loneliness + alienation + xpit x halo = oh crap for the DC Universe. Young Justice: Outsiders is going for it.
This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 22
“Terminus” is, plot-wise, probably the biggest “Oh shit” episode of a fairly momentous season for Young Justice. It’s substantially narrowed from the most recent run up – there’s really only an A-plot, with a B-story for Black Lightning that I suspect is just positioning him for the climax of the season. And in that A-Plot:
– The League gets enslaved by Granny Goodness and Anti-Life.
– Vandal Savage flips on Apokalips and sells out Halo’s location.
– The team booms to the Orphanage in space to save Halo.
– They find out that X-Pit exposure is extremely unhealthy for non-metas in a way that it isn’t for metas.
– They fail pretty spectactularly at their rescue, and become slaves to Anti-Life themselves.
And yet, the most significant part of the episode, the biggest bump that lands, is the hug between Tigress and Nightwing. It speaks to the skill of the creative team – the writers, crew, and performers – that “evil Justice League” is subsumed by me wondering if I’m really crying because the original Young Justice team is sad and misses Kid Flash.
The plot isn’t really more complicated than that. The League gets barely any fight in at all before they’re taken. Savage almost literally rings the team’s doorbell before giving them Halo’s location, and his only request in exchange for the information is “MAKE SURE GRANNY KNOWS WHO SENT YOU.” Dick is still hobbled by X-Pit fever, and thanks to smart plotting by the show’s creative team, he is joined by the original team and a hallucination of Wally West as they hold off a gang of parademons, a pair of Female Furies, and new Apokaliptian recruit Mantis while Terra, Geoforce and Forager try and find Halo. We’re treated to a montage of straight up classic Young Justice villain asswhupping, including season one costumes and theme music (and GREAT, GREAT switches from the voice actors).
These are the little things that this show does so well. This is clearly nostalgic. The fight is a little on the zany side, a clear contrast to the pre-fever dream ass kicking happening around Dick. But when they finish with the bad guys and the fever breaks, we realize that’s his defense mechanism and Miss Martian tells him that Dick broadcast the dream to everyone on the team, and as Artemis hugs him, it’s really hard not to miss Wally too. The show makes you remember the growth without feeling exploitative or trashy in any way.
The next most effective part of the episode plays with that same skill: the show has gently been building a criticism of Batman over a couple of seasons now, both explicit (in Oracle’s conversation with him last week) and explicit (in its treatment and in-universe criticism of Miss Martian’s brainwashing last season). The show doesn’t have any easy answers for Miss Martian this week – her psi blasts are treated as a necessary evil in a life or death situation for trillions as she and Superboy argue about them in the Orphanage. But they do present a different idea for Nightwing. Again using Conor as a foil, Superboy pushes Dick to be a better and different leader than Batman, critiquing the secrecy and manipulation and echoing the heart of Barbara’s argument. But here he’s making it to Nightwing, who is (for those who haven’t lost sight of it, Batman included) the true promise of Batman’s mission. Dick is a natural leader for the entire hero community, someone who’s worked with and is respected by everyone, capable but with the emotional and logical distance to avoid obsession and potentially carry out the hero life in an emotionally healthy manner. It’s amazing and wonderful to see that Young Justice gets this about Dick Grayson, because I’m not certain the folks running the comics do…
OUTSIDER TRADING TIPS
– The Black Lightning arc is almost entirely setup – it’s just him moping about his betrayal by Helga Jace until he ends up with his meta-curious kids presumably just in time to take them to save everyone and learn about having no choice with powers? We’ll see. But also, it’s more of that crappy motion-comic animation, which *really* needs to stop. It’s the lone blemish on a great episode.
– The Green Lanterns give us a cornucopia of references this week. The construct they put around the Orphanage is a giant Green Lantern symbol. We’ve also got John Stewart and Hal Jordan in addition to Guy Gardner, but Hal has salt and pepper sides. That has been explained in the comics as a side effect of Parallax possession. Could that be the case here?
– Also get our first look at Young Justice Elongated Man, which is just wonderful.
-The crew fighting the old team is Lashina, Gilotina and Mantis.
– That was a nice quick cut – when Granny is listing all the terrible things that have happened to Geoforce, trying to get him to lose his cool and she says “your trust betrayed by a confidante,” we jump the camera over to Terra who turns into the dog with shifty eyes from The Simpsons.
– Dear lord, am I the only one who caught the sound effect when M’Gann put her phone away? Because if what I think is true…just gross, man.
– Is that Wally’s ghost watching the dog sleep?
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