The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Alpha Male

If I didn't know for a fact that Greg Weisman wasn't on drugs, I'd ask him to share whatever he's smoking. It should be impossible. How do you take something as corny and frankly stupid as a French brain in a jar whose' best friend is a gorilla in a French beret and make that intimidating. "Young Justice" managed to succeed at that.

The teaser is great, and the inciting incident is brilliant. Mayor Hill of Gotham City is in the jungle when a gorilla steps out of the trees with a mini-gun and shoots them all up. I'll admit to being amazed Mayor Hill is even still alive after that. But I did enjoy his cameo. I have no idea if he was in the comics, but I know he was in "Batman the Animated Series."

This episode is about the fallout between The Team and Aqualad after the latter keeps to himself that there is a mole on the team. I thought Superboy's reaction was well handled, and while I have seen a lot of complaints about how The Team reacted to this, I think they all ring true. What many people seem to forget is that these are teenagers. They are not the professionals that Batman and the Justice League are. Not yet anyway. This entire team was founded upon these teenagers being pissed off that the League was keeping secrets and not trusting them. Of course they'd be pissed off at Aqualad. But, by the end of the episode, after speaking to Captain Marvel, Aqualad takes charge and the team seems to get over it. But I am sure this will continue to have long term consequences.

This brings me to something else. A while back, I saw someone say and I'm paraphrasing from memory "Teen Titans reminded me of what was fun about being a teenager, Young Justice reminds me of what sucked about being a teenager." What? Why should the less fun parts about being a teenager not get depicted in a show about teenagers. My memories of being a teenager are not exactly happy ones. God forbid fictional teenagers get written like real ones, instead of a fantasy version of teenagers. Yes, I know this is a fantasy world, but that doesn't mean everything should be run through and sanitized to a point where the less fun stuff is glossed over and ignored. These aren't adults waiting for a growth spurt, and yet a lot of the complaints I see are from people who think they should be written that way. I think the problem here is that many fans are looking to their favorite shows or books for wish fulfillment rather then drama. People want to escape to a fictional world where they can vicariously live out there fantasies via their favourite hero. But there is no drama, and that's not real. This actually ties back to what I said two weeks ago about Superboy and Miss Martian's romance... of course it's not real. These are two hormonal teenagers who have a lot of growing up to do.

Finally, Captain Marvel was easily the highlight of the episode. I loved his child-like enthusiasm, and even though I knew about his secret identity, I still thought the epilogue of the episode was played perfectly. Fun stuff. I hope to see more of him as The Team's new den mother.


  1. "I'll admit to being amazed Mayor Hill is even still alive after that. But I did enjoy his cameo."

    If you'll notice, Hill starts getting the Hell outta dodge the moment Mallah revs up his chaingun; most likely, he was either only clipped by a bullet or two or avoided them completely, and his injuries came mostly from desperately fleeing for his life through the Indian jungle.

    ...His traveling companions/guides, on the other hand, are swiss cheese. No question about it. ;)

    And incidentally, Hamilton Hill IS a character from the comics, though is rather less prominent than his B:TAS counterpart. One of many, MANY mayors of Gotham across the long Batman mythos, he was most notable for being utterly corrupt and fully in the pocket of Rupert Thorne, so I'm hardly sympathetic to his plight here, LOL.

    In any event, another insightful and thought-provoking review, Greg. Looking forward heavily to seeing the Injustice League next week!

  2. "Teen Titans reminded me of what was fun about being a teenager, Young Justice reminds me of what sucked about being a teenager."

    Who in the blue hell said THIS? He or she should get smacked with a clue by four.

    Me, I think watching fictional characters should have some form of escapism (to me anyways), but I like seeing my favorite characters overcome adversity of the negative things that come their way. To me that's more inspiring than doing something like retconing Spider-Man's marriage, just because someone THINKS certain people can't see "their lives" in him after he's a married character.

    Ironically when Teen Titans failed to scratch the surface, it left the show as superficial and hollow.

  3. The problem with "Alpha Male" is that the writers went overboard with establishing the team members anger towards Aqualad for withholding information.

    I never expected the Young Justice team to act like their grown-up counterparts, but they acted more like babies than teenagers. Now, I'm not saying the team didn't have the right to be angry at Aqualad, but every negative comment towards him was so blunt and too frequent it made me say "YES! I get it! They hate Aqualad!". If there were less of those moments, or were at least done more subtlety, than the episode would have been received better.

    On the plus side, Captain Marvel was cool; Miss Martian didn't say "Hello Megan"; I find Superboy adopting anything he finds on the road to be amusing; and the lights out bit was a nice subversive moment.


  5. Considering that the whole reason
    the kids formed the Team in the first place was because the League was keeping secrets from them, it makes perfect sense for them to be pissed at Aqualad.

    Granted, they took it way too personally but like Greg said, teenagers. Teenagers take everything personally. And they did realise that they were acting like morons and apologised to Aqualad in the end.

  6. God forbid teenagers be written like teenagers.

  7. Aside from people not getting that The Team are teenagers, what's with people calling the Miss Martian/Superboy romance forced? How is it forced? TvTropes even has it listed as a Romantic Plot Tumor (albeit in the YMMV section, but come on.)

  8. Did Batman assign them a mission on a school night seeing how this takes place the night after Artemis's first day at Gothanm Academy?