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‘Young Justice: Outsiders’ S03E04-06 (review)

S03E04: “Private Security” — While Jefferson, Conner, and Artemis find homes for their Markovian strays, Dick assembles a new squad and hits the road – but may not survive the trip.
S03E05: “Away Mission” — A distant conflict sends the team on an away mission, while the Happy Harbor gang decides what to do with Brion Markov and Halo (ZEHRA FAZAL).
S03E06: “Rescue Op” — Brion Markov is determined to rescue his missing sister – even if it means throwing down against the entire League of Shadows.

Remember last week’s overuse of the word, “heavy?”

Not going to happen this week. Sure, when you have the ability to gratuitously kill a character over and over again, just so she can resurrect herself (and yeah, I’m calling it out; this is gratuitous and kind of gross, and I’ll elaborate later), you do run the risk of having another set of dark and, yes, heavy episodes.

BUT, the group that was released this past weekend had something that will make long time lovers of YJ rejoice:

Jokes.

Funny ones, at that.

Some of it comes in the form of dialogue (meaning, someone intentionally wrote a joke on the page); some, from references that fans will enjoy (almost Easter eggs, but not quite). And some are visual, like when Bowhunter Security suits up for the first time. “Private Security” (Ep 4) reads like classic sitcom, with beats moving through all of the cast.

Cuts from present to recent past, and from one situation (Zatanna reuniting with Zatara via Dr. Fate), to the next (Superboy with Brion), to the next (Nightwing and the Harper Boys). The plot, which almost works as a clip show, moves seamlessly. And while there are still moments of seriousness, even heartfelt moments, they are easily balanced with levity with comedic timing. It’s a familiar tact for the series, and while “Private Security” does it more (and better) than the other episodes this week, it’s not as if they don’t continue the formula through the next two episodes. One of the best running jokes, so far, is Wolf, Conner’s pet, sleeping in every scene he’s in, ignoring any sense of danger.

“Away Mission” takes us to New Genesis, and introduces us to the Bugs (Forager is on the cover image, so no spoiler there) and reintroduces us to Orion (who is actually a white Martian), while showing Brion and Halo training. Humor comes in the form of Big Bear of the Forever People, being slightly obnoxious but in a fun way. Like Falstaff, or for a Kirby reference, Volstagg. Forager is endearing, and if I don’t get an action figure of him, I’m gonna be pissed.

We also learn that Barbara, last seen in the prequel comics mentioned last week, and in the very beginning of the first episode of this new season, is in a wheelchair.

So far, there has been no revelation as to how she got there, but she and Dick are a couple, so at least there are a few things right in the world (and yes, technically, as Oracle, she’s been here since the beginning, but I think it was kept vague as to who was on the other end of those calls until now).

The final episode of this trio is “Rescue Op,” which has the team getting its name “the Outsiders” and gives us a little peek at Brion’s sister, Tara (aka Terra). It also guest stars R’as al Ghul and Sensei of the League of Assas–uh, Shadows. Interesting revelations come later in the Ep, which I won’t spoil, but it will make at least 50% of you very happy.

Now, back to the idea of gratuitous violence (or anything for that matter). One thing you hear in fanboy circles all the time is that JUSTICE LEAGUE or even BATMAN V SUPERMAN would have been better if Dini and Timm were involved. And I think we have to take a good long look in the mirror now, before we start wanting them back.

Sometimes, our nostalgia for a product or fandom is so strong that we ignore the weird things that come back. For example, Bruce Timm. Love him, love his work, but anyone else creeped out by the fact that Bruce and Barbara have sex in his adaptation of THE KILLING JOKE? Or that Dick and Harley get it on in BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN? Or that sex is anywhere near cartoons? It’s a hard thing to accept because it wasn’t there before and now, it’s just the creator’s way of saying, “The reigns are off! Watch what I do!”

To wit, Weisman and Vietti. Yes, they are the originators of the series and they worked on the comics and they, as much as Peter David and Todd Nauck, are the stewards of YOUNG JUSTICE. But is that a good thing?

Going back to Halo dying in at least three out of six (possibly as high as four) episodes…it’s just weird, man. Kind of off putting. I don’t want to make assumptions about intent because that’s not for me to do in a review article (if I was at the New York Times or HuffPo, maybe). I bring it up because, at 45 years old in 2019, as a father of two, I’m starting to notice these things.

I don’t care who sleeps with who in comics, but I care about who they love. I don’t care about who dies in comics, as long as someone on the page feels something as a result of that death. If you keep killing someone, even someone with the power of self resurrection, over and over, her death means nothing.

No one’s death should mean nothing. Just saying.

Will you watch next week’s episodes?

Looks like Lobo is coming in Episode Nine, and while I’m not a huge fan of the character, he is usually pretty entertaining in the animated stuff. Plus, it looks as if we’re going to see Batman’s offshoot team.

EXTRA POINTS & NIT PICKS:

  • Is it me or does everyone have the same exact accent? Brion is supposed to be from an Eastern European/Baltic nation, and Halo is supposed to be from the Middle East…but they sound like they have the same accent. Just me?
  • There are moments when the animation looks to be a cut above the previous iteration of the cartoon; and there are moments when it looks off. I can’t believe that any of this was rushed, but it sure looks like it in some scenes.

NEXT WEEK: EPISODES SEVEN THROUGH NINE

 

Vito Delsante is a comic book writer, graphic novelist, editor, letterer, and the co-creator/writer of STRAY with Sean Izaakse, and THE PURPLE HEART with Dean Haspiel and artist, Ricardo Venâncio. He’s written for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, AdHouse Books, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and his stories have been reprinted in other countries. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife, Michelle, his daughter, Sadie, his son, James, and his pitbull, Kirby.  You can find him online at incogvito.com and you can follow him on Twitter @incogvito

 

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