S3:E7 — “Evolution”: Aliens once again threaten the Earth, but with the Justice League split and scattered, only Earth’s first and greatest hero can save us!||
S3:E8 — “”Triptych”: As Meta-Human trafficking spreads across the United States, three very different teams of heroes seek to put a stop to it!
S3:E9 — “Home Fires”: The Light has hired an intergalactic assassin, but who is the intended target?!
I’m going to try using a different format for YOUNG JUSTICE, that, I hope, will make these reviews somewhat clearer. For the past two weeks, I kind of looked at the three episodes released as one big one, kind of picking and choosing where I would reference as if it were a 90 minute show. This week, I’m going to take them one by one.
From the description (seen above) for the episode, you could easily guess that “Earth’s first and greatest hero” could be Superman. Or maybe Alan Scott. You’d be wrong. Maybe then, you’d comb your Who’s Who in the DC Universe handbook and find Anthro. Nope, but closer. The “evolution” the title refers to is the evolution of Vandal Savage. It’s a compelling character study, especially in light of the fact that, typically, the big players on the stage are usually Lex Luthor or Darkseid. Savage, by virtue of his long life as a conqueror, should be considered as big a threat as they are, and this episode serves to establish that. It’s probably foreshadowing; we’re probably going to see Savage grow into the threat that this episode promises he can be.
We also have Dick, Conner and Artemis training their new Outsider teammates, giving them uniforms and new code names. Another example of evolution, as the trio of newbs becomes formidable in their own right. While it’s fun to see, the heroes plot line doesn’t really move past that. No fights, no rescues. Just a reminder that they are still at it.
Black Lightning hooks up with Dr. Jace which feels like a set-up. Like something is coming to hurt Jefferson or our heroes. And we get to see Starro the Conqueror as the main antagonist (which works really well in selling Savage’s “heroism.”). If you get nothing out of this episode, it’s that Vandal Savage has layers you haven’t even scratched.
“Triptych” is another good character study, but you have to get to the end to understand why. As we saw in the first episode, the Justice League has broken up, with Batman and Green Arrow taking on the street-level heroes and creating, what I’m not sure is the official name but might as well be, Batman Inc. Yeah, I know! The title refers to the three teams (the Justice League, the Outsiders and Batman Inc.) tackling three different crime operations that ultimately dovetail into one larger picture and part of that picture is that the “break-up” is all for show. The three teams are all working together, and the title should have clued me into this, but to my own credit, I did figure out pretty quickly.
One of the things I love about this show is seeing how Phil Bourassa and company reinterpret classic DC characters. This episode alone has the Shade, the Mist, Livewire, Brick, Flash, Shazam/Captain Marvel, Cheshire, Simon Stagg, Rocket, Mad Hatter, Clayface, Spoiler, Arrowette, and ORPHAN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
The highlight of the episode is when Artemis and Cheshire have a few moments to talk, and while I won’t bring in the Doc Brown gifs, this was a heavy scene, but handled incredibly well. Artemis telling Cheshire to, “Go see your daughter!” is something that you normally wouldn’t see tackled in a cartoon, but this isn’t network TV, so you can jump into some hard to tackle subjects because, ultimately, there’s no guarantee that children are watching this without a grown-up present (or at least the grown-up’s credit card). But further, it’s handled with grace and weight, and it could have easily been ham-fisted and clumsy. Credit to the writer (PETER FRIGGIN’ DAVID), director and voice actors.
Before I even start, do you know how hard it was to not write “Home Fries?”
This is another great ep for hero spotting, as anyone and everyone who has a child goes to Iris West-Allen’s house for a playdate. From Bart/Impulse calling one of Iris’ twins, “dad,” to seeing Jon Kent, it’s a lot of fun to pick out who the kids are and who their parents are. It’s also the setting for a really heinous plot (called “the Nuclear Option”) by Ocean Master.
Face front, true believer! We’ve got three deaths this week. One is a fake; one is, by now, expected; and the other absolutely took me aback.
Lobo, as mentioned last week, has a contract on Forager (who bought the contract? Unknown for now) and in the course of his fight with the Outsiders, he kills Halo (SURPRISE!) and “kills” Forager (actually his shed exoskeleton). While watching this fight, I was kind of surprised by how much I always wanted to see Nightwing take on Lobo, but never thought to ask for it.
It was kind of cool to watch the Outsiders take on the Main Man (and weirdly, I was kind of into Dick holding the comic book version of an AR-15 with rubber bullets over his shoulder…very reminiscent of the King/Seeley GRAYSON run).
The Nuclear Option refers to the Light’s plot to kill the families of the Justice League, however, the Light isn’t carrying out the assassination; Ocean Master has gone rogue due to being fed up with his brother’s reign as King of Atlantis. The Light dispatch Lady Shiva to stop him, and she does so…permanently.
I’ll say this much; after complaining about the gratuitousness of killing Halo, I gotta say that watching Ocean Master get decapitated was absolutely unexpected. So, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about?
Will you watch next week’s episodes?
The thumbnail for Episode 10 has Katana and Metamorpho in it, and they round out the Outsiders’ roster, so yeah, I’m in!
EXTRA POINTS & NIT PICKS:
- Heads up! Next week, the app releases FOUR episodes.
- Holy crap, you guys. The YJU Shade is incredible! And points for including another STARMAN character, Mist!
- Forager remains charming. A source of levity, but also a great tension breaker.
- I neglected to mention this earlier, but Miss Martian adopting her White Martian skin tone doesn’t look right to me. It kind of freaks me out, if I’m being honest.
- Apparently, “bastich” is Czarnian for “peon.” Who knew?!
- End credits for ep. 9. So so good.
NEXT WEEK: EPISODES TEN THROUGH THIRTEEN!
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