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10. Before the Dawn
Synopsis: Join Young Justice and watch them battle villains and fight crime in a 2-disc 10 episode collection!
For the Young Justice squad being a teenager means proving yourself over and over — to peers, parents, teachers, mentors and, ultimately, to yourself. But what if you’re not just a normal teenager? What if you’re a teenage super hero? How much harder will it be to prove yourself in a world of super powers, super villains and super secrets? Are you ready to come of age in such a world? Are you ready for life or death rites of passage? Are you ready to join the ranks of the great heroes and prove you’re worthy of the Justice League? That’s exactly what the members of Young Justice — Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis — will find out … whether they have what it takes to be a proven hero.
The latest season of the critically acclaimed series jumps ahead in time 5 years to re-introduce the original squad as well as all new members Nightwing, Wondergirl, Blue Beetle, Batgirl, and Beast Boy as they fight off a secret alien invasion affecting the entire planet.
Review by James Harvey:
Since this review will emphasize the home video release more than the main feature, my comments on the episodes included here will be brief. This collections features the first ten episodes from the second season of Young Justice, subtitled “Invasion,” and this second season has been understandably controversial. The controversy mainly focuses on the five year time-jump between the first and second season, something done to serve the needs of the story. Frankly, for myself, it works fine. Yes, it is a bit of an adjustment, but it works well for what the story wants to accomplish (even if it does open up a couple questions).
At the end of the it all, I still see Young Justice as a show about the original core team. Aqualad, Artemis, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Robin, and Superboy. Even with the changes, at its core, this show still remains focused on those six players. It may not seem like it, as there are times when barely any of these characters are seen during the course of an episode, but these six hold the show together even with the rather expansive team growth in the second season. And in this second season we see everything they’ve learned in the first season put to the test and, well, the results can be pretty jaw-dropping at times. New developments pop up, costumes and names change, some retire, some go down a dark path, but – in the end – this show still remains about that fantastic core group of young heroes.
Is the second season better than the first season? Well, it’s too early to tell, but the story is definitely more focused and the questions intriguing. The characters are just as great, the writing and directing sharp, and the developments usually jaw-dropping. It remains a great show in the second season, even if the window-dressing is just a shade different.
Moving on to the DVD, Warner Home Video provides another good, though not great, home video release for Young Justice. The Young Justice: Destiny Calling – Season Two, Part One DVD release includes ten episodes, plus some bonus episodes and a few trailers. Nothing major, but a continued improvement from the previous single-disc volume releases.
With five episodes to a disc, the A/V quality here is pretty solid. Audio is a standard English Stereo mix and the video presentation is an anamorphic widescreen encode, resulting in a surprisingly stunning image. It looks great but, like Green Lantern: The Animated Series, this show would benefit from a Blu-ray release. Blu-rays is now the dominant home video media, correct? Warner Home Video should take advantage of that.
The bonus content is sparse here. Outside of the standard promotional trailers, also included are three bonus Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode which focus on Blue Beetle and the Reach. A neat way to tie episodes of an unrelated series, and something fans should enjoy, though it would be ideal to get some actual behind-the-scenes production content on the show itself at some point down the line.
Taking everything into account, fans should really scoop up this release. There’s no guarantee of a complete season collection – be it on DVD and Blu-ray – and there’s enough content on this title to warrant plunking down $15 or $20. Each episode on this collection is thoroughly enjoyable, some more than others, and the amount of episodes gives this collection a nice hefty run time. While the lack of extras remains frustrating, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker. Young Justice: Destiny Calling – Season Two, Part One comes Highly Recommended. Ten episodes (plus three bonus Batman: The Brave and The Bold episodes) of one of the best action cartoons currently on television? Yeah, don’t pass this one up.
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