Going Through Young Justice Part One

Recently, Jimmy and Tom finished off Justice League Unlimited and the DCAU as a whole (minus a few shows here and there).  They had fun, and when those guys have fun, they keep having fun.  Why not?

Anyway, after a brief consideration of options, the pair opted to go with Young Justice next, an animated show with a very interesting history all on its own.  But for now, they have what could be seen as the two part series premier with the episodes “Independence Day” and “Fireworks”.

“Independence Day”

Four young heroes find joining the Justice League may not be what they had in mind.

jimmy:  And now for something completely different…

tomk:  We’re doing a Monty Python rewatch now?

jimmy:  No. Though that’s a grand idea. I’m not sure it will elicit much discussion though.

tomk:  In that case, what do you know about either the Young Justice comic book series or producer/animator Greg Weisman?

jimmy:  Who?  Does that answer your question?

tomk:  I am guessing I should address Weisman first.  He’s a fairly well-respected animation producer, but his work is often cut short.  The joke was he never last more than two seasons on anything people liked.  He created Gargoyles for Disney as a competitor to BTAS, but he was removed after two seasons.  The show went on, but many fans said it wasn’t as good as it used to be.    Later on, he produced Spectacular Spider-Man, a series many fans consider one of the best animated Spider-Man cartoons ever.  That got canceled after two seasons over some rights issues between Sony and Disney.  Then there was Young Justice…canceled after two seasons over toy sales from the sounds of things, but revived (with Weisman) years later for a third season and a fourth on the way.

jimmy:  Ah, I did love Spectacular Spider-Man.

tomk:  You’d probably love Gargoyles too…especially since just about every cast member of TNG appeared in at least one episode, and a couple other actors from other Trek shows besides them.

jimmy:  I’ve heard it is good, but it has never appealed to me.

tomk:  To each their own.

How about Young Justice in its comic book form?

jimmy:  Probably read an issue here or there as part of Infinite Crisis or some other such (which I mistyped as “suck” first, lol) crossover, but that’s about it.

tomk: OK.

Young Justice was another young superhero book, one that could be seen as a younger group than the Teen Titans who had all hits their early 20s by then (yet the Justice League doesn’t age).  Written by Peter David (one of my favorite writers back then), it was played more lightly.  Despite the title of the book, the team was never referred to by that name that I can recall.  Heck, they never really had a team name.  The line-up started with the Tim Drake Robin, Superboy, and Impulse.  After four or so issues, they got some female members with the Cassie Sandmark Wonder Girl, daughter of a superhero stage-mom Arrowette, and a ghost they call Secret.  They worked out of the Justice League’s original cave headquarters outside of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, originally under the tutelage of the Red Tornado.

Some of that will hold true on this show, but this show is also sort of a Teen Titans show.

jimmy:  But without Speedy…who I figured wasn’t sticking around long since he wasn’t in the opening credits.

tomk:  Perhaps. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Speedy.

Though even background characters think Kid Flash is Speedy.

jimmy:  I would too.  Speedy makes no sense for his nickname.

tomk:  And I’d be mad too if I had to wear that hat all day.

jimmy:  Yeah, he sure got the short end of the name and costume pile.

tomk:  Too bad he didn’t stick around to go to Cadmus.

jimmy:  It’s always Cadmus. These shows better be careful not to become a one trick pony.

tomk:  But this is a different Cadmus.  It’s actually closer to Jack Kirby’s original creation.

jimmy:  Hence Guardian.

tomk:  And Dubbilex.

jimmy:  That the horn guy?  He looks Kirby-esque.

tomk:  He is and he does.  You get a pat on the back.

jimmy:  What about the little psychic demon guys?

tomk:  Them not so much, but Cadmus does tend to have a lot of genetically created beings hanging around.

jimmy:  Like, I dunno, a clone of Superman?

tomk:  Well, yes. They made at least one of them once.

jimmy:  They practiced on a Supergirl clone.

tomk:  I might have to explain Match at some point, but not right now.

