They Grow Up So Fast
(Or between seasons…)
Young Justice “Invasion” takes place five years after the end of season one. Our young heroes aren’t so young anymore, and have moved on to be married twenty-somethings, bitter twenty-somethings, or both.
The antagonists are still supposed to be this conspiracy of super villains called “The Light,” but the conspiracy is so conspiratorial and so secret, that these guys barely show up to make appearances in their own cartoon. The heroes rarely even encounter them the entire season. The bulk of the bad guy role is played by a slimy invading alien race called The Reach.
Season two in a sentence: Our young sidekicks have become young-ish semi-heroes who need to protect the earth (while the Justice League is conveniently out-of-the-picture) from invading aliens, a nebulous conspiracy of Earth villains, misunderstandings and betrayal about each other, self-esteem issues, geeked-out hero worship, the destruction of their entire mountain base, the public turning against them, new superpowered kids with attitude, and some awful cola, all while maintaining their monotone delivery and learning the true meaning of love (okay not that last part).
The serious monotone of the show got a little old, but it was still appreciated in light of the alternative. (Ben 10 Alien Force and Ultimate Alien were similarly toned. Now we miss that mature take now in light of the completely unappealing Ben 10 Omniverse redesign for 3rd graders. Ultimate Spiderman was made for 4th graders… ugh.) So we’re grateful for a superhero show with a semi-serious, semi-mature demeanor, like Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The characters featured so prominently in season one were reduced to supporting characters in season two, including most of the original Young Justice team. If you’re a big Blue Beetle fan, you were probably all right with this. A fitting name for season two could have been, ‘Blue Beetle and His Amazing Friends.’ On the bright side, we got to see some second-tier characters of interest, and an interesting take on Warworld.
What about Robin, Zatanna, and Lex Luthor? Three character depictions we pointed out last season as extra enjoyable. The Dick Grayson Robin became Nightwing, and was depicted well enough. Zatanna was almost a no-show, and Lex Luthor was reduced to recruiting teens with attitude, and making contaminated soda pop.
Characters of note this season were Arsenal. He’s a good example of what happens when superhero archer’s give up the bow, and develop attitude. A showdown in the parking lot against Lex Luthor and cyborg bodyguard Mercy was one of the season’s more enjoyable battles. It was also fun to see the revival tour of the ever-living ones continue with “The Immortal Vandal Savage” and constantly resuscitated Rhys al Ghul taking a prominent, intellectual role amongst the bad guys.
We enjoyed the art direction, although we still think there could be more meat on the Justice Leaguers. They are drawn a little slim in our opinion, a look more fitting the junior heroes. Overall, Young Justice is worth watching if you’re looking for a serious superhero show. If you’ve enjoyed comic books and have any reasonable breadth of knowledge in the DC universe, you’ll find the wide and various depictions of interest, and the action fun.