Saturday Morning Cartoons: Young Justice

Sadly, today is the final episode of Young Justice and Green Lantern the Animated Series (more on the latter next week). Many could (and do) argue that both these shows were not given a fair chance. I try to look at it different, it didn’t need to exist at all, let alone at this amazing level of quality. Young Justice stars many of the DC’s sidekick or younger heroes forming their own group. Greg Weisman produced the show. His other notable works/creations are Disney’s Gargoyles and the short lived Spectacular Spider-Man. Both excellent shows.

With Young Justice, we got 46 amazing episodes across two seasons. Each season having their own tone. Season one saw the formation of the young team while they learn to work together. The first two episodes aired together in November ’10 as a special, and began airing proper in 2011. Robin (Dick Grayson), Aqualad, and Kid Flash break into the Cadmus lab, as it is in flames. They discover it’s being run by Genomorphs (weird alien like creatures). Upon investigating they discover a clone of Superman (Superboy). Freeing him he flies into a rage (a theme for the first season). Eventually the 4 escape. The Justice League decides it’s time the team is given more responsibility, so Young Justice is formed. Artemis (Green Arrow’s niece) and Miss Martian fill out the roster.

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The show was so popular initially that a 2nd season (entitled Invasion) was commissioned. Over the course of the first 26 episodes we see the team deal with many threats the league is too busy to handle, along with the potential of a mole on the team. The mole is supposedly informing The Light, a super villain conclave formed by the likes of Vandal Savage, Ra’s Al Ghul, Klarion the Witch Boy, Lex Luther, etc. By the end of season 1 we find out who the mole is (the answer might surprise you).

Due to Cartoon Network’s spotty airing of the show, when season 1 ended, the following week immediately rolled into season 2. The season picks up 5 years later in medias res, with many changes to the status quo. Robin is now Nightwing, the roster has more than doubled, and Aqualad, the teams previous leader, has rejoined his father, the Aquaman villain Black Manta. He blames the death of his girlfriend Aquagirl (Tula) on the team. This along with a few other changes make for a very interesting first half of the season, as we learn what happened and why.

As I mentioned earlier, Cartoon Network was a little all over the place with its airing of this and Green Lantern. Things went well at first. We got some episodes in the spring and more in the fall. Inexplicably, last fall, after two episodes the shows were pulled. It was so sudden that the next episodes made it to itunes for purchase. All the fans got was an obnoxious tweet “Hey #DCNation fans! Have you heard?? DC Nation will return in January with all new episodes!” later that Saturday afternoon. The remaining episodes have been airing in January since. Sadly, both shows have since been cancelled.

Maybe it’s too complex for kids to follow, especially considering the success of the cringe worthy Ultimate Spider-Man show on Disney XD. Looking back at DC’s previous output with the Timmverse shows (Batman: TAS, Superman, Justice League Unlimited, etc). I think many fans want a continuation of that run, or a new run of shows in the same vain. I doubt we’ll ever see anything like that again. We were lucky to get something like that in the first place. Many shows like Avengers: EMH, Wolverine and the X-Men, Spectacular Spider-Man, and now Young Justice and Green Lantern have all ended prematurely. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little upset by it. Again though, they didn’t need to exist at all. And there will be another awesome show to take it’s place eventually. Probably won’t be Teen Titans Go! or Beware the Batman though. Seriously, read the premise for the latter.

Did you enjoy Young Justice? What’s your favorite animated superhero show? Comment or tweet!

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