By: Greg Weisman (story)

The Story: YJ’s philosophy toward recruitment?  The more the merrier.

The Review: When I reviewed the show’s season finale last week, I was all settled in for a summer’s break until its return.  I suppose I should have known by now to give up trying to figure out this show’s release schedule.  Who could ever predict that the premiere of the second season would follow right on the heels of the first’s season finale?  I can only guess this is Cartoon Network’s way of keeping up its newly-minted DC Nation block.

The first few minutes of the episode get you pumped for another season of teen superhero action, as you watch Superboy, Miss Martian, and Robin take down Clayface in a sewer with great finesse and confidence, proving their victory aboard the League watchtower did wonders for their street cred.  When Robin appears from the shadows in a whole new costume, you’re only briefly curious.  Then an alligator slides down a chute and becomes Beast Boy.  Blue Beetle flies in, remarking on the smell.  A shrunken Bumblebee hovers above and resizes back to normal.  You think to yourself, Wow, their street cred really must have taken off to recruit this much.  And then Superboy reports back to HQ, only to be told to head back by one “Nightwing.”

Needless to say, you’re completely thrown for a loop when you discover that it’s been five years since the events of the last episode.  I must say I have my reservations about that.  One of my most consistent complaints (a minor one, to be sure) about the first season was I didn’t feel like we ever got to see the characters interact like friends, but more like friendly coworkers.  I feel the show definitely could’ve afforded another season to show us this growing camaraderie before throwing essentially a whole new team at us.

Aside from this quibble, I can’t deny that my feelings quickly trended towards excitement.  You have to give credit to Weisman and the writers for shaking up the show and keeping it fresh, even after only one season.  They certainly leave us with plenty of questions to keep us occupied, all of which will undoubtedly spawn major plotlines as the season goes on.  Why did Nightwing, Superboy, and Miss Martian reject League membership to act as YJ veterans?  How did Miss Martian and Superboy’s romance sour (as Superboy looks none too pleased at his ex making out with a certain aqua-based superhero)?  What happened to Kid Flash, Artemis, Aqualad, and Red Arrow/Speedy (I’m referring, of course, to both the clone and the original)?

Most importantly, we have a major overarching story to look forward to.  It appears that whatever plans the Light had for the League in “Phase 2” of their operation, they’re only now coming to fruition, five years later.  We get a big hint as to what the six Leaguers did during their 16 missing hours, once Adam Strange reports that the planet Rann has put those heroes on their watchlist and once we learn that since then the goblin-esque Kroloteans have begun a quiet invasion of Earth.  This invasion in turn has gotten the world on edge, a paranoia stoked by the fear-mongering G. Gordon Godfrey.  I’m definitely hearing echoes of the Legends crossover series, wherein Darkseid attempts to turn the world against its heroes so as to conquer it with greater ease.  This sounds like a perfect follow-up to the show’s tremendous first season.

Conclusion: While nothing’s quite as you expected, the show still gives you everything you have come to expect from it: great action, solid character work, smart writing, and intriguing long-term plotting.  We have much to look forward to.

Grade: B+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I don’t know about you, but absolutely zero of my Chicano/Latino pals talk to me or to each other the way Jaime Reyes does.  It’s either English or Spanish.

– I like that Robin taps his chest insignia  to communicate with HQ, Star Trek: The Next Generation  style.

– I also like that Zee uses her new League membership as an opportunity to show off some more cleavage.  Girl’s all grown up.