Young Justice (Invasion) [2012] Season 2: 20 Episodes

They Grow Up So Fast

(Or between seasons…)

Young_Justice_wondergirlYoung 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.

Not a cape amongst this happy group. BTW, one of these heroes does not stand like the others.

Not a cape amongst this happy group. BTW, one of these heroes does not stand like the others.

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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.

Black Manta was not rejected for "The Light" because of his moniker. ANd we like him too much to reject him because this voice depiction was less fun than previous versions.

Black Manta was not rejected from “The Light” because of his moniker. And we won’t reject him despite a voice depiction less fun than previous versions.

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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).

Young_Justice_explosion

Although there is some romance with aliens in cool outfits. (Here they are following the Star Trek method of making aliens. Modify the skin tone and add a slight facial difference. Hey, it's cost effective.

Although there is some romance with aliens in cool outfits. (Here they follow the Star Trek method of making aliens. Modify the skin tone and add a slight facial difference. Hey, it’s cost effective.)

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.

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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.

Young_Justice_warworld

Black Beetle, Green Beetle, its the new rage. The Beetles are a hit.

Black Beetle, Green Beetle, its the new rage. The Beetles are a hit.

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Don't you feel special!

Don’t you feel special!

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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.

Young_Justice_Batman_Robin_Nightwing_Batgirl_barbara_gordon

Okay, Zatanna, Miss Martian, Hawkgirl, look up.

Okay, Zatanna, Miss Martian, Hawkgirl, look up.

Young_Justice_artemis_zatanna_cosplay

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.

Young_Justice_Rhys_al_Ghul_Vandal_Savage_the_light

"Am I IN this season?"

“Am I IN this season?”

"More than we are." (Do not fret. DC is considering a new show called "Middle Aged Justice.")

“More than we are.” (Do not fret. DC is considering a new show called “Middle Aged Justice.”)

Young_Justice_wondergirl_robin_cosplay

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.

See a Bat-family picnic.

See a Bat-family picnic.

See... Capt. Cold? Really? We can't help it. We like this kooky old school villain. He's like Mysterio that way.

See… Capt. Cold? Really? We can’t help it. We like this kooky old school villain. He’s like Mysterio that way.

And then there was the season three teaser...

And then there was the season three teaser… (Which, considering the cancellation of this series, is all you’re going to get.)

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Young Justice takes:

Young Justice [2010] Season 1

Young Justice [2012] Season 2

Check out our other Batman and DC Comics takes:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]

All-Star Superman [2011]

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Wonder Woman [2009]


Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2011] Season 2. 26 Episodes

Armor for everybody! (except you, Hulk.)

Iron Man and his Amazing Friends! Co-starring "War-man" and "Pepper-star!"

Iron Man and his Amazing Friends! Co-starring “War-man” and “Pepper-star!”

Seriously. Check out Blizzard's homage to Iceman's classic means of travel.

Seriously. Check out Blizzard’s homage to Iceman’s classic means of travel.

After a three-year hiatus, Iron Man: Armored Adventures returned for a second season. It was not a good time to be a Stark. Neither Howard nor his son Tony had much go right, but in the end they did overcome kidnapping, financial ruin, corporate shenanigans, maniacal mutants, maniacal armor wearing morons, megalomaniacal armor wearing doctors, manic Pepper Potts in armor, and oh, an alien invasion.

Does this kind-hearted soul look megalomaniacal to you?

Does this kind-hearted soul look megalomaniacal to you?

Justin Hammer's Titanium Man used a derivative name, but was rather maniacal.

Justin Hammer’s Titanium Man used a derivative name, but was rather maniacal.

The look was even better than season one. The cel shading style still closely emulated Skyland. The number of quality assets constructed for this season was large, yet the French and Indian animation houses produced fantastic visuals on a television budget.

Madame Masque's 1st season episode was strong. This season's not-so-much. This looks like a bad date...

Madame Masque’s 1st season episode was strong. This season’s not-so-much. (Alternate caption: ‘Your costume party date… is unhinged.’)

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"How do you keep kicking my butt in those heels?"

“How do you keep kicking my butt in those heels?”

