Since the end of Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, DC Comics has been trying to launch the next big animated phenomenon. The latest entry is Young Justice, an elseworld series focusing on the adventures of a group of teenage heroes. To be clear, this isn’t the normal DC Universe; Young Justice takes place on Earth-16, where things are just slightly different. First of all, Aqualad runs the team and Dick Grayson’s Robin is on it, except he’s about 16 years old. Conner Kent is here as Superboy as is Wally West’s Flash and he’s also 15 years old. Rounding out the gang is Artemis, a female Green Arrow and Miss Martian. All characters we know but all very different than we’re used to.
Young Justice Season One: Volume Two is the middle slice of the first season. Don’t fret if you don’t own Volume One, nothing here is that hard to follow. Each of the episodes are essentially stand alone, though if you’re looking for an origin or the story of how these crazy kids got their own group, you’ll want to check out the first volume. I’m not sure why DC feels the need to split these episodes up into “volumes;” it would make more sense to collect them together, and it kind of ruins the flow of the storyline. The animation here is pretty standard computer animation. It works for the action but lacks the kind of personality older animation had such as the original Spider-Man cartoon or Scooby Doo.
The first of the four episodes is “Schooled”, which sets up the tension between the real Superman and his clone Superboy (Conner Kent). In this storyline, Conner Kent is a sullen and often angry young man. His existence troubles Superman, the one person that should be reaching out to Conner. The rest of the group is called in to try and stop Amazo but the plan goes awry due to Superboy’s hotheaded ways. By the end, everybody learns a valuable lesson, though Superman has yet to come around.
“Infiltrator” brings in the League Of Shadows and an assassin named Chesire. It also introduces Artemis, the female Green Arrow to the team. She’s the hotheaded spitfire, the one with all the attitude who has a dark secret to keep. The episode indicates that the League Of Shadows has a spy amongst the Young Justice members but I’m willing to be that isn’t Artemis’s big bad secret. It seems too easy even for a kids cartoon.
“Denial” is one of my two favorite episodes. Not only because it’s dark but it also features Dr. Fate. Klarion The Witch Boy is seizing upon the Helmet Of Fate and Young Justice is dispatched to stop the attack. I’m not sure why such a young and heavily inexperienced team would be the first call to defend something as powerful as the Helmet Of Fate but it does allow for Kid Flash to become Dr. Fate and that’s very cool.
The final episode, “Downtime” is my other favorite because Black Manta shows up. Aqualad returns to Atlantis to make sure he wants to stay on the surface world and continue leading Young Justice. Aqauman is called away and when Black Manta attacks it’s up to Aqualad to defend the realm. This episode also enters the first long-range arc by introducing a shadowy figure that’s out to destroy the Young Justice team.
All in all Young Justice is solid series. It’s got just enough action and drama to keep comic geeks of all ages interested. This isn’t as good as Batman: The Animated Series but it does rival Justice League Unlimited. Each character has their own personality and the chemistry between them is interesting. If Young Justice continues to grow and expand it could become a classic animated series.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 7.5/10