If there was one series that DC fans were really looking forward to the most on the company’s new streaming service, it wasn’t a new one so much as a return of a canceled one. The animated series Young Justice that Cartoon Network jerked around the schedule only to abruptly cancel returned, and the first half of the third season is now available on the service.
I know I was a fan of the original run. So, how’s the new one?
The good news is, it’s like the series never left. Producer/creator Greg Wiseman seems to have picked up where he left off with most of the original cast and writing crew returning for the next installment of the epic animated series about the young heroes of the DC Universe growing up and taking their places on or adjacent to the Justice League.
And I mean that growing up part. As with the previous jump between seasons, the show picks up two years after the end of season two, a season that ended with Kid Flash seemingly dead and Vandal Savage shaking hands with Darkseid to proclaim it was “business as usual”. In the two years since then, Nightwing is still a solo act, Miss Martian is running the covert group for younger heroes still known as “the Team,” while the one-time Aqualad has actually moved on to become the new Aquaman and co-leader of the Justice League alongside Wonder Woman. The League itself and the Team have both added new members, and that always was one of the fun perks to Young Justice: the idea that there is a bigger DCU out there beyond whatever is happening on screen, where other heroes are off having adventures of their own. Some of the new Leaguers are the sort of Easter eggs the show specializes in, and since the series is set in something akin to the pre-Flashpoint DCU, it is nice to see something like the old continuity in action again. That’s not to say anything done since Flashpoint is nowhere to be seen. The show does make changes to the old stories to fit their own in-universe continuity and newer characters can still show up for quick cameos.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but it does continue the series’ tradition of well-crafted twists and turns. Knowing old DC continuity might help if you want to predict stuff, but it’s hardly necessary. Something is going on where young metahuman teenagers are being kidnapped in large numbers in some kind of human trafficking operation. Nightwing, not quite over being a solo act, decides to take it upon himself to pull together a quick mission to put a stop to it, and along the way ends up training a brand new team of heroes that are more or less most of the classic Outsiders team. As such, it isn’t long before Dick Grayson is back doing the one thing he didn’t think he wanted to do.
There’s a lot of good stuff here. A Beast Boy centered episode makes full use of the fact the character was recast with his longtime Teen Titans voice Greg Cipes while another turns the spotlight on the Light’s most mysterious member thus far Vandal Savage. There;s just so much good stuff going on with returning guest stars, name drops in the background, and a host of other things that I would think longtime DC fans, and I am not sure who else would even subscribe to this streaming service, should be quite pleased with the result. The best thing I can honestly say is it is like the series never left, and this is a show I would argue competes with the extended DCAU in terms of quality.
On one other note, though, the violence level has gone up a bit, plus there’s some sex going on off-camera. This season is showing a bit more blood, death, and adult-type stuff than the series used to. It’s not as bad for violence as, say, Titans, and certainly isn’t using that live action show’s level of profanity, but this time around it does look like the series may be aiming for a slightly older audience than it did before. With that in mind, let’s say 9.5 out of 10 animals sleeping over the closing credits.
Yeah, the fact it’s done so soon and won’t be back to June cost it half a point.