‘Young Justice’ Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode1: ‘Happy New Year!’
How do you do, fellow teens? Because you demanded it, Young Justice is returning for a third season in 2017, and that means that there's no better time to get caught up on the first two seasons. Elle Collins, who has seen the entire show and likes it a lot, and Chris Sims, who hated the pilot and never went back, are sitting down to watch the entire series before it makes its triumphant return.
This week, the invasion begins as we start in on Season 2! "Happy New Year!" was written by Greg Weisman, directed by Tim Divar, and originally aired on April 28, 2012.
Chris Sims: It's season 2, and things are dramatically different! We've had a five-year time jump since the end of last week's episode, giving us a completely new roster and a new set of team dynamics: The team has expanded to include Bumblebee, Mal Duncan, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, a brand-new Robin, and Lagoon Boy, who's now in a relationship with Miss Martian that leaves Superboy even grumpier than he was when they were together!
Most of our old favorites are back, but there are some differences there, too. Kid Flash doesn't seem to be around anymore (at least this week), Dick Grayson has graduated to Nightwing, and Miss Martian has a new haircut. Conner, on the other hand, is still rockin' those cargo pants, because some things are eternal.
We've got new enemies, too: Lobo shows up to attack the UN, and after revealing that the Secretary-General was secretly an alien in a robot suit, G. Gordon Godfrey — voiced by Tim Friggin' Curry in what might be the show's best bit of casting since Danny Trejo as Bane — starts stirring up anti-alien resentment.
The "Invasion" theme of the new season continues to build when we get a visit from Adam Strange reporting on some unusual doings out in space, and the reveal that whatever happened during the heroes' missing 16 hours from when they were controlled by Starro-Tech has turned the entire galaxy against the Justice League. If they're going to get to the bottom of this, they're going to have to turn to heroes who aren't official members of the League — it's time for Team Still-Doesn't-Have-A-Name-After-Five-Years-Are-You Serious-With-This to go into action!
Elle: It just occurred to me that if the first season was set the same year that it aired, then this season is set last year, even thought it aired five years ago. So the upcoming season could be set in the present, but follow immediately after this season. On the other hand, they may just decide to set it in 2021 anyway.
Chris: If this team couldn't save us from 2016, then honestly, Elle, what good are they? Seriously though: Does Season 2 actually rule? Because this episode kind of ruled.
Elle: Maybe it does! I'm excited about the prospect. I enjoy the more expansive team, which almost feels like "Young Justice Unlimited." And one of the new additions, Wonder Girl, is voiced by Mae Whitman, an actor I'm always happy to see (or hear) anywhere she turns up.
Chris: Yeah. With the roster expanding like this in a single episode, it's hard to keep up with who's in. In addition to the ones I mentioned above who appear on the core team, we've got Batgirl and Wonder Girl showing up, too, and Zatanna and Rocket apparently graduating to the League. Artemis and Kid Flash, though — you don't have to spoil it for me, but do they show up again or are they gone for good?
Elle: Kid Flash is definitely still around, he's just not in this episode. What they didn't do, but it would have been fun for us Wally West fans, is have him missing after the time jump, and then reveal that he's the Flash in the Justice League now. But that's just me fantasy booking --- he'll turn back up as Kid Flash. Things with Artemis and Aqualad (who's also not in this episode, by the way), are a lot more complicated. But like you said, I don't want to spoil it.
Chris: It's probably pretty bad that I literally did not notice Aqualad wasn't in this, huh?
Elle: I wouldn't worry about it. This is the season where they figure out how to make Aqualad interesting. But again, no spoilers.
Chris: One thing that really sticks out to me is that they actually handle the five-year gap really well. It's kinda hard to get around the fact that this show was taking place during DC's New 52 era, and I fell like the Five-Year Gap — the same kind of thing that we saw between the first two arcs of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League — is a product of that. But I do think it's done a lot better here than it was there.
My big problem with the five year jump in the comics was that nothing really changed — Five years is a long time, and when we came back to the League, we still had the same roster. Here, it really does feel like everything's different. Plus, we get to skip over five or six origin stories, Beast Boy notwithstanding.
Elle: I like the way aging is dealt with here too. Dick Grayson, being the youngest team member, is like a whole different person now. He even grew into his ears! But most of the older kids are pretty much the same. Although Megan did cut her hair short and dresses in black all the time now (instead of just on stealth missions), but those are the sort of choices that happen as teens get older.
