This Young Justice review contains spoilers.
Young Justice Season 3 Episode 3
There are two moments in “Eminent Threat” that made me step back in awe of how well the creative team behind Young Justice knows their subjects and how good they are at storytelling. One is a tiny flourish, an attention to detail that I only caught my second time through, and the other is a very subtle character beat that shows how well they understand their own continuity and the story I think they’re trying to tell.
The first are the completely unnecessary touches that looks cool and show a strong attention to fine details. One is the bank shot explanation of Jefferson Pierce’s superhero name: did you notice that his lightning when fighting Second Plasmus was black? It had the colorless flashes of light when appropriate, but when you were seeing crackling bolts hit Plasmus and hold him back and when the lightning was popping off of his fingertips as he was getting mad, the bolts and crackles were black rather than white. That’s so cool – like the Darksaber, only less on the nose (even though it’s literally his superhero name). There’s no real reason why they have to do it. It’s an obscure power that the internet says is “based in magic” which is code for “uh, dunno”. But they’ve been doing it since last season, and it’s so quick and such a deep cut that it shows that they care about this level of detail, and it’s great. And the second is when the tubes full of cocooned meta kids gets boom tubed away – the “BOOM” actually knocks one of the henchmen down. You never see that, even in the best depictions of a nonsense Fourth World tech.
Also great is their attention to story. Brion’s powers finally awaken this episode, as we get a confrontation between him and Bedlam over his crimes against Markovia. Brion can’t control his powers especially when he’s in a rage, so he spends a chunk of the episode as a lava monster half buried in the ground. They could have had BL try and talk him down – Jeff is a talented educator and a superhero, so there’s probably no one more qualified to help with something like that. Except maybe Superboy.
Superboy tries to talk Brion through the first applications of his powers – breathing, focus, calmness. This is the same Superboy who was himself a blind ragemonster not more than 40 episodes ago. But first, that’s seven years ago in story time. I’m unrecognizable to who I was seven years ago (I got undershirts for Christmas and it was great), so it makes perfect sense and is even laudable that Conner’s been allowed to grow as a character to the point where he’s now trying to mitigate someone else’s anger. It would have been really easy and perfectly logical to have Jeff step in, but they chose Conner because the folks making Young Justice know their characters, know their show, and know where they want everyone to go. That’s great fun to watch.
Outsider Trading Tips
– We’re finally going to tackle these Markovians. Brion, who’s now a superhero, is Geo-Force, one of the founding members of the Outsiders in the comics. His comics origin is pretty much the same as it is here: Helga Jace helps him get superpowers so he can stop a coup/invasion by…
– Bedlam, the Outsiders’ first antagonist back in 1983. Frederick DeLamb wants to rule Markovia, so he kills the King and Queen and attempts to claim the throne. He’s also frequently confused with Mister Miracle villain Doctor Bedlam, because he was misnamed Baron Bedlam in Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory. Comics BARON Bedlam has no powers but is a master manipulator and skilled tactician. Comics DOCTOR Bedlam creates infinite copies of himself, poses as an escape artist, and then lets those copies be destroyed in the death traps to make it look like he made it out, rendering the profession of super escape artist moot and debased. Comics are fun and I love them.
– Speaking of infinite copies of yourself, Simon Ecks is Doctor Double-X, a Silver Age Batman villain who can create energy duplicates of himself. He’s a jackass.
– Queen Perdita of Vlatava is the young girl who got the heart transplant carried across the country by Wally back in Season 1. That’s the “friend’s funeral” that Beast Boy said they met at, probably.
– Also how did it take this long to get down here but STARGIRL! If I get a Starman episode, this will be the greatest show ever.
– “Halo girl,” as Tigress calls her, is actually Halo, one of the founding members of the Outsiders with Geoforce, Black Lightning, Batman, and Katana (to name a few who have been prominently featured so far this season). In the comics, she changes powers based on the halo color, but most of them are offensive, whereas here it’s all about shields and healing. Halo from the comics is also apparently serial killer posessed by a race of sentient energy called the Aurakles, so now I’m wondering if Seven Soldiers of Victory wasn’t just a soft reboot of Batman and the Outsiders?
– It took a second viewing to realize that “Otto” from the first episode, the heartbroken kid at the Markovian children’s hospital as his sister was being taken away, was also Second Plasmus. Apparently powers are genetic here, because it’s strongly implied that First Plasmus (the one who died on Rann) was his sister.
– The only place this show has really failed so far this season is when the regular guy walks out of his house, walks back in, and then later shoots Plasmus. The first 2/3 of that are played for laughs, I think (or at least I can’t stop laughing about the look on his face), and then he kills a kid. A bit jarring.
– Next episode: I don’t know! And it’s very exciting.