Written by Jon Weisman, directed by Mel Zwyer
Transmitted October 6, 2012
There has been a schism in the teenage superheroes as Kaldur has betrayed the team and has sided with his father, the evil Black Manta. As the team struggles to maintain order, the mysterious evil organization known only as The Light steadily grows in power.
When Batman The Animated Series arrived in 1992, everything changed. Before the Batman Animated Series, superheroes were mainly recognized in TV in Super Friends. The new cartoons featured fully developed characters, gripping intense plots and ideas that drew from a large body of work dating back to the earliest days of the DC Comics universe. It marked the beginning of something very new and set the bar for all superhero cartoons that followed. That challenge was met by the Justice League series and subsequent animated feature films.
However, there are few comic book cartoons out there as good as Young Justice which is a shame as its constant rescheduling and delays has cost it many viewers. The quality of the writing and animation is so high that this should be the most talked about program on the air for comic book fans. Yet… it is all but invisible to most. If you enjoyed Justice League, you need to be watching Young Justice.
The story of Young Justice delves into the legacy of the DC Universe and the relationships that make it function. When the Teen Titans were formed in comics, it recognized that Batman, Aquaman, Green Arrow and Wonder Woman all had proteges that hid in their shadows. It opened the door to any number of stories that explored what it could mean to be the sidekick. The family of crime fighters that makes up the heroes of the DCU is unique and is used so well in this program. The frustration that Speedy, Kaldur (Aqualad), Kid Flash and Robin feel are made all the more complicated in this second series that follows a five-year jump into the future where the team has become broken by mistrust and deceit. Don’t get me started on Superboy and Miss Martian, two characters who are entangled in the capes of their mentors.
While Robin has graduated to Nightwing and the team has been bolstered by Rocket, Blue Beetle, Lagood Boy and Mal, there are many casualties for the team. Wally West has left his superheroing behind him and his girlfriend Artemis has rejoined the team only to be killed in an attack by Kaldur who has become associated with Black Manta. Kaldur is perhaps the most tragic loss. Seemingly devoted to destroying his former teammates and delivering them to his masters, Kaldur is a force to be reckoned with.
The latest episode is another chapter in a series of failures as Kaldur kidnaps most of the team then destroys Mount Justice, leaving the survivors in disarray. Wally confronts Nightwing only to learn that this has all been a ruse to get someone inside The Light’s inner circle. But the only catch is that Kaldur may in fact be a traitor after all. And if so, what next?
I have been following Young Justice since its debut, often hunting down episodes online when necessary (even the assistance of a DVR service was useless when the program changed its name to Young Justice: Invasion) and I have been regularly impressed by the sophistication in storytelling, the crisp character design and the outstanding voice work make this a cartoon that should be on your weekly watch list if you are a comic book fanatic like myself.