Saturday, September 17, 2011

Digital Video: Young Justice "Targets"

I don't pay for cable because I don't watch much TV, but just like every good superhero comics reader I have to watch my superhero TV shows, so I buy them via Amazon Instant Video (two bucks a piece, the same as a month-old digital comic!). This way I can watch them as soon as they come out (rather than waiting for the DVD release), and I own them so I can watch them over and over again as much as I want (I typically only watch an episode once, but my kids have no limit for how often they can watch, for example, "Mayhem of the Music Meister!"). I'm not crazy about the fact that I can't burn episodes I buy on Amazon to disc, but the fact that I can access my video library via my Blu-Ray player more or less makes the point moot.

At any rate, since these shows are based on comics and I get them in digital form, it seems appropriate that I review them here. So here goes...

Young Justice s1e10: "Targets"
Air date: September 16, 2011
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

My kids (an eight-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy) like Young Justice well enough, but they're really not the target audience. But then I'm not sure exactly who is. The show is clearly catering toward seasoned fanboys like me, who recognize Superboy and Miss Martian's Happy Harbor High School classmates Mal Duncan, Karen Beecher, Wendy Harris, and Marvin Harris, and their teacher Snapper Carr; and who know that the sexual tension between Cheshire and Red Arrow has history. It's in this relationship, with Cheshire flirting with the young archer, that it struck me how this show is caught between the worlds of animation for adults and cartoons for kids. While watching I wanted Roy and Jade to have a little fling and produce Lian like they did in the comics, but at the same time I know that's not going to happen in a show that's watched by children like my own. So the show is stuck in this place where they throw Easter eggs at us grown-ups but they don't quite let go of the pre-adolescent audience that will no doubt watch any cartoon about superheroes. I'm not sure this is a problem, just an interesting tension I observed today, a tension that can't be resolved any more than the sexual tension between Roy and Jade will be.

Also, I really dig how this show is making an obscure character like Sportsmaster a central part of the story. His claim in this episode of a spy in the ranks of Young Justice is of course a reference to Artemis, who is presumably his daughter if the show's continuity parallels that of the comics, and this makes me wonder whether Artemis's story will be one of the good daughter of a bad man trying to prove herself, or if she really is a spy and this is more of a "Judas Contract" kind of thing. I'm kind of hoping it's the latter, as I think that could make for a great story. Stay tuned to find out along with me...


  1. Indeed, Young Justice seems to be all about the Easter Eggs -- from Titans West in the background here to Aqualad wondering to a non-Aqualad Garth in a previous episode "Do you ever wonder what it would have been like if things were different?" (Garth having just recently died in Blackest Night.) I see Young Justice as a kind of alternate Earth from the main DCU (as it's apparently supposed to be, but I think some of that is just verbiage) and in part I'm watching it precisely for those Easter Eggs.

    As for the audience, I liked the Teen Titans cartoon, but certainly it skewed younger in most episodes, and Legion of Super-Heroes never skewed much older. I think Young Justice's timeslot betrays it's intention -- this is meant to be a show like Ben 10 and Generation Rex, still simple but with some episode-to-episode continuity to it, and that way more mature than Teen Titans before.

    ... Oh, and the spy? Totally not Artemis. My bet is that the Light can access Superboy's thoughts ...

  2. Good point. Artemis would be the obvious choice, so it makes sense for them to go another route.