Episodic Review: Young Justice 25 &26

New challengers approaching!

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Episodic Review: Young Justice 24 (“Performance”)

“Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”

I was never a fan of Batman Begins, but I do like this quote. Read more of this post

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—


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.

Episodic Review: Young Justice 21 (“Image”)

Oh, Young Justice. First you have the fake bro on sis scene in episode 11, and now you have the fake cougar on under-age Kryptonian this episode. Something tells me the show writers specifically wanted Ms. Martian on the team for the sole purpose of stretching that PG rating as far as it’ll go.

So considering how Gar mentions that episodes of Hello Megan are hard to find even online, I can only imagine Ms. Martian recording these on her alien equivalent of a DVR. Maybe saving them on her alien equivalent of an external hard drive after downloading them from the alien equivalent of a torrenting site. She could have even recorded them when they aired live. I mean, what else is there to do on Mars?

OK, so something, something fictional countries at conflict. Funny how an earlier Young Justice pitted two fictional countries at conflict because they were against unifying, and now we’ve got a case where the conflict comes from people against two fictional countries unifying. Slight nitpick, but the font size during the news reports seemed a bit too small in comparison to actual news reports. Reminded me of the miniscule font size used in some Blu Ray disc menus. Seriously, how large of a TV screen are we expected to have to play these things on?

Convenient plot device calling for a team of four this time around. I’ll let it slide just because I hate it when there are too many chefs in the kitchen resulting in Wily Kit and Kat only being there for C-level banter with the bad guys. Not sad that the new Thundercats didn’t show up under the list of returning shows next season. At all.

Ah, the Logans. Noting that the kid’s name is “Garfield” should be red flag enough to let peeps know that he’s probably a character from the comics. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the episode took an interesting route setting up what I’m hoping are seeds for future plot points. While Gar seems like a TV-standard hyper 8 year old, knowing the direction they’re taking him makes me tolerate him. As for his mom… iunno what it is, but her angry face reminds me of Desmond from Project Cadmus. Guess it’s a character design thing. Kinda like how everyone in the series has relatively curly hair, including the Joker.

I wonder just how many people that watched the episode grew up back when VHS was a thing. Though considering the PG rating and the general push to appeal to older audiences than you’d expect from a channel called “Cartoon Network,” I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a majority of viewers. Makes me wonder what year the series is supposed to take place in, though, since Wally knew enough about the video format to mock it. I have close to zero confidence that people under 18 care to know about now dead video formats.

I get that they were strapped for time here, but wouldn’t this suggest that Ms. Martian would have to make sure that the blood extracted from her be morphed to type O at all times? Do they go by Animorphs logic where if you’re morphed for a long enough time, you’ll stay in that form? Whatever; more Gar backstory is welcome.

Seriously, Mrs. Logan is kinda an S-level beezie. I’m sure that there are stresses I will never know of, not having been part of the one season wonder that was Hello Megan, but c’mon now. It’s one thing to be a jerk due to your show getting famous, or at least get a cult following and having people force you to say “Great Scott” during conventions, but apparently the show wasn’t even popular enough to get crappy recordings uploaded online. Shut up, Mrs. Logan. Nobody likes you.

Daw, flustered Robin is flustered. Really like his stuttered delivery when he was talking to Wally. *looks up his VA on IMDB* Oh god, I take everything back. Let’s all just pretend Robin’s VA isn’t Jesse McCartney. I think we’ll sleep better at night without that nasty bit of knowledge.

… speaking of nasty. You’d think Psimon would be powerful enough to make himself look less conspicuous. Also, I kinda snickered when I found out his name’s spelled that way. Oh comic books and your naming schemes.

So we have Apocalyptan tech, not to be confused with the Marvel villain that I blame for the cancellation of the Wolverine and the X-Men show. Darkseid… yeah, dunno too much about him except that he was in the less than enthralling Apocalypse movie I fell asleep to one day.

Also, Ms. Martian bails to hunt down Psimon, and yet Robin still had psychic connection with everyone, suggesting that Ms. Martian heard Robin’s ordered and left anyway. I get that Ms. Martian’s technically the Earth equivalent of a teenager, but the decisions she makes this episode just make me not like her.




When they were dropping hints about Ms. Martian being white and not green, I was expecting it to be something along the lines of a simple palette swap and the gang to be willing to accept her regardless of the color of her skin and we start to live in a world where kids can go for a Skittles run without living in fear of discrimination. But this… well played.

