Like many comic book fans, I’ve been watching the new Young Justice series on Cartoon Network.
In fact I just finished watching the latest episode where Artemis enters. For the most part I’ve been enjoying the cartoon. And that’s saying a lot because for me the Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe (Batman, Superman, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Batman Beyond, Justice League) was the pinnacle of excellence and an impossible act to follow.
But the new series is showing promise and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. However it’s already fucking up on something fierce.
Questions, I have them.
Question the first: I adore Artemis. She easily owns and she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I’m also stoked that along with Aqualad the team will have two POCs. For those of you who don’t know Artemis is half-Vietnamese and half-caucasian. That said, why are both POCs on the team blond? One I could roll with, but both POCs? And given DC’s history of “vixenizing” minority characters, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in raising any eyebrow at this.
Question the second: WHY THE FUCK IS AQUALAD “HOLDING” THE LEADERSHIP POSITION FOR ROBIN?!!!! Yes Robin has more experience (you wouldn’t know it the way he behaves), but he has shown no maturity what so ever or any leadership capabilities. And his “experience” is him being the sidekick and taking orders, really different from leading a team. He’s impulsive and immature. Aqualad clearly is the best qualified leader of the group. He thinks things through, he carries himself with maturity and grace. He’s constantly the one with a plan. So how does Robin innately become worthy of the leadership role? He’ll one day grow into the role? You could make the same argument for the other members and even then I see Konnor and Artemis being more qualified to lead than this version of Robin.
This is not the Robin of the Teen Titans cartoon. That one was actually a credible leader on occasion, when he wasn’t being Emo Loner Boy and “screwing” his team over. And even then more than once Cyborg proved that he was the real leader of the team.
And this YJ Robin doesn’t even compare to TT Robin as far as being a leader goes.
And let’s be real here. If the roles were reversed, I sure as hell don’t see the writers having Robin “hold” the leadership role for Aqualad.
I see this trope all the fucking time. Anytime a POC proves themselves superior to anything over a caucasian, they’re under obligation to share their accomplishment with their inferior white peers knowing damn well that ish wouldn’t happen if the roles were reversed.
Anytime a POC proves themselves superior whether in real life or fiction, they quickly get denigrated and erased, usually replaced with an inferior caucasian substitute. And POCs are expected to accept that blatant racism with a smile on our faces. Case in point.
Question the third: Superman is the neglectful deadbeat father? REALLY?!!!! You know shit is fucked up when Bruce is telling Clark how to be a positive influence in someone’s life.
YJ, you’re showing a lot of promise and for the most part I’ve enjoyed the series. Please don’t fuck this up with the blatant racefail. And I’d go into the not-so veiled sexism of the female characters being “forced” into the boys club and having to prove themselves as peers but these ladies discuss the issue far better than I could.
Mr. Weisman, I’ve been a huge fan of yours for a minute. You’re the force behind Gargoyles, one of the most underrated and progressive and brilliant cartoons ever produced. So these critiques aren’t from a hater, it’s from a fan who genuinely wants to support the cartoon and wants to be a rabid fanboy for YJ (which was one of my all-time favorite comics and one of the most underrated yet brilliant series ever released) and for your work. Now I get the series just began and like any show, one has to work out the kinks in order to be a well-tuned machine. But please take what’s written into account. I can see this series being something special and I really want to support it.
So for now, I’ll be watching. Please make me a true believer. Please.