Episodic Review: Young Justice 22 & 23… and Ultimate Spider-Man

Blah, blah, blah, Superboy problems. While I do get a kick out of seeing Superboy serve as the team’s equivalent of the Hulk, I’ve never liked him enough to fully enjoy the episodes that focused purely on him. He comes off as being so intentionally flawed just so he can have more deeply rooted daddy issues when being compared with Superman, which just doesn’t make for the most interesting of watches.

… which is why I enjoyed the episodes B-story a million times more. I wasn’t that avid of a viewer when Justice League first aired, so I could be completely off point, but I don’t recall any point in the show that really went over the transition from the League being a small group of hand-picked people to how it stood by the start of Justice League: Unlimited. The joke about the Green Lanterns not wanting a third Lantern on the team, Zatara’s personality poking out of Dr. Fate, the intentionally awkward debate about keeping Captain Marvel… each bit of dialogue was interesting and kept me entertained, which was more than I could say about Superboy’s story. That’s not to say that Superboy’s story was a snore-fest; it’s just that it’s hard to be entertained when the story focuses on a character I personally don’t like all that much. Especially when that character’s into kinky role-playing with a certain shape-shifting alien.

Onwards to episode 23!

Wait… nevermind. Blah, blah, additional episode about a character I don’t care about made even less interesting by fleshing out a plot point I’m tired of. They’re so heavily suggesting that Artemis is the mole that there’s no way it would end up being her. And in the case that it was, we’re already told that she is, which just makes for bad story-telling.

Did kinda enjoy the small bit about her mom being the Huntress, though. I’m assuming she was a different Huntress from the one that’s buddy-buddy with Batman in the comics? Was there more than one character in the DC world that went by that name? Blah, comic continuity confuses.

So yeah, that’s about it for—

OMUHGUHWUDDUHFUUUUU

Izzat… izzat Josh Keaton voicing Black Spider?

Dear haters quoting Wikipedia articles to compare if Black Spider came before Spider-Man or not… regardless of who came first, it’s pretty obvious that in terms of the episode itself, Spider-Man was clearly being referenced. From the mentioning of a reporter, to the exact phrase “web-slinging” used, to using the voice-actor that last voiced Spidey in animated form along with the majority of the cast from that series in bit roles for Young Justice… I know the use of exact dates in the series makes people wonder if the creative team behind YJ was aware that the episodes wouldn’t be playing anywhere near the dates mentioned in the episode, but seeing this ripoff Spidey making a cameo the same weekend that Disney XD premiered Ultimate Spider-Man makes me think otherwise. DC, you trolls.

The feeling is even more-troll-tastic if you actually followed up and checked out Marvel’s latest work the next day.

This series already had a lot going against it. Josh Keaton being replaced by Drake Bell, the goofy asides, Man of Action as one of the major groups behind the show, but most importantly of all, the fact that this show is being followed shortly after the untimely death of the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Spectacular was able to fend off all the hate about its animation style and formed what most Spidey fans consider the best Spider-Man cartoon of all time. It was able to take on elements from multiple Spidey comics and successfully mesh them all together into one solid universe. Gwen Stacey was the love interest, Harry Osborn was a fellow nerd with well fleshed out daddy issues, Kong and Flash were a tag-team of sorts as school bullies that didn’t come off as too Saturday morning cartoon… even the special features from season one of the series mentioned that the creative team involved in writing for the series made a point to avoid using as much new characters as possible that weren’t from the comics since they knew that their main focus wasn’t to create something entirely new from the ground-up, but to breathe new life into the stories from the comics that fans identify as being Spider-Man through and through.

… instead, we get this. Don’t get me wrong; I was all for a Spider-Man show with a Teen Titans-esque sense of story-telling that was able to tell serious stories, but was willing to be weird on a regular basis. What we got in its place was an incredibly bland and uninspired take on Peter Parker, whose alter-ego of Spider-Man was even wimpier than Parker himself.

While it’s true that in many iterations of Spidey in comic form, he’s been rather fond of the older superheroes in the Marvel universe and look up to them to some extent, it was very rare that such a point would be repeated to the point that it came off as more of parody than anything else. Even in his earlier years of superhero-ing, Spidey was fully capable of handling issues in his own way, with his own unique and more importantly, intelligent approach to take down his villains. And while he may have made some mistakes in his career as a hero, it was ultimately his intelligence and how he applied it in battle that brought the attention of the SHIELD organization in the Ultimate comics. Rather than focusing on all the good that Spider-Man has been able to contribute, the Ultimate cartoon really brings home the point of Spidey being a rookie with absolutely no experience whatsoever, which becomes even more baffling of a plot point when mentor Fury decides to make Spidey the leader of a group of fellow teenage superheroes. Add to this the most cheeseball of cheeseball of lines (seriously, puns galore) and you have one of the least desirable iterations of Spider-Man I’ve seen.

So with the main protagonist botched character-wise, is there any hope for the supporting cast? Well, actually, there is… or at least was. Mary Jane Watson, as expected by this point, is hinted at being Parker’s love interest. However, a decent job of throwing viewers for a loop was done when Parker mentions that romance was attempted when the two were younger… and it just turned out awkward. As for best friend Harry, he actually does keep to the Ultimate comics’ character of a popular rich kid that acts as something of a bodyguard to Parker at school. In the case of both characters, though, they’re given a good enough establishment, but by the end of the two-episode premier, they end up coming off just as stale as the show itself.

Even the hints of future villains in the form of Norman Osborn and the shadowy (and apparently somewhat shaggy and unkempt) figure of Otto Octavius aren’t enough of a curiosity to keep me watching. The general uninspired-ness of the premier episodes put me in a bad enough mood to indefinitely halt any and all plans I had of keeping up with this series.

Spectacular Spider-Man, please come back and save me from this atrocity of a show. If you could somehow incorporate Josh Keaton’s perfect Spidey voice when you do so, that’d be even better.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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