Where season two could have been better was in the writing department. Many of the individual episodes were well composed, but the overall flow, the arc of the season lacked focus. The finale involved Gene Khan’s Mandarin, but the set-up was weak. We see across multiple episodes, frustrating cameos of Gene manipulating cruelly a kidnapped Howard Stark. But there is no development of Gene since last season, except that he is less palatable.

Howard Stark says things like, "We can do great good for this world, son." Gene Khan's mom said things like, "You will complete our purpose rule the world."

Howard Stark says things like, “We can do great good for this world, son.” Gene Khan’s mom said things like, “You will complete our purpose and rule the world.”

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So the Mandarin's ten magic-- er, 'Makluan technology' rings are actually artifacts from these goofy looking aliens?

So the Mandarin’s ten magic– er, ‘Makluan technology’ rings are actually artifacts from these wacky looking aliens?

Let’s cram season two into a sentence: Tony’s father Howard is not actually dead but kidnapped by the Mandarin and forced to help him acquire more power while Iron Man tries to carry on despite his company being stolen, and just about everybody from corporate big wigs to AIs and even nutjob students taking aim at him, though ultimately unsuccessfully thanks to his whiny friend James Rhodes, bi-polar friend Pepper Potts, and an almost completely reassembled cast of the Avengers movie.

Hulk shows up for the finale, and punches a big alien machine... Where have we seen that before?

Hulk shows up for the finale, and punches a big alien machine… Where have we seen that before?

Iron_Man_boy_hulk_cosplay_

Sure,, this season's sudden focus on the Avengers cast was just coincidence...

Sure, this season’s sudden focus on the Avengers cast was just coincidence…

Who dons armor this season? (The shorter list would be who doesn’t.) Yes, Pepper does, to our chagrin, corporate nutjob Justin Hammer, Howard Stark, even Tony’s grandson from the future, plus of course the entire armored rogue’s gallery of the Marvel Universe. Even non-armored characters like Magneto wore armor.

The Ghost is still a cool character not easily beat. Magneto in armor? Hmmm. And the winner of this season's goofiest armor is Iron Man 2099. Are those your glow in the dark pajamas?

The Ghost is still a cool character not easily beat. Magneto in armor? Hmmm. And the winner of this season’s goofiest armor is Iron Man 2099. Are those your glow in the dark pajamas?

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_doctor_doom_castle

But the stand out depiction, and the most pleasant surprise of the season was that of Doctor Doom. It was the best depiction we have seen of him since John Byrne’s Fantastic Four run back in the day. A great voice and modulation, and his wacky mix of tech and magic. Okay, they retconned his magic to be “really advanced quantum technology.” It was the only slip up, and unnecessary.

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_doctor_doom_victor_beat

"Kneel before doom!"

“Kneel before Doom!”

It was great to see young Iron Man, before he came into the fullness of his power, get his butt swiftly and mercilessly kicked. He was totally outclassed, which was a nice change up since he kicked butt all season long. Doom’s visual effects were different and exciting. He was not dumbed or powered down. We give props to shows when they do not emasculate the powerful veteran to make the newbie star look good (Huntik also handled this well).

Iron_Man_Armored_Adventures_Season_2_doctor_doom_advanced_rendering

"Check out my cool stealth armor and space armor. Huh? You think the red lights give my stealth armor away?"

“Check out my cool stealth armor and space armor. Huh? You think the red lights give my stealth armor away?”

Iron Man: AA offers a fun glimpse into lesser known Marvel universe characters. Their depictions are solid and worthy of them. We can even forgive the shameless latching-on to the phenomenally successful Avengers movie cast. Tony, in slightly unbelievable fashion, cranks out new armor types to please fans of the franchise. (Most of them, thankfully, retain the round uni-beam.) Overall, it is a finely crafted show still worth watching.

PS – This looks like the end of production for Iron Man Armored Adventures. It was a good and entertaining two-season run. We would enjoy seeing more of it.

When in the Hulkbuster armor, Tony needs only say, "Talk to the hand."

When in the Hulkbuster armor, Tony needs only say, “Talk to the hand.”

"This commute is really starting to stink..."