I’m guessing it’s safe to assume that the League doesn’t know about Ms. Martian, but the episode wasn’t exactly clear about Martian Manhunter’s knowledge. He could very well have been keeping the secret, with Megan fearing that she’d be sent back to Mars if other people found out about her, but the way things have played out so far is pretty fuzzy on the details. Still, at the end of the day, I feel that at the least the League would be understanding of things and wouldn’t care all too much since so far the only difference is physical. As for her teenage counterparts, I’m gonna predict some drama in the inevitable episode where they finally find out what’s what.

Major props to Ms. Martian for her hammy performance. It’s small details like that that clue you in on the old-school American shows her uncle would send her while she was on Mars.

Dunno what Robin’s deal is here. I guess the mission didn’t go as smoothly as he wanted it to be? Still, as Kid Flash said, he did a pretty good job as team leader saving an entire country from an evil dictator.

Yeah, lies. As interesting as it is having Megan lie to the team all while there’s still talk about there being a mole in their group, I feel like I’d be frustrated if they have this point drag on for too long.

OK, and now you’re telling me that Megan’s willing to endanger tons of peeps all for the sake of literally saving face? It’s such a high risk over something so trivial that I don’t think I could stomach this side story being stretched for more than half a season.

Episodic Review: Young Justice 20 (“Coldhearted”)

Whee, the Wally episode!

Comparing everyone’s home life, Wally definitely has the most normal of the group and as such is one of the most relatable of the cast. Add monologues to the mix and you essentially have the DC equivalent of a Spider-Man episode… which isn’t a bad thing.

So the floating island from the Gorillaz Feel Good Inc video is causing weather related chaos and it’s up to a Justice League plus their minor counterparts to put a stop to things.

(Random aside: I haven’t heard from Gorillaz in what feels like forever. Checked out one of their latest music videos on a whim and… wow. The CG is slightly off-putting at first, but honestly, it’s a good notch or two better than the CG’d crap they’re passing as cartoons lately. Check ‘em out. Really.)

… and more fodder for Robin/Zatanna shippers. Again, both characters’ adorableness is off the charts, so I don’t mind the non-canon-ness of it all. A++, Gabe-approved, would do business with again.

Super awkward for Wally/Artemis shippers, though. I’m glad the whole shtick with Wally hitting on Ms. Martian is finally over, but it begs the question of just how the writers are gonna gradually introduce Artemis into the mix. Signs point to the team possibly thinking of her being the mole. Then again, I’m pretty sure their guard’s been down ever since the whole Red Tornado dealie. Meh… iunno.

Wally’s face when he finds out he’s not invited to the big superhero crossover shindig. Real world equivalent: logging on to facebook to see a ton of your friends tagged in an album during an event you weren’t invited to. Don’t trip, Wally; your solo adventure was a million times more fun than any group shenanigans with the Justice League.

… so the YJ group’s got winter camouflage, but the Justice League doesn’t? Something tells me the League won’t like knowing that budget cuts are going on in favor of investing in the younglings. Then again, it’s not like the YJ group’s got a watch tower, so I guess it balances out.

(Second random aside: What is the deal with Warner Home Video releasing Young Justice in single discs? I thought we abandoned the single disc release ten years ago. Are people actually still willing to hack over $3.75 an episode in 4-episode-per-disc chunks? Even Amazon’s instant video for the series has a better option, which is saying something. The last multi-season DC title that I can think of was the DC shows from ten years ago, and those all had perfect season DVD releases, so I must repeat… what’s the deal? If a season set’s not announced by the end of the first season’s airing, I just might have to invest in Amazon’s instant video release which doesn’t nearly look as pretty sitting in my video folder in comparison to on my shelf. Guess it’s a balancing act between aesthetics and practicality.)

Geez, Wally just can’t catch a break today. Having to deliver a heart to a Vlativian Queen with second-rate bad guys hounding him… not exactly the best of days. Still, the story itself was solid and was more than enough to make up for villains I’ve never heard of (also helps that a good chunk of the plot was taken from the comics). Kid Flash’s greatest physical strength would be his speed, so to have him fail to deliver something when given a time limit gives great depth to his character. Hands down the best YJ member when it comes to straight-up sympathy from the series episodes and not comicbook backstory when looking up other characters’ respective Wikis (that would go to Robin).

Not one, but two fake-outs? With the second time involving recording the villain admitting to his heinous crime? Best kind of justice—via tape-recorder (or whatever modern day equivalent that was).

