Tuppence to Spend and Tuppence to Lend

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 11

“Terrors”

Note: This was written before Young Justice was picked up for a 3rd Season.

SUMMARY: Superboy and Miss Martian go undercover in Belle Reve prison in order to stop an attempted breakout. Then they kiss and it’s adorable. 


Syd: The episode begins with the Terror Twins – Tommy and Tuppence Terror – being defeated and apprehended by the Justice League. You may be wondering you these characters are. More importantly, you may be wondering what the hell kind of name “Tuppence” is. Is she worth twice as much as Mike Pence? Actually, Tommy and Tuppence are the names of a husband and wife detective team from a series of Agatha Christie novels, but that should be obvious, because the sort of people who are watching a cartoon about teenage superheroes are exactly the demographic that has a thorough familiarity with the works of Agatha Christie. However, in my research, I also found out that Tuppence is an actual name that parents have given to their daughters, which is kind of unsettling.

Margaret: I think one of the interesting things about those kinds of references is that they’re doing it for themselves, rather than the audience. I doubt the creators thought that any of their audience would get the fact that they named their twin villains after a pair of detectives. They just wanted to name them that.

Syd: I really like the Terror Twins’ character designs. When they first showed up in Young Justice comics, they looked plausibly like the kind of delinquents that I would have hung out with in high school:

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I think I should point out how Hot Topic-level Punk Rawk they look, because although all of the details, like the plaid skirt being held together with safety pins, were present, I don’t think the look translated perfectly to the cartoon. Maybe the animators weren’t 100% confident what suspenders look like.

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Margaret: Oh man, I definitely remember that look from high school. In the show, the suspenders looked like they were just part of their shirts. They were flush with their body as opposed to actually sticking out from the curves, like normal suspenders would do.

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The Roy of Lex

New Bitmap Image.pngYoung Justice Season 1, Episode 10

“Targets”

SUMMARY: Lex Luthor is targeted for assassination by The League of Shadows and it is up to Red Arrow to protect him and ensure that Lex can mediate the Rhelasian peace talks. Meanwhile, Miss Martian and Superboy have their first day of school.


Syd: The episode begins with Cat Grant reporting from a peace summit between North and South Rhelasia – which seem to be the DC Universe’s analogs for North and South Korea. You may be wondering why the Daily Planet would be sending their gossip columnist to report on a peace summit, but you’re forgetting that this is an alternate reality where Kaldur’ahm became Aqualad instead of Garth, which led Cat Grant on a completely different career path. In this reality, Cat reports on more substantial geopolitical stories, but that means that she never had the opportunity to start her own media empire or to date Harrison Ford.

Margaret: The first signs of Kaldur’s choice being good for Atlantis, but not the best for the people on the surface. Who wouldn’t want to own a media empire and date Harrison Ford? Though, I think I would prefer hard news as opposed to gossip, but Catco has shown to report on world events, not just celebrities, so I would say she ends up in a much more powerful position in the Garth Aqualad world.

Syd: Roy Harper shows up tracking Cheshire, who is looking to assassinate the unnamed arbitrator of the peace talks. As we mentioned way back in “Infiltrator,” Cheshire’s name was never said in the episode. How does Roy know who she is? The Justice League has a file on her, which apparently lists her exact height, but Roy isn’t in direct contact with the Justice League – he has to contact Kaldur to get this information. Keeping in mind that Roy recognizes Ra’s Al-Ghul on sight, one has to wonder what previous encounters he has had with the League of Shadows since he separated from Green Arrow.

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Mind Games

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 9

“Bereft”

SUMMARY: Awakening in the desert with no memory of the past six months, the team must regroup to take on the psychic menace of Psimon.


Margaret: Everyone loves a good amnesia episode. It reveals character dynamics and brings things to light that wouldn’t otherwise have happened because they don’t remember what they’re supposed to keep secret. Usually, it happens later on in a series once everyone is established, but I like how they handle it in this episode.

Syd: Well, they didn’t erase that much of their memories – just enough that Artemis didn’t remember to avoid Wally.

Margaret: And to reduce Superboy into a mindless ball of anger. I like that it basically broke them down to how they were before they were on a team together, which also shows how much they’ve grown having known each other.

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Programming Note

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As you might have noticed, after our first discussion on Season 2 of Supergirl, we returned to our coverage of Young Justice. We had intended to finish Young Justice before Season 2 of Supergirl. However, work and lack of recent free time limited our ability to post entries in a timely manner. We would like to finish our commentary on Young Justice before we consider returning to Supergirl. It is no secret that we are less than enthusiastic about continuing to watch Supergirl and are far more interested in the stories of Young Justice.

On another note, we have decided to split up our Young Justice posts. Previously, we were posting two episodes per post, as that is the same length as a Supergirl episode. What we did not take into account was how much more material there is to discuss in a twenty-two minute episode of Young Justice than there is in a forty-four minute episode of Supergirl.

