Having missed it during the first season's original run, I have to ask: when did "Young Justice" turn into a tense and thrilling espionage series? Because between all the secrets, lies, betrayals, reversals, and twists, the 14 episodes here are compulsively watchable, never boring, and a great extension of the source material.
The back half of the first season have a couple of additions to the team as well as building up the threat of "The Light," the super-secret orgnaization that seems to be keeping one step ahead of the Justice League and the teen heroes (and it's ridiculous that their teams still doesn't have a name). Junior magician Zatanna (Lacey Chabert) and archer Red Arrow (Crispin Freeman) become regular members of the team, with the latter attempting to ferret out a suspected mole among the teen heroes.
And it's not like he doesn't have reason to be suspicious, since Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis are each harboring secrets that could threaten the unity and even lives of both the Young Justice team (yeah, let's call them that for now) as well as the League. In fact, the focus of many episodes this season are on the very good reasons why this trio don't just fess up about their hidden baggage, from insecurity to more insecurity and fear of persecution, to fear of persecution and possibly being lumped in with the villains.
And it's handled well, too! Not only is the series still humming along with Red Arrow constantly coming at them to find out which one might be working alongside the newly-revealed Injustice League (who provide an interesting feint for this half of the season), focusing a lot of his attention on fellow archer Artemis (whose family ties are complicated and could provide complications as well). The angst gets ramped up more in this half than in the first, but some of the rough edges there which made the characters often angry personalities grate have been smoothed down in these episodes. The plots are surprisingly mature as the teen heroes try to navigate the perilous waters of young adulthood, making the right choices, and fighting chaingun-toting gorillas.
Some other highights from the season are the increasing presence of Fourth World elements (thanks to an appearance of the Forever People and tech from Apokalips popping up every couple of episodes), along with the slow burn of whatever it is that the Light is planning. Typically, supervillain team-ups don't go too well, so I'm curious about what's keeping this union tied together and what they're final aim is (and I'm willing to bet they may not be working entirely of their own will).
The ending leaves us with a great new mystery that presumably will play out over next season: what happened to those missing 16 hours and what happened to a certain character who's apparently been missing for years. The show's writers have found a way to make both compelling without going overboard into melodrama.
If you're a fan of the show (or a fan of the animated DCU), this set is definitely worth seeking out.
A "Young Justice" digital comic that switches from a full page view to panel by panel navigation. While it's nice that WB Animation and DC are making an attempt to introduce viewers to digital comics, perhaps a voucher for a free book through the DC Comics app or ComiXology would have been a better way to present the material, which looks stretched and unattractive here.
"Young Justice: Season One, Volume Two" is available now on DVD.