Young Justice: Invasion: Destiny Calling DVD Review: The Students Have Finally Become the Masters

If you’re looking for a continuation of the previous Season One you’re going to be in for quite a shock. Right from the first episode, you’ll find yourself confused. While most shows pick up fairly close to where they left off in the previous season, Young Justice isn’t even close. It’s been five years since Red Arrow’s (Crispin Freeman) embedded programming took over his mind and forced him to help Vandal Savage (Miguel Ferrer) enslave the Justice League.

And while five years may not seem to be a long time to most people, when you are talking about characters who were in their teens when you last saw them, five years is a lifetime. Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin) and Kid Flash (Jason Spisak) have left the superhero life. Superboy (Nolan North) and Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), who were just starting to be a couple, are barely on speaking terms. Robin (Jesse McCartney) has now become Nightwing, and there is a new Robin (Cameron Bowen), Tim Drake. Blue Beetle (Eric Lopez), Beast Boy (Logan Grove), and Lagoon Boy (Yuri Lowenthal) are now members along with Bumble Bee (Masasa Moyo), Bat Girl (Alyson Stoner), and Wonder Girl (Mae Whitman). Red Arrow, who now knows he is a clone, is obsessed with finding the real Roy Harper and most shockingly, Aqualad (Khary Payton) has turned to evil and is the right-hand man to his father, Black Manta (Kevin Grevioux).

Now how can you jump ahead to all these new changes without knowing what happened in those five years? It doesn’t seem fare to all the loyal fans who have been watching since the beginning and is quite frustrating. Fortunately, for everyone the missing pieces are slowly filled in as the story progresses. By the end of the first part of this season, all of your questions are answered and it even deals with the main cliffhanger from season one: what exactly happened during the missing 16 hours when Savage held the League under his mind control.

When we join the story, Earth is under siege by some little green aliens called the Kroloteans. They are capturing humans and replacing them with robotic bodies the aliens inhabit. The plan is uncovered and Nightwing is assigned to take care of the problem because the Justice League is needed off-world to deal with the consequences of their actions during the missing hours. On the opposite side of the coin, the newly turned criminal Aqualad is trying to thwart their efforts at every turn.

But everything is not what it seems. While five years ago Robin had a hard time trying to be the leader as Nightwing, he now excels at the task. Not only is he directing multiple strike teams during missions, but he is also running an incredibly dangerous and risky undercover plan in his attempt to discover who is in the evil organization that calls themselves The Light.

So far this season (or half season) has been a lot darker and more serious than the previous one. With the exception of Superboy, all of the original characters are a lot more jaded and even push the edge of what is acceptable behavior from a superhero. Beast Boy and Impulse (Jason Marsden), who shows up in the episode “Bloodlines” and claims to be the grandson of The Flash (George Eads), gives the show just enough comic relief without pushing it too far and making it silly.

The DVD set includes 10 episodes evenly spaced over two discs. Disc One also contains three episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and all three focus on episodes where the Caped Crusader is teamed up with Blue Beetle. It may seem odd at first, but once you see how big a part Blue Beetle plays in this season it will all make complete sense by the time you reach the final episode.

It’s truly impressive how well the stories are written in this series. Not only does it stay focused on the overall arc of the alien invasion, but it keeps churning out plot twists and manages to explore real character development. It’s almost impossible to discuss the individual episodes without giving away critical plot points because there is so much going on. And if you give out too much detail, it will ruin the fun and excitement of seeing what will happen next.

If you’re a fan of the DC world or just like a good story, then this series will not disappoint. You may even find yourself liking these so-called sidekicks even better than their mentors and that’s saying a lot.

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Todd Karella

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