Anil Rickly Reviews Young Justice

Anil Rickly Reviews Young Justice

Anil Rickly Reviews <em>Young Justice</em>

...Teen Titans...meets the JLA...are they ready?...Today is the day!!!

Young Justice – Brief History



Originally created by writer Todd DeZago and artist Todd Nauck for DC Comics, after the early issues, DeZago handed the reins off to Peter David (best known for his inspiring Hulk and X-books, namely ‘X-Factor’) and this comic team boasted Robin (Tim Drake), Kid Flash (Bart Allen) and Superboy (Kon-El a.k.a Conner Kent nowadays) as the main protagonists, just at a time when the Teen Titans became the Titans, and this Young Justice team acted as a pseudo-Teen Titans outfit. David has won awards, especially for his ‘Hulk’ works but did receive 1999 Eisner nominations for this Young Justice book under – Best New Series, Best title for a younger audience!
His work on these comics did draw rave acclaim!

Todd DeZago


Peter David


This series is now chosen not as an adaptation of the comics per say, but more to a less explored specific animated DC universe, as it’s based on Earth-16; and may be the response to a flailing ‘Teen Titans’ animated address. It seems that the Young Justice comics meet the Teen Titans in a sort of crossover that yields this series…but anything animated is most welcome from the high quality DC usually puts out! This animated Earth-16 also allows freedom from previous comic continuity to some extent as well as from past animated continuity.



Greg Weisman (writer) is joined by Brandon Vietti (scriptwriter and director of DC’s ‘Under the Red Hood’) as co-creators with an expanded writing asset of Kevin Hopps, Andrew Robinson, Nicole Dubuc, Jon Weisman, Tom Pugsly and last but not least, Peter David. This squad is experienced in the DC animation front and Greg himself has worked on DC’s recent ‘Green Arrow’ showcase short, as well as the Batman, Ben-10, Men in Black cartoon, Legion of Superheroes, Max Steel, Spectacular Spiderman, and acted as co-writer for ‘Captain Atom’ at DC, where he served as an editor also. He is also the creator of cult favorite ‘Gargoyles’ and dealt with the animated series and comics in depth!
Jay Olivia and Michael Chang are listed as some of the directors, with Sam Register as exec producer, and a solid voice cast of Jesse McCartney, Danica McKellar and Nolan North among the many!
The squad consists of Robin (Dick Grayson rather than Tim Drake, voiced by McCartney), Kid Flash (Wally West, not Bart Allen, voiced by Jason Spisak), Aqualad (Kaldur'ahm, voiced by Khary Payton), with Superboy (voiced by Nolan North, who does Superman as well) and Miss Martian (voiced by Danica McKellar) rounding off the team. Artemis will be joining later on in the series.
Further key voice castings come in the experienced and animation versed Bruce Greenwood, Rob Lowe, George Eads, Kelly Hu, Kevin Richardson, Phil Lamarr and last but not least, Alan Tudyk. The choice to use a new team roster baffled me at first but in time, I assume it would be trivial.




Pilot Episode–

Note to self, the word ‘sidekick’ and ‘whelmed’ become severely annoying as of this review. This series is one I garnered much self-hype for as DC’s full-length animated movies always impress, as do their animated series or shorts. Since Justice League: Unlimited ended and Teen Titans: Judas Contract got squashed; I’ve waited for something in the way of a thrilling series to whet my mind.



This episode starts off with a bang, and the action sequences are glorious indeed. Seeing Batman/Robin tackle Mr. Freeze, Flash/Kid Flash tackle Captain Cold, Aquaman/Aqualad tackle Killer Frost and Green Arrow/Speedy take on Icicle kept true to amazing voice sequences combined with the exquisite fight scenes that DCU pushes out by the series. It’s up to mark and high standard. There are also some design changes made to certain villains and heroes that pop up throughout episode that are all in good vein. After this introductory debacle, the pace for induction is well set as the young heroes – Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Speedy – head to the Hall of Justice, Washington to meet the lair of the Justice League.





