Thursday, 8 December 2011

Young Justice

The Premise
Around this time last year I was gearing up to prepare myself for the finale of Smallville, which is a TV series about the origins of Superman which some clever berk decided should be stretched to ten seasons long, as we were promised mainly for the series to seem more intergrated into the DC Universe, with promises of Darkseid, Booster Gold, Superboy, and the Blue Beetle amongst other new characters without he finale ending with the appearance of Superman. In my opinion, I was expecting too much of the show and because of this it failed spectacualrly for me. Because up until then, while the series was still worth watching, it was never much for obeying its source material. The only adaptations of a comic universe I can remember where it felt like a universe rather than a series of stories in its own disconcerted world are on two occasions.

Firstly, at least chronologically, was the DC Animated Universe, I.E, Batman: TAS, Superman: Tas and the Justice League cartoons, which were all interconnected. Admittedly I've not finished watching all not of them (Which is something I must get round to.) but those stories all felt like they happened in the same universe, which is something rarely added to comic adaptations. Secondly was the Avengers film universe, but that's a story for another day.

Another thing I can now add to that list is Young Justice, a fairly recent cartoon series that manages to give the feeling of being part of a whole universe of trouble, without actually being followed on from any other specific adaptation, which was the first thing that struck me about this series that made me instantly like it.

Young Justice' s story is as follows: the sidekicks of the DC Universe, Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad, and later a few others, are tired of not being treated as equals by Justice League members such as Superman, Batman or the Flash, (You know your head's up your arse if you're angry the world's greatest detective and a demigod don't think you're up to their ridiculously high standards.) so they design to form their own team out of rebellion, only to be then accepted into the Justice League as their own Black Ops type team.

The series as far as I have watched it is about the main characters trying to learn about teamwork and seems to suggest that one day Robin will be the leader of them all, which did seem a bit Smallville-ish at the time, but at least they didn't think they were being subtle about the suggestions. Their villains generally seem to be low level villains they believe they can defeat easily before being revealed to be controlled by somebody that far outclasses them.

The thing I like about the series, besides the fact that the world of the story feels like it exists beyond the characters we're following (Which is more than I can say for a lot of things.), is that the characters are the kind of character that'd be interesting to watch even if they were in a sitcom drawn by Jackson Pollock rather than a superhero cartoon, which is practically the trademark of any good Superhero adaptation in my opinion.

(Incidentally, if anybody thinks I talk about the premise too much, lemme know, if anybody reads these that is.)

I barely feel like I need to talk about the art in this series, all I need to say is that it's incredibly nice to look at, each frame looks like a panel from a comic, and with rather similar composition too, just take a look at what I mean. (Yes, I decided I ought to add images to these reviews so you don't have to take my word on things.)

Every frame looks like that, the art is so crisp that it might be crippled if drawn by terrible animators, but thankfully no such fate befell Young Justice. It seems to be joining Thundercats 2011 in that it clearly draws its art style from Eastern Cartoons despite being a Western Cartoon with only the eyes giving it away, the exception being that Thundercats was animated by a Japanese Studio, whereas Young Justice was animated by Warner Brothers, which makes sense, since they appear to have animated every excellent western cartoon ever, the DC Animated Universe being but one example, and Freakazoid being another, (Upon examining Wikipedia, it seems they did in fact co-produce Thundercats along with the Japanese 'Studio 4C'.).

The actual animation is nothing spectacular, but it definitely does its job, though after comparing a scene from Thundercats and a scene from Young Justice, I notice the actual animation being practically identical. So if I had to give Young Justice one complaint, it would be that the art isn't quite as good as Thundercats, which has slightly more excellent art by a small increment.

Such good animation and art might still be crippled by the writing not allowing the animators to show off their animation skills , this being my one complaint with Death Note, which is an excellent series, with excellent animation, and excellent writing, we just don't see the animation too much since the characters sit still a lot. This is thankfully not an issue is there are roughly equal parts idle scenes and equal parts dynamic scenes to give us a treat.

In total, all I can say is that even if you aren't a connoisseur of animation like I seem to be, or even a conoisseur of DC, I'd reccomend it to anybody with the slightest interest in cartoons at all, it'll certainly surprise you as it did me.

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