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Monday, February 07, 2011

Young Justice - "Schooled"

Today the Shrine is kicking off a sort-of new feature: well, its not a new feature, exactly, since we've profiled the previous two episodes of Young Justice before, but how we're doing it is.

When I started the Shrine back in 2006, Aquaman was dead in current DC continuity, and while there was some new merchandise coming out, there wasn't anything like the onslaught of stuff coming out each and every month now. But thankfully, as we all know DC is making a major push restore the Sea King to prominence, and the new Aqualad is a big part of that.

After reviewing the first two episodes of Young Justice, I found I wasn't able to devote the time time I wanted to the show, so I was faced with a choice: either drop the episode recaps--making the Shrine not as all-encompassing as I want it to be--or loosen the green-gloved iron grip I have on the site and let some Aqua-Fan out there who's really into the show take over that part of it for me. As you might guess, I chose the latter.

A bunch of Aqua-Fans volunteered their services, which I was truly touched by. One of those was longtime F.O.A.M.er and Aqua-Fan Andy Luckett, so from now on the Young Justice recaps will be by him--making this the first sort of regular "column" on the Shrine by someone else. I'm really happy to have the site grow like this, and I thank Andy for stepping up to the plate and doing this for all of us. All you Young Justice fans can now look for this column every Monday @503pm, each time there's a new episode.

Okay, enough from me--take it away, Andy!
Hi, there Aquamaniacs, this is Andy Luckett. I'm starting a weekly column today reviewing each new Young Justice episode. Our esteemed Shrinemaster was kind enough to give me this opportunity, so a big thank you, Rob, and I hope I pass the audition.

This week's new episode of Young Justice was "Schooled", the fourth episode to air so far. As we pick up the story in Metropolis, a major suspension bridge is shaking apart, pushing (among other vehicles) a school bus toward the edge (A nice subtle reference to a similar disaster in Superman: The Movie). However, this time Superboy also arrives on the scene, helping a bit but also putting undue stress on the bridge. Superman flies off before Superboy can really talk to him, which of course angers Superboy immensely.

Cut to Happy Harbor and the team's headquarters. Black Canary comes by, ready to begin a training session:
Needless to say, Kid Flash's flirting and Superboy's angry attacks on Canary do not work out well for either of them, but Canary, sensing Superboy's reluctance to employ strategy or learn technique, tells him, "When you're ready , I'll be here."
Of course, every episode of YJ needs a mission, and this one has a doozy. Batman informs the team that the League has spent over four hours fighting and defeating Amazo, who can duplicate the abilities of any hero he comes into contact with. The YJ team's mission is to escort two trucks carrying Amazo's dismantled parts to two separate S.T.A.R. Labs facilities for analysis.

After being outfitted with awesome motorcycles and suits, the team splits in two and follows the trucks. Complications ensue, as robotic M.O.N.K.I.'s (which look like a mix between Tron and The Wizard of Oz, and laugh like a Tickle Me Elmo doll) tackle the trucks and attempt to steal the parts.

Everybody gets their licks in, including Aqualad, forming some water whips to slap some monkey:


Unfortunately, the M.O.N.K.I.'s get away with the parts, and return to their (and Amazo's) creator, Professor Ivo:

Amazo, now reassembled (that was fast) battles Superboy using all the powers of the League (no shout-out to Aquaman, though):
They fight across the countryside, ending up at Robin's school gymnasium. The rest of the team arrives in time for a little teamwork, which finally shows Superboy using his head for once instead of just anger and raw power. Amazo is destroyed, Ivo is captured, and the team learns that prodigal friend Speedy was hiding in the shadows, helping them out. After a congratulations from Batman, Superboy decides to take Black Canary up on her offer to train. The end…for now.

I enjoyed this episode, and I've been enjoying the show as a whole so far. The animation is surprisingly detailed and rich, the themes are handled well, and care is taken to advance the overall story and characters.

I was glad to see that attention was given to Superboy this week, simply because his "Superboy SMASH" shtick was getting old fast. Hopefully he'll calm down a little in the future.

Aqualad honestly wasn't given a lot to do this episode, other than offer some words of wisdom and the cool water whips moment during the truck chase. However, I do appreciate the way he is handled on this show. While he can take down baddies with the best of them, he's very much a thinker, wise beyond his years and the voice of reason on the team, a much-needed counterpoint to Superboy. It's easy to see why Robin chose him as temporary leader on last week's episode.

Overall, I'm curious to see where they take this show. There's potential to see not only much more of the DC Universe in a fantastic animation style, but anyone could pop up, including other members of the Aqua-clan, perhaps? Here's hopin', anyway.


Chris in Oly said...

Great re-cap, and just wanted to add a few thoughts:

1. We have a friend who is deaf in one ear so we watch it with closed captioning, and the abbreviations for the robots was 'M.O.N.Q.I', but I cannot remeber the actual words.

2. The team only learned that the arrow did not come from Green Arrow and assumed that it was from Speedy in the shadows.


David J. Cutler said...

Robin's dialogue can get a little annoying at times (are they seriously going to keep this over-whelmed, dis-turbed, dis-aster thing going in every episode) but otherwise I really like this show. The Avengers show Marvel has going right now is pretty cool too, but I really wish they could dip into DC's animation talent pool a little bit--this might be the best looking cartoon on TV since Avatar.

Also--great review, Andy!

Joe Slab said...

Nice work Andy!

And you are right this episode was lite on anything Aqua, but I am sure that will change next week.

Ken O said...

Nice review.
Super-centric, but I'm sure each character will have an episode where they get to shine.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Very happy to see this become a regular feature, and nice job by Mr. Luckett. I have to echo Mr. Cutler's sentiments on the animation; it really has rich, lush look compared to previous series. There were moments of "Schooled" in which I was reminded of "Akira."

I personally am lovin' YJ, but I don't have my hopes up for it appealing to a broad audience; it seems really insiderish. If I was a 10-yr old kid who hadn't read more than a few comics in his life and was just plunked down in front of this show, I don't think I would know what was going on.

JasonMotesBowles said...

Great review! But... I guess I'm the only one who took issue with this episode. It's the Justice League! Why do they need to transport Amazo's parts via truck with the kids on motorcycles accompanying them? That makes no sense! Flash could hand deliver them in a blink... plus they have teleporters! Something tells me when the toy line hits, there will be motorcycles and Motocross Robin and Aqualad!