TV SHOW REVIEW - Young Justice: Season 1
By The Masked Medic
Compared to the comic book and film reviews, the TV show reviews usually take a little longer to do because, well there’s an entire season to watch and amalgamate. Also given the ridiculously long list of shows I still need to start continues to grow. But forget all that, because I’ve got one for you here. Now I gave up watching cartoons a while back, but after watching “Invincible”, I thought to myself, some of these animated shows are actually very good, so perhaps I should give some of them a chance!
The first season of ‘Young Justice’ starts with a couple of sidekicks, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad rescuing a cloned Kryptonian from a lab. Realising that they’re not yet Justice League material, but may still prove useful, Batman creates a new team, formed from the three heroes, Superboy, the cloned Kryptonian and Martian Manhunter’s niece, Miss Martian. Initially, the team are made to do reconnaissance missions and when Artemis, an archer who is allegedly Green Arrow’s niece joins the team, things begin to get exciting. Although it’s assumed that Robin will lead given that Batman leads the Justice League, it soon becomes apparent that he still needs more experience and so Aqualad steps up. Under his leadership, the team start to crack more cases and begin to take on bigger bad guys. However, things begin to get tricky, when Aqualad finds out from Red Arrow, Green Arrow’s previous sidekick, that there’s apparently a traitor on the team. Initially hesitant to believe it, Aqualad, aka Kaldur, begins to investigate the newer members of the team, ie Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis. During one mission it’s revealed that there are suspicions about them and the team is forced to have some difficult conversations. But not everything is as it seems, and there are certain secrets which are being kept. When it appears to the Justice League and the team that villains across the world are starting to team up, they realize that they must start integrating in order to fight this new threat. Can this team of young heroes live up to their potential? And just who are these villains that are working together in the shadows?
I first remember watching ‘Young Justice’ back when it used to be on Cartoon Network and I was still doing my first degree. I have enjoyed superhero cartoons all my life, but Young Justice is a little bit more than that. Dealing with bigger themes as well as shining the spotlight on “sidekicks” has meant that the show generated a decent fanbase and gave exposure to lesser-known characters. One of the reasons that I really liked the show was that the writing was excellent and the plot even more so. Despite the episodes being only 20 minutes long each, you never feel like it’s dragging and even the filler episodes are entertaining to watch. Given that it was the first season, perhaps the interlinking story was weak at times, but not so much that I got bored. I think the roster of the team was great, and the inclusion of several recurring Justice League members was not needed but highly appreciated. Overall, this didn’t feel like a kids' show and fundamentally that’s why it swayed me into watching it properly.
So I’m gonna have to keep this section quite short. Unfortunately, when it comes to voice actors, my knowledge is definitely sub-par. It’s ironic because it’s something that I’d love to be able to do in the future. So in the cast, there were only two people whose names stuck out to me. Khary Payton who plays Kaldur, as well as a few other characters, was a name I recognised from the Teen Titans cartoon where he played Cyborg. The only other person known to me, for completely different reasons, was Jesse McCartney who played Dick Grayson, aka Robin in the show. Up until I knew this information, I only knew him as a teen pop sensation, but it turns out he also knows how to voice a teen hero sensation? Ahaha. All of the actors did a good job, and I can’t fault any of them. Special mention has to go out to Them Adcox who plays the villainous Klarion. I don’t know what it was but I just thought his voice was fantastic!
Now when I was younger, I remember watching the “Justice League” show that used to be on Cartoon Network and thinking it was one of the best cartoon styles I had seen. Then I watched “The Batman” and I thought that was better. “Young Justice” in my opinion supersedes that. The style is crisp and the animation is done extremely well. The designs of the character were all excellent and if I’m being completely honest, some of them in my opinion are the best designs I’ve seen of those characters ever. Moi Animation, which is a Korean animation studio, were responsible for the animation of the first season and given some of their other work, eg Avatar the Last Airbender, I think they did a really good job. The music was noticeable in many scenes, and the theme song was pretty catchy so the show gets a few points on there too!
Overall, I think Young Justice is probably in my top five favourite cartoon shows ever. Anything that’s above it, is mostly down to nostalgia. The show delivers a story that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike with an animation style that’s aesthetically pleasing to watch. There are a lot of live-action superhero shows that could genuinely learn a lot from the writing of this show! I cannot wait to continue watching!
Voice Acting: ★★★
Integral vs Filler Episodes: ★★★