(DC NATION) APRIL 8th, 2012

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 24
“Performance”

I’ve been consistently impressed with Young Justice since I started watching it last fall. In what I dreaded was a precursor to cancellation, Cartoon Network put the series on indefinite hiatus lasting over four months. Now it’s obvious that they simply wanted to save episodes to air during ‘DC Nation’, but that would have been much more useful information to disappointed fanboys like myself last November. During the hiatus, I re-watched every episode and started picking up on connecting clues. With Young Justice winding down it’s first, stellar season, it’s time to start looking at the series as a whole forest more so than at it’s individual trees (or episodes, as it were).

“Performance” deals with a deeply personal issues for Robin; Haly’s Circus. The show is touring Europe, yet each city on the circuit is experiencing criminal activity tied to power plants and the like. Mr. Haly himself is under scrutiny from Interpol, and Robin insists Batman sent them to figure out what exactly is going on. DC animated shows are not know for their subtly, and blatantly asking Robin if their mission is legitimate is a real big tip-off that something isn’t right. Nonetheless, Dick’s connection to Haly’s isn’t about revealing some plot twist; it’s about showing that Robin has an emotional core that exists outside Batman’s shadowy dogma. The team infiltrates the circus as a family of trapeze artists who magically showed up knowing all the same moves and techniques as the Grayson’s did, all those years ago.

The b-story revolves around Superboy’s continued use of Lex Luthor’s ‘Shields’ that suppress Conner’s human DNA, allowing him access to all his Kryptonian powers. After three episodes where Conner sneaks around behind the team’s back to use his Shields, it’s starting to feel a lot like an after-school special. He’s basically freebasing drugs and getting away with ‘roiding out and totally messing up Robin’s plan to stop the Parasite. It’s pretty obvious that Conner’s heroine Shield addiction is going to get worse then there’s going to be some intervention, possibly as the season finale.

GRADE:
B+

Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 6
“Lost Planet”
At this point in Green Lantern, the actual ‘Green Lantern’ aspect of the premise has become somewhat of an off-screen persona. The Corps exists mostly to give Hal and Kilowog a reason for acting and not much else. It’s like a sitcom about a family, oh, and the dad works at a bank. Their status and Green Lanterns is talked about a whole lot, but it is rarely ever seen, which is surprising for an ANIMATED TELEVISION PROGRAM. Green Lantern on a screen doesn’t seem to work. 2011’s live-action version was a pile of poop, and the DC Universe Animated Original Movies starring GL have only sold modestly compared to other titles. Green Lantern: The Animated Series makes a cardinal sin when adapting a work of print; it doesn’t keep the essence of the source. Without regular, consistent ring use, Green Lantern ceases to be interesting. I understand the cost associated with CGI ring constructs, and the desire to characterize Hal and Kilowog (and Razer, at this point…I guess) as much as possible for a younger audience. Cartoon Network has sacrificed quality of program for simplicity of content and that’s just unfortunate.
This episode is called “Lost Planet” and it’s about how Hal and Kilowog use up all their ring energy (grrrrroooooaaannnnn) trying to slow down an asteroid heading for a planet with a potential new Green Lantern living on it. Instead of re-directing the asteroid’s trajectory, the boys in green try to slow…it…down. Why would competent, trained SPACE police not understand this concept? It’s mind-boggling how frustratingly condescending this show is, and how much it insults it’s viewers’ intelligence. So Hal, Kilowog, and Razer are forced to walk around the planet looking for the new GL. Let’s remember that Razer is a Red Lantern and his ring (or battery) is in no way drained, so there’s no reason for him to schlep in the trenches with the other two. So. Stupid.
The Christmas-colored lanterns go down to try and rescue a small group of crash-landees who have (maybe) been living on the planet (surface, underground?) since they became stuck. This loose affiliation of three random aliens is never more concretely explained, so it’s infuriating when Hal and Kilowog just go off with some of them without a second question! They could be evil! They could want to hurt Hal and Kilowog! Turns out, they are evil and totally want to hurt them all!
Then it turns out the new Green Lantern is the planet itself and Bruce Timm just repurposed Mogo’s origins. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. Mogo is one of the coolest Green Lantern’s ever. He’s been around for thousands of years, and he creates the actual rings. It’s totally disrespectful to downgrade the distinguished planet-lantern to one of Hal Jordan’s recruits.
GRADE:
D



RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:
– How much older is Roy Harper from the rest of the Young Justice team? It’s a bit weird.
– The only reason Green Lantern didn’t score an ‘F’ – Saint Walker makes an appearance! While not wielding the Blue Lantern ring, he easily parries Razer’s persistent attacks without batting an eye. I’m sure he’ll be back later on and that’s actually something to look forward to in this dismal show.
– I found out Robin is voiced by teen heartthrob Jesse McCartney, so that is actually real. Also, Winnie Cooper voices Ms. Martian. Whoa.
– Is Razer going to become a Green Lantern eventually? Because if so, bleh. No redemption stories for shallow characters needed here, thank you very much.
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