Young Justice (TV series)

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Young Justice
Young Justice Title.jpg
Also known asYoung Justice: Invasion (Season 2)
GenreSuperhero fiction
Spy fiction
Teen drama
FormatAnimated series
Created byBrandon Vietti
Greg Weisman
Written byGreg Weisman
Kevin Hopps
Andrew Robinson
Nicole Dubuc
Jon Weisman
Tom Pugsley
Peter David
Directed byJay Oliva
Michael Chang
and others[1]
Voices ofStephanie Lemelin
Jesse McCartney
Danica McKellar
Nolan North
Khary Payton
Jason Spisak
Composer(s)Kristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes46 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Sam Register
Producer(s)Greg Weisman
Brandon Vietti
Editor(s)Jhoanne Reyes II
Running time22 minutes[2]
Production company(s)Warner Bros. Animation
DC Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channelCartoon Network
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runNovember 26, 2010 (2010-11-26) – March 16, 2013 (2013-03-16)
External links
Website
 
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Young Justice
Young Justice Title.jpg
Also known asYoung Justice: Invasion (Season 2)
GenreSuperhero fiction
Spy fiction
Teen drama
FormatAnimated series
Created byBrandon Vietti
Greg Weisman
Written byGreg Weisman
Kevin Hopps
Andrew Robinson
Nicole Dubuc
Jon Weisman
Tom Pugsley
Peter David
Directed byJay Oliva
Michael Chang
and others[1]
Voices ofStephanie Lemelin
Jesse McCartney
Danica McKellar
Nolan North
Khary Payton
Jason Spisak
Composer(s)Kristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes46 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Sam Register
Producer(s)Greg Weisman
Brandon Vietti
Editor(s)Jhoanne Reyes II
Running time22 minutes[2]
Production company(s)Warner Bros. Animation
DC Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channelCartoon Network
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runNovember 26, 2010 (2010-11-26) – March 16, 2013 (2013-03-16)
External links
Website

Young Justice (dubbed Young Justice: Invasion for the second season of the series) is an American animated television series created by Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman for Cartoon Network. Despite its title, it is not a direct adaptation of Peter David, Todd Dezago and Todd Nauck's Young Justice comic series, but rather an adaptation of the entire DC Universe with a focus on young superheroes.[3][4] The series follows the lives of teenaged heroes and sidekicks who are members of a fictional covert operation group called The Team. The Team is essentially a young counterpart to the famous adult team, the Justice League.[5][6] The main setting is the fictional universe of Earth-16,[5] during a time period in which superheroes are a relatively recent phenomenon.[7] The series debuted with an hour long special on November 26, 2010 with the airing of the first two episodes, "Independence Day" and "Fireworks".[8][9][10] Young Justice premiered on September 9, 2011 on Teletoon, in Canada.[11] The series ended alongside fellow DC Nation show Green Lantern: The Animated Series after its second season came to a conclusion during spring 2013. Because of this, their slots were taken by new shows Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go!, respectively.

Plot[edit]

Young Justice focuses on the lives of a group of teenaged protégés attempting to establish themselves as proven superheroes as they deal with normal adolescent issues in their personal lives.[4][7]

Plot synopsis[edit]

The show corresponds to the present time of our world, a time period Vietti has called "a new age of heroes".[7]

The pilot episode (later re-broadcast as the opening two episodes of season 1) aired a month prior to the debut of the regular series and introduced four characters: Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Speedy. It established their desire for greater recognition and respect, namely, a promotion from sidekicks to full-fledged superheroes. Met with opposition from their respective mentors in the Justice League, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, and Green Arrow, the protégés react in different ways. Speedy resigns from being Green Arrow's partner and begins calling himself Red Arrow. The others seek to persuade their mentors of their worth by secretly taking on a Justice League mission to investigate the Cadmus building. During their infiltration of Cadmus' headquarters, the three heroes find a clone of Superman named Superboy. After the discovery, the team finds out Cadmus is creating living weapons called Genomorphs. The episode deals with this revelation, the origin of Superboy, and how this relates to a mysterious group of people called the Light. In the end, Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Superboy negotiate with Batman to organize a covert operations team as a practical contrast to the Justice League, whose celebrity status makes it difficult to maintain secrecy or initiate stealth operations. After consulting with his colleagues, Batman establishes Young Justice in a secret cave located inside a former Justice League headquarters, Mount Justice, a hollowed-out mountain. Here the teens are trained and mentored by the Justice League. Miss Martian makes an appearance at the end of the episode and joins as the fifth member.

