Saturday, April 21, 2012

(DC NATION) APRIL 21st, 2012

*Apologies for missing (DC NATION) last weekend. I could say it was because there was a family emergency or some work thing, but the truth is that I simply forgot. Again, sorry for the missed week!*

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 26
"Auld Acquaintances"

When Cartoon Network put Young Justice on a four month hiatus to prepare for 'DC Nation', it irked many fans. Primarily, people were upset because the first season was being cut in half, a mistake very prevalent in this final episode. What made this first season so great was the overarching storyline involving 'The Light' - some unseen entity/group that was controlling the villains connected to the Justice League and, by proxy, the Team. The writers did a fantastic job of creating self-contained episodes that all connected to a single endgame. By splitting the airing of episodes by a large amount of time, a lot of the momentum the show had built on the first 2/3 of the season was lost on the final run of nine.

The good news is, this is stilla fantastic episode of Young Justice. Last week, Vandal Savage was revealed to be one of the masterminds behind the mole within the Team, Red Arrow. Turns out ol' Roy Harper isn't actually Roy Harper at all, but a clone created and programmed by Cadmus Labs. Savage (and Klarion) have taken the entire Justice League hostage using Starro mind-control technology. Though it's never actually explained, it can be inferred that the tech comes from the alien Starro, famous for once taking control of Superman in the comics (and in "The Call, Part 1 & 2" from the Batman Beyond animated series). Savage goes on a little 'info dump' monologue explaining the season's worth of events and how they all connect back to him.

Vandal Savage sports some tiger claw scratches...? and some giant lips. whoa.
What makes this finale less than satisfying is the anti-climactic end. In conversation, Aqualad explains how it's a miracle that S.T.A.R. Labs was able to create an antidote to the Starro-tech, thus allowing the Team to fee the League of Savage's control. With such a build-up to the use of this mind-control against the Justice League, you'd think the writers would give more than (technically only) half an episode to the fight against the world's most powerful superheroes. Also, Clone-Roy's mini-breakdown is a little too 'mini' and fast-paced to feel authentic. Within minutes, it seems, the clone has come to terms with the grand questions of life and has resolved to find the real Roy Harper. It just feels forced, and that's always a bad thing when it comes to superheroes.

And then, we see a group of villains - led by Ra's al Ghul - breaking into Cadmus to steal not only the psychopathic first attempt at a Superboy, but the real Roy Harper as well (apparently sporting an amputated arm). This little vignette is necessary after Savage and Klarion escape and the immortal man explains how all this was just "phase one".


Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 8
"Fear Itself"

After last week's stellar "Reckoning", I was hoping Green Lantern: The Animated Series would start some sort of roll and air a string of great episodes. I was half-right. While this week's "Fear Itself" doesn't devolve all the way back to the likes of "Into the Abyss", it also doesn't have as much awesome ring-play and Red Lantern action as "Reckoning" did.

Bruce Timm & Co. did something in "Feat Itself" that many TV shows - no matter if they're for kids or adults - neglect to address: food. Hal and Kilowog are stuck in deep, deep space with no means of receiving supplies from Oa, or any Lantern at all for that matter. In their efforts to secure rations, Hal lands the Interceptor on a planet that seems to have edible stuffs for them. Hal and Kilowog separate immediately because 'Wog wants to follow his nose while Hal wants to use a fancy machine Aia made for them. It's the stupidest, most forced reason to separate these two Green Lantern Corps members with (supposedly) years of training and experience that would tell them to stay together on a new planet.

Hal has a grilled cheese sandwich....from a can.
Maybe part of my beef with Green Lantern: TAS is that instead of employing actual stories from Green Lanterns 60+ years of history, the writers insist on jamming cliched kid show storylines into narratives about space cops with the most powerful weapon in the universe. It doesn't really work. This week, the cliche conflict comes when Hal and Kilowog meet the two species occupying the planet. Hal's species mines the yellow crystals that caused the GL rings to stop working. This jellyfish-like race of mutes feeds on the yellow crystals, but they also know that it's harmful to other living things. Kilowog, on the other hand, meets the more sentient-seeming race that thinks the jellyfish are out to get them, trying to steal their crystals, which they become dependent upon for a variety of uses. Soooooo forced.

It comes down to a misunderstanding made violent by the ogre-looking race's use of the yellow crystals, which technically poisons their minds and makes them go nuts. So obviously, Hal and Kilowog fight a bit before Hal is finally able to get through to him. Another cliche. Unless GL: TAS takes a hard right turn and starts up with some inter-connected episodes and Red Lantern business, I'll stop watching this show.........who am I kidding? I love Green Lantern and I'm going to keep watching whether it gets better or stays the mediocre series it seems to be content with being right now.


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