Young Justice Endgame

Young Justice Endgame

Young Justice

Young Justice
Cartoon Network
March 16, 2013

I’m writing this review while the episode is still fresh in my mind. I’ve known for several weeks that Cartoon Network was cancelling this program at the end of this season, but I didn’t realize until today that this week was that last episode. As hard as I worked to find evidence to the contrary, everything I was able to find online says that yes — this is it. Even the title says so. I hope that they get to work on finally putting out inclusive DVD/blu-ray collections, because this show was truly a wonderful thing to experience, particularly as a comic fan still smarting from DC’s reboot of 2011. So now an excellent program has come and gone, only to be replaced by a Teen Titans cartoon that I will not be watching.

So how did I feel about this end to one of the few television shows that I genuinely look forward to? This cutting off of a recollection to the Saturday Morning Cartoons of my youth? I feel…like the writers weren’t planning for this to be the Last Episode Ever when they wrote it. It was an excellent season finale, but (as you will see during the summary) it led into a new season…that will not exist. Oops.

At the beginning of our episode, our captive Justice League members have been found guilty of the intergalactic war crimes that they’ve been framed for. Just afterward, however, Miss Martian, Superboy, and some heroes that I’m not familiar with arrive with new evidence – a recorded confession that they got last time of the Light explaining their evil plot to get the League out of the way  by having them be tried and executed for crimes they didn’t commit. The tribunal agrees to listen to them and admits that their evidence is compelling, but they say that it’s just not enough to have a motive and confession. They need more. So Miss Martian and Superboy give them more…sort of. They convince them that they’d be getting more by simply upholding the ideals of Truth and Justice (but not the American Way, strictly speaking. These are space aliens, after all). Eventually they convince the tribunal to let the League go and are quite pleased for it. They’re needed at home, after all.

Back near Earth, a few members of the team have infiltrated the Reach’s ship, planning to take out Black Beetle and solve that problem. After Green Beetle is taken down, Jaime proves once again that working with your scarab as partners works much better than being its slave (just in case any of you ever find yourselves with ancient alien tech fused to your spine). He manages to destroy Black Beetle’s scarab, finally taking him out of the game for good. Although his teammates want to celebrate their victory, Jaime quickly rains on their parade by explaining that Black Beetle had already put into play a plan to erase all evidence of the Reach’s breach of intergalactic law (you know, by invading/attempting to take over the Earth) by destroying the planet itself.

We learn that he planned to do this by disrupting the Earth’s magnetic fields (don’t ask. Comic book science is weird. If you want to destroy a planet, use a big magnet, right?) and he’s set up a series of twenty drones to do so. Fighting each one is like fighting a Beetle warrior, thanks to their defense systems. Fortunately, Lex Luthor of all people has come up with a virus that will take out Reach technology. All they have to do is get it to each drone and they will shut down, restoring the Earth’s magnetic field to normal. So the heroes are split up into twenty teams of two and off they go on their mission. They’re successful and all twenty drones are shut down before they can do any damage. Something isn’t right, though. The Earth’s magnetic field isn’t stabilizing like it should. It turns out that they miscalculated and there is actually a twenty-first drone as well.

The Flash and Impulse go off to stop the last drone, but they’re too late. The drone has gathered the energy it needs and the big magnet crystal thing is self-sustaining, now, making Luthor’s virus completely useless. Instead, they must use their superspeed to generate enough kinetic energy to shut the crystal down that way. They’re doing okay, but they can’t generate quite the energy that they need to siphon the energy from the crystal. Again, comic book science is weird. So Kid Flash rushes off to help them. This gives the boost they need, but Wally can’t run as fast as Flash or Impulse. The energy is hitting him and…somehow that makes him dissolve? They aren’t really clear on how that happened, just that he ceases to exist.

The heroic sacrifice to save the world is a trope in comics and has been for years. The earliest example of note in the superhero genre that I can think of was Supergirl’s death during the 1980s even, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Although Wally had not been a really major player on the show for most of the season, since he and Artemis tried to retire during a five year time jump between seasons, the scenes that follow his death (of Flash telling Artemis that Wally loved her, of her weeping among her friends, telling his parents what happened) was painful and well done. Very tragic. She learns that Impulse has agreed to take up the Kid Flash mantel in Wally’s honor and decides to resume her superhero activities as Tigress, since Artemis was Wally’s partner and she needs some distance while she mourns him.

Nightwing also decides that he needs a break, in the face of losing his best friend and one of the team’s founding members (Fun fact: In the comics, Kid Flash, Robin, and Aqualad were the founding members of the Teen Titans – the group on which Young Justice is based. Wonder Girl and Speedy joined the team later). So among shifts in power and saying goodbye to friends, this seems like a nice, wistful way to wrap up a series…right?

Well, it would have been if it weren’t for the last scene. Vandal Savage makes an announcement to the planet where the Justice League was being held captive that he wants no funny business with anyone invading his planet or he’ll take action. Then he goes to Apokolips (it’s about as pleasant as it sounds…personified incarnations of absolute corruption and evil are in charge) and makes a deal with Darkseid (one of Superman’s more notorious villains). We will never find out what this deal is. We will never find out if he blows up anyone with the war world because they tried to invade the Earth. We will never know any of these burning questions because they ended the series on a cliff hanger. Why? I can’t say why. All I can do is ask…why couldn’t this show be renewed?

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Young Justice Summit

Young Justice Summit

Young Justice

Young Justice
Cartoon Network
March 9, 2013

The Light and the Reach are having a meeting to discuss where things have gone wrong for them recently. The Reach ambassador and Vandal Savage go back and forth, each trying to place the blame on the other, and Black Beetle (there to provide security for the Reach) insists on the Light members removing their masks.