If you would like us to continue our discourse (and rants) – or conversely – if you are sick of hearing about us hate on Supergirl, please let us know.

Enchantment Under the Sea

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Young Justice Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8

“Denial”

SUMMARY: The Young Justice League infiltrate a magic tower in order to help Kent Nelson AKA Dr. Fate. Wally attempts to convince everyone that magic isn’t real and that they are all delusional. In the end, he doesn’t really learn anything.


Margaret: This episode is, I guess, the magic episode. We’ve already seen Zatara, but this is the first time magic is really shown in the series.

Syd: Boo!

Margaret: I mean, it was a very weird episode that doesn’t seem to have a real purpose. It’s sort of to put Wally up against something to have him come out having learned something.

Syd: BOO! This episode sucks! BOOOO!

Margaret: I’m not sure if I’d go so far to say this episode sucks! But, it’s not really one I felt made much of an impact. It could just be that this is a Wally-centric episode and I really don’t like Wally.

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Supergirl II: Superman

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SUMMARY: Clark Kent arrives in National City to investigate a space shuttle explosion, which appears to be targeting Lena Luthor, who had just become the new CEO of Luthor Corp after her brother Lex was imprisoned. The culprit appears to be John Corben, an assassin apparently hired by Luthor (probably Lex, but maybe not). Superman then has to stop Corben from killing civilians with drones. Then Kara becomes a reporter for some reason and breaks up with Clark’s friend Jimmy.


Margaret: So, here we are. Back again.

Syd: I had real reservations about returning to this series. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about at what point something can be called “fascist,” especially when applied to people who don’t know enough political science to espouse a coherent political philosophy, and then we have this series, which people accept because they expect superheroes to be a bit fascist, but in the comics I read, she was never the enforcer for a secret government agency with the stated goal of rounding up undesirables (particularly ones of an undesirable race or national origin) for execution or indefinite imprisonment. I mean, that’s definitely fascist, right? I wasn’t sure with the current political climate that I could keep watching this show.

Margaret: I know you had reservations, ones that I have also thought about. However, I did want to give this show another chance as it moved to a different network. CBS has generally been a network that I believe caters to a different audience than us: people who may believe that what Supergirl does may not be good, but is necessary. The CW is generally a network that believes in romantic soapy drama and dark but silly shows. Supernatural, Buffy – even The Flash and Arrow to a certain extent – are a part of that. I continue to want Supergirl to be a better show than it is simply because I so desperately want a good female superhero show that is still on the air. I was hoping the move to the CW would move it away from the angles I found so horrible on CBS. However, there is already so much already in the DNA of the show that it may be impossible to fix it without simply forgetting its origins.

Syd: I would be fine with Jessica Jones and Agent Carter still being on the air instead. I also would like if they brought back Wonder Woman, but maybe the cast is too old. This show feels like a lost cause. My theory is that this was never intended to be a superhero show – that they pitched it as essentially 24 with aliens, and they hitched it to a remake of Lois and Clark so that they could get a known brand attached and it never really was entirely true to either idea – though the soapy part worked so much better than the action part, so I was kind of hoping that a reduced budget would force them to focus more on the characters and their relationships. Instead, they brought in Superman and the entire show became about him, which it kind of was already, but never this explicitly.

Margaret: Believe me, I wish Agent Carter was still on air and I’m definitely looking forward to Season 2 of Jessica Jones. I know they pitched Supergirl to the CW before CBS bought it, and I wonder if it was a different show then. I can definitely see CBS reading Supergirl and saying, “Superheroes are big right now, but our thing is procedurals and three-cam laugh track comedies. Let’s squish what we can into this Superhero show and see how far it can run.” So, I somehow envision the CW show still being a Supergirl show that is mostly about Superman, and then the CBS wanting the DEO involved to give it a NCIS sort of feel. All in all, a show that is supposed to be about a hopeful superhero who believes in the best of humanity does not work well alongside the same show that jails people with abilities without trial and kills people indiscriminately.
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Welcome to Young Justice, Artemis. Hope You Survive the Experience!

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Young Justice Season 1, Episodes 5 & 6

“Schooled”

SUMMARY: Superman denies paternity to Superboy, leading to a dispute with Batman. Will it end in a Kramer v. Kramer style legal battle? No, it will lead to Superboy fighting robot monkeys, which is better than anything Dustin Hoffman has ever done.


Syd:  This episode is about sublimating the frustration that comes from parental abandonment and finding productive outlets for your anger. Also, robot monkeys.

Margaret: I’ve said previously about how Superboy is a more interesting character than Superman, and that still holds true. However, this episode just showed me that just because you’re more interesting doesn’t make you any less of an idiot that will cause me to yell at the screen.

