This Young Justice: Outsiders review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Outsiders Episode 16
“Illusion of Control” finishes setting up the new status quo for the second half of Young Justice: Outsiders‘ season, and…I think they might be opening the door for the Teen Titans.
Beast Boy has emerged as a key character in this season’s overall story. Early on in the season, he was the one introducing us to the human side of the meta trafficking operation with his PSAs and interviews from the set of Space Trek 3016. His relationship with Queen Perdita of Vlatava (neice to Count Vertigo and ruler of a country close enough to Markovia to have periodic conflict with it) gave him an in to the geopolitical conversation, and his status as a TV star and celebrity boyfriend to a national leader gives him a very different perspective on the metahuman kidnapping crisis than a team started by a mad science experiment, a secret alien, the daughter of a supervillain and a Batman sidekick. When all you have is a black ops hammer, every problem is a stealth mission nail, right?
Garfield is used to using mass media to try and affect change. He saved a woman from a purse snatcher back in episode 14, and has spent the last couple of episodes watching the likes pile up on an insta selfie from after the attempted robbery, and in “Illusion of Control,” it looks like he’s finally done with hiding his heroism.
It’s Thanksgiving, so the kids are breaking up into various dinners. Forager and Cyborg are in Happy Harbor with Miss Martian and Superboy, while Brion, Violet and Tara are in Star City joining the Harper/Crock family celebration. Meanwhile, the meta kids in Taos are having their own little festival, and Beast Boy and Queen Perdita fly in to join them (as well as the rest of the junior team – Blue Beetle, Impulse, Traci 13 and Static). Everybody hangs out for a little while, notably sans papparazzi or public attention, before “Count Vertigo” shows up to kidnap his neice. The team chases him down, but Perdita escapes custody when she wakes up and boots “Vertigo” right in the coin purse, which drops the illusion to reveal that Vertigo and his gang are actually Onslaught, and they grabbed Perdita to distract the team from their true mission: to get back the meta kids that the team freed from them earlier in the season. But because they’re screw ups, this fails miserably. It’s mentioned to Gar that they should probably head out before the press gets there to cover the big Thanksgiving superhero brawl, but Gar has other ideas.
The episode ends with Beast Boy, Blue Beetle and Kid Flash all in costume giving a press conference about their fight to stop meta kids from being kidnapped. The show plays it a little bit as a running gag (Static spends most of the episode saying “I gotta get a girlfriend), but you can really see that Beast Boy is stepping up as a way to inspire newly active metahuman kids. On a show that’s already mined most of the other superhero teams on Earth for material – we have the Justice League, the Outsiders, the Suicide Squad, the Reach, a Legion reference with Rimbor, the Light as the Secret Society, the Red Rocket Brigade – it would be odd for the Teen Titans to be left out. At this point, it’s really just them, the Omega Men and like, the Great Ten left to introduce. And to be entirely frank, I’m 100% here for that.
With the first batch of new episodes in the can, it’s kind of amazing to take stock of where Young Justice is at. This show started out about Kid Flash, Robin, Superboy, Aqualad, Miss Martian and Arrowette not knowing how to handle the superhero life. Now, two seasons later, Aqualad is Aquaman and chairman of the Justice League; Kid Flash is dead; Robin is Nightwing and running his own black ops side missions; Arrowette is Tigress and running her own team; and Superboy is engaged to Miss Martian, who is herself basically what Black Canary was in season 1. Two and a half seasons later, we get an episode like this, where the show is almost entirely handed over to newcomers, and it feels correct. We’ve got an entire world opening up with the entirety of DC continuity finding its way over, and every step, every new character development and every new relationship has felt earned and logical. These episodes are good, and they’re even better because they’re part of a great show.
OUTSIDER TRADING TIPS
– As somebody with a toddler and two terrible dogs in the house, this episode was chock full of Extremely Relatable Content. Lian and her grandmother doing a mashup of all the songs that have the same melody as ABCs? Extremely Relatable Content. An adorable but very bad dog going from person to person at a family dinner hoping for table food? I have to put mine in the basement when we eat now. This is right up there with Will Harper and Lian doing “See? Food!” to each other and slobbering half-chewed eggs all over the ground last episode. What I’m saying is I’m very concerned that Young Justice is spying on me.
– Dr. Jace dimes out Artemis’s return to the team in front of her mom, and Mrs. Crock lights her up for it. I think a recurring theme for the rest of the season is going to be the price they pay for living the hero life.
– Nobody wore seatbelts in the bumper cars. That’s dangerous, kids.
– Absolute best visual in the show so far: El Dorado and Kid Flash are saving the unconscious kids from Onslaught when one of the Terror Twins opens a boom tube under them. El Dorado teleports out while Kid Flash runs back up the boom tube. REALLY cool.
– I didn’t realize until about a week ago that there was an episode of Batman: The Animated Series with Count Vertigo in it. He steals a sonic gun from Wayne Industries and flies off in a doofy helicopter/plane in that episode, and here, “Count Vertigo” steals Perdita before flying off in a doofy helicopter/plane that I think was intended as homage to that old episode.
– Really appreciated how they gave Perdita something to do, and I was a huge fan of Traci 13 getting more screen time.