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T.V. Retrospective: Young Justice Season #1

By: Jeremy Kossak

It feels like it’s been so long since the premiere of Young Justice, now here we are at the end of the first season. I’ve really enjoyed this show. There’s such a different energy to Young Justice that sets this show apart from all preceding animated shows set in the DC Universe. It could have been another Teen Titans, a follow-up to Justice League Unlimited, or anything else. Instead it’s a teenage drama with costumes and powers, I love it. However, the two-part premiere immediately lets viewers know that this isn’t just about Kid Flash, Robin, Superboy, and Aqualad. This is a show about the DC Universe. For new fans, it’s a great way to get into the DC Universe. For us die-hard comic book fans, there’s tons of great cameos and twists on classic stories to keep us hooked. These writers clearly have a love for all things DC.

I was very surprised at how serious Young Justice got throughout the season. This is a show aimed at younger viewers yet Young Justice is rich with themes of maturity, leadership, commitment, and self discovery. I really enjoyed how each character’s immaturity was illustrated with their mastery (or lack thereof) of their powers as well as their attitudes. There were so many good character moments in each episode.

For example, Kid Flash shows that he’s not just comic relief. His character really shines in episodes like Coldhearted and Denial (a favorite of mine). I was amazed at the growth of Miss Martian as a character later in the season. Since I’m a huge fan of Superman, I really enjoyed the Superboy-centric episodes. Agendas was great, but Disordered was my favorite Superboy episode. I absolutely loved the tribute to Jack Kirby’s creations. Desaad, the Forever People, Infinity Man, and even “Ugly” Manheim were just awesome.

There were so many subtleties as well that need to be pointed out. The scene in the diner (Schooled) with Bruce and Clark was such a short little moment that could have been set on a rooftop. I applaud the choice to have Batman and Superman in their civilian identities talking like normal people. I also liked the portrayal of Captain Marvel. He really stole the show any time he was featured. Even when he was Marvel, Billy still behaved like a 10-year-old. Billy probably looked up to Robin more than Batman! Little things like this really make the show for me.

The storytelling in Young Justice is top-notch, probably better than Justice League Unlimited. In many cases, and especially in Misplaced, the stories really felt like a comic book. The Red Tornado story told in the episodes Homefront and Humanity felt like a DC crossover with Young Justice as its tie in. I watched all the episodes a second time so I could follow all the subplots I may have missed. I wasn’t into some of the episodes (like Failsafe) but I came to appreciate the larger story. I didn’t expect that the alien tentacle was a part of Starro. Dr. Fate sure got around too.

I found myself getting quite invested in the relationships between each character. The final payoff at the end of the season was pretty rewarding, especially with Kid Flash and Artemis. A lot of the revelations shocked me as well. At first I wondered why Sportsmaster was such a threat; but having him be related to Cheshire and Artemis justified that. Miss Martian’s heritage was also a shocker.  In the end this is a show I get excited about each week. It’s my favorite in the DC Nation block. Season 2 looks excellent, I’m happy to be the reviewer!

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