Posted by Anika
Last Friday, The Cartoon Network aired a preview of its upcoming series, Young Justice, set to air regularly starting in January. My 14 year old daughter’s reaction to the show was to add the Teen Titans series on DVD to her Christmas List. It was at the 45 minute mark of the hour long premiere, just after she asked aloud “Are there any girls in this show?”
Well, with about five minutes to go, three female characters finally did show up: Wonder Woman, silently speaking in a background shot; Black Canary, who was introduced as the team’s main trainer — but also stood silently for it; and Miss Martian, the fifth member of the team, who said I think 4 words. Flirtatiously directed at Superboy. But Kiki had already tuned the whole thing out anyway. She’d decided watching Teen Titans (two of five main characters and most of the recurring characters are girls), Sailor Moon (pretty much everyone but Tuxedo Mask is a girl), and Macross Frontier (most of the Macross saga are well-balanced casts) videos on YouTube was a better use of her time and attention. And the fact is, none of those series are current and the most recent — Macross Frontier was released in 2008 — is not likely to ever be (legally) available outside Japan.
Now, no one is saying that Sailor Moon is a better superheroine than Wonder Woman. And I enjoyed the show — especially the characterization: all four of the main characters presented in the premiere were great. To no one’s surprise I love Robin — he was above and beyond the others in skills…well, superheroing skills. In terms of social skills he was awkward at best and Bat-arrogant at worst. Adorable. Wally is my favorite Flash and he was his goofy self and a social butterfly in contrast to Robin. I expect Aqualad to settle nicely into a leadership role. And Superboy, who I “put up with” in the comics because Tim and Cassie love him, is well on his way to being a favorite. I wanted to punch Roy, which I think means he did his job well, I very much liked flustered Superman, and Bruce and Ollie sniping at each other was, in a word, perfect.
And the tone — I love Teen Titans almost as much as my daughter. But as awesomely poignant as it can be (think the Terra saga, the introduction of Nightwing, or the arc of Raven and her father) it is also purposefully absurd (think Mad Mod, Granny Goodness, and the movie that took place in Japan). My first impression of Young Justice is that the tone will be more in line with (my favorite cartoon adaptation of all time) Justice League. And reasonably so. And that is actually why I am so disappointed. Shayera Hol, the version of Hawkgirl specifically from that series, is one of my top five characters in all of comic book fandom. Not just animated comic characters, not just DC comic characters, and not just girl-type comic characters. Of ALL characters in ALL of comics, Hawkgirl makes that list.
I do know that Miss Martian is a full member of the team and that Artemis — whoever she ends up being — is too. But this premiere was hyped up and scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend to get us super excited (new episodes don’t air regularly until the new year) and I am not super excited. I am annoyed that I have to wait over a month to meet the girls. I am annoyed that I have to wait over a month to prove to my daughter who doesn’t read the internet hype that there are any girls. I am annoyed that I am stuck apologizing for this show that I did enjoy and want to be super excited for but I am not because instead of talking about how cool it is my peers and kids are asking “Are there any girls in this show?”
I do look forward to tuning in in January. But I wish I could say the same for my fourteen year old daughter.
Posted by Anika