Friday, April 23, 2010

The Sidekick League

At their recent upfront, Cartoon Network announced the debut of a new DC animated series Young Justice. I'm guessing it will be loosely based on the comic book of the same name, which is odd because that comic was canceled in favor of a new incarnation of the Teen Titans to cash in on the Teen Titans cartoon which was new at the time.

Let's not ignore the elephant in the teaser image. Aqualad is black. Clearly Warner wanted to diversify the team a tiny bit. So why change an existing character instead of using an established African American hero? Why didn't they just use Static? Or Thunder? Natasha Irons as Steel? Jason Rusch as Firestorm? It seems to me they were concerned about name recognition. They wanted their roster to consist of characters with links to big name Justice League members. Aqualad is in a weird place where he's more noteworthy than the average teen superhero, but insignificant enough that they could get away with altering him. That's assuming that this is even meant to be the same Aqualad from the comics and not a new character borrowing his name.

There's another sort of character conundrum. The female archer is named Artemis. Green Arrow's female sideckick is named Arrowette, although the current Speedy is also a girl. It remains to be seen which, if any, of those characters Artemis is based on. And why does she have that name? Granted "Artemis" does sound a little cooler than "Arrowette" or "Speedy".

Is the fact that Artemis named after a Greek goddess a coincidence? Sadly there's no Wonder Girl on the show. Is Artemis meant to be the stand-in for her? Apparently there are some issues I don't fully understand that limit Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl's ability to appear on TV. That's why Wonder Girl never appeared on Teen Titans or why Clark has yet to meet Diana Prince on Smallville.

The Wonder Girl situation is especially bizarre considering Superboy is going to be on the show, in spite of the legal issues surrounding him. I'm assuming that this Robin is Tim Drake and Kid Flash is Bart Allen. I hope they don't pull a Teen Titans and refrain from dealing with their secret identities.

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