“This commute is really starting to stink…”

Check out another rock anthem theme song. It rawks:

Check out other Iron Man related takes:

Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2008] Season 1

Iron Man (anime) [2011] Season 1

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 1

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 2

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow [2008]

Check out some of our other Marvel takes:

Green Lantern: The Animated Series [2011] Season 1

Hulk Vs Thor [2009]

Thor: Tales of Asgard [2011]

Green Lantern: The Animated Series [2011] Season 1 part 1: Episodes 1-13

Power Rings for Everybody!

(Colors may vary; not available in all sectors.)

Green Lantern the Animated Series was a pleasant surprise, and for the most part surprisingly good. It only teased you briefly with a Green Lantern universe cliché before rocketing you away (literally) on a new adventure.

Cliche number one! The many, many trials of Hal Jordan…

The entire season in an emerald sentence: Outside of Guardian space, there are “frontier” Green Lanterns embroiled in a nasty war with vengeance driven Red Lanterns, although they are too far away to help until a friendly Guardian encourages Hal Jordan and Kilowog to steal an experimental ship run by a female AI who wants to be human (what else) and they arrive, marooned (conveniently) for the length of the season, where they make unlikely allies, encounter multiple shades of power ring, and teach the true meaning of love to an AI, a heartbroken Red Lantern, and the seriously messed-up Star Sapphires.

“Won’t someone teach me love?”

“…uh, except maybe you guys…” (Even an AI is smart enough to look for love advice anywhere but from the Star Sapphires.)

Aya the AI sounds a lot like this:

Placing the setting in a far-off region helps the producers with one Green Lantern problem. That being the literal army of Green Lanterns ready to jump in and aid our heroes if called upon. That was good, since life and death were on the line in many of the episodes. We give the show props for mature themes and scenarios that included the vengeful death of entire planets, self-sacrifice for family, lost love, …and the rather cruel affection of the Star Sapphires.

A sad, conflicted man–silhouetted by the girly lavender glow of Star Sapphires?

One Green Lantern cliché that they did not avoid was the plethora of power rings. We say this out of well-rounded general knowledge of that universe, not out of detailed comic book information. So the Green Lanterns with their green power rings are fighting Red Lanterns with their red power rings. We know that Hal Jordan’s arch enemy, Sinestro uses a yellow power ring. And from a source we cannot even guess, someone becomes a Blue Lantern. Yet there is still one entry to make our kaleidoscope complete.

We don’t even know where you came from.

Buy one power ring at full price, get two free! While supplies last. Green is almost out of stock.

The Star Sapphires are a dangerously superpowered order of women scorned by men. They are bitter, good-looking shrews with the power to transport over great distances using the power of their misguided notion of love. Oh, and of course they use purple power rings. Hal Jordan’s sometimes angry girlfriend is transported to them and turned into a scornful Star Sapphire. The order apparently believed that love entailed imprisoning their men forever in crystal, and tapping their life energy. Some of you may be able to relate.

She’s not your friend Aya. Look at her eyebrows. She’s evil!

The character art direction was un-apologetically stylized and fun, not lacking in any department. Human characters looked sufficiently manly or pretty, many of the humanoid aliens looked sufficiently–er, alien. And even the alien girls looked pretty. Ah, except for Kilowog’s new girlfriend (just imagine a female version of him) who also stupefyingly gets turned into a Star Sapphire.

Oh Hal, you’re such a smoothy.

Wait, she’s a Green Lantern too?

The art direction for settings, ships, camerawork and special effects was also handled well with no glaring faults. We felt like they showed us a lot in 13 episodes. Jam packed into them were numerous planets, multiple cultures, spaced stations and alien nasties. Oh, and space battles, lots of space battles.

With a stained glass window depiction like this, how bad could Atrocitus really be?

You may ask to what extent a green energy cannon manifestation can damage a ship of metal and energy shields. Issues like that highlight the sometimes amorphous nature of the Green Lantern’s power. It can make the drama harder to frame, so the show occasionally falls back on more solid plot devices like rings running out of power, or areas that block their energy.

Oh boy, lookout Hal. Even your girlfriend, Carol Ferris, becomes a Star Sapphire. (Although, the mask IS kinda cute.)

A fine climax, played out with impressive visual scale. We would recommend this season. It has action enough for younger viewers, and maturity enough for the rest.

Wait, the PLANET is a Green Lantern too? Who isn’t a Lantern this season?

“Oops. Did I do that?”

