An Ode to Young Justice

No exaggeration – the ending of Cartoon Network’s Young Justice left me as a complete and utter mess.  I have been in mourning ever since Saturday, due to the loss of the series as a whole but, if I’m being honest, largely due to the fate of my most favorite character from both seasons.
In regards to the show’s premature end, the writing has been on the wall for some time.  Cartoon Network has never really been behind this series – or its counterpart, Green Lantern – the way that it has other new shows.  They are all too excited to bring back Teen Titans in YJ’s place and are not at all shy about it.  Furthermore, the network never bothered to update its graphics; every time there was a promotional spot for Young Justice: Invasion, there would be graphics and often 5-10 second clips from season one.  This clearly told me that they weren’t bothering to change the graphics, to update them and keep it current, because they didn’t see the point; the show wouldn’t be around long enough for it to matter.
This show was fantastic in every sense of the word and deserved several more, uninterrupted seasons.  The animation was beautiful, the writing was excellent, and it was a show that didn’t have to “dumb itself down” so that it was “suitable for kids.”  It reminded me of Harry Potter in many ways; it just worked in its own right and both kids and adults liked it.  It had created a huge fan-base in such a short time and we, the fans, stuck by it, no matter how hard Cartoon Network tried to get us to forget about it.  I knew several families that would watch the show together.  It, quite literally, offered something for everyone and that is still SO rare.  It was quality television and a respectable representation of DC Comics.
It’s saddens me because like with Greg Weisman’s show, Gargoyles, the show never seemed to get the press or respect it deserved.  What Greg and Brandon Vietti created here, with Young Justice was something special and, as I say, was worth investing in.
In the final episode, Endgame, we lost Wally West.  There had been rumors about this ending for several weeks, but I had sincerely hoped they would turn out to be false.  Wally became my favorite character without even my realizing it.  I got interested in the show for Robin/Dick Grayson and the new/old school spin on his character, and I still absolutely love him.  Wally, however, was the real surprise and, I would say gift of the series for me.  I knew nothing about Kid Flash, Wally West, Impulse or any of the Flash legacy/canon.  I knew a smattering about Barry Allen, but mostly in the abstract and what I’d seen in the more recent re-boots of the Justice League cartoons and animated films.  I liked the Flash, but didn’t even really know he had a sidekick.  As Wally was presented on YJ, however, he was a distinct personality with some of the best lines in the series (between both seasons) and, over the course of the first season, went through some major character development.  Again, not knowing the comic-book lore, I cannot compare YJ’s take to the original source, but I, personally, fell in love with Wally on the show and it devastated me when the second season, Invasion, left him out so completely.  His death at the conclusion of Endgame was like a kick in the teeth.  We hardly saw him at all in Invasion and for what?  Only to lose him in the end?  I applaud the decision that they wanted he and Artemis to retire from the hero-life, but it just seemed so cruel to kill him off like that.  He was, in my opinion, one of the best characters in the show.  I would have much rather seen Connor/Superboy get the axe because it would have played better into the storyline between he and M’gann.  Note: Supermartian shippers would have my head for that statement, but I stand by it; the writing would have made more sense and wouldn’t have felt as arbitrary or stuck-in for shock value.
So, with the loss of the series at large, never getting to see what happened in that awful time-jump from season one to two and watching Wally sacrifice himself, I have been an emotional wreck.  I have decided that Wally isn’t, in fact, dead, but hanging out somewhere with the likes of Jason Todd, or off somewhere that isn’t the New 52, and is waiting to be reborn, back into the comics in an even better way.
Greg’s novel, Rain of the Ghosts, will be published December 3rd, 2013 and is available for pre-order on  Color me stoked.  As I said, I was a fan of Gargoyles and I could absolutely see his style and influence in Young Justice, so I am thoroughly excited to read his book.
In the meantime, I am still mourning the aforementioned losses and searching for ways to cope.  Below is one of those ways.
So this is for Wally…and the entire Young Justice family.  May we see them again someday.
For Wally
For Wally by unusualsidekick on

Young Justice…is gone.

