Getting Animated: BATMAN TBTB and YOUNG JUSTICE Are Back!

Getting Animated: BATMAN TBTB and YJ

Greetings! With new episodes finally finding their way to the Cartoon Network and other outlets, this would be a good time to check in with a couple of our favorites and look at some other developments.

 

Batman: The Brave and The Bold:
After too long an absence, BTB&TB returned with “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”. The wait for this one was truly puzzling, as it was originally scheduled to air around the opening of the “Green Lantern” film, and has in fact aired overseas and been available on iTunes. Nevertheless, this one ushers in a new chunk of episodes, which is kind of bittersweet. At this point, only eight episodes remain in the series (though we have to note again that “The Mask of Matches Malone” remains unaired on American TV).

By far, the best part of this installment was the opening segment. Batman and Steve Trevor have been captured by Baroness Paula von Gunther, and are each tied to a separate rocket. Enter: Wonder Woman! Diana marks her first full appearance in the series by arriving to, yes, the ‘70s TV theme music. Awesome. The character interplay here is priceless, with Wonder Woman giving the bound Batman a smile and glance, greeting him with a simple “Batman”; in return, Batman smiles and says, “Princess.” It’s a great little moment, capped by the fact that the creators have (hilariously) made Steve Trevor fairly worthless. It wraps with Batman and Wonder Woman saving the day (with Wonder Woman saving Steve’s ass yet again), and Batman wondering what the hell she sees in Trevor. Great bit all around.

The main story isn’t bad, but not quite as strong as other recent entries. Batman and Hal Jordan clashing with Tattooed Man produces some fun moments, but the main plot, turning on Star Sapphire and Carol Ferris, is somewhat hobbled by a red herring reporter character that takes screen-time away from what could have been more development with Hal and Carol. Hal, as he so frequently does in other media, often comes off like a clueless d-bag when it comes to his girlfriend. The Zamarons’ plan is also fairly weak (Star Sapphire goes down and the whole invasion splits? I say, weak).

I have higher hopes for the next episode, which includes The Creeper in the opening and the Justice League International (with Rip Hunter!) in the main portion.

 

Young Justice:
“Targets” worked well on a number of levels, getting Lex Luthor heavily involved in the plot, establishing critical information for the team, firming up Red Arrow’s role, showing us Superboy and Miss Martian in school, and more or less confirming suspicions about The Light.

Here there be spoilers.

Since the beginning, I thought that The Light would turn out to be some form of the Legion of Doom. The “Bereft” episode indicated directly that The Light was working with Darkseid, and this episode basically confirmed the roles of Lex and Ra’s Ah Ghul in The Light itself. How this plays out over the next several episodes is yet to be seen, but it does present an interesting overall backdrop for the show.

As you could figure from the first paragraph of this entry, this is one busy episode. While it’s all fairly balanced and deftly combines action and information, it’s actually a solid indication that this series plans to continue to pursue complex, mature storytelling. As usual, the animation is top-notch.

Of primary interest to longtime DC fans would probably be the various cameos that dotted the school. Superboy and Miss Martian directly interact with Marvin, Wendy, Karen Beecher (Bumblebee) and Mal Duncan (Guardian, Vox, etc.), as well as teacher Snapper Carr. One wonders how much of this is set-up for their eventual absorption into the group, or if they’re simply added for the Easter Egg factor.

The DC series continue to acquit themselves quite well. The looming end of TB&TB is a lingering disappointment, and I’m curious as to when the new Bat-toon will be unveiled. On the upside we have “Green Lantern” to look forward to, as well as, of course, more “Young Justice.”

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