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Advance Review: 'Young Justice' Offers Super New Twists in Episode 3

by Laura Prudom, posted Jan 21st 2011 5:45PM
Superboy, Robin, Kid FlashCartoon Network and Warner Bros. animation have been delivering excellent comic book-based series for over a decade, and many fans have been awaiting the arrival of their latest superhero offering, 'Young Justice,' with bated breath.

The show premiered with an hour-long special event back in November (which we reviewed here) and garnered critical acclaim and super-sized ratings for Cartoon Network, scoring 2.5 million viewers and outperforming the rest of the network's programming.

Those first two episodes were repeated over the last two weeks, but tonight's episode, 'Welcome to Happy Harbor' is the first all-new episode we've seen since that November debut. Join us after the jump for our thoughts.

Light spoilers ahead.

It's easy to make a good first impression with a pilot episode when audiences have nothing to compare it to, but continuing that momentum and style in subsequent weeks is a hurdle that a show often falls short on.

I was intrigued to see how 'Young Justice' would distinguish itself from its DC universe predecessors (like 'Justice League' and 'Teen Titans') in its first few episodes. It shares a lot of similarities with 'Justice League' in terms of tone, but it's satisfying to watch the teenage superheroes suffering through all the growing pains and miscommunication that you'd expect to see when a group of wildly different people are thrown together and expected to instantly work as a team, something that wasn't touched on in such depth in 'JL.'

'Welcome to Happy Harbor' sees the sidekicks settling in to their cavernous new home base at Mount Justice, and also gives us a deeper look at the team's newest member, Miss Martian, who we only met briefly at the end of the pilot episode.

Miss MartianAs opposed to a regular team full of guys, who might exclude a singular girl based on her gender or perceived weakness, the team is mistrustful of "Megan" because she's a socially awkward alien who has no concept of personal boundaries and seems to be learning most of her human mannerisms from TV. She upsets all of the guys (especially Superboy) by talking to them telepathically, and then misjudges their newest adversary, Mister Twister, by mistakenly thinking that he's their mentor, Red Tornado, in disguise.

This episode is as much about Miss Martian proving herself worthy of the team and the responsibility of being a hero as the pilot was for Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, and it's very satisfying to see the team slowly learning to work together despite their differences.

Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy, also makes an early appearance, as the team tries to once again coax him into joining them, but he seems just as resentful about being relegated to the kids' table as he was in the first episode.

In terms of foes, comics fans will recognize Green Arrow's beefy bad guy Brick early on, but Mister Twister is less recognizable (especially since he seems to have had a mechanical makeover). In terms of comic book canon, he was one of the earliest foes for the Teen Titans, although he drew his powers from a magic staff.

We also see a little more of Red Tornado as the team's mentor this week, and he's certainly an intriguing choice -- as he's a machine, he is less sympathetic and thus less likely to coddle the heroes, which is probably precisely what they need in order to grow in confidence. It will be interesting to see how the mentor dynamic shifts once Black Canary is also brought in to assist the team.

Although the opening credits hint at the inclusion of another female team-member, Arrowette, I was glad to see that she wasn't shoehorned into this episode or the pilot for the sake of it. The show is giving us time to get to know every hero, and it would certainly have thrown off the Mister Twisterbalance of the episode to try and introduce another character. I'm looking forward to seeing what the newest archer will bring to the team when she appears.

In terms of weaknesses, the script suffers from some of the same shortcomings as the pilot in terms of repetitive lines or catchphrases, though this time it's Miss Martian who is the culprit. Likewise, I still find Superboy (voiced by Nolan North) far too overdramatic, and prone to shouting. For now, I'll attribute this to Superboy being so new to freedom that he has yet to acclimate to interpersonal communication, but I'm hoping that we see some nuance in his performance as the weeks pass, because as it stands, I'm cringing almost every time the character speaks.

Overall, the third episode of 'Young Justice' is action-packed, well-paced and leaves me eagerly anticipating future episodes. I'm looking forward to more compelling villains and the integration of some of the older superheroes, as well as more of a glimpse into the teens' lives out of costume as the show progresses.

'Young Justice' airs Fridays at 7PM ET on Cartoon Network.


Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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Eludium Q36

I guess it's a common problem with all comic book adaptations, but I tire of the heroes' perpetual invincibility. This isn't 1940 anymore, we all know that the Bad Guys often win and go unpunished. These stories should better reflect these realities. But then again, they're just kiddie fantasy afterall, right ?

January 23 2011 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aman Deep

Watch Watch Young Justice Episode 3 at http://allcurrentaffairs.com/watch-young-justice-episode-3/

January 22 2011 at 1:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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