Five years after the end of season one of Young Justice, a lot has changed. The team has a much expanded roster, many of the original team members have moved on, and aliens are invading the earth. The majority of the season deals with the team at first discovering that the earth is under invasion by a species known as the Reach. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League implicated by Vandal Savage had to leave to stand trial for the crimes they committed off-world.
Most of the season focuses on the new characters, in particular Blue Beetle, with surprisingly minimal focus given to the original cast. Superboy and Miss Martian broke up during the past five years, after she tried to use her psychic powers to wipe an argument they had from his mind. Surprisingly out of character moments, compared to the first season at least, abound.
Jumping into this season immediately after watching the first season, can cause a bit of mood whiplash. Major character events have happened in the five years between seasons, and for anyone that was invested in the admittedly well written romance between Connor and Megan will be disappointed by how their story is handled. Granted later episodes hint at a possible reconciliation, but the jarring shift in their relationship could easily drive away anyone who liked their relationship.
The general tone is a lot more serious than the first season. Which I personally did not mind that much, but I have to admit I liked the more lighthearted tone of the first season. The darker tone could be seen as being more mature, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Neophytes to DC universe could easily find themselves lost in this season, as opposed to the first season, where characters and concepts were explained to new viewers. Characters and storylines in season two rely far more on prior knowledge. Characters like Batgirl and Tim Drake’s Robin are just there. I know their story, but do all viewers know where they came from? It’s elements like these that keep me from being surprised that the series will be cancelled at the end of this season. That and the Weisman Curse is just proving itself more and more true.
Fortunately, there is still plenty to enjoy this season. The story is ongoing, with episodes tying together a lot more than standing alone. While this may not work for some, for fans of serialized storytelling, and ongoing stories, it works very well. The main story itself is very interesting, and removing the heavy hitters of the Justice League helps raise the stakes.
I like the concept behind the Reach’s invasion. It reminds me of the Animorphs series, where the invasion is of a more subtle kind, where secrecy is valued over brute strength. In this case the Reach use subterfuge rather than an outright infiltration. Using the media and human nature against us in the only truly safe way. While our technology is never as advanced as that of the invaders, it’s a common theme in science fiction that in the end mankind is triumphant. Whether through human spirit, or human savagery, depending on your level of cynicism, mankind always comes out triumphant. If that holds through in the DC Universe, then the Reach’s strategy is the only safe way to invade the Earth.
While most characters are looked over, and the main characters from season one, there are some good stories going on among the new characters. In particular Blue Beetle’s, Weisman and his staff are able to tie Jaime’s story into the story of the invasion in a very compelling way. Granted anyone that doesn’t know anything about the original Blue Beetle might be lost here and there, the writing is still good enough to make Jaime’s storyline compelling.
Red Arrow’s story was possibly my favorite part of the season. Seeing him and Cheshire with a child wasn’t something you see ever in cartoons aimed at a younger audience. Not only that, but his search for the original Roy Harper was quite possibly the most interesting thing Weisman and crew did this season. Which makes it all the more of a shame that we don’t get to see more of Red Arrow after Roy is found.
Personally, while I enjoy the elements this season, I would have preferred a stronger focus on the original characters. Or at the very least I would have liked to see more of the new characters. Personally I think a second season would have been better set between the first and second season. Introducing all the new characters organically, the way new characters were introduced in season one, would have been easier to digest.
Young Justice Invasion is entertaining, but considerably flawed. One can get far more invested a few episodes in, but that initial first set of episodes is jarring enough to perhaps drive away a few watchers. There’s plenty for fans of the show, and plenty for fans of the original comics. There certainly was plenty for me to enjoy, enough to keep me coming back. But ultimately Invasion lacks what I really liked about season one, and is flawed in ways that some might have a hard time reconciling.