How did you like the set-up for this episode?

jimmy:  The whole “today is the day” thing?

tomk:  Well, the episode as a whole. You got a look at how this world works. You met four young heroes who each demonstrated distinct personalities, particularly Aqualad who was created for this show.

jimmy:  I thought as much.  Screw you, comics Aqualad!

tomk:  He appears later.

jimmy:  I was a little surprised to see the regular Justice Leaguers.  I guess I was expecting this to be a little more disconnected from them.  Not that I minded.

tomk:  You see them from time to time.

But we got this so far:  Speedy has a temper and he wants more respect, Robin is a hacker and prone to impulsiveness, Kid Flash is into science, and Aqualad is quiet, respectful, and reserved.

jimmy:  And we don’t know which Robin or Kid Flash it is…at this point anyway.

tomk:  Kid Flash has bright red hair. He’s probably Wally.

jimmy:  That would be my guess.

tomk:  But that’s for later. Did you like the trip to the Hall of Justice?

jimmy:  You mean the fake headquarters just there as a tourist attraction?

tomk:  Sure. Also, the Superfriends for real headquarters on the old cartoon.

Also, the League’s headquarters in Scott Snyder’s Justice League run.

jimmy:  Sure, sure. But here it was “fake”. Though did seem to have an elaborate computer and one giant impenetrable door.

tomk: And a lot of books and some comfy chairs.

Though I would note the statues outside plus the teleporter codes (that go by order of membership, i.e. Batman is A-2 or the second member probably after Superman) do tell us the founders of this League were Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter.  In other words, the founders of the League according to DC continuity at the time the show started.

Or thereabouts.  It might have been at the time the founders were supposedly Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary because Wonder Woman’s new origin didn’t leave room for that and Superman and Batman were in a similar boat.

jimmy:  I did notice the teleporter code thing.

tomk:  You should.  The GG teleporter uses a similar code.  It’s why I am GG-6.  You know, behind the founders, Greg, and the Moose.  Did you ever get your code?

jimmy:  It was revoked after “The Incident”.

tomk:  No wonder you’ve been missing so many staff meetings…did that rash ever clear up?

jimmy:  I’m still using a tube of ointment a day.

tomk:  Did Watson give you the ointment?

jimmy:  …

tomk:  If he did, I think I know why it isn’t working.

jimmy:  I should have known better.

tomk:  As for this episode, what were your initial thoughts?  I have some DC lore I can share on it.

jimmy:  I liked it.  I’m familiar with the characters, so it’s not a big stretch.  Seems like it might have the same issue with Superboy as Superman always has.  World of cardboard, etc.

tomk:  We’ll see on that.  How did the new Aqualad work out for you?

jimmy:  Didn’t see enough to judge yet, but he seemed fine.  His weapons were cool to allow him to manipulate the water.

tomk:  Also, electricity through water like an electric eel.

How about Robin?  We’re you whelmed by him?

jimmy:  I thought he was all right.  Sounds like you were?

tomk:  Well, he does like his word play.

jimmy:  And his computers.

tomk:  Did anyone stand out to you?

Like Guardian, who had the same voice actor as Speedy?

jimmy:  I never noticed but Speedy’s a non-starter at this point. I liked the core cast, so, so far so good.

tomk:  Like Khary Payton, the actor best known for playing Cyborg in Teen Titans and Justice League Action, here as Aqualad?

jimmy:  Was it?  I never noticed. His voice is usually more distinct.

tomk:  Aqualad is his calm voice.  Cyborg is his excited one.

There’s also Bruce Greenwood, who played Captain Pike in the rebooted Star Trek movies, as a very distinct Batman.  His Batman is very distinct from Conroy’s, but also a good take on the character as we’ll see going forward.

jimmy:  I was going to ask you who voiced the Dark Knight. No holdovers from Justice League, I guess.

tomk:  Well…Phil LaMarr is here, but this time, he’s Aquaman.

