team after a character who also is in the Wonder Woman mythology. And at the very least keep her red and white costume!
The main plot of this pilot started off with the heroes’ sidekicks finally being given access to the Hall of Justice. Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash and Speedy initially are excited but when they learn that it’s basically a glorified backstage pass Speedy gets upset and ends up storming out – I actually liked Speedy in the brief amount of time he was in the episode I wish that he ends up making a few more appearances.
One thing I didn’t like was the very next scene. Think about it, if the fire at Cadmus was at the point where Superman had to contact the Justice League exactly how big of a threat was whatever it was that Zatara was fighting that would require all the Justice League’s help? I know it was a plot device but at the same time it was taken seriously where as in the comics they would have made a huge joke about it and reference it themselves. The teen heroes take it upon themselves to put out the fires at Cadmus where they soon learn the truth behind Cadmus.

I liked the inclusion of this because of the fact that Superboy hadn’t been introduced yet they needed to include these characters in order to maintain the quality of his origin. I really enjoyed the design choices behind Guardian and I love that they included Dubbilex but I didn’t really care for his look – but it was creepy. I also enjoyed the idea behind this council of people who make up ‘The Light’ and how they created Superboy to use as a weapon to kill Superman if he ever turned evil. I like the idea of the little cloned aliens that are used to mentally control all of the employees. And I really enjoyed the fact that Guardian and Doubbilex are now running Cadmus while the ‘Light’ watch him. It’s going to make for an interesting plot if Guardian and Doubbilex need to reach out to Young Justice (the team still hasn’t taken that name) and the Justice League for help.

The one thing that I really couldn’t stand was the inclusion of Aqualad. It’s not that he’s a new character, or that possibly they felt the need for a more racially diverse team it’s the fact that he’s basically a Mary Sue. The ability to manipulate water is one thing, but adding in the gills and the ability to breathe in water and on land, and then he’s strong enough to go toe to toe with Superboy…. Apparently the kid can do it all. This is supposed to be about the kids finding their place in the world no longer as kids but not experienced enough to be the heavy hitter superheroes – it makes absolutely no sense to me to have a character as powerful as Aqualad on the team in addition to Superboy. If you wanted to have included him that’s fine but tone down his powers – he’s a new character without an established fanbase don’t try to justify his existence by making him be the best at everything he does.

This episode was pretty fun and there was a lot I liked about it, including the animation but I just need more time to get used to the changes to look at it objectively. It was still good though.

Rating: B

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