This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Outsiders Episode 10
It’s amazing how much “Exceptional Human Beings” does in 22 minutes without doing a single thing wrong. Or even “not good enough to be free of complaint.” I went back and watched parts of the episode a second time to find something to critique and I got nothing. That is astonishing. I live to complain. I have an argument with family that spans a literal generation about the noise that TIE fighters make that is rooted in the now-discarded Star Wars EU, but I can’t find anything wrong with really either of the last two episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders.
Even as I was thinking of minor criticisms, they were resolved almost immediately. The bulk of “Exceptional Human Beings” is spent on Santa Prisca, as Batman and his Outsiders (Katana and Metamorpho) investigate the intel they got in “Triptych” and it is dope. It’s so good that I even jotted down a note about sound design – for the bulk of this sequence, the only voices we hear are Oracle in the team’s ears, or the voices of League of Shadows guards or leaders as the Outsiders spy on them. So the sound effects are really important to the ambiance of the sequence, and they’re great – the falling rain, the footsteps in the grass, the background fauna.
They also absolutely nail Metamorpho. In The Terrifics, the comic creators are playing Metamorpho very much like The Thing from the Fantastic Four – tortured by his monstrousness and looking for a cure. That’s evident here, too. He fights Deathstroke when the team gets rumbled, and his Brooklyn tough guy voice combined with his dialogue about being in constant pain is extremely Ben Grimm, but his power set is very different and animated so well.
The fight sequence at the end of the episode on Santa Prisca is a high point in the history of the show. The matchups are well chosen and well choreographed, while the escape plan is clever. Metamorpho spends the fight bouncing between stretchy, gas, and dense stone. Katana faces off with Shiva in a badass sword fight. And Batman takes some shots from Bane, but puts a hurt on him in return.
The other big story of the night is the introduction of Victor Stone, who will eventually become Cyborg. This is very much an origin story, lifting heavily from his traditional origin and his New 52 one. In the classic comics, his dad is an oblivious scientist who uses his technical know-how to attach machine parts to his dying son. Here, they stop at “Oblivious Scientist” (so far). But they’re playing with the audience on where his powers will come from. Classic Cyborg’s powers came from his implants; New 52 Cyborg was created by Apokaliptian tech (which is now floating around his father’s lab); and we also have the rogue, broken Reach “failsafe” from “Triptych.”
If I absolutely have to find something to complain about, it might be dynamic between Shiva and Deathstroke. Their interactions feel weirdly stilted. Deathstroke is almost too deferental to Shiva despite his position of power, and their dialogue while Batman watches is almost too on the nose to be natural. But I think they knew they were being watched and putting on a show for him.
And on the second pass through the episode I even found more to like. We check in on Nightwing’s team a little bit – Superboy and M’gann bone a little, but Dick is continuing his training with Geoforce, Halo and Forager, and their team dynamic continues to be delightful. Geoforce keeps his atypical hothead routine going, getting pissy with Nightwing about the lack of movement tracking down his sister while being utterly smitten with Halo and more or less besties with Forager. Halo returns the smittenness, but loses control of her halo power for a second during training and falls. In another show, someone would have been pissed about the interrupted training – either Halo for causing the interruption or Dick or Geoforce for the team not moving fast enough. Here, everyone is genuinely concerned for her welfare. Dick pushes pause on the training, Forager rushes over, and Geoforce makes her feel better about the lapse. Avoiding a cliche trap like that is just good, confident writing.
Outsider Trading Tips
– Khary Payton played basically everyone this episode – Black Lightning, Silas Stone, the high school teammate of Vic’s who I think might be Ronnie Raymond. These are funny for multiple reasons: Payton is likely known to you as the voice of Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go‘s Cyborg, and that Cyborg’s catchphrase is “Booyah!” Here, his high school is chanting it as their mantra while Payton plays Cyborg’s dad. Getting old is terrible.
– The League giving Silas a Fatherbox is a bad idea. Baaaaad. Fatherboxes are Apokaliptian Motherboxes.
– The jungle scene was memorable for more than the sound design. We also get a prolonged Metamorpho-fart scene (where he turns a part of his arm into the chemicals that blast out of one’s butt, then makes the guards sniff that new chemical), and they apparently keep enough trash cans lying around in the road that an extra one isn’t noticeable.
– Scandal Savage is a member of the League of Shadows now.
– Cisco is the team manager for Vic’s football team. That’s probably Cisco Ramon, or Justice League Detroit’s Vibe.
– Anybody else catch that the school is Hank Heywood High? That’s Commander Steel, who you may know from Legends of Tomorrow.
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