Hey #DCNation fans! Have you heard?? DC Nation will return in January with all new episodes!”
–@CartoonNetwork, October 13th. [link]

For those of you who don’t know, two weeks back, Cartoon Network pulled the entire DC Nation programming block from the schedule – Green Lantern, the DC Nation shorts, the beloved Young Justice: Invasion, all of it – and replaced it with Dreamworks’ Dragons, just 10 hours before airtime.  The producers and creators didn’t know about this until after it happened.  iTunes didn’t know about it and released the episode as originally planned (thank you, Apple).  DirecTV and Dish Network DVRs recorded the time slot as scheduled, since the memo didn’t get to their desks in time, either.  No one understood; no explanation was given then – and still hasn’t been given to date.  Not even now, after the cheerfully-made announcement via Facebook and Twitter that DC Nation will, in fact return! In January, 2013, that is.

The fandom is in an outrage, and they have every right to be.  We only got two episodes, after the three-month hiatus?  What gives?  An explanation, some information, would be helpful, but nothing.  Not that this is new; each hiatus of Young Justice has come out of nowhere, with no reason provided as to why.  The last one at least fell into the pattern of a season break; even though it was never really called that officially, as far as I know.  Still, it was never this ballsy, the removal of the show, and sometimes in the past they’ve played reruns of the series, to as to not completely alienate us – pardon the pun – from the series and to keep us interested; to, hopefully, keep us coming back for the eventual return of new episodes.

Theories and rumors are abundant over the internet as to the reasons for this debacle.  Are there disputes going on within the chain of command?  Is there a financial issue?  A struggle taking place with DC Comics itself, over rights and permissions?  Is this the heeding of Parents’ complaints about the “mature content” in the show?  Is there a conflict with the animation studios over work conditions in Korea?  No one knows for sure.  Cartoon Network remains silent as ever.  Meanwhile, the hate-mail and vicious comments from angry fans pour in from every direction.

I’m surprised that I am not more actively angry or saddened by this turn of events.  Instead, I find that I feel kind of resigned and overall, just disappointed.  It hasn’t sunk in yet, I suppose.  Or the pattern that Cartoon Network has fallen into, giving us a small samples and then making us wait for so long, has desensitized me to the absence of what was and still is one of my favorite shows.  I’m almost left with a residual sense of apathy towards the network.  My biggest resentment, honestly, comes from the manner in which they announced the postponing of DC Nation as a whole.  Again: “Hey #DCNation fans! Have you heard?? DC Nation will return in January with all new episodes!”  As though it’s good news.  Seriously?  They expect us to be HAPPY about this?  I wish they had, at least have the decency to acknowledge that what they’re doing is disappointing and going to upset their fanbase.

But no.  They’ve made it clear that the fans and viewers of their shows are extremely low on their priority list, if we’re on that list at all.  You can see that from the outdated graphics used during airtime alone.

It wouldn’t surprise me at this point if the show(s) get cancelled in the long run.  I’m already bracing myself for it.  Young Justice has been dealing with these cancellation and postponing conflicts since it first aired; for whatever reason, Cartoon Network is resistant towards this show.  I, personally, can’t understand why; it’s quality stuff.  It appeals to multiple demographics and age groups, the genre is hot right now, especially right after the success of The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers this summer, and the other comic-book films soon to follow.  The animation is beautiful and the writing is top-notch.  The ratings are decent; at least enough to keep it on the air.  What’s the problem?  Whatever it is, it’s keeping YJ offstage and out of the limelight.  I’m having flashbacks to Gargoyles, and I’m pretty much convinced that Young Justice will follow in the same fashion of cancellation…

…and maybe not.  There’s a chance that it might come back.  Maybe all this unpleasantness will go away.  There’s no way to know at this point; all we can do is wait and see.

But if it does continue in January, I’ll be watching.

Young Justice…Is Back.

No waiting.

No gimmicks.