Continuity[edit]

Although Young Justice follows a continuity considerably different from that of the mainstream DC Universe, Weisman has stated that the series covers its early stages.[7] Earth-16 was chosen by DC Entertainment for the show because it was largely untapped, freeing the series and its franchise from established continuity restraints set by either the main DC Universe or other worlds in the Multiverse.[12][13]

There are differences in the line-up of this Young Justice team as compared to the team in the comic series of the same name. Dick Grayson and Wally West were chosen over Tim Drake and Bart Allen/Impulse.[14] Miss Martian was added because the date of her arrival to Earth could still fit in the early DC Universe concept.[3] Aqualad, as opposed to Robin, is established in the beginning as the leader of the team. Furthermore, the Aqualad presented in the show is an entirely new character created by Weisman and Vietti, with Bourassa responsible for the original character design.[15] Arrowette was replaced by Artemis[16] because of the producers' desire to focus on the latter's storylines.[17] Some of the Young Justice characters' ages are tweaked from those of their original counterparts;[6] however, the spirit and intent of the characters are said to be kept.[14]

Characters who are a part of the line-up in the comic will also make an appearance in the show. This includes Garth,[5][17] the first incarnation of Aqualad who later becomes the third Tempest in DC Comics; Arrowette,[5][17] the archer of the team in the Young Justice comic book series; and Wonder Girl, whose legal issues originally prohibited the producers from using the character[18] but later allowed her to be included.[17] In the show, Garth features as the best friend of Aqualad/Kaldur'ahm.[8]

Production[edit]

Conception and development[edit]

The series began development in March 2009,[4] when Sam Register, Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs of Warner Bros. Animation (also attached to executive produce),[19] wanted a show based on the concept of a cross between Teen Titans and Young Justice series of comics, but was not solely an adaptation of one or the other.[3] The title chosen for the show by Register was Young Justice,[4] as it was appropriately meaningful to the concept the creative team was looking for.[20] Greg Weisman, whom Register sought immediately after the cancellation of The Spectacular Spider-Man animated television series, and Brandon Vietti, whose work in directing a DC Universe Animated original movie Batman: Under the Red Hood. Register particularly noted, were hired to produce.[21] Register jokingly described the two as being similar in appearance, in addition to being similar in thought.[5] Peter David, who penned a majority of the comic book issues of Young Justice, was approached to write several episodes.[22] Also attached to write are Greg Weisman, Kevin Hopps, Andrew Robinson, Nicole Dubuc, Jon Weisman, and Tom Pugsley—with Vietti heavily involved in the book writing process.[23]

The result of the collaboration of Weisman and Vietti was a show about young heroes based on a combination of the 1960s Teen Titans run and the 1990s Young Justice run, in addition to the recent Teen Titans and Young Justice comics, and revolved around the theme of secrets and lies.[3][14] In drawing material from a variety of comic book sources, the creative team sought to differentiate the tone of the show from that of the Teen Titans animated television series, which the team believed resembled the tone of the Young Justice series of comics rather than that of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez' New Teen Titans series on which it was based.[20] The concept of a covert operations team has been compared to Impossible Missions Force, a fictional independent espionage agency in the Mission: Impossible series.[4] Together, Weisman and Vietti came up with ideas, characters, and plot points for at least two seasons, although it is unknown as to how many season runs DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation are looking for the series.[3] Although there were several characters the producers were not allowed to use in the first season (a list that has become shorter along the course of the development), they were usually in charge of the decisions determining which DC Universe character would or would not be used.[24] Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment, and Phil Bourassa, lead character designer for the show, also played a role in the conception and development process.[3]

Design[edit]

The producers intended to create costumes based in reality to match the tone of the series while keeping consistent with traditional DC Universe continuity.[25] A majority of the art direction was led by Vietti, who established that the costume designs should not only reflect the physical needs of the wearer, but also his or her personality, with Bourassa incorporating these ideas into his designs.[25] In the case of Kid Flash's suit, for instance, the padding serves to reduce the force of impact experienced during skids and collisions, and the leathery texture stabilizes his "human cannonball" momentum.[25]

Vietti cites the differences between the respective costumes of Aqualad and Robin to best illustrate what he calls "unique tailoring". Aqualad's costume is designed for the purposes of quick movement in water, and is composed of a "slick and textureless material", giving the costume its "nearly seamless and shiny" appearance. Robin's costume provides bodily protection (even against bullets) in the streets of Gotham City, and is padded and stitched with seams and sewn-in materials.[25] Batman's batsuit matches the extra stitching lines of Robin's outfit for similar functions, except that the batsuit is more military in style whereas Robin's costume is additionally influenced by athletic outfits to match his youthful energy.[25]

Animation[edit]

MOI Animation, Inc. animates Young Justice.[26] Warner Bros. subcontracted production to the international studio located in Seoul, South Korea. Artists at the U.S. animation studio in Los Angeles,[27] Warner Bros. Animation, draw storyboards; design new characters, backgrounds, and props; draw character and background layouts; and make animatics.[28] The overseas studio, MOI Animation, Inc., draws the key animation and inbetweens.[27][28] However, Greg Weisman notes that some storyboards are done in Seoul.[27] In the final stages, ink and paint and editing are done by Warner Bros. Animation.[29][28]

Characters[edit]

The original 6 members of the team. From left to right: Artemis, Robin, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Aqualad.

