A few weeks ago Cartoon Network made a programming decision that has turned out to not be very popular with viewers as they removed Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series from their line up to be replaced with Teen Titans Go! and Beware The Batman. Though both series were not officially “cancelled” we could all see the writing on the wall and knew this was the end for both series. This past Saturday marked the last episode for Young Justice, a series I discovered just as the first season ended. I wasn’t sure what I would think of it since I wasn’t that big of a fan of the last Teen Titans cartoon but right off the bat I was taken with the show. Featuring more mature story lines and characters, it was clear to me that Young Justice wasn’t going to be your average cartoon.
The original team featured Robin, Kid Flash, a new Aqualad, Miss Martian, Artemis and Superboy going on covert missions that the Justice League just couldn’t do. The friendships between teammates and even the romances between them grew and blossomed into the kind of relationships you just don’t see on a “kids show.” I’m not saying it got adult or graphic in nature, but we saw real love between them for each other than a lot of shows just can’t pull off. I’d dare to say that Young Justice had the most “real” team of any superhero cartoon I’ve ever seen, be it Justice League or the X-Men.
Season 2 saw us jump ahead five years with Robin now being grown and becoming Nightwing, Aqualad going under deep cover to infiltrate the villainous group The Light, and a whole group of new characters joining the team. But with the size of the team growing, I never once felt overwhelmed by it all. (Of Whelmed for that matter!) The writers of Young Justice did a great job of balancing it out so the team, which by all rights should be unstoppable with the members they have, face threats that are truly difficult. Like Justice League Unlimited, the growing cast never became a problem and I think they did an even better job of avoiding the “let’s throw this guy in the background as a wink to the fans” kind of thing.
The show always garnered good reviews by both the fans and the critics so it was a bit of a shock to a lot of us when the news came down. However, I had my sneaking suspicions that the show was done all the way back in August of 2012 when Jason Marsden (Impulse) was a guest on Rob Paulsen’s Talkin’ Toons podcast. They were discussing Young Justice and Jason mentioned that we was finishing recording his lines for season 2 and that he was “pretty sure it’s done after this.” I took it was a one off comment. Maybe he just meant he was done for the season? Maybe Impulse wouldn’t be as permanent of a character as I thought? Who knew for sure but Jason but in the back of my mind, I knew right then and there that it was over. (PS – go on ITunes and listen to episode 54 of Talkin Toons for the whole conversation with Jason.)
Season two ends beautifully, tying up most of the loose ends from season 2 and leaving us both fulfilled and disappointed that it’s all over. During the final few minutes I couldn’t help but smile, laugh, and dammit I almost cried at the very end. Young Justice was cut down too soon I think, but it’s not over yet. Later this year the video game Young Justice: Legacy will be released for all the major platforms and will be set in the five years between seasons one and two. Playable characters include Artemis, Superboy, Nightwing, Robin, Miss Martian, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Zatanna, Rocket, Batgirl, Beast Boy, and oddly enough Tempest.
Check back soon for Part 2, as we take a look at the potential for a continuation of the Young Justice story!!