Amber Love 07-MAR-2012 – I very much had hopes for this series to improve but was disappointed still in YOUNG JUSTICE by DC/Warner Bros. I popped in Season One Volume Three and wondered if I had been too harsh when reviewing Volume Two. Sadly, no. My sentiments held true with each episode.
The main areas of concern are the terrible acting, the uninteresting characters and the fact that story arcs are not gracefully connected in intuitive parts (no “part one,” “part two” like JLU had). This lacks easy to follow continuity or sequence.
The official WB summary spells out the characters:
Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis have become YOUNG JUSTICE – The Justice League’s secret weapon against the forces of evil. The teen heroes will take on under-the-radar missions that would be impossible for the Justice League to handle covertly. Red Tornado will be their supervisor, Black Canary will be in charge of their training and Batman will hand out their assignments.
What that official summary leaves out is the utter lack of anything interesting about them. Volume Three delivers in one storyline only and that is the overall arc about new character ARTEMIS. Her backstory is the most compelling and she goes through the most development. Her family history and connection to new villain CHESHIRE pull their motivations into some sort of foreground but the rest are truly lacking.
A lot of attention is paid to SUPERBOY and MISS MARTIAN with their blossoming connection as teammates and romantically. The PG level courtship isn’t bad at all as far as maturity level. However, the need to have Superboy’s shirt removed in every scene, makes this feel like a TWILIGHT cartoon. (Queue movie announcer voice.) He’s brooding and shirtless — She’s ignorant and annoying — Together they are bum-bum-buuuum… SPARKLELIGHT, HEROES IN TIGHTS. No really, that’s how it feels. M’Gann or Megan Morse as she calls her faux human self, could be an honest portrayal of a naive foreign girl. Instead her annoying factor increases because of everyone else’s emo brooding. These young heroes establish their alteregos in this chunk of the series. It still will not make you care about them one bit. I didn’t think it was possible to be apathetic towards Dick Grayson but this show did it. It made me not care. Aqualad — oh there’s simply only one good thing to say about him and that’s his physical design; there is not an engaging quality about this character otherwise.
The voice acting has not improved with this volume either. Sure, William Shatner wins awards now for his acting but he was mocked back in the 1960s and 70s. Why, then, do these voice actors pause — SO dramatically — with every line delivered the same way comedians impersonate the Shatner of STAR TREK of old? I’m not sure whether this is the fault of the writers, the actors or the director. Just as I have a difficult time blaming the noteworthy actors of the STAR WARS prequels, something was responsible for making them terrible. In YOUNG JUSTICE, I would have to wager that the atrocious job on the acting is due to the absence of Andrea Romano who was the Voice Director for BATMAN: TAS and the other quality DC animation projects. They have top talent working in this cast but the ones that typically shine like Oded Fehr (formerly Dr. Fate now Ra’s Al Ghul) and Alan Tudyk (Green Arrow) are barely given any chance to breathe life into this boring series.
Some familiar villains are introduced such as Lex Luthor, Mr. Freeze, Killer Frost and the Riddler. All the ice powered villains were actually handled rather well as a group of them team up to escape Belle Reve prison (which is pronouced “rev” in this not “reeve”). Once again, the focus for the Riddler dumbs him down considerably. In prison, he’s only seen as E.Nigma and not as the crafty, highly intelligent Riddler. He is pathetic. He is an outcast among the inmates. He is friendless and bullied. I can believe that for the Nigma character BEFORE he snaps and becomes a super villain but not after he’s already in prison for seemingly laudable crimes against Gotham and Batman.
For me the only reason I wish to continue with this show is to learn more about Artemis and Cheshire. It’s sad that a huge cast of characters leaves me only interested in two of them. I am also not a staunch feminist that feels I need to prefer female characters before male characters but in this case, I think it’s a noteworthy observation that my two favorite characters are not only female but also newcomers (or fusions of older characters).
The series continuously introduced new villains but without concluding any storylines for the onces previously introduced. This was frustrating. I want a beginning, middle and end of stories even if they are carried over some larger scale time frame. YOUNG JUSTICE Season One flat out doesn’t deliver a quality superhero drama.