Check out our Green Lantern takes:

Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

Green Lantern: The Animated Series – Season 1 [2012]

Check out our other DC Comics takes:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]

All-Star Superman [2011]

Superman vs. The Elite [2012]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Young Justice [2010] Season 1

Wonder Woman [2009]

Superman vs. The Elite [2012]

The “S” Goes Bad

(okay, not really, but it is the feature’s hook)

Maybe the producers over at DC are bored with depictions of their heroes and feel the need to resort to kooky one-off features. Often they choose an out of the mainstream but critically acclaimed comic run or graphic novel as inspiration. But many of us out here are just looking for a good Superman movie… We thought Supes vs the Elite was going to fall in the too edgy for its own good category. It did stumble a bit in that regard, but overall was a decent piece.

Heroes permanently taking out murderous super villains is not an unheard-of topic. It might be more believable in characters like Batman or Wolverine. Putting Superman in that conundrum was understandably against type, and moved the plot. However involving the UN, already a dysfunctional collection of thugs and despots, just seemed too close to the daily frustrations lovers of freedom already experience with the misguided body.

“Atomic Skull?” Really DC?

Super lantern jaw!

Our patented synopsis in a sentence: In a politically correct stretch, murderous supervillains doing what they do best is linked to the bad actions of rogue nations, and people cry out for permanent justice, a tenant obviously against Superman’s way, when a group of superpowered British punks start offing baddies and Superman has to (seemingly) adopt their dark ways to put a stop to their strangely unchallenged-by-the-rest-of-the-DC-universe ways.

Hmmm… Yeah, I wonder if any other hero might notice this…

The United Nations, perhaps started with good intentions, has devolved into an anti-American, anti-first world, anti-freedom body. It is a Star Wars bar scene of corruption. “A wretched hive of scum and villainy,” as Obi Wan Kenobi said. Most countries are not international law-abiding democracies. Earth is not Krypton. The plot link to the UN seemed tenuous and self-important.

See Superman get kissed by a… girl… thing.

With that said, there is a difference between rogue nations at war and murderous psychos like Atomic Skull. Would we like to see rogue nations turned into first-world democracies that raise the standard of living for all inhabitants? Yes. Do we want to imbue unaccountable entities like the UN or superheroes with the power to determine the actions of any nation? That is a dangerous can of worms. We appreciate the, “Can’t we all just get along?” message, through it was a bit forced.

“Truth, justice, and the American way. It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it,” Pa Kent reminded Supes. (He forgot to mention the virtue of pie.).

An artist’s rendering of Fortress Takes’ secret base.

The art style was a little strange, but not bad.They tried a little too hard to be hip in the opening credits. And the purposely juvenile Superman cartoon in the beginning was an over-the-top way of emphasizing the Kryptonian’s boy scout demeanor.

The voice portrayals were good, although Lois Lane and her Demi Moore-wannabe husky voice sounded more like a teenager. Still, we liked the banter and portrayal of a mature relationship between her and Supes.

Lois Lane also sings alto in her high school chorus.

So “the Elite” wanted to kill Supes, and threatened the entire world and its other Superheroes if they got in the way of their new rule. Really? Look, the new punks were pretty strong together, but did they really think they could stand up to the amassed power of the Justice League? Or Dr. Fate by himself even? Not a chance. That was one area in which believability faltered. It was a one-hero world.

This feature is worth checking out. It is a complete story, not a disjointed collection like Justice League: The New Frontier. Just go in with your expectations adjusted accordingly.

Read more Fortress Takes or Superman may just punch you in the face!

Check out our other DC Comics takes:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

All-Star Superman [2011]

Superman vs. The Elite [2012]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Young Justice [2010] Season 1

Wonder Woman [2009]


Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens [2012]

A Step Backwards

(…then a trip and fall.)

Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens is without the doubt the weakest entry in the growing library of the franchise. And when we say “weakest,” we are being generous. It was terrible. A true disappointment. Perhaps this is even more so because we have come to expect and mostly gotten better from Man of Action’s series.

Evil Way Big rages! Rages against Destroy All Aliens!

