Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Young Justice: “Runaways”

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It’s been a rough week for Young Justice fans. On Monday, Cartoon Network released their schedule for Fall 2013, and neither Young Justice nor Green Lantern: The Animated Series were on it, replaced by Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go! While Cartoon Network has not confirmed the cancellation of either series, the future does not look good, especially after the recent surprise hiatus. With “Runaways” potentially being one of the last seven episodes of Young Justice, it’s disappointing that it’s so focuses on Blue Beetle and the new metateens, even if it pushes multiple storylines forward. I’ve said before that I appreciate how well this season has been able to pack more of everything into the show, but at a certain point “more” can result in unbalanced storytelling.

This week, we finally learn the names and powers of the two other teens that Lex Luthor wants to recruit for the Light—Japanese soundwave manipulator Asami Koizumi and Argentinean teleporter Eduardo Delgado—who join electrokinetic Virgil Hawkins and astral strongman Tye Longshadow in the titular group that escapes from the S.T.A.R. Labs facility. I’m pretty sure Asami and Eduardo are new characters, although they could very well be some obscure Infinity Inc. rejects, so if anyone recognizes them, shout out in comments. At this point, the writers are probably going to want to cap out on new characters, because the cast members that viewers have become invested in over the last season and a half are being left on the sidelines.

That said, it’s great to see Static back on TV, even if he hasn’t taken on that moniker yet. He’s not a runaway, he just got snatched by the Reach at the bus stop and is trying to make his way back home to Dakota City. Tye seems to be the strongest of the group, and while he doesn’t grow in size like Apache Chief before him, he achieves the same effect by creating a giant astral form that he can’t quite control yet. Eduardo is the son of a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist who was working with Zeta beam technology, and his father believes that Eduardo’s teleportation powers are indicative of the metagene being opportunistic and taking advantage of what is already surrounding the subject. So what were the circumstances that gave Asami the power to manipulate sound waves? She has extra-sensitive hearing and the power to releasing sonic boom that she can use to propel herself or shoot at others. (Any Japanese speaking commenters who can translate Asami’s dialogue?)

Last week I said Young Justice has become The Jaime and M’Gann Show, but after “Runaways,” it’s starting to seem like a Blue Beetle spotlight series featuring Young Justice. When the metateens run away from S.T.A.R. Labs, Blue Beetle is asked by Nightwing to track them down, and he’s the only regular team member that appears in this episode. When Red Volcano attacks S.T.A.R. Labs to retrieve Amazo body parts, none of the other team members can make it in time even though there are like 20 people in Young Justice now. Granted, there’s a reason why this episode focuses so heavily on Jaime Reyes, because he’s not Jaime anymore, but the Scarab.

Turns out that Green Beetle totally is a bad guy and that his toying with the Scarab last week had the complete opposite effect of what he said it would, instead unlocking the weapon’s full potential and giving it control over Jaime’s body. That would explain why Blue Beetle was capable of taking out Red Volcano all by himself, showing the destructive power of the Scarab but also its lack of concern for human life. Blue Beetle shoots incredibly strong sonic beams that threaten to collapse the building behind Red Volcano, and to defeat the android, he drills a giant hole in its chest and fills the cavity with sonics until it explodes. He seems fairly dangerous to the runaways, and when the press show up and Beetle starts parading for the camera, the four metateens make their escape, straight into the wait arms of Lex Luthor.

Lex was responsible for the Red Volcano attack, all part of his plan to convince the metateens that they don’t want to listen to Young Justice and should turn to him if they really want to get rid of the Reach. Lex is too smart to trust the Reach, and he’s recently come to the conclusion that he’s being played by alien partners. Lex’s M.O. has always been about protecting Earth from extraterrestrials, and while he clearly has ulterior motives to creating a new superteam, he’s still ultimately doing this for the good of mankind. Lex has his team, now it’s time for the inevitable first fight with Young Justice before realizing that both teams have to team up to take out the alien invasion. The writers may have some tricks up their sleeves, but that’s the direction this season seems to be moving in. It isn’t bad, but it will be a lot better if this show’s cast gets more equal opportunities for the spotlight.


Stray observations:

  • This week’s DC Nation shorts: We check back in with Thunder and Lightning as Anissa tries to get her sick little sister ready for school while dad fights a gang of supervillains. Highlight: Anissa offers Jennifer: “Booster Golden Crisp or Blue Beetle Berry Crunch” for breakfast. We also get rerun of the “Super Best Friends Forever” short where the girls come up with their name. One of the bright spots of the new Fall 2013 Cartoon Network schedule is the return of The Powerpuffs Girls, now we just need a SBFF series to pair it with.
  • I love that Lex Luthor assembles an incredibly diverse group of teens for the Light’s superteam. It seems like the sort of thing he would have planned from the start to satisfy a wide demographic.
  • I made an Infinity Inc. crack earlier, but now I’m wondering if this new team is going to be called that, considering Lex Luthor’s superhero team in 52 went by that name.
  • While on the topic of runaways, if you haven’t read Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s Runaways, you’re missing out on one of the best teen superhero comics ever.
  • “We heard. The volume on your phone’s maxed out.”
  • “Where’s AMAZO’s head?!”
  • “You shouldn’t stereotype.”