Share & Connect
My analysis of ‘Young Justice’ Season 1 continues with the problems I encountered with the characters and plot threads introduced through the course of the episodes.
This leads us to the negative parts of the show, in my opinion, which consist of Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin), and Superboy (Nolan North).
Miss Martian, also known as M’gann, is what some fans consider to be a Base Breaker: her presence divides the fandom into pro-M’gann fans and anti-M’gann fans. This is due to the fact that she is relentlessly annoying. She has an overused catch phrase that she stole from an old TV show she saw on Mars that she uses for more than half of the season; she has a dark secret that is honestly not that big of a deal and she has a pointless relationship with Superboy.
M’gann is one of the most poorly written characters due to her romance with Superboy because it does not have any firm roots. We are never shown why M’gann has such a crush on Superboy other than she thinks he’s attractive and mean. For the majority of the season, he is either completely emotionless or angry at everything.
Thus, it makes her seem shallow to be doting over someone who has attacked her on multiple occasions and almost gotten her team killed more than once. The romantic subplot honestly strangles any hope I could have had of ever liking her and she never gets any better.
Artemis is also an irritating character because she is rude, irresponsible and insecure to the point of endangering others just to cover up her feelings of inadequacy. She is the first to be suspected as the mole due to the fact that her sister is Cheshire, a nefarious martial arts villain and her father is Sports Master, another well-known villain. She also spends most of her time arguing with Kid Flash and pretending she isn’t attracted to him. While her archery is useful, her continued sour attitude and self-doubt make her incredibly annoying through the course of the season.
Superboy is a clone of both Superman and Lex Luthor. For the majority of the season, all he does is rip his shirt off, scream angrily and smash things. So, in a fashion, he’s a less powerful, less likable version of the Incredible Hulk. About halfway through the season, he finally develops a personality and for some reason reciprocates M’gann’s feelings for him. Once again, their attraction to one another is never justified or constructed well so we just have to assume he likes green alien babes.
He is later suspected of being the mole because he stupidly begins using patches that suppress the human side of his DNA so he can use all of his Kryptonian powers. These patches were given to him by Lex Luthor and also cause intense aggression every time he uses them. It is only at the last minute that he realizes the danger he is putting himself and his team in and confesses that he’s been using them for a while.
M’gann, Artemis and Superboy honestly drag down the quality of the show with their badly written character arcs. The prime example of their poor writing is in the episode where they stop lying to their teammates and each reveal their secrets. M’gann’s secret is that she is a White Martian, a rather gigantic hideous alien unlike her “uncle” J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter.
Artemis’ secret is that Sports Master is her father and Cheshire is her sister. Superboy’s secret is that Lex Luthor is one of his DNA donors. One would expect the other teammates to grapple with these revelations, but they don’t. These subplots, which have dragged on for the entire season, are resolved in five minutes flat. There is nothing worse than an anticlimax and ‘Young Justice’ pulled off one of the biggest anticlimaxes I’ve ever seen.
After that gigantic disappointment, we reach our season finale. Surprisingly, though, the finale was somewhat enjoyable because the team’s petty differences were pushed aside in favor of saving the League from the mind control of Vandal Savage. All of the action sequences were excellent and there are a few good emotional scenes.
Sadly, though, the reveal of Red Arrow (Crispin Freeman) as the mole torpedoes the episode back down to mediocre quality. We learn that Red Arrow, also known as Roy Harper, is actually a clone engineered by Cadmus to infiltrate the Justice League and implant the members with nanotechnology that would allow Vandal Savage to control their minds.
He was unaware of any of this and didn’t snap out of his programming until the deed was done. Cue teen angst and the revelation that the real Roy Harper is in a glass tube in Cadmus headquarters missing his right arm with no explanation to how he got there or why his arm is gone.
This storyline is the most disappointing to me because it feels like a soap opera worthy twist. It is tired and cliché and doesn’t add much to the story except to make clone Roy feel like a jerk for unknowingly betraying his friends.
Perhaps I have been tainted by other shows that have teen heroes with a better dynamic and better plot, such as ‘Teen Titans’ (2003) or ‘X-Men: Evolution’ (2000) where the characters are more balanced and less annoying. Either way, to me, ‘Young Justice’ ended on a fizzle rather than a bang.
Image Courtesy of http://www.tv.com