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Cartoon Network’s DC Nation currently consists of two animated titles: ‘Green Lantern’ (2011) and ‘Young Justice’ (2011), both featuring DC Comics heroes. They premiere every Saturday at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. respectively. While ‘Green Lantern’ still has another cluster of episodes before it finishes its season, ‘Young Justice’ wrapped up season one on April 21, 2012. Here is my analysis of what we’ve seen so far. I warn you: your mileage will definitely vary.
‘Young Justice,’ in my opinion, can be split right down the middle. Half of the show is enjoyable, engrossing, and fun. However, the other half is stuffed to the gills with poor writing, irritating characters and exhausting subplots that go absolutely nowhere. In the interest of fairness, we’ll start with the positive.
In the corner for the good, we have Aqualad (Khary Payton), Robin (Jesse McCartney), Kid Flash (Jason Spisak), Zatanna (Lacey Chabert) and the Justice League.
Aqualad is the leader of the team: a wise, kind, levelheaded young man who is very good at what he does. He can be stoic at times, but he knows just when to reveal how much he cares about his fellow teammates. He always gets the job done and is a natural leader in nearly every situation.
Robin, also known as Dick Grayson for anyone wondering which Robin we have on this show, is the energetic brain of the group. He is the most developed and likable teammate, in my opinion, because over the course of the season, we have seen a wide range of capabilities and personal issues from him.
He is smart, dedicated, and fun loving, but he also has a deep love for his adoptive father, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. One of the most touching scenes of the entire season happened when Robin shamefully admitted that while he loves Bruce, he doesn’t want to become Batman someday and feels guilty because he fears he may have to step into the role if Bruce retires in the future.
He also shows a hint of romantic interest in Zatanna after she joins the team and the two even share a surprise kiss in the season finale. It is, for lack of a better term, beyond cute.
Kid Flash, aka Wally West, has provided the laughs all season long and has improved the most from the beginning of the show. He starts off extremely immature and flirts so desperately with Miss Martian that it becomes annoying after a while until he finds out she is in a relationship with Superboy and eventually falls for Artemis instead.
Wally continues to be the funny, sweet member of the team who has a big heart and isn’t afraid to show it. He is also Robin’s best friend and the two share a unique relationship that is enjoyable to watch with each new episode.
Zatanna, a later additional member to the team, is a welcomed change from the likes of Miss Martian and Artemis. Her father, the famous magician and sorcerer Zatara, has trained her well and she is by far one of the strongest members of the team due to her extensive knowledge of spells.
Furthermore, she has an interesting tragic element to her character because she used the helmet of Dr. Fate, a powerful being who entraps anyone who wears his helmet and her father sacrificed himself in her place after making a deal with Fate. Thus, she feels guilty that her father’s soul is trapped in the helmet while Fate operates his body as if it is his own.
The Justice League is used well throughout the series and it never feels as if they are butting in on the young heroes’ screen time. Naturally, Batman (Bruce Greenwood) is the best of the bunch as he acts as the team’s taskmaster and surrogate father. He acts more like a father to Superboy than Superman, the boy’s biological match as Superboy is a clone and keeps everyone in line both in the League and in the team.
Black Canary (Vanessa Marshall) drops in every so often to help train the team and work with their psychological issues. Captain Marvel (Rob Lowe) and Red Tornado (Jeff Bennett) also share responsibilities checking on the team as they continue on their missions. Both are effective leaders as well as enjoyable characters.
That takes care of Part 1 of my analysis. Stay tuned for Part 2.
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