Who else thought it was a giant Chinese take-out box at first? Really digging Wally’s souvenir wall. All he needs now is a giant penny and a replica of a T-Rex and he’s set.

Best episode of the bunch so far, with lots of character building without having to go with the ol’ reliable that’s dipping into character backstories. I’d say it played well to Wally’s strengths and weaknesses, but to say that wanting to defeat a baddie when time’s of the essence of more of a priority issue than a full-on weakness. Either way, it does a good job of building up Wally’s likability, which when you’re given a full cast of heroes to deal with is more difficult than you’d think.

Episodic Review: Young Justice 19 (“Misplaced”)

Shorter intro is shorter. And spoiler-free, which I guess is a good thing.

A couple episodes behind, but figured I’d pick up Young Justice starting from the season (er, mid-season) break onwards, since the episodes have definitely picked up quality-wise, unlike some other Cartoon Network shows which I’m dropping due to lack of further interest. Anyways…

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Klarion the Witch Boy. His design and voice always seemed more fitting in a Teen Titans episode than in a Young Justice episode. Still, his involvement this time around along with his interactions with the heroes (his condescending line to Zatana about “baby magic” was great) added some check-plusses in my book. It also helps that I finally realized that he’s voiced by the guy that did The Tinkerer in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon.

Random aside: not exactly having the highest of hopes for the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Regardless of Spectacular’s animation style, it was able to hold solid story-telling throughout each and every one of its episodes. Ultimate seems to be taking a page out of the ‘90s cartoons in terms of animation style, but story-telling looks reminiscent of Teen Titans, which was hit or miss. Also Drake from Drake and Josh voicing Spidey… no. If they couldn’t get Josh Keaton, my number two would have been Michael J. Fox. Just imagine Marty McFly’s voice coming out of Spidey’s invisible mouth and smile only to follow it up with a cry knowing that it’ll never happen.

So I get that Zatanna isn’t this old in the comics and that any romantic tension between her and Robin shouldn’t be there, but she’s just so adorable, that I don’t care.

… that and it’s not like Barbara will be donning the Batwoman getup anytime soon, so I think it’s only fair to give Robin something along the lines of an office wife. And this one knows magic.

… a little too well. I didn’t like it when Aang was able to master unlocking his chakras over the course of less than a full episode, so to have Zatanna be able to pull off a tracking spell even after saying that it would be difficult to do just by copying off surveillance footage of her dad rubbed me the wrong way. But it’s magic, so whatever.

Honestly, even in the case of a worldwide epidemic in which all adults have inexplicably disappeared, I still feel like the most active forum topic on a teen board would be Hunger Games related. I personally take no preference when it comes to Team Gale or Team Peeta. I will say that Gale had the bigger muscles in the movie version, though.

I must say that even with his daddy issues, SuperBoy seems to get along well with the kiddies. Reminds me of a study on 20/20 a while ago about how kids react more positively to better looking people regardless of their (lack of) experience in the teaching field. Good-looking bastards.

I never understood whenever someone was able to take over all TV stations and they’d demonstrate by showing a bunch of TVs in a shop turning on. I’d assume a majority of them wouldn’t even be plugged in. Then again, I don’t know any shops around here that even do that kind of thing, so meh. I did like the Our War Game style where even people outside of the states are getting the transmission.

… don’t like this, though. You cut to Dakota City and yet you don’t show Static Shock and instead show (checks the YJ wiki) Rocket? And it looks like it hasn’t been her first appearance, either. I get that DC’s got quite the plethora of heroes to choose from and they’re giving the more obscure ones their chance to shine, but really. Needs. More. Static. Hell, I’d settle for Gear’s backpack, even.

Had some serious flashbacks about Gremlins here. Say they had to cross over into a different time zone. Would the effect still take place according to the exact time she was born? And that’s assuming she was born at exactly midnight, which I seriously doubt. Mehr, magic, so whatever.

Cool twist having Billy being able to play for both teams, but seeing the conversation made my head hurt. I’m assuming they just had Ms. Martian have some kind of cross-dimensional mind linkage dealie. Would be pretty annoyed if I were Billy saying “Batman wants me to tell you that Robin still has cleaning duty in the batcave this Wednesday.”

So there are some limitations when it comes to split dimensional magic. Kinda makes me wonder what would happen if someone in the adult world put on the helmet, too. Or if it would even exist? Would Nabu be merged with two people once the worlds merged back, or would he hold American Idol style auditions to figure out which host he’d make sign a life contract with?

