This Young Justice: Phantoms review contains spoilers
Young Justice Season 4 Episode 20
For a show that took a 10 year break between seasons, Young Justice has done an admirable job of keeping up with plots going through its entire run. The theme of grief and the cost of superheroics has been there from the start, and Vandal Savage (and to a lesser degree Darkseid) have been pulling strings for basically my entire ’30s. So there’s an argument to be made that the crew should be able to weave together a cable’s worth of plot threads. But even still, holy butts, there’s a lot left to do in six episodes.
By my count, we still need to know about:
- -The origin of the Legion of Superheroes (and whether it’s Jon or Conner who inspires them)
- -What exactly the League of Shadows is up to with their lost child reclamation project
- -What the Lords of Chaos and Order are up to on Earth (and Apokalips)
- -How Desaad is going to ruin Mary Marvel
- -What role Beast Boy has in the endgame
- -Savage’s ultimate plan
- -Darkseid’s ultimate plan
- -And now, what General Zod is going to do to wreck the whole galaxy
That’s right, Zod is back.
In the interest of a full accounting: way back when Superboy “died,” I laid odds on who the big bad of the season would be — a new Jackson Hyde, or maybe a new Lightning Lord. I did not take into account anyone related to who the guy in the time bubble actually was — Lor-Zod — because I never would have guessed it in a million years.
Last week, Lor-Zod laid out his whole backstory: his parents (including his pregnant mother) were put in the Phantom Zone back on Krypton, and when Krypton was destroyed, nobody was around to let them out. They were finally released in the 31st century when the Legion discovered an old Phantom Zone projector, and General Zod promptly took over the galaxy. The Legion beats him, pushes everyone but Lor back into the Zone, and blows up the projector. So Lor spends his life trying to alter time to get a fresh projector, bringing him and his time bubble to present-day Apokalips and a deal with Darkseid, and in this week’s episode, a week in the Mobius Zone, the dimensional storage unit where Metron keeps all his stuff.
Meanwhile, Zod helps Conner and Tinya (Phantom Girl’s real name, btw) back to his crew’s encampment, and we’re treated to a display of ghostly Kryptonians doing typical, fun Kryptonian stuff: stomping asteroids together while chanting about dying for Zod. These guys know how to throw a party, let me tell you.
Zod’s cult is genuinely creepy, and even though we know Conner is going to break free of his Phantom Zone sickness eventually, it’s still terrible to see him fall in with them. Especially at the end of the episode, when Mantis finishes hunting down the Projector out of Metron’s magical easter egg dimension (seriously, we could spend a week ourselves digging through all the stuff obliquely hinted at or directly referenced in the main story of this episode).
This arc remains one of the strongest of Young Justice’s entire run, a great mix of action, character, and easter eggs for longtime show and comics fans. Let’s hope that even if Young Justice doesn’t answer all the questions it’s asked, that the show keeps this quality and pace up through the end of the season.