Young Justice

It's not easy being a superhero sidekick. They get no respect, what with overbearing mentors who never think they're ready for the big time. But in the new Cartoon Network series Young Justice, when a new generation of crime fighters is told to cool its heels, they won't take no for an answer. Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis finally get their chance to save the day, but they must do it in the shadows. "Our idea is that the Justice League are the mega-stars; they're the ones with targets on their chests," says producer Greg Weisman. "So [the sidekicks] become a covert-ops team for the Justice League."

The series, which gets a special hour-long sneak preview Friday before beginning weekly episodes in early 2011, features dozens of DC Comics characters, from big stars like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to second-tier characters like Hawkman, Black Canary and Red Tornado. "This show is huge, we've got a tremendously large cast," says Weisman, who promises over 150 characters in the first 18 episodes alone. "I'd say about 98 percent of them are taken from the DC Universe library."

While most episodes will feature self-contained stories, look for a mysterious season-long arc involving a well-coordinated group of villains. The heart of the show will be the developing dynamic of the youngsters as friends and teammates who must face major threats together. "We'll have a lot of fun moments between teenagers, but they go on missions and proceed into action, so it'll be very serious the way it's treated," says producer Brandon Vietti. "The danger feels real to the kids when they're out on their missions. So that balance is important to us, taking things very seriously, but having moments of levity."

Young Justice premieres Friday, 7/6c, on Cartoon Network.

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