Our patented one-sentence synopsis will save you the headache of this dog: Extra annoying prepubescent Ben and Gwen experience an untold adventure (which should have remained untold) shoehorned into the first series continuity but with little regard to the characters or fun-factor in which Ben and company have a series of the most boring action scenes only to discover the boring secret behind the miserable encounters, oh, and along the way Ben learns the politically correct meaning of schoolwork (this message brought to you by the National Government School Ass.).

In an incredible twist, homework is more enjoyable than Destroy All Aliens.

Ben and Gwen were more unlikeable than ever depicted. Their banter, which we suppose was to be the family squabble type, was more of the “these two really hate each other” type. Each of their encounters made them more unsympathetic than the last.

Abuse of power. Try not to let this depiction cloud your fine memories of Ben 10. (Maybe it is all a dream, like that season of Dallas. -Look it up, true believers.)

Gwen; too powerful (and liberal with those powers) than originally depicted Ben 10, had abilities more akin to the Alien Force era. Unfitting on such an annoying child. Grandpa Max, a character we used to like a lot more, had his lines and contribution reduced to about five versions of, “Hey, cut it out you two.”

Max Tennyson: World’s toughest babysitter.

The character treated the worst was Azmuth, the long-lived, venerable, sometimes wise, scientific, and reclusive father figure of the show. Normally a great and fun character in his rare appearances. Here, he was voiced awfully. He was whiny instead of his detached cantankerousness we have come to expect. A horrid depiction topped off with the inexplicable decision to introduce HIS father… Huh? Really? Why? (There is no good answer.)

It was more like Azmuth’s son than Azmuth… What was with this outfit? Why is he smiling? Why is he wearing swim fins?

The computer generated animation was awful. Not stylized simple, just simple. Not flat colored for the cartoony look, shaded simple for rendering on the intern’s netbook they borrowed for this “feature.”

We could say something snarky here about the computer graphics… but we just do not have the heart… We will just say they could have done better.

The only bright spot was the returning alien, Tetrax. He is a fun and sympathetic character. His race forms the template of the omnitrix Diamondhead transformation. He was well voiced, though his part and lines did not make much sense. His cool iceman styled travel method was the only entertaining visual in the feature.

Actual quote by Tetrax to Gwen: “Is this what you’re like with Ben? I can see why he complains about you.”

Destroy all Aliens crams five minutes of confusing plot into one hour and nine minutes of paradoxically boring action. Pointless dream-like sequences in empty environments that were not rooted even in the reality of the feature. You know what action sequences are like when you do not care who wins? Its gets old fast.

The one bright spot, Tetrax, could not illuminate the plot. Additionally his crystal composition and shards were, uh, very un-crystal-looking.

It was just weird, too, how after comments from Gwen, we were supposed to just accept that Azmuth’s father was of a whole different race, and a non-biological one at that. Look, unless you have been forced to babysit horridly unruly kids, or have your own children that need to be punished, skip this sub-par entertainment.

For those who are fans of the franchise and have followed it from the start, this pointless feature should stay below your notice. In our opinion it adds nothing good to the Ben 10 universe. If you have a four-year-old whom you would like to experience this franchise for the first time, watch season one of Ben 10 and not this confusing, befuddling, and boring piece.

“Why are we here!?”

(PS – The Wildmutts were awful.)

Check out our Ben 10 franchise takes:

Alien Force Season 1

Alien Force Season 2

Alien Force Season 3

Ultimate Alien Season 1

Ultimate Alien Season 2 (part 1)

Ultimate Alien Season 2 (Conclusion)

Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens

Young Justice [2010] Season 1: 26 Episodes

Extremely Competent Teenagers

(with chips on their shoulders, …and angst)

If you thought a show called, “Young Justice,” would be about teenaged superheroes looking for their shot at the big leagues, you would be right. If you thought these sidekicks would be out to prove something to their mature counterparts, you would be right again. Finally, if you thought they would seek justice with sarcasm, attitude, and a good portion of angst, then you’re more on target than a batarang wrapped around one of Green Arrow’s bolts.

Lots o’ attitude and suspicion. We have not seen this many evil looks in continuous episodes since Merlin Season 3!

(Merlin BBC Season 3)

Uh, somebody misinformed Superboy. He decided to get in on the– expressions? Not too unstable looking…

Not the best looking take on the Watchtower we have seen. Those extra rocky bits do nothing for the view.

