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.