… though, thought it was a bit weird that even with half his strength, Nabu was apparently only able to break through the dome with everyone else’s help. In the words of Jackie Chan’s uncle, I thought “magic must defeat magic.” And back to the dome, you’d think the baddies would have been smart enough to make it a full on sphere, going underground, too. Then again, it’s thinking like that that limits the possibilities before you even try something out, which is what I think made Captian Marvel shine this episode. Best kid in the show without having to deal with any teenage angst.

Something of an awkward escape on Klarion’s part, a la Raven’s sudden mass transportation powers whenever the situation called for it in Teen Titans. You’d think he’d teleport away while keeping the dome working or something like that. Again, magic, so mehr whatever.

Best dad in the world. Of all the adult heroes in the series, Zatara seemed the most down to Earth. He’s got a kid that’s following in his footsteps, but is hesitant in having her walk down that same path. Superhero-ing doesn’t exactly have the best health care package. Still, I feel like if anyone were best suited to play roomie to Nabu, it’d be him. I think the Earth explode from the over-abundance in amazing if Batman were to take on the helmet.

And finish it off with a shot of the real baddies. I have to admit, I’ve been getting tired of the episodes ending with the real baddies being engulfed in shadows, so it’s good to finally see a face or two, even if that means seeing the baddies that were part of the worst Teen Titans season ever. Where did the Doom Patrol go after those first episodes, anyway? Yeah, Titans season 5 sucked. Hard.

Episodic Reviews: Young Justice 10

Okay, so maybe I spoke too soon when I called Young Justice my new episodic review series. Though honestly, the more episodes I watch, the more involved each episode gets. Seriously, it’s reached the point that just trying to summarize single episodes without it eventually being watered down to “this time around, they’re trying to stop bad guy X who’s primarily from the Y comic series.”

Still, I feel the need to at least give a short run-down of my thoughts on episodes 5-9 before hitting up the new episode. To be blunt, a majority of these episodes had some kind of reference to a foreign language (real or fake). Dunno what’s up with the sudden interest, but at least in the case with episode 4, it was obvious even for a non-foreign speaker such as myself that any and all Spanish spoken in the episode was uncharacteristically slow. Y’know… kinda like it wasn’t being spoken by a native speaker. C’mon voice casters—the VA community can’t possibly be that white, can it?

My only other thoughts on the episodes preceding the season break pertains mainly to episode 9. Dude… shipping to the max. It should be expected when your main cast is composed of teens, but still, how things are playing out seems rather two-dimensional in that it’s pretty obvious which pairings we’re supposed to be rooting for. Especially uncharacteristic for the series when you consider how complex all the other character interactions are (read: Red Arrow).

So episode 10: something, something, fictional country that bears a striking resemblance to North and South Korea (with a sly reference to white and green martians for those that actually read into Martian’s Wiki page)… something, something, assassination attempt… ah, bad guys are Lex Luthor, hockey mask guy, mustache guy from Batman Begin, and girl that isn’t the Blue Spirit or a Kyoshi Warrior. Got it.

While I find it interesting that specific dates are being provided for the time span of these episodes, they also tend to be somewhat distracting when you consider that they’re being aired either nine months too late or three months too early. Still, good to know that at least some of the main cast is shown going to school. Though seeing that the school’s tough guy stood up for the geek in the presence of the new tough guy that is Super Boy is kinda strange. If anything, I could see the two either joining forces or (even more realistically) one giant feeling of indifference seen throughout all students in those scenes. Still, strange is interesting and makes for good TV, I guess.

The one big thing I’m left wondering now is that Red Arrow knows damn well just who the mole in the new League is and yet he doesn’t tell anybody. Arrow Alliance? Meh, I’m too lazy to back-check.


Young Justice: Initial Thoughts

Okay, I’m not gonna lie: the first time I saw ads for Cartoon Network’s latest DC show Young Justice, I pretty much assumed the same thing I did when I Justice League was airing—“Okay, it’s only got a handful of my favorite heroes, so why bother when I can watch those characters’ own individual shows instead of seeing them share the spotlight with all these nobodies?”