Chris: I am Here For Goth Miss Martian. "Hello, Megan! Death comes for us all." But yeah, I'm seeing why everyone appreciates the longform storytelling — Dick going from being unsure if he wants to be like Batman to just easily being in command of the team in the span of five years is a really nice touch. Aside from the fact that it still takes place entirely in dimly lit rooms at night, there's a lot to love about this new season and how it picks up on the plot threads we saw before.
Elle: There's a lot of stuff in this season premiere that seems designed to appeal to longtime DC Comics readers (in short, us). They don't explain Blue Beetle, or Bumblebee, or Wonder Girl, because they want you to say "Oh cool, it's that character I know!" as soon as they show up.
But one of the best examples of that is the way you hear Tim Curry's voice, and then G. Gordon Godfrey's face and name pop onto the screen all at once. And viewers like us immediately understand the implications of his presence.
Chris: This was another one of those times where I was texting you while I watched it and just flipping out about how excited I was. Combining Legends and Invasion! is a solid idea for a season-long arc, and Darkseid being involved in the Light — something that was hinted at when the Forever People showed up but never really explored in that plot — is really good. And he's one of the few characters (along with Vandal Savage and Ra's al-Ghul, I suppose) for whom taking five years to put a plan into motion makes a lot of sense. What's five years to an immortal god?
Elle: On the subject of the Invasion plot, I do want to make one complaint about the design aesthetic of this show, which is that Kroloteans look too much like Genomorphs from Cadmus. I'm pretty sure there's no actual story connection there; it's just that the designers on this show seem to have one setting for "gobliny creature."
Chris: No kidding — until you said it just now, I was 100% expecting there to be a connection there. But here we are. Which, since we're talking about the Kroloteans, means we should probably cover Lobo. Are you a Lobo person? By which I mean a fan, not a werewolf.
Elle: I'm not a Lobo person. Never been my thing. He serves a good story purpose here though, especially when he tears the Secretary General apart by the arms to reveal a major plot point. But I'm not a fan of the way he throws around the word "fem" as an insult, even if it is supposed to be Interlac or whatever.
Chris: I'm not really into Lobo either. I kind of like that Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire version that puts on the hyper-macho front but really just wants to hang out in space with his space dolphins, but the idea of the Wolverine parody that eventually became indistinguishable from a genuine attempt at badass didn't really land for me. But I do like him as a blunt instrument for the plot, and the scene where he tears the robot apart is some genuinely awesome animation. It's really shocking until you can tell it's a robot!
Elle: And it leads to that wonderful instant replay with Tim Curry narrating: "The big alien pulls apart the fake secretary to reveal... the little alien!"
Chris: You know what genuinely surprises me? That "G. Gordon Godfrey," which is a super '80s reference, has stuck around as long as it has. I mean, I know G. Gordon Liddy is somehow still out there, but you'd think it would've switched over to Glenn Godfrey or The O'Godfrey Factor by 2010.
Elle: The disturbingly popular web series AntiLifeWars, with your host, Godfrey Jones.
Chris: So I think that wraps us up for this week. We've got a compelling new plot that's kicking off with some interesting shakeups and a real reason to send the kids instead of the League, a five year gap that feels like a five year gap, and cosmic threats looming on the horizon. Believe it or not, I'm pretty stoked to see what's next!
Elle: So am I, especially since it involves a trip to Rann!
Chris: I'm sure it will be My Greatest Adventure!
Chris: Oh, one more thing.
Elle: Yes, Columbo?
Chris: The Bad Netflix Subtitles for this show have become something of a recurring gag here at Teenage 'Kicks, but in this one, they refer to shape-shifting Batman villain Basil Karlo as "Cliff Ace," and now I really want to see Batman having to fight an evil rock-climber.
Elle: I don't usually have the captions on, so I missed "Cliff Ace," but I turned them on partway through this episode because I couldn't tell whether or not Lobo was speaking English. So I was there for the introduction later in the episode of that classic Justice League International character, Katherine Gobert.
Chris: Oh my golly, I didn't even realize it was her because of the captions!
Elle: That was indeed Catherine Cobert, it's just that the captioners clearly don't realize how important alliterative names are in comics.