Syd:  The action starts in Metropolis, where a suspension cable on a bridge snaps, sending a school bus veering off the edge. There are so many safety issues in this city. The roads and bridges are completely unsafe. I think that they hire incompetent air traffic controllers, because there are way more plane crashes over Metropolis than any other major city. Also, I don’t know what causes this problem, but they should do something about how many meteoroids are attracted there.

Margaret: Much like how if you live in any sort of movie that involves superheroes or large machines, you should never live in Manhattan because you know it’s going to be systematically targeted and blown up. It’s a wonder that anyone really lives in Metropolis any more except for the people who can’t move away.

Continue reading “Welcome to Young Justice, Artemis. Hope You Survive the Experience!”

Growing Pains

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Young Justice Season 1, Episodes 3 & 4

“Welcome to Happy Harbor”

SUMMARY: The team gets to know each other better and take on the villainous Mr. Twister.  Despite some members’ doubts about Miss Martian, she proves herself a valuable member of the team.


Syd:  The third episode focuses on Megan Morse – Miss Martian – and her first mission as a superhero.

Margaret: I love that they’re finally bringing in a female main character, and Miss Martian seems like an interesting woman. I have more to say about her, but her main story starts a bit later than the beginning of the episode.

Syd: The action starts in Star City where Roy Harper is fighting bad guys who are doing bad guy stuff.  Maybe it’s a drug shipment? It isn’t made clear.  What I have noticed while rewatching this series is how much more slowly everything goes than I remembered it.  We’ve watched four episodes so far and there is still only one female character and Roy hasn’t come up with a superhero name yet.  Come on, Roy, if you don’t get on that immediately, people will be calling you Speedy forever.

Margaret: Roy is too cool and independent for superhero names. He’s also too cool for the Young Justice, telling them he’s not about to join their club. The Justice League is just trying to keep them busy while they do all the important Superhero saving. He equates adult supervision as babysitting. It is probably the most rebellious teenager response I have ever heard.

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A League of Their Own

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Young Justice Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2: Independence Day

SUMMARY: Fearing that their mentors – Batman, the Flash, and Aquaman – don’t afford them the respect or trust that they have earned, Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad respond to a distress call at Project Cadmus on their own, where they find and liberate Superboy, a young clone of Superman.  They decide that they work well together and should form their own team.


Syd:  Over the summer, Margaret and I will be watching and discussing the cartoon Young Justice.  I figured that if Supergirl can get a new season, then an actually good show should be able to, too. You can view this as advertisement, but it’s a cause I believe in.

Margaret: And, while we’re talking about good shows that should have been renewed that were better than Supergirl, I have to talk about Agent Carter. There’s still hope that Netflix will pick up the series, with the change.org petition reaching more than a hundred of thousand signatures and reported rumors that Netflix and Marvel are interested in bringing the show to another network (or streaming service). This is my own product placement, because there needs to be more Peggy Carter stories in the world. But, back to actually talking about Young Justice, it may seem a bit of a leap for us to move from live action that can’t seem to decide between being adult (as that is CBS’ dynamic) and teen to an animated show whose demographic is definitely kids.

Syd: It’s strange for me as an adult to be watching a children’s show about kid superheroes, because as a kid, I hated kid heroes.  I understand the rationale that children want heroes who resemble themselves as much as possible, but child me thought that was lame and unimaginative.  When I was pretending to be a karate master or ghostbuster or action archaeologist, I was pretending to be an adult.  I wasn’t picturing myself as I was – a child with negligible training in martial arts or the paranormal or action archaeology.  Of all the kid heroes, kid sidekicks were the absolute worst.  At least Encyclopedia Brown and Sabrina the Teenage Witch were the heroes of their own stories, but Aqualad and Arrowette were just weaker, less skilled versions of better, more established heroes with richer histories.  It wasn’t until I had gotten over the juvenile attitude of “I hate this! It’s for babies!” that I was able to view the kind of children’s entertainment that I despised in my childhood with fresh eyes.  So something like Young Justice is in no way a nostalgia property for me and it’s only as an adult that I can appreciate how remarkably well made it is.

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Zod Damn It

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Syd: With the first season of Supergirl done, I decided that we should watch Superman II, which I hadn’t seen in years. Even having forgotten most of what happened in this movie, I had noticed several references to it in Supergirl, even though this movie does not feature and really has nothing at all to do with Supergirl. The movie and the TV show shared the character of Jimmy Olsen, who is a main character on the show and in the movie technically has a speaking role. The show’s main villain Non is also in the movie and against all odds has fewer lines than Jimmy.

Margaret: I had watched one of the Superman movies awhile ago and all I had remembered about it was that it involved Superman flying so fast that he turned back time and I wanted to know if it was this movie.

Syd: Well, yes and no, but we’ll get to it. I should note that we watched the director’s cut because neither of us had seen this movie the way the Richard Donner intended it. I have to say that despite the movie being stripped of Richard Lester’s comedy beats, I still had a very hard time taking it seriously. Actually, it would have seemed much more legitimate as a film if it had at least one musical number with the Beatles.

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