Getting Animated: Previewing Tonight's YOUNG JUSTICE

Getting Animated: YOUNG JUSTICE S1E3

Young Justice S1E3: “Welcome to Happy Harbor”

 
 

Young Justice continues to make a case for itself as a solid DCU series with tonight’s episode, “Welcome to Happy Harbor”. Long-time DCU readers will no doubt recall that Happy Harbor is the location of the Secret Sanctuary, the original base of the Justice League of America. On-screen text in both the pilot (“Independence Day”, previously aired as a special and in two episodes in the regular time slot) and this episode identify the Sanctuary location as “Mount Justice”.

 

It’s probably worth a reminder at this point that if you haven’t seen the show, you can still step in easily. It bears mention that you should also know that the series takes place on the so-called “Earth-16”. That is, it’s a familiar iteration of the DCU, but does not necessarily conform to the continuity that you know. As of last episode (the pilot), Robin (Dick Grayson), Kid Flash (Wally West), Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm, or Kaldur, to his friends), Superboy (recently freed from Cadmus and nameless apart from “Superboy"), and Miss Martian (M’gann M’orzz/Megan Morse) formed a team under the direction of the League. They’ll operate covertly under orders from Batman. Except when they run off on their own, that is.

 

Tonight’s episode handles a lot of set up for future character dynamics, but also manages to squeeze in a fair amount of action. The question of Speedy is addressed, as part of the group tries to lure back their ally that split in frustration early in the pilot. Roy Harper is handled well here, displaying the anger that probably informs a number of bad choices that we know that he could make (though, at this point, none of them seem to involve a cat).

Also angry is Superboy. The kid from the pod comes equipped with a number of issues and an antipathy to telepathy. That causes some friction with newbie Miss Martian, portrayed here as eager, earnest, and not entirely wise in the ways of dealing with other kids. That makes her rather sweet and appealing, a nice counterbalance to the very grouchy Superclone. Kid Flash is played more for comic relief in this episode, giving a nice callback to Wally’s days as Justice League Europe’s resident horndog. He’s clearly interested in Miss Martian, and he and Robin get some genuinely funny digs in on one another throughout the episode.

 

While Aqualad doesn’t get to do a lot apart from be “leader guy”, we do have some scenes with Red Tornado, previously designated as one of the kids’ mentors. Of course, this echoes his role in the original “YJ” comic, and his presence looks to be central to the ongoing plot, particularly given the revelations late in the episode.

Tonight’s big villain is . . . wait for it . . . Mr. Twister! Many of you may say, “Who?” But others may recall the cowboy-themed tornadic villain that precipitated (ha!) the first team up of Robin, Aqualad (Garth) and Kid Flash waaaaay back in The Brave and the Bold #54 from 1964. This Mr. Twister has been given a power-armored redesign and gives the team quite a run for its money. I like the fact that the kids had to struggle to overcome this threat; it lends an air of believability to their relative inexperience and occasional complete lack of teamwork.

I’m really liking the way that Young Justice is coming together. It’s putting together slow-build plots involving villains (The Light, that other guy that shows up), heroes (we’ve seen Zatara, so we can guess who’s coming in later), new recruits (Artemis is in the credits, but hasn’t appeared yet), and, best of all, team interaction. The animation and voice casting remain uniformly great.

Young Justice may not be the take on the DCU that we were expecting, but I predict that it’s going to be a take that we continue to enjoy.

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