On nights when my wife isn’t around, my daughter loves spending a bit of quality TV time with me as we unwind from the day. Finally tired of watching interminable replays of Good Luck Charlie and iCarly, I desperately suggested we pop over to Netflix and give Justice League Unlimited a try.
There’s been no turning back.
We’ve since finished all of JLU and are working our way through Young Justice. Not only have we both been loving it – neither of us having watched it before – it’s also been a window into how each of our brains work.
I’m a big DC fan, with a lot of its history engraved in my engrams, so I’m the audience for all the in-jokes and asides and backlog of characters they’ve exhumed and resurrected. (Seriously. Infinity Man and the Forever People? Klarion the Witch Boy? I thought they had been lost to history, but their appearance on Young Justice must have led to their two recent, short-lived New 52 series.)
My daughter is new to comics and doesn’t totally understand why there are separate universes for DC and Marvel.
“Hey it’s Shazam! I love Shazam!”
“This is before the reboot, so I think they’re still calling him Captain Marvel here.”
“I thought Captain Marvel is a woman.”
“The current one is, yeah, but that’s Marvel Comics. Plus before her they had a couple guys doing it I think.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
Anyway, she loves Young Justice. She is the perfect age for it. At 11 years old, she’s in the crux between her prime imagination phase and the hormonal onslaught of puberty. So, young heroes beating up bad guys while navigating relationships? Perfect.
(Although she still turns away and makes barf noises when there’s kissing.)
It’s fun watching her experience it all. As such a long-time devourer of superhero media, I recognize the tropes and patterns and can generally predict where a story will go, but I can see her completely absorbing everything on the screen. It’s all brand new and exciting. She cheers and jumps out of her chair and yells at the screen. (“Stop saying, ‘Hello, Megan!'”)
And she’s starting to make her own connections.
She figured out before I did how they might defeat the Parasite after he absorbed the team’s powers. She twigged to Aqualad’s new role in the first episode of the second season before I understood what was going on. She knew Quarrel’s secret the moment she saw the poster on the wall of her bedroom. She even intuited Miss Martian’s backstory before the big reveal in Qurac.
Plus she very patiently lets me explain the bits of DC history that fill my mind while watching. About Captain Marvel’s extended family, or the different versions of Bizarro, or how there have been a bunch of different Robins (most of whom have no living family). She only draws the line at the Green Lantern Corps.
“Why are so there so many Green Lanterns in this show?”
“Well honey, like I said, they are part of an intergalactic police force that recruits from any planet. There have been five recruited from Earth…”
“I don’t care. That’s TOO MANY GREEN LANTERNS.”