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Saturday, January 3, 2015

'Justice League: Invasion' BD: Breakfast Club of Teen Champions

Young Justice: Invasion (BD)
The Warner Archive Blu-ray release of S2 of the Cartoon Network DC Nation series "Young Justice" S2 (a.k.a."Young Justice: Invasion") provides a perfect mode for watching this epic story of super-powered teens (do NOT call them sidekicks) contending with amped-up adolescent drama and a literal struggle for the fate of earth. Having most of the Justice League (a.k.a. Super Friends) "parents" "out of town" during much of the action contributes to the excitement.

The following MAJOR spoiler containing Cartoon Network promo., courtesy of YouTube, for "Invasion" offers a good look at the visual artistry and scope of the series. It excludes the humor and the heart that evokes great thoughts of quality teen dramas.

Any of the overflowingly awesome elements in these exceptionally well-produced and highly stylized 20 episodes would keep Sugar Pops eating fanboys glued to their couches during the original Saturday morning run of "Invasion." Including all of them in a well-coordinated manner is the best gift ever for this population.

Series creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti take things even further by adding Nightwing (nee Robin), Wonder Girl, Blue Beetle, Batgirl, Bumblebee, and (the especially fun) Beast Boy to the seemingly cast of 1,000s in the series. These latest additions to the initial small group of "rogues" who set up shop inside Mount Justice soon after banding together in the (Unreal TV reviewed) S1 of "Justice" contributes to the feeling of watching a diverse group of high school students trying to work together toward a common goal. Having two junior "arrows" and a couple of youthful speedster "flashes" provides a sense of this aspect of the series.

"Invasion" begins where S1 leaves off and takes our gang of superheroes-in-training in awesome new directions while teaching them some of the harsh realities of life. The titular invasion refers to the complex and nefarious vampire-like campaign of the aggressive aliens known as the Reach; this master plan involves having the stupid "meat" on earth invite them in to facilitate making terra their latest conquest.

Broken romances, feelings of betrayals, deaths, clone-related angst, devastating destruction, and old friends returning are only some of the complications that accompany the efforts to fight for "truth, justice, and the American way."

Blue Beetle stands out as a more serious incarnation of this character than the version in the Unreal TV reviewed S1 and covered S2 BD sets of the more lighthearted "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" series. The more angsty "Invasion" Beetle additionally is at the center of the Reach plan for world domination. This connection further adds to the lore of this character.

A subplot regarding a "metagene" goes beyond providing the effervescent Beast Boy an opportunity for one of the best jokes in "Invasion" to serving as an homage to the "potentials" storyline in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and a form of prequel to the current uber-uber-awesome live-action prime time series "The Flash." This aspect of some humans being genetically "blessed" with a dormant ability further harkens back to the element of the Ancient gene in "Stargate: Atlantis."

A terrific BD special feature in the form of a very conversational interview with Weisman validates the novel feel of "Invasion" regarding the creative narrative technique of the series in the form of being a visual representation of a book. Weisman adds that the "Invasion" series and comic book complement each other by providing information that the other lacks; he further emphasizes that enjoying either the series or the comic book does not require having the other.

The truly epic season (and alas series) finale is tragic in that it involves a heroic (seemingly for reals) death of one of the most likable members of the team. The painfully unresolved cliffhanger is almost as sad and should have fanboys everywhere offering up tributes to Weisman for a direct-to-video movie that wraps up things.

Anyone with questions regarding "Invasion" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.