The initial six main characters were chosen by the producers, from a list of potential candidates of 50 to 60 DC Comics teenaged superheroes.[3] The criteria consisted of age, powers, personality, cultural icon status, and dynamics.[30] An additional regular, Zatanna, was introduced partway through the first season, and Rocket was added at the end of the season.[3]

"The Team" original members[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired (U.S. dates)DVD release date
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
126[41]January 7, 2011April 21, 2012Vol. 1July 19, 2011[42]Vol. 1N/AVol. 1July 4, 2012
Vol. 2October 25, 2011[43]Vol. 2N/AVol. 2July 4, 2012
Vol. 3February 21, 2012[44]Vol. 3N/AVol. 3March 27, 2013
Vol. 4July 31, 2012[45]Vol. 4N/AVol. 4June 26, 2013
220[46]April 28, 2012March 16, 2013Vol. 1January 22, 2013Vol. 1N/AVol. 1N/A
Vol. 2July 16, 2013Vol. 2N/AVol. 2N/A

Crew[edit]

Other media[edit]

Comic series[edit]

Young Justice has an official tie-in comic book series outside the television broadcast, expanding on the show's coverage of the continuity.[47] It is written by Greg Weisman and Kevin Hopps, who are a part of the show's writing team. Mike Norton provided the interior art for the first 4 issues and cover art for the first 6 issues[48]. Christopher Jones provided interior art beginning with issue #5, and cover art beginning with issue #7. Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani substituted in place of Weisman and Hopps for issues #1–6, due to the latter duo's conflicting schedule and workload.[48] Along with Brandon Vietti, Weisman and Hopps oversaw the issues for the maintenance of continuity.[48] While children of all ages are said to be able to enjoy the series, it is specifically aimed at teenagers.[49]

The comic series largely takes place in-between the episodes of the show, and often expands upon events alluded to or mentioned in the series. For instance, issue No. 0 follows Kid Flash and Superboy as they attempt to kill time while the members of the Justice League set up Mount Justice for their arrival at the end of the pilot episode. In the episode "Welcome to Happy Harbor", Robin mentions that the Justice League had been forced to abandon their headquarters in Happy Harbor after its location was compromised by supervillains, which is revealed in issue No. 2 of the comic book series to have been orchestrated by the Joker. In addition, Baltazar and Aureliani confirmed that they were asked to introduce the Joker in the comic in order to set up his eventual appearance on the show.[50] The comic book adaptations sold poorly[51] and were cancelled in February 2013.

Video Game[edit]

A video game based on the show called Young Justice: Legacy was released in November 2013, for Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.[52] Young Justice: Legacy was originally going to be released on the Wii, and Wii U consoles as well, but these versions of the game were canceled due to quality issues.[53] The game was developed by Little Orbit, and features 12 playable characters and 12 villains.

Other[edit]

Additionally, several products based on the series were licensed for release. Mattel released lines of character action figures and accompanying playsets, among other toys and games.[54] In addition to toys for the six lead characters, figures of Cheshire, Icicle Jr., Black Canary, Batman, Aquaman, the Flash and Ra's al Ghul have been confirmed as well.[55] Starting March 13, 2011, McDonald's restaurants began featuring Young Justice toys in their Happy Meals. Figures include Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Superman, Batman, and the villains Captain Cold and Black Manta.

Home media[edit]

Three volumes of four episodes each were individually released to cover the first half of the first season, and later sold together as a "fun-pack".[56] The remainder of the first season was released as a single package with all 14 episodes. Season 2 was released as two different 2 disc volumes containing 10 episodes each. Season 2 part 1 is called "Young Justice: Invasion Destiny Calling". It was released on January 22, 2013. Season 2 part 2 is called "Young Justice: Invasion Game of Illusions" and was released on July 16, 2013.