When the Reach demands to know how the Young Justice team managed to get into the temple where they freed Green and Blue Beetle from their influence, Kaldur’an assures them that it was a mistake, an accident, and that the Light didn’t know about the temple’s importance because the Reach didn’t tell them. The Reach scientist tells the ambassador that this is why she wanted to study Blue Beetle’s scarab more before they brought it online, since it was out of their control for so long. What ensues can only be called a bickering match that results in Black Manta and Black Beetle fighting and almost shooting Ra’s Al Ghul, but Tigress jumps in front of him and saves him. He thanks her but notices the necklace that helps disguise her.

As the others fight, he takes his opportunity to pull the necklace off, revealing her to really be Artemis. The ambassador deducts that Kaldur is really a double agent and orders Black Beetle to kill them both, but Deathstroke shoots them first. With his seemingly dying breath, Kaldur activates a hologram that reveals to the Light and the Reach how each group has been using the other for their own goals. Although neither of the groups is happy about it, Savage states that the Light always has contingency plans. Then he calls in ninjas. But it turns out that Kaldur and Artemis are fine because Deathstroke was actually Miss Martian in disguise. They also have back up…which is basically their whole team (some of whom were disguised as ninjas themselves).

Next comes, of course, a fight. Come on, didn’t you think that they talked for an awfully long time? This is a superhero show – of course there will be a fight. I’m not going to recount the whole thing for you, because as we know action sequences are not my strong point. Suffice to say that the good guys win, but a few things happen that aren’t according to their plans. First, Ra’s Al Ghul escapes, alive. Second, Savage is whisked away by Klarion the Witch Boy with the key to the war world. They fly (drive? Pilot?) that away.

A recording on the team’s part reveals the Reach as the bad guys to the public. Nightwing is happy to hand leadership of the team back to Aqualad. Kid Flash passes his mantle down to Impulse. But the fight isn’t over yet. There are still bad guys out there and they still have plans. Big plans. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out more.

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Young Justice Intervention

Young Justice Intervention

Young Justice

Young Justice
Cartoon Network
March 2, 2013

We return basically where we left off…with Black and Green Beetle still fighting Mongol. They get him back in his stasis cell only to realize that the key to the war world is gone, so they decide that they will take the Justice League’s idea and guard the chamber to keep someone else from activating the place. Unfortunately for them, the League is already there. They resolve to come up with a plan.

Meanwhile, Impulse tells Nightwing that he understands that the key is important but he thinks that Blue Beetle must be the priority. Before he can finish, Nightwing brings up a press release for Jaime lauding him as a Reach hero. Superboy remarks that it seems like awfully good press for a traitor, but Impulse says that they shouldn’t blame Jaime because he’s a prisoner of the Reach too, and he needs their help to be rescued.

We cut to a 3rd rate villain called the Toyman destroying Metropolis. Since Superman is still out of town, Blue Beetle handles it, brings him in, and gets some more good press. We learn that the Reach ambassador is literally playing him like a puppet, having him repeat the words he’s fed. This is nothing but a PR scam to cover for the bad impression they made with their invasion fleet, and it seems to be working. From above, Batgirl and Impulse watch the press circus with grim expressions.

Miss Martian has been with a few members of the team, romantically. Lagoon Boy was her rebound guy after she and Superboy broke up. Now, she wants to make things right. She goes to find Lagoon Boy and tells him that she’s there to take him back to the surface and she thought they could use the trip to talk. He knows what’s coming. She tries to let him down easily, he asks if it’s about Conner, and she tells him that it is only about her. She can’t be the person he needs and deserves her to be.

While Blue Beetle is on his way home, Batgirl and Impulse attack him. They do a pretty good job, but he overpowers them quickly (if not easily. They did get the jump on him) and neutralizes them. He’s about to go on his way, but the Reach ambassador tells him to seize the opportunity to reduce their problems and kill them. He prepares to do so, but it soon becomes apparent that they were merely a diversion. He’s trapped in a containment field, created by Zatanna and another member of their team who I do not know. The reach are annoyed, but Blue’s scanner says that he doesn’t have a strategy to fight the combination of alien tech and Z’s magic. The group takes him to a cave under the protection of the villain Queen Bee. They fight some soldiers, Batgirl fights a new villain and Zatanna neutralizes them with a spell.

Finally they reach an altar. Zatanna says that she doesn’t have the power to do what needs to be done herself, but she can summon the power from those who do have it. One member of the Reach is concerned by her actions and the giant scarab carved into the wall behind her, but the ambassador isn’t worried at all. While Zatanna performs the ritual, Green Beetle attacks them. The team fights to keep him busy while Zatanna summons some sort of goddess. She and the goddess rebuilt the altar in its entirety and perform some sort of ritual that severs the Reach’s hold on their scarabs.

Exhausted but successful, Zatanna explains that she’s certain that it worked and they’re themselves again. Robin confirms this and the team hurries to get out of Queen Bee’s territory. On the way home, the team explains the backstory of the blue scarab (passed down through several generations and a few ancient Egyptian rituals) and the plan that they’ve been forming for months. Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy arrive home to a please Nightwing, who explains that the team successfully freed Blue Beetle and Green Beetle. M’gann asks if Conner is there, and he explains that he went out with a teammate named Wendy Harris.

Finally, Queen Bee exposits to some of her minions (who the team fought earlier) and reveals that the Light is the ultimate orchestrator behind all of…everything. They’re using the Reach for their own ends, as well as the League and the team. It’ll be interesting to see just what those ends are, as the series proceeds and wraps up.

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