Can a superhero cartoon appeal to both kids and adults? If too simplistic and silly, they might not appeal to older fans; if too intense and violent, a young audience (or their parents) could be put off. The young sidekick was the original combination of young and old (as when the dark Batman was given Robin, a kid in bright colors), but now the cartoon Young Justice bridges the gap as the former sidekicks take center stage -- sort of.

In Young Justice, teen heroes are an offshoot of the Justice League, performing more covert missions. The roster includes: Robin (Jesse McCartney), the strategist who's often working on his portable computer -- and wondering about oddities in English; Aqualad (Khary Payton), the team leader able to shape and harden streams of water (so no more just swimming and talking to fish); Superboy (Nolan North), a teen clone of Superman with plenty of anger; Kid Flash (Jason Spisak), the fun-loving and juvenile speedster; Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), a shy, reserved girl -- who may be the most powerful member of the group; and Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin), the protege of Green Arrow -- and the least trusted member. Batman gives them missions, Red Tornado mentors them, Black Canary trains them in combat, but Young Justice is all about the, er, young.
Young Justice manages to balance the traditional superhero stories with elements for younger viewers. There are lots of big battle scenes and villains that will be familiar to longtime D.C. comic book fans (not to mention a mysterious new group, the Light). There's also plenty of teen elements: Kid Flash has a crush on Miss Martian, who has a crush on Superboy -- who doesn't notice her; Superboy's absent "father" Superman is uncomfortable around him; and they all want to be treated as adults, not just sidekicks.
Young Justice is fun. The animation is excellent, as is the voice talent, but having a show that aims for a younger audience without talking down to them is a nice touch for a superhero show. I may be well, well past my teens, but as a fan of superheroes I find Young Justice very entertaining.

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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