“Mount Justice?” Is that really its name? Why don’t we just mount a huge neon sign flashing, “Secret Good Guy Base.”

Season one in a sentence: Sidekicks yearning to stretch their wings but not yet ready for the Justice League are given their own minor-league superteam (with attitude) and a secret base in the middle of a remote mountain, while collecting kooky vehicles, defrosting a Superman clone, befriending an overly powerful Martian, and angering a bunch of major league villains, all the while learning the true meaning of friendship and the politically correct meaning of acceptance.

“You’re not ready for the big leagues. Now stop whining. Hmpf. Kids.”

Real heroes can mix it up even wounded. Young Justice reasonably portrayed Black Canary hanging with the A-Team.

Superhero teams are generally diverse by their nature, taking members from all over the world and sometimes other worlds. That adds fun and spice as long as it is done for the betterment of the show, and not heavy-handed, politically correct reasons. Jackson Hyde, the new black aqua lad benefited the show with a solid, if slightly wooden, character. (We appreciated his minimal angst.) You can decide for yourselves if the eleventh hour inclusion of Icon and his teenaged sidekick –with attitude, was done for diversity or not. It really came out of nowhere, with little foundation.)

We were not overwhelmed by the visual presentation of Young Justice’s Joker. By the way, nice hipster hair.

Three depictions we found particularly well done were Robin, Zatanna, and Lex Luthor. Robin, who we think in the past has been overdone as angry and resentful of Batman, this time was depicted smart, happy to be detective, and just a little too young to lead. Zatanna seemed a lot more powerful at the end than she did at the beginning, and was surprisingly handy in some of the larger climatic battles. Finally, Lex Luthor was so precisely just what you would want out of that character: Scheming, overconfident, more scheming, and well-dressed.

“If you’re trying to stop me, see my attorney.”

Pleasing art direction on heroes that you really never see.

We give props to season one for quality. There is nothing at all to complain about regarding the backgrounds and animation quality. The art direction was different and well done, depicting the characters in a new, less-bulky light. They were not as stylized and fun as Justice league, but 603% better looking than the hideous Justice League: The New Frontier. The youngsters were depicted teen slim, but so were the Justice League crew like Superman and Batman, where one might expect a little more meat. Still, all the hero characters were visually pleasing.

We enjoy Black Manta’s recent string of appearances. He has returned from C-tier villain obscurity. Alhough his voice did not make an impression like in Batman the Brave and the Bold, his look was cool.

(Batman the Brave and the Bold)

The voices were decent, but did not overwhelm despite some A-listers. It was a bit of a non-standard voice depiction. Honestly, some sounded a little “run-of-the-mill.” It was as if your friends all got together and skillfully dubbed it, –but still sounded more or less like average, normal people. Perhaps the voice director played it too subtle to match the plot.

We appreciate fairly well known actress Kelly Hu. She voiced Jade. Why so many villain roles Kelly? We remember your bad girl in The Librarian.

(The Librarian Series)

A well done depiction of “The Immortal Vandal Savage.” But how long must he live before he learns his lesson?

Finally, there was lots o’ conspiracy going on (perhaps too much for the sudden and somewhat flat payoff) .

For an “oh-so-secret” conspiratorial group, you are pretty detailed with your silhouettes…

Yes! An update of the ultra classic Hall of Doom from the Superfriends era.

  1. Is there a mole on the junior superteam?
  2. Who is this super shadowy group trying to stop our plucky teenagers?
  3. What family secret is Artemis hiding? (Counseling is in order.)
  4. Is Superboy into tattoos? (What is this? The 1990’s?)
  5. Are Martian teens REALLY ugly?
  6. How many golf balls are there on the moon?

Sure, so comely and carefree on the outside. What could she possibly be hiding underneath?

Five out of six of the preceding questions will be answered. Overall, Young Justice season one is slow to payoff, but entertaining along the way.

“It is Fated that you read more FortressTakes.”

