When DC Nation started a little over six weeks ago, I was happy to have a block dedicated to the adventures of some of the best animated/comic book superheroes in popular culture. While the premiere proved successful overall, it stank of reruns marketed as new and filler episodes. As the block progressed, the lackluster beginning was left behind for a programming that was finally living up to the advertising.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series was designed for the younger set. After watching eight episodes, I have come to the conclusion that the CGI animated series is very character driven with its protagonists: Green Lanterns Kilowag and Hal Jordan, Aya their spaceship’s AI, and Red Lantern Razer. Though the characters are original, they do have some stereotypical traits: Razer is the dark, emo-driven guy, Kilowag is a brute/gentle giant, Hal is the cavalier, charismatic team leader, and Aya is the token female, albeit a very cool one learning about organic life forms. The episode plots are not unfamiliar to the avid cartoon watcher. They’re semi-predictable and adaptable for any animated kids show with minor tweaking. So far the series consists of singular stories that appear at the start of any series to establish the characters and their world as they build up to a larger, more complicated storyline. The team is searching through an unexplored part of space to recruit Green Lanterns to help them fight the encroaching Red Lanterns. Green Lantern: The Animated Series could possibly turn into an epic series, though I am counting on it being simplified for the target audience. The best thing about the series is it is entertaining and fun without a bunch of drama.
Young Justice is another matter, in many ways the exact opposite of Green Lantern: The Animated Series . After a couple filler episodes to keep the light-hearted edge, the story has reached its exciting climax. The story plays out that Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis are suspected moles in the young superhero group. The villain Sportsmaster tries to convince Artemis, his daughter, to turn to the family business and Miss Martian is manipulated by the evil Queen Bee to keep her true form a secret. Suberboy also connects with his other “father” Lex Luthor. These are all reasonable suspicions to believe one of these three could be a mole. In the meantime, the Justice League discusses who to add to the League roster. Red Arrow aka Speedy is honored with a membership card, but his intentions to join the League aren’t as pure as he believes.
Young Justice has interwoven details within each episode alluding to the final confrontation when the sidekicks have to fight their mentors who are under the mind control of Vandal Savage. The showdown between the young superhero team and the Justice League proved how far they have come in their careers. Even though the bad guy is taken down, a new evil waits around the corner for the second season. Young Justice matches the excitement and adventure of prior DC cartoons, while adding a serious tone that DC Nation needs to pull itself out of “for kids only” section.
The DC Nation Shorts take place during the commercial breaka and keep you glued to the screen during the boring advertisements so you don’t miss one (unless you have DVR). Some of them are entertaining such as Plastic Man, New Teen Titans, and Super Best Friends Forever. The DC’s Worlds Funniest from Aardman Studios is cute, but loses it humor after a couple viewings as do the MAD TV sketches. The real superhero weapon demonstrations are interesting, but since the weapons are professionally made, of course, they will work. Most of the shorts are hit and miss and they don’t really add much to the block and they aren’t long enough for more than one-shot gags. If they were continuous serials or had more original humor they would have more substance, but they are better than watching commercials.
The DC Nation block has outgrown it’s slow beginning and is now a bright, original spot on the weekend TV schedule with new character driven stories guaranteed to entertain the viewer for an hour (forty-five if you DVR).
DC Nation-Green Lantern: The Animated Series
April 21, 2012
Directed by Rick Morales & Sam Liu
DC Nation: Young Justice
April 21, 2012
Directed by Jay Olivia & Tim Divar