Last week was the long-awaited return of Young Justice. Allegiances were shattered, regimes fell, and Count Vertigo got punched right in his dumb face. Let’s take a look at this week’s new episodes and speculate wildly! Beware of slight spoilers ahead!
This week on Young Justice!
In “Private Security,” Grayson and the Harpers must foil a heist! In “Away Mission,” M’Gann takes the team to New Genesis! Finally, in “Rescue Op,” Prince Brion wants answers, and he’ll go straight through the Demon’s Head to get them!
After the closely-connected first batch of episodes that played more like a 90-minute movie, this week’s installments were a return to slightly more episodic adventuring. Make no mistake, however: the show is still plotted as tightly as ever. This is one of the things that sets Young Justice apart from most animated series, in that everything has a consequence or emotional payoff. Even Justice League Unlimited never attempted quite as many long-gestating storylines. This is strengthened by the show’s time jumps between seasons. Characters evolve in ways that we don’t normally see in a show of this type. Even when a particular mission may not feel related to the overall arc, there’s still important character-building happening that will certainly carry through the series.
There is one drawback to the tight-knit continuity, but it’s not necessarily a failing of the show itself. The fact is, if you haven’t rewatched it recently, the show doesn’t necessarily try to hold your hand and explain things. It’s kind of admirable that the show continues as though we only had to wait a few months between seasons. However, it’s been six years and as wild as I am about YJ, I genuinely forgot about which Roy Harper is which and it took me a solid half of an episode to remember that Conner’s buddy Lucas was the YJ version of JLA mainstay Lucas “Snapper” Carr.
Again, this isn’t really the show’s fault. I greatly respect the “business as usual” approach to continuity, to quote both Dick and Vandal Savage. If anything, I kind of felt like a bad fan for not refreshing myself on the series more recently! Another re-watch of the first two seasons (also currently streaming on DC Universe) may be in order for me and probably wouldn’t hurt most viewers out there.
A recurring theme of this season, even more so than in Invasion, is aging or growing up. Dick is coming to terms with becoming more like his adopted father than he cares to admit, taking in a new group of young heroes and accepting his role as mentor. Zatanna and her father only get one hour a year with one another, with Zatara missing his daughter’s life. Most significantly in these episodes, mentioned more than once, is Wolf’s old age. Superboy tries to shrug it off, but it’s plain to see that it worries him and he’s protective of Wolf. As a dog owner who can tell his girl is getting older and less feisty, it’s a plot point that really hits home with me.
And that leads me to one of the main reasons this show works so well: Young Justice really shines in its most human stories and themes. We can relate to our heroes because when they’re not saving the world, they’re hurting and growing the same as the rest of us. The show is so good at exploring real life feelings or fears through an intergalactic lens.
As for the individual episodes this week, they gave fans a lot to chew on! I have been a longtime “shipper” for Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson (on the page and television), so seeing the two happily in a relationship is such a welcome sight. The show continues to tease the idea that Barbara’s activities as Oracle are being hidden from the team. I’m so curious to see where that secrecy leads and who it may hurt more in the long run.
The action sequences in these episodes are a blast, especially the chase with Brick and his thugs in “Private Security.” It’s a lot of fun to see the three Harpers’ distinct personalities and how they respond in a crisis. It also gives Will and Dick some much-needed “bro time” and reminds viewers of why Dick may have distanced himself from working in a team. The loss of Kid Flash in season two is still felt. Wally’s disappearance (I refuse to believe he’s dead!) isn’t the first time Dick has lost a fellow adventurer, but if the amnesiac ninja in a red hood is who he seems to be, then Dick (and Bruce) may be in for a family reunion in the near future.
There are multiple surprises in the sequence on Infinity Island, both with character appearances and in hints toward an internal shake-up within the Light! Who is in charge of the League of Shadows now? It’s not stated, but I’ll bet his name rhymes with “Breathspoke.” When Tara Markov is involved, he’s usually not far enough away for comfort.
Meanwhile, the series’ storytelling continues to thrive by introducing new wrinkles to the canon with the addition of M’gann’s brother. Where his machinations against the New Gods will lead and whether or not he’s working for some greater evil (maybe someone whose name rhymes with “Parkside?”) is unclear at the moment, but Martian Manhunter fans are sure to feel a disturbance in the Force when he tells his sister his NEW name (I gasped).
While it’s exciting to see all of these new faces and revelations, I hope the story seeds that have been planted aren’t forgotten for too long. We have yet to see what Batman’s next steps will be with his splinter team and how that will effect Kaldur and the Justice League. Will we see more of the Dark Knight’s master plan soon? Tune in with me next week and let’s find out!
- A small moment that says so much about her character’s capacity for empathy: when comforting Forager, M’Gann morphs two extra arms so she can hold all four of his hands. She’s the best, you guys.
- I love the touch of Fate’s many different voices that fade in and out. He speaks with different accents and tones, which may be echoes of Nabu’s past hosts. Being a Lord of Order is a tough gig and led to the most heartbreaking scene of the week.
- I will never not get a kick out of Young Justice‘s version of the Black Spider, who is straight-up Evil Spider-Man. To make it even better, Black Spider is voiced by Josh Keaton, who played Peter Parker in YJ producer Greg Weisman’s Spectacular Spider-Man (which is still THE best Spider-Man cartoon, don’t even @ me)!
- “Resurrection does happen here, eh?” Indeed it does, R’as. Indeed it does.
How are you enjoying this season so far? What characters do you hope to see join the team? (I can’t believe Traci Thirteen is on television!)