Young Justice is back and with a title like “Satisfaction,” hopes were high that they’d deliver and they did.  Unlike “Happy New Year,” the episode gets right down to business.  We are dropped into the scene without any smoke and mirrors or confusing new stuff thrown at the screen to throw us off.  Instead, we get answers.  After what feels like eons, we get face time with Original Roy and the Arrows, “Green and Red,” in a scene that packs an understated wallop.  It feels like a throwback to season one; the focus is more on character development and story, with the action and fight scenes included to highlight those points rather than take precedence.

On the whole, I was very pleased with this episode.  The second half of the last season/season one of Invasion seemed to find its feet and get the show back on track after a very rocky start and “Satisfaction” proceeded in much the same way; I’d even go so far as to say that it made a successful leap forward and the show is moving along nicely.  I’m still mourning the loss of the five years, but I found that I wasn’t distracted by that thought while watching the show this time and that’s a nice change of pace.

The themes of the episode were fantastic.  I really enjoyed watching the show explore the mentor-protege relationship, and the many variations such a bond can have; the influences and the bonds between them, or lack thereof.  A lot of character development here, which is something “Happy New Year” sorely lacked.  Red Arrow and Ollie, Speedy and Ollie, Ollie’s own reference to Artemis and his feelings of regret and guilt regarding all that’s happened.  That all seemed very real, and I liked that.

Not to mention the interaction between Blue Beetle and Impulse.  I like how their friendship is starting and how Bart actually relates to Jamie way more than anyone – especially Jamie – realizes, due to his never knowing Flash before the time-travel.  A nice poetic note that Jamie’s point still stands though; Bart does know Flash now, while Jamie, himself, is still alone.  I look forward to seeing more of their friendship develop and play out.  Jade and Sportsmaster’s conversation was, too, interesting.  He, Mr. Crock, still comes off a little two-dimensional to me, but I was impressed with Jade’s reaction; not so much her “I will avenge my sister’s death” bit, but seeing her shed all her layers of indifference, which we started to see with her interaction with Red Arrow, but here we got to see her show some of her true feelings about her father, and made it clear that they’re not exactly on the best of terms, even though they’re working together.  I wonder how much of that was motherhood (prior to and then coupled with her sister’s death)?

One thing I kept thinking during the episode was that I feel pretty bad for Aqualad right now, since everyone seems hell-bent on spilling his guts.  It certainly says how much Artemis was valued.  But also, more than that, I think it says how betrayed they all felt by his actions; my guess is that, like the original team, they all probably thought there was still hope for him, that he wasn’t truly a baddie, but now that he’s “killed” Artemis, they think that he’s not coming back, that he’s really lost and has to pay. Wow.  Deep, YJ.

I gotta say though, the thought of a fight between Cheshire and Aqualad is really enticing.  As I’ve made clear, I’m not usually one who looks forward to the action scenes of this show, but for some reason this idea really struck me.  I hope we get to see that fight eventually, in spite of everything that’s really going on.

Some other details I noticed about this episode:

“We try not to call ourselves sidekicks.”  Very nice.  Not just because it was a cute reference to previous memorable moments in the show (which, lets face it, every fan was cheering after hearing Red Arrow say that), but also because it shows the evolution of his character, and how he’s somewhat sensitive to the situation at hand.  That the anger he is so quick to jump to has ebbed a little.  And this shows in the subsequent scenes – hell, the rest of the episode – as well.  I like that. In fact, I like Red Arrow a lot more now.  Furthermore, I liked that it demonstrated that that sentiment wasn’t completely fabricated by his “clone programming.”  The mission he was given as the mole just amplified a feeling he already had and would probably have manifested at some point all on its own.  But perhaps not quite so vehemently.

And in that same vein, I like that there is a consistency between the Roys; that the “angry” tendencies are cohesive between them, that it’s not just a Red Arrow/mole-driven thing, while that the original Roy was mild-mannered, calm, cool and collected.  It’s who Roy Harper is.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.  If this was always the plan, to eventually refer to him, then I’m sorry I ever doubted Greg and Brandon.  Or, if this was added in post-fandom-rants regarding Jason’s noticeable absence from the series, then I’m very glad and appreciative that they listened; did I mention thank you?