In general, the history of DC’s animated works is a rather interesting one, picking up around the time when the golden age of comics was waning. Shows like Batman: The Animated Series as well as Superman: The Animated Series paved the way for other superhero shows at the time, able to entertain a rather vast demographic with excellent story-telling, which in turn did an excellent job of fleshing out characters that have already been immortalized in their previous comic book adaptations. But what made DC’s superhero animated shows stand out was the fact that they had continuity among their shows. Exact characters and backstory from the Superman series took place in the same universe as that of Batman and even later shows such as Justice League and Static Shock. Hell, I’ve even heard convincing arguments shoe-horning Teen Titans into the same DC animated universe as the others. The fact that the characters weren’t limited to their own show really made viewers feel that they were watching an entire world unfold in front of their TV screens.

Enter DC’s later years of animated works. Sure, you still have your occasional voice consistencies, with Batman having the same voice actor in every cameo he’s been in, but with a majority of DC’s animated works nowadays being in the forms of direct-to-DVD releases, you’re given the feeling that what was once such a large world open for exploration has shrunken significantly. Add to this the changing times taking place on the Cartoon Network itself, what with their sudden change in demographic (which still remains unclear to me who the target audience for some of these shows is, honestly) and it is clear that the Golden Age of DC animation has long ended.

Don’t get me wrong, though. While “direct-to-DVD” doesn’t necessarily suggest an upper crust level of entertainment, there still remain some diamonds in the rough when it comes to DC’s latest releases, including Batman’s Under the Red Hood and even JLA’s Crisis on Two Earths. When it came to television series, however, DC has started to venture into further separating their all star characters, what with Batman’s numerous revamps as well as a couple shows that never really stood a chance (if it weren’t for Wikipedia, I wouldn’t even know about Legion of Super Heroes). Mathematically speaking, I guess it was only a matter of time before DC came out with something at least halfway decent to air.

Enter Young Justice. While initial thoughts preceding any actual viewing of the show were along the lines of this being the Tiny Toons to JLA’s Loony Toons, the series so far is able to stand well enough on its own two feet, making a point of using any non-teen superheroes sparingly.

While the core of the series is teenage versions of DC’s superheroes, the series is far different in tone of the off-the-wall Teen Titans, already flaunting such with its PG-rating at the start of each episode. But to say that the series’ tone is “more serious” isn’t to imply that what with its teenage cast, everything is incredibly angst-ridden. On the contrary, the main cast, initially comprised of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, and Miss Martian, all provide something different to the table, only starting to dabble in the angst when there’s a reason for it. My only minor annoyances would be towards Miss Martian’s character’s typical teenage girl mannerisms, though that could just as easily be explained by her own similarities to Martian Manhunter’s tendencies to sticking to tropes and the like as observed while watching television.

What I especially like about the first episodes in particular is the character of Speedy—Green Arrow’s “too cool to join the rest of the sidekicks” sidekick. Without taking viewers out of the action, he’s able to bring up any and all considerations I was willing to use against the series, in particular the fact that the sidekicks have joined the Justice League only to be given the second banana card once more when their big counterparts give them their own League comprised of nothing but sidekicks. I don’t know if you’d call it “meta” but considering the number of plotholes in other series where viewers tend to scream at the TV about why certain characters don’t think about this or that, I don’t know what else to call it.

Wow, so four episodes in and already we’re hitting material that woulda never passed ten years ago (maybe 20 years ago, but not ten years ago). Sure, we’ve still got lasers over guns, but the fact that an entire episode is based around what’s essentially a drug bust combined with some cultists is pretty intense. Was it only six years ago that people were complaining about Brother Blood and Trigon’s stories being rewritten for the TV version of Teen Titans?

A minor fear before starting the series was the portrayal of Superboy. In general, I’ve never been all that big on Superman and what with the failure that was Supergirl’s backstory in DC’s Apocalypse, I wasn’t all that willing to give him a chance. Upon watching though, the guy’s been given a pretty interesting backstory as well as has become the sole source of teenage rage. The fact that Supes and Superboy are voiced by the same guy is a nice touch.

The other characters fit their roles nicely. Robin is pretty much what we’ve all grown used to by now, so there’s not much to talk about there (unless you consider losing his Teen Titans spikey hair and iron-rimmed shoes something to write home about). The same goes for Kid Flash—the comic relief of the group as expected. The only real curve ball in terms of characters so far is Aqualad, who’s been rewritten as a completely different character than any of his comic book versions. For one, he’s voiced by Teen Titans’ Cyborg but (drum roll…) isn’t heavily blacksploitated. They even had the gall to make him group leader. I know, blasphemous.

Conclusion: Well, I pretty much got caught up in one mini marathon, so yeah, expect this to be my new go-to for episodic reviews this TV season.

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