And some others, but yes, Aquaman.

jimmy:  That’s…something.

tomk:  You also probably recognized the distinctive voice of Rene Auberjonois as Dr. Desmond.  Desmond is an old DC foe, one who appeared as a silent addition to bad guy groups in JLU, but I won’t say which one.  That would be telling.

jimmy:  I did notice his voice, yes.

tomk:  Well, I hope you learned not to let strange cloning experiments out of tubes without checking on their level of conditioning first.

jimmy:  I’ll let you know the next time I come across one.

tomk:  Smart move.

jimmy:  Did you say you had some DC lore to lay on me?

tomk:  I think I covered it already. If I said more, I might give stuff away.

jimmy:  Cool, cool.

tomk:  Though I will add you should try to keep track of the time stamps in the corner. The passage of time is actually important on this show.

For example, this episode is titled “Independence Day,” suggesting July 4th, but the season finale is titled “Auld Acquaintance,” suggesting New Years.

jimmy:  …time stamps?

tomk:  They appear in the lower lefthand corner.  Tell you the time, place, and date of various given scenes.

jimmy:  I’ll take more notice next time.

tomk:  Are you ready for the next time?  I mean, this one ended with the three heroes of the episode getting themselves knocked out by a mute clone.

jimmy:  I am.

tomk:  Good, because there may be a lot more going on here than even you can guess.

“Fireworks”

The only hope for Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad to escape from Cadmus is to win over the mysterious Superboy!

jimmy:  Today is the day…again.

tomk:  Well, otherwise, tonight is the night.

jimmy:  That Superboy has got a super attitude problem.

tomk:  What?  He can’t fly, no heat vision, and he probably isn’t as strong as the real thing…who seems to have rejected him.  Never meet your heroes, Jimmy.

jimmy:  Yeah, Supes didn’t seem to handle that very smoothly.

tomk:  Same actor playing both Supers!

But fortunately for Aqualad, this Superboy does have super-hearing.

jimmy:  And super not being controlled by chimera powers.

tomk:  Didn’t you listen to Dubbilex?  The genetic experiments in the basement were victims too.

It’s not like they had members with great strength and mental powers that could have gotten past that one guy who seemed to be running things.

Oh wait…

jimmy:  He turned himself into an old video store anyway.

tomk:  What?  You didn’t recognize Blockbuster from JLU?

jimmy:  He looks even more like a poor man’s Hulk there.

tomk:  He kinda is.  Though he started off as a Batman villain.  These days he’s more of a Nightwing villain.

jimmy:  Not sure I’ve read anything he’s been in.

tomk:  After Underworld Unleashed, he got a new look and a bigger brain to make him smart, too.

Don’t sell your soul to a tricky demon, Jimmy.

jimmy:  Good advice.  I had an appointment to this afternoon.  Looks like I’ll be cancelling that!

tomk:  In this version, he drank a potion and Kid Flash stole his nose.

Ew…

jimmy:  That always riles up the super villains.

tomk:  He was then kinda easy to take down.  Just knock down all the ceiling support and wait for him to not pop up right away when the Justice League finally shows up.

jimmy:  It was a very video game end level boss kind of finish.

tomk:  You have a better plan?

jimmy:  Well…no…but that’s the vibe I got from it.

tomk:  I am sure Aqualad could have just put an orb of water over Blockbuster’s head and uh…wait, that’s probably fatal…

jimmy:  He put that eel power to good use.

tomk:  And Robin still had his hacking equipment.  Clearly, Desmond knew what he was doing there.  Those mysterious board members calling themselves the Light are, I am sure, going to give him a good performance review.

jimmy:  You always lock up your captures in full uniform with all their gadgets. Super Villain-y 102, after long explanation of evil plan that gives the hero time to escape.

tomk:  Except…we don’t really know the evil plan.  I mean, we know Desmond’s…but that’s it.  Our heroes don’t even know the Light, whoever they are, exists yet.

jimmy:  Obscured figures on multiple computer screens are always up to no good.

tomk:  And almost certainly brand new characters.

jimmy:  Of that I guess we’ll see…though you already know…

tomk:  I will promise you one thing: the mysterious voice you hear is not Lex Luthor.

jimmy:  That’s exactly what someone that wanted me to think it wasn’t Lex Luthor would say!

tomk:  I might want you to think that because it’s true.

jimmy:  Interesting theory.

tomk:  You were the one complaining they were retreading old storylines.

jimmy:  That’s true.