In EITHER event, though, it’s such a great thing to see the nod to the second Robin.  Way to go!

I really like that Impulse is becoming a consistent presence.  It’s a nice, smooth replacement for Wally from season one.  I know Wally’s around again, but he’s a very different guy now (not that I’m complaining about that development), and Impulse’s attitude, behavior and interaction with the other characters feels like a throwback to the original team, more so than a lot of other things we’ve seen so far, including the characters from that first team themselves, like Nightwing.  It’s just…different now and I’m still really feeling those differences.  So, again, Impulse’s being there feels familiar and almost nostalgic even though, at the same time, he’s really quite different from both versions of Wally West. And so much the better!

Small thing, but I would have liked to hear Nightwing and Wally speak.  They were there, but I look forward to spending more time with them in future episodes.  In spite of how much I am enjoying the show again, with the – as far as I’m concerned – still-new kids on the black, I miss them, the old gang.

Speedy’s sarcastic comment about Red Arrow being an “original name” was actually quite amusing to me, especially after YJ’s own acknowledgement that “Speedy” seemed odd for Green Arrow’s sidekick.

And lastly, I’m intrigued by the introduction of Wendy.


I’m never sure where I stand on the Supermartian ship, but I was surprised at how much I liked the scene between Connor and Wendy.  It felt very organic and realistic and I’m hoping to see more of that relationship develop, whatever direction it takes.  Plus, it was one of my favorite new-character-appearances of the entire show.  It was understated and simple, as opposed to so many of the others, which were practically thrown against our TV screens in most cases.   So I’m impressed with that.

On the other hand, WOW, M’gann seems SUPER concerned about La’gaan.

…or not.

I almost feel like they’re not even trying to maintain her relationship with him and at this point I wonder if he is almost dead weight to the story now.  Reminds me of “Back to the Future,” in that they hadn’t planned to do a sequel, but when it came time to make one, they regretted having Jennifer be in the car as well, because it made writing another installment that much more difficult.

La’gaan’s being held prisoner is clearly part of the overall story arc and will be significant in future episodes; but that’s him independently and not connected to M’gann.  I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

Questions >>>

1. In watching this episode it suddenly dawned on me: why haven’t Red Arrow and Connor been spending more time together?  I realize they’re both sort of loners but at the same time, they also are both, inside, really hurting and dealing with a lot of the same issues.  They’re both clones and are both struggling with the question of whether they are anything more than an insufficient copy of their source material.  Connor’s gotten beyond that a bit, as we saw last season with his interaction with Clark/Superman.  But I think that there could definitely be some interesting scenes between them and that they would make really good friends.  Am I alone in thinking this?  Or am I really behind to getting to this thought?

2. What is Lex Luthor up to?  His game plan with Connor and the shields revealed to be an elaborate scheme; will this be something similar, with his giving the replicated arm to Speedy?

3. For any Gargoyles fans out there, like me, am I the only one who thought that Luthor bore a VERY close resemblance to one David Xanatos in this episode?  And, additionally, that Speedy’s transition into Arsenal seems a bit similar to Demona’s fall from grace?

4. Since we got to see the small reference to Jason Todd, does this mean we might see a reference to “the Red Hood” at some point in the future?  Please?

5. OMFG, Cartoon Network’s graphics.  Can we PLEASE get new graphics for the commercial breaks?  They’ve had almost a year; two seasons’ worth of of time to make new ones that aren’t just screencaps and stills from the first season.  It’s a cruel reminder of the first season for those of us sorely missing that team.  So, seriously, why haven’t they updated their graphics???

In conclusion, “Satisfaction” absolutely satisfied and provided an excellent start to…season three?  Season two of Invasion?  Part two of season one of Invasion?  Whatever; this next batch of episodes.

I’m ecstatic that the show is back and eagerly await the next installment.