Warner Brothers also released Volume 1 as part of the Justice League: 3-Pack Fun box set, which also includes the two-part Justice League episodes "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice For All", and the Justice League Unlimited episodes "For The Man Who Has Everything", "The Return", and "The Greatest Story Never Told".[57]

DVD titleRelease dateEpisodesNumber of Discs
Young Justice: Season One, Volume OneJuly 19, 20111 - 4
1
Young Justice: Season One, Volume TwoOctober 25, 20115 - 8
Young Justice: Season One, Volume ThreeFebruary 21, 20129 - 12
Young Justice: Dangerous Secrets (Season 1, Part 2)July 31, 201213 - 26
2
Young Justice Invasion: Destiny Calling (Season 2, Part 1)January 22, 20131 - 10
Young Justice Invasion: Game of Illusions (Season 2, Part 2)July 16, 201311 - 20

Reception and legacy[edit]

Since its original airing, Young Justice has garnered critical acclaim for its originality as well as its mature and complex storyline. In December 2011, Young Justice was placed at number 20 on IGN's "Top 25 Comic Book Shows of All Time."[58] In March 2012, DC Nation garnered double and triple digit ratings gains versus the previous year for Cartoon Network.[59] It currently[when?] holds an 8.6 rating (based on 8,000 votes and 36 reviews) on imdb.com,[60] and an 8.9 rating on tv.com (based on 791 votes).[61] Following cancellation, the entire show was called "mature, intelligent... struck an emotional chord with viewers... incredible".[51]

Many actors have also garnered acclaim for their roles such as Jason Spisak who, according to critic Ava Dordi, "captures the Lighthearted essence of Kid Flash well"[62] as well as Nolan North, who producer Greg Weisman notes provides "good separation" between the dual roles he portrays as Superman and Superboy.[63]

Geoff Johns took a liking to Kaldur'ahm as Aqualad,[15] who was consequently introduced to mainstream continuity altered in comic book issue No. 4 of Brightest Day as the second incarnation of the mantle. In Brightest Day, he is introduced as a teenager from New Mexico by the name of Jackson Hyde who is largely unaware of his Atlantean roots.[64] In addition to his design, many aspects of the new Aqualad's back-story had to be altered to fit within the established continuity of the DC Universe. Artemis was also brought into the main timeline during the early days of the New 52, but was killed within one issue of her appearance, to great fan outcry.

On the program Conan, Conan O'Brien visited Bruce Timm during one of his segments and they developed a super hero named The Flaming C.[65] However, on several occasions, their original creation would be animated in preexisting sequences from Young Justice using the voice acting of whichever character Flaming C was placed over. These scenes were taken from "Fireworks",[66] "Welcome to Happy Harbor",[67] "Schooled",[68] and "Denial".[69] In the comic book Young Justice/Batman: The Brave & The Bold: Super Sampler, the Team is seen watching the Flaming C on television.

Cancellation[edit]

In January 2013, Cartoon Network had meetings with potential clients and promotional partners in which they announced their 2013-2014 programming lineup.[70] Cartoon Network has confirmed that the remaining episodes of the second season, Young Justice: Invasion, have aired entirely.[71] Green Lantern: The Animated Series has received the same treatment, and both shows are expected to have their DC Nation slots replaced by new shows, Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman.[72] Warner Brothers officially stated[51] that they were not open to a third-party crowdfunding-campaign, intended to result in a third season of Young Justice. Therefore, the ending of the Apokolips-storyline is likely[51] to remain unresolved.

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNotesResult
2011Emmy AwardsOutstanding Individual Achievement in AnimationAwarded to Phillip Bourassa for work in "Independence Day"Won
2013Daytime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Achievement In Sound Mixing – AnimationCarlos SanchesNominated

The series also took third place (after My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and The Legend of Korra) in a TV.com readers' poll for the "Best Animated Series" of 2012.[73]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weisman, Greg (September 17, 2010). "Greg responds...". Ask Greg. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (November 26, 2010). "Jesse McCartney Talks "Young Justice"". CBR News (Comic Book Resources). Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h DC Animated Showcase: Greg Weisman Interview, Part 1 on YouTube
  4. ^ a b c d e Gross, Edward (August 19, 2010). "YOUNG JUSTICE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Producers Greg Weisman & Brandon Vietti". Comic Book Movie. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Sam Register (July 23, 2010). "WB Animation: Batman: The Brave and the Bold". DC Comics (Podcast). DC Comics. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c G-Man (July 24, 2010). "Comic-Con: Brave and the Bold & Young Justice Panel". Comic Vine. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
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  69. ^ Wyatt, Ruthie (March 30, 2011). "The Flaming C Returns To Kick Some Cat Ass". Team Coco. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
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  73. ^ "TV.com's Best of 2012: Best Animated Series". TV.com. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 

External links[edit]