So it seems like Batman is going to be a presence throughout the run.  Plus Red Tornado and Black Canary.

tomk:  Yes.

They will be running covert missions for Batman. Their group will only ever be known as the Team.

But different members of the League will be more prominent than others.

We may see a lot of Batman, but someone like Hawkman, not so much.

jimmy:  He’s creepy.

tomk:  Hawkman?

jimmy:  Ask John.

tomk:  John Stewart or J’onn J’onzz?

jimmy:  Stewart.

tomk:  Well, if I ask him, he’ll say he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him.

jimmy:  Do they like him enough to put him in this series?

tomk:  He was in that scene when the League showed up. So was Hal and both Hawks.

jimmy:  Was he?  I know I saw Hal there.

tomk:  Yes, he was.

jimmy:  Rewatches. He was.

tomk:  You’re faster than I am. I found the clip.

jimmy:  Pretty obvious when watching at 5pm and not a sleepy 10:30pm.

tomk:  You mean you missed the guy floating behind everyone that couldn’t fly?  Hal is too good to provide transportation.

jimmy:  Sleepy.

tomk:  Well that makes me grumpy. But you aren’t dopey, so now I am happy.

jimmy:  As happy as The Team in their new/old headquarters?

tomk:  Well, as happy as Kid Flash that there’s a girl on the Team.

jimmy:  The Flash doesn’t fall far from the speed force.

tomk:  Oh, so the one thing they kept from the other show, and that you make jokes about.

jimmy:  Hey, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

tomk:  It’s Jenny, who may be three ducks in a woman suit?

jimmy:  Quite possibly. Which makes Jonathan Kid Flash.

tomk:  Or someone else.

jimmy:  Does Martian Manhunter have a daughter in the comics?  I’m thinking yes?

tomk:  A dead one. He said Miss Martian was his niece here. Looks like they are going by the Silver Age view where Mars is still inhabited.

jimmy:  Right, niece.  I knew his family had been killed…as had everyone else.  But not in this continuity I guess.

tomk:  This continuity is like a cross between the Silver Age and the Post-Crisis, Pre-New 52 timeline.

jimmy:  We need a big crossover event to straighten all this continuity out!

tomk:  Um, no. Just remember this reality never had a Titans team.

jimmy:  Is this Robin #1?

tomk:  Yes.

jimmy:  He’s really the only one to ask about. I don’t think there was a Kid Flash 2 or Speedy 2.

tomk:  Um…

jimmy:  Here comes Tom with the DC knowledge!

tomk:  Bart Allen went from Impulse to Kid Flash for a period. The second Speedy was a girl named Mia Dearden.

jimmy:  Well, we know it’s not Speedy 2. Bart becoming Kid Flash must have been after my time.

tomk:  He’s Impulse again these days.

And the Rebirth KF is another Wally.

jimmy:  Though original recipe Wally is back now.

tomk:  Yes.  Yes, he is.  We don’t need to talk about that silliness.

Alright, so we have a headquarters, official League sanction, a  new member, and a mission after they found out Cadmus had a new 52 levels no one knew about outside the mysterious Light. Any other thoughts on the series set-up, Jimmy?

jimmy:  52 levels, eh?

tomk:  That’s what Batman said.

jimmy:  DC sure loves that number.

tomk:  Well, you buy 50 and get 2 free.

jimmy:  Good deal.

tomk:  One may be a pirate universe.

jimmy:  Arrgh-uably a great deal!

tomk:  Well, you can get your booty later. Anything else to add here aside from the fact you shouldn’t say “booty” around Watson?

jimmy:  I guess not.  I’m intrigued so far.

tomk:  Well, good. Wanna learn more about Miss Martian beyond the fact she’s voiced by Danica McKeller?

jimmy:  Winnie, eh?

tomk:  The very same.

jimmy:  Intriguing.

tomk:  Ready for more?  Maybe Speedy will change his mind.

jimmy:  Intriguing.

tomk:  Is there an echo in here?

jimmy:  No. Let’s go!

NEXT:  Tom and Jimmy watch the Team coalesce some more with the episodes “Welcome to Happy Harbor” and “Drop-Zone”.

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