This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 11
Everyone’s going to be talking about Cyborg’s arrival in the Young Justice: Outsiders universe after “Another Freak.” And that’s a huge deal. He’s a great character and I’m impressed with how much they did with him in such a short period of time. And in the hands of the team that’s making the Outsiders such vibrant characters, I’m certain he’s going to be fantastic. But to me, it seems like the Young Justice: Outsidersfolks and I share a strong opinion about a very important issue.
Dick Grayson is not the best Robin, but he is the best Batman.
Before you light your torch and grab your pitchfork, the Cyborg stuff this episode is great. Last episode got us rolling towards Vic Stone’s superhero origin; this week blew him up and turned him half robot and hooked him up with Nightwing’s Outsiders. Vic heads to his father’s lab to shout at him over being such a terrible dad, and as Vic is leaving, giving up on connecting with Silas, he knocks a cable out of the Reach meta failsafe, causes an explosion, and blows half of his chest away. Silas brings him back from effectively dead with his new Fatherbox, which links with the Reach tech to turn Vic into the Cyborg we all know and love, except full of murder because Fatherbox is evil. However, Halo discovers a new aura: indigo, which lets her open boom tubes. She booms over to Detroit from her first day of high school at Happy Harbor, fights Cyborg for a minute, then heals him of his murder rage. The two head back to Happy Harbor from there.
That’s a short summary of where they’re at, but it’s something you should really experience yourself because the voice acting is outstanding. Zehra Fazal has been a revelation as Halo this season. The joy in her voice is infectious. Even when she’s called an abomination by an Apokalips-ed out Victor, her reply is a little smug and a little defensive, but permeated with glee as she says “I’m not an abomination, I’m a freak.” Zeno Robinson is equally as good but in a dramatically different way: his desperate rage as Victor aimed at Silas, first for not being part of Vic’s life, then for turning him into a freak, is heartbreaking. That quality of voice acting is one of this show’s hallmarks, and a key to its enduring success.
As for Dick and Brion, it’s a small part of the episode, but a big part of the story, especially for the season. Here’s what we know:
–Jason Todd is around, meaning Batman is going to have to deal with his biggest failure again.
-Batman explicitly has his own team that’s running parallel to Dick’s. Batman’s team is him, Katana, Metamorpho, Tim Drake, Orphan, Spoiler, Arrowette, and probably Green Arrow, Batwoman and Hardware. Dick’s team, by contrast, is mostly characters who are brand new to heroing: besides him, Superboy, Tigress and Black Lightning, he’s got Geoforce, Halo, Forager, and now Cyborg.
-Dick Grayson is objectively a more successful Batman than Bruce Wayne because he’s more nurturing and supportive so his teams are better and he has more support in fighting crime.
I think the last point is going to be a running subplot through the rest of the season simply because of how good Dick’s interaction with Brion was this episode. Brion is losing his mind watching news clips from Markovia on his phone and waiting for word about his sister, so he tries breaking into Conor’s teleporter. Dick catches him, Brion shouts at Dick, and they wrestle a little bit before Dick calls Brion on what’s really bothering him: he’s living in his own past, wallowing in his tragedy and not moving forward. It’s a smart catch that’s been seeded well by the writers, and it pays off fairly quickly when, at the end of the episode, Dick and Brion sit down together. Brion’s in the process of working through it as Dick starts the conversation with “You and I okay?” That’s not a question Batman would ever ask, but it makes Dick an infinitely better leader.
Outsider Trading Tips
– This episode is a nice hybrid of Cyborg’s traditional origin, his New 52 origin, and Young Justice‘s ongoing mythology. Vic is caught in a boom tube blast in New 52 Justice League #1, which is how he gets his powers there. And the stuff about Silas being a neglectful asshole is well established canon. But the mix of Reach and Apokalips technology is all Young Justice.
– Speaking of Apokalips, Halo opening boom tubes is definitely going to be a thing. I specifically wrote in my notes “Will Halo kick Darkseid’s ass?”
– There are some really good jokes this episode, but Halo’s “When we drive up [to the school on their first day] with the guidance counselor and the principal, all the other kids will have to like us!” was really good.
– Check my work, but didn’t the glamour charm from season 2 let people who knew about it still see Tigress as herself? Which means Violet and Brion wouldn’t see Forager as Fred Bugg with two Gs but as Forager wearing a necklace.
– Harper Row is a pretty random addition. She was created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in Batman #1 back with the New 52 launch, and eventually joined Gotham’s crimefighting universe as Bluebird. Who knows where this is going, but I’m psyched.
– Speaking of ominous signs, the end credits sequence is just Lobo’s rotting finger from “Home Fires.” I kept waiting for it to sprout a new Lobo.
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