Red Dawn

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 15

“Humanity”

SUMMARY: The Team and their new friend Zatanna uncover Dr. Morrow’s plot to use  element-themed robots for world domination.


Syd: The main villain of this episode is Thomas Oscar Morrow, whose name can be shortened to “T. O. Morrow” or “Tom Morrow,” depending on if you want the pun to work when written or spoken. I kind of love this name. It’s up there for me with the Riddler’s name being Mr. E. Nigma.

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I know we touched on this the first time we talked about Morrow, but I am annoyed by the push in modern comics to downplay characters’ joke names. Some writers seem to think that silly names are unrealistic and distracting when plenty of people in real life have pretty funny names. For instance, the guy who drew that panel I just posted was named Dick Sprang. I like that Blink’s real name is Clarice Ferguson, even though that’s a reference to a show that kids today have never heard of. I will even give a little bit of credit to Mr. Freeze being named Victor Fries, even though that’s confusing and doesn’t quite work. What I can’t stand, though, are characters whose names are ALMOST jokes. The worst offender there is Harley Quinn, whose real name is Harleen Quinzel. What kind of bullshit is that? First of all, “Harley Quinn” is perfectly plausible as a person’s real name. Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Quinn didn’t even notice that the first name “Harley” would make their daughter’s full name sound like a character from Commedia Dell’arte, but having that be her real name would in itself explain why the Joker would fixate on her. Failing that, she could have a name that has nothing to do with clowns – “Maria Shapiro” or “Susan Epstein” or something. Harleen Quinzel is nothing. Either commit to the joke or don’t make one – don’t give a character a name that sounds KIND OF like a pun. I love that Young Justice – unlike Supergirl – has the courage to use the name T. O. Morrow on air.

Margaret: Punny names are part of the game in comics, I think. It’s also why the Batman movies before Batman Begins kind of leaned into that sort of humor. They went overboard with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, but I feel like when you’re dealing with movies and shows that involve people dressing up in costumes and fighting crime you have to prescribe to the Willy Wonka theory: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” There’s nothing wrong with taking the puns with both seriousness and a bit of levity. It’s when you either ignore the fact that some of this is silly or decide that ‘because it’s comics no laws or logic apply’ that things tend to go off the rails.

Syd: We start with Morrow working on Red Tornado in pieces on an operating table. Morrow is talking and waits for a response before he remembers that Tornado’s voice isn’t operational, though his senses and mind are hooked up and working. So, Tornado can hear and process what’s happening, but can’t react. With this horror movie setup, the cartoon lets even first-time viewers know in the creepiest way possible that Morrow is bad news.

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Margaret: You can tell this guy is evil before he even speaks because he has the evilest mustache I have ever seen. It’s only compounded by the fact that every sentence he utters is creepier and creepier. Poor Red Tornado! He’s disassembled on a table and Morrow is taunting him gleefully about the fact that he is the one that did this to him. That is remarkably terrifying.

Continue reading “Red Dawn”

Shedding Some Light on the Subject

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 14

“Revelation”

SUMMARY: While the Justice League is fighting off killer plants that have been grown by Poison Ivy, Young Justice must fight Ivy herself and her six cohorts in the Injustice League.


Syd: This episode only exists for the last scene.

Margaret: You can kind of tell that by the fact that the episode starts off so dire so quickly.

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Syd: The plants that are attacking Metropolis are picking up cars with their flowers! What are those flowers made of?

Margaret: Miracle-Gro? They’re a big threat, though.

Syd: So, the cold open ends with a reveal of a group of seven supervillains. Can we talk about how insulted we are as an audience that they want us to think that these are the Light?

Margaret: As a first time watcher, I wanted to believe that these were the Light at first. However, as an experienced media consumer and someone who works in the industry, I can already tell that these seven people cannot be the Light. You don’t reveal your surprise bad guys in the cold open in the middle of the season. That’s ridiculous.

Syd: I will give them some credit that they chose some pretty big name ones. Obviously, any Main Villain group in DC is likely to have Lex Luthor, The Joker, or Darkseid in it and we get two of the three in this episode. Of the other six in the cold open, the only one I didn’t recognize was Wotan – though I didn’t immediately recognize Atomic Skull, because what is with that creepy ass character design?

Margaret: Right! They do a good job in trying to tell us that they are the Light, especially as they have that super relevant line, “It’s time for the Injustice League to step into The Light.” That’s classic viewer manipulation. There’s no one there but the audience to lie to and no reason for him to say that except for to make us think they are the Light. It’s incredibly annoying.

Continue reading “Shedding Some Light on the Subject”

Billy and the Kids

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 13

“Alpha Male”

Margaret: I already dislike the name of this episode and what it implies

SUMMARY: After finding out that Aqualad withheld information about a potential traitor on the team, the rest of the team distrusts him.  Aqualad must reassert his leadership to pull the team together and thwart The Brain’s animal experimentation. 


Syd: The episode starts with Mayor Hamilton Hill hunting tigers in Northern India.  Suddenly, their hunting party is attacked.

Margaret: Oh oh! It’s a gorilla with a machine gun! Is that Gorilla Grod?

Syd: The main villain for this episode is Brain.  I checked his wikipedia page and they still haven’t given him a real name – he’s just Brain.  He is a brain in a jar who supposedly was a scientist before he lost his body and he did experiments on animals – giving them human-like intelligence and things like that.  That gorilla is Mssr. Mallah, one of his experiments.  They are from the series Doom Patrol.  I was going to try to explain what Doom Patrol is, but instead I decided to Google Doom Patrol panels.  This one sums up the series nicely:

doom6Anyway, after the cold opening, we cut to the Justice League fixing up Mt. Justice after it got blown up by robots last episode.

Continue reading “Billy and the Kids”

Fire Water Burn

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Young Justice Season 1, Episode 12

“Homefront”

SUMMARY: With their teammates incapacitated, Robin and Artemis must fend off two robots with elemental powers who have invaded Mt. Justice.


Syd: Since we just had an episode focusing on the two most powerful members of the team, now we get one that tries to demonstrate that the two members with no superpowers are still useful. It’s a time-honored superhero team tradition.

Margaret: It starts with Artemis flashing back to her sister packing to run away. Their mother isn’t getting out of jail any time soon and she refuses to live in the same house as their father.

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Syd: This is a variation on the old kid running away to join the circus trope, but since they already have Dick who was in the circus as a kid, they instead have Cheshire run away to join a ninja dojo, and if I had known that was an option, I would not be writing this blog right now.

Margaret: It’s certainly an appealing option. As the Alice in Wonderland poster on her side of the wall alluded to, this scene also reveals that Artemis’ sister is Cheshire.

Syd: Artemis and Cheshire have never been sisters in any continuity before this. In fact, in any continuity where Artemis appears, she had always been completely white, so they changed Artemis’ race so she and Cheshire could be sisters. This changes not only their backstory, but those of their parents, too. On this show, their parents have the same names as Artemis’ parents from comics, but the same ethnicity as Cheshire’s. I think this is a positive change, as the two characters being sisters allows for some compelling character dynamics, but I’m at a loss to explain how Kaldur becoming Aqualad caused this change in continuity, as it would involve time travel and genetic engineering. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Orm is responsible. Good old Orm – bringing families together! He’s so not evil!

Continue reading “Fire Water Burn”

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.

Continue reading “Tuppence to Spend and Tuppence to Lend”

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.

Continue reading “The Roy of Lex”

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.

Continue reading “Mind Games”

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.
Continue reading “Supergirl II: Superman”