It’s fun to see the heroes portrayed as celebs but the exchange that follows is one that surprises me yet sticks to the character I’ve known in comics as Roy Harper! It’s much welcome and mature a bit much, but its left-field effect is one that made me wonder what else lay in store in the lines of 'shocker'? In times when the likes of Geoff Johns, Dan Didio and Jim Lee are the big kahunas at DC, and the ‘Brightest Day’ comics link a LOT of titles, I have very high expectations for this series – even if the continuity is different.


The team proceeds to receive strict orders from Batman and company as the JLA heads to a certain development, and again it’s fresh to see new and old JLA faces pop up…but the treatment of the youngsters are a bit too infantile for me, and borders kindergarten at times. A simple ‘stay and don’t move’ might suffice for Krypto the Dog, but I didn’t find this handling of the youth team done too well. It wasn’t well scripted and poorly executed a bit sloppily. Nonetheless, as the team disobeys orders, no shocker there, we see them head to investigate a key foil to the JLA animated team in the form of CADMUS labs. While CADMUS reared recently in Adam Beechen’s ‘Batman Beyond’ miniseries, it’s nice to see them pop up again on screen. With Amanda Waller sinking into the ‘Green Lantern’ film also (done by the always wonderful Angela Bassett), it’s nice to see CADMUS used as an antagonist here once more. The voice work is done well for all youth members, although Grayson is done too high pitched and annoying at times (and reminds me of an whiny Peter Parker, but credit to McCartney for sounding that young when he isn’t) and this Robin at times, clashes with the humor of Wally West, the Kid Flash. I’d have liked a more grim Grayson (a la Batman), but this graver tone is taken by Aqualad Kaldur’ahm (Kaldur – who has been stated as the leader in the series as it goes on) and again, the voice is done well for the latter two. On this note, it’s intriguing to see that Kaldur will be helmed as leader, as he does bear a resemblance in look and powers to the Aqualad Jackson Hyde that Geoff Johns created for ‘Brightest Day’. I do hope to see if Hyde and Kaldur are tied as closely as I assume.


The pace never drops off as the team heads to investigate CADMUS and their discoveries there are not too subtle…in fact it’s a huge repercussion for this series. With Guardian, Dubbilex and the G-Gnomes as the foils to the heroes here, there’s a lot more than meets the eye; and DCU comic lovers are offered lots of treats. With Mark Desmond rearing a head as well, we got a lot more entertainment than we bargained for and as a comic fan of DC, it was in utter appreciation. It’s a nice search, find…and escape, rather than rescue, mission that goes off course with the discovery of a certain alien clone.





Superboy enters the fray and is done well by Nolan North, with his shortcomings as well as strengths played off well. The interactions between all the young ones are done smoothly as the heroes try to convince Superboy to aid their cause and join them. The antagonist who steps in is most welcomed by us comic fans and it’s a nice action sequence that requires a lot of brains rather than brawn, and Robin shines here as he did throughout, akin to Master Bruce.
The main battle goes as one would expect but is still a charm to behold. The final few sequences are very pristine as a plethora of DC heroes, even ones I didn’t expect, show to shine their JLA badges…and they all look pretty top notch! With the changed roster for this series done, it’s nice to know that Miss Martian and Artemis, will be added for future episodes, as the writers have stated they have certain plans for certain heroes at specific times. They even hint at roster changes and death during the season so I place my trust in what they have planned. Whatever reasons they have for their roster, I have faith in their scripts, and it does bode sad that legal tie-ups kept Wonder-Girl out this series, as it’d be nice to have her show and give an impression.



Red Tornado and Black Canary are featured in reverenced roles in the latter stages of this show, and while there isn’t any ‘Snapper Carr’, I fully expect a profound expansion per episode on the villainous society calling itself ‘the Light’! Further expansionary roles from Billy Batson, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Red Arrow, Tempest (Garth) and Arrowette, as well as a few teased villains, all make me giddy for what’s ahead.



In all, amazing fight sequences, witty dialogue, impressive voice castings, overall solid scripts and direction/production are some of the things I expect to be carried over from this pilot and maintained throughout the first season! This episode proved a lovely ride for a thorough DC comic fan, and I must say, despite a few shortcomings, I was impressed and pleased.

Rating = 8.5/10

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