Young Justice takes:

Young Justice [2010] Season 1

Young Justice [2012] Season 2

Check out our other Batman and DC Comics takes:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 1

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 part 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold  Season 2

Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3

Batman: Under the Red Hood [2010]

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman [2003]

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [2010]

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies [2009]

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights [2011]

Green Lantern: First Flight [2009]

All-Star Superman [2011]

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [2010]

Justice League: The New Frontier [2008]

Wonder Woman [2009]


 

Star Wars: The Clone Wars [2011] Season 4: 22 Episodes

All Your Favorite Characters

(are hardly in this season)

If we may start in the movie-guy voice: “In a world– er, universe, where everything goes wrong for the good guys, and Jedi are ineffectual playthings to be outwitted, tortured, and slaughtered…”

See Anakin outwitted (not too hard in his case) by Dooku.

See Obi Wan Kenobi beat up, tortured, and enslaved. Ugh. He deserves better.

The series continued its format of filling 22 episodes with four or five multi-part arcs. It worked, allowing deeper plots and characterization than possible in one-off 20 minute episodes. This meant the choice and quality of story and writing were more important than ever. A bad writing effort could now sink three episodes at once! That’s bang for your writing buck.

Sadly, this was too often the case regarding the last couple seasons of this series. Really good visuals tied to high school writing efforts. The franchise, we must reiterate, did not do itself any favors placing the setting between Star Wars Episodes II & III. It is the darkest, most depressing era of the timeline, capped by the empire’s complete takeover in Revenge of the Sith. Anyone would be hard pressed to make a balance of episodes in that environment, much less writing interns.

Like all female TV partner interns, Ahsoka gets sent undercover in fetching outfits.

Ahsoka protects the little boy king… “I know he’s a squid, but isn’t he dreamy?”

However, the visuals continued to impress. From underwater environments to desert; daytime scenes and moody night, the visual team knew what they were doing. Considering the colossal scale of scenes thrown at them, and the number of different characters, and the tremendous amount of scene blocking, they did an entertaining job with the writing they were given.

What? Even Hutts get into the action? Nice headpiece. You playing on your X-Box or something?

The series was still seriously lacking in comeuppance. The good guys lost lives by the star destroyer loads, while the bad guys usually just lost a few machines. Bad guy leaders killed indiscriminately for episodes, only to receive no justice, or a quick end not fully satisfying the penalty for their gratuitous homicide.

Sharky here killed for three episodes with incomplete comeuppance satisfaction.

“Anti-depressants we have. Yeeass.”

What about first tier characters like Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi? Yeah, we did not get to spend much time with them. We got episodes where C3PO somehow bumbled into being a hero spending time with boring aliens for which we cared little. Speeder loads of second tier characters interacting with whiny arc characters.

“Pay attention you must. Hardly in this season we are.”

Oh look, we got to spend three episodes with no-name characters after spending a couple with the droids as the stars… all in a row? Noble clones got their lives uselessly thrown away by a jerky, uncaring  and ultimately turncoat general. But do not worry. After thee episodes of pointless carnage lit by a 40 watt bulb, the general (and his tired plot) did get comeuppance. Well, that’s one.

(BTW, he doesn’t look evil, does he?)

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful (and a slaver).”

Otherwise its a whole season of traitors, slavers, criminals, and sith. The Star Wars universe is either uglier than we ever thought, or we just see the seedy underside each and every episode.

Obi-Wan finally gets a part… But he spends three episodes looking like this!?

A certain amount of action could be counted upon, often good and exciting. It was cool to see the bounty hunter Cad Bain in action again. He is a fun returning villain. His multi-episode arc was one of the better. The effects and music were quality too. However the overall feel of the season was not one that we looked forward to. We just started caring less.

The title was turned red for the supposedly super special return of the Sith…

The restoration of Darth Maul was a big deal (he was sliced in half at the end of Phantom Menace, after all). Perhaps they were getting desperate for ratings. The arc was strange, contrived, and a little unresolved. But it was interesting and the saber battles decent. Obi Wan (our favorite character in the series) and Ventress, opposites for sure, made an unusual but entirely fun team to wrap the season.

Huh? Wait a minute… Star Trek and Star Wars? When universes collide!

“Just because we teamed up, doesn’t mean we are going steady or anything.”

Check out related takes:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars [2008] Season 1

Star Wars: The Clone Wars [2009] Season 2

Star Wars: The Clone Wars [2010] Season 3

Star Wars: The Clone Wars [2011] Season 4