Sometimes you’re in the mood to watch a show starring covert superheroes taking on villainous evil-doers while confronting teenage angst and growing pains, heightened by high pressure ongoing story arcs. Sometimes you want to see how sidekicks take on bad guys without the help of their more “mature” companions. And you want it topped off with excellent animation and top notch voice actors. When you’re in the mood for that, where do you turn? You turn to Young Justice, that’s where.
There has been a recognition over the years that the sidekicks and other young heroes can rise above the original patronizing purpose of providing young readers someone to “identify with.” Young Justice is the latest in a long line of graphic novels and animated shows that bring sidekicks into their own spotlight. Best of all, it’s extraordinarily well produced.
Young Justice is inspired by, but not based on, the comic of the same name. Here’s the basic premise: The Justice League is both famous and respected, but visibility like that has its price. Superman or Wonder Woman, for example, tend to attract attention. But Wonder Girl instead Wonder Woman, or Super Boy instead of Superman, gives you the benefit of super powers with less notoriety. From that premise flow all the interesting battles with the future of Earth hanging in the balance.
But you also get ongoing story arcs as the young heroes try to come to terms with their status in the world. From Robin to Blue Beetle to (a revamped and totally tricked out) Aqualad to Miss Martian, these are well developed, fully three dimensional characters. Super Boy, for example, has all kinds of daddy issues: his two “fathers” (he is a clone, after all) are Superman and Lex Luthor, which will probably mean uncomfortable holiday dinners, but so far has meant the kind of soul searching and brooding that are hard to pull off in an animated series. And that’s just for starters.
You can currently catch replays of Season Two, if you want to get caught up. There are ongoing story arcs involving alien invasions, double agents, and love triangles, just to name a few. Season Three promises to be a great ride.