Welcome back to our Young Justice coverage as part of the Multiversity (still for a few weeks) Summer Binge. This week the team is recovering from the effects of last week’s training exercise gone wrong and we get an injection of Jack Kirby with the inclusion of the Forever People. It…somewhat works. Let’s dive in!
1. “Trauma tends to linger”
We open the episode with the entire team sitting in the kitchen of the cave in silence as they mull over the experience of last episode. As Batman comes into the cave and wants the team to just be over it, J’onn reminds him, “Hey your whole schtick is you can’t get over your trauma so back off.”
It’s interesting to watch the entire team react completely differently and how that really emphasizes they’re various character beats. From Artemis’s emotional wall, to Wally’s denial, to Kaldur’s failure and Megan’s inadequacies, you completely understand that this experience has hit all of them in radically different ways. We can debate at the end whether these vignettes work paired along with Superboy’s Silver Age adventure, but it’s his and Robin’s confessions to Black Canary that stand out the most to me. Which leads us to…
2. I don’t want to be the Batman
This is the most Tim Drake that Dick Grayson has felt all season. Robin (which really is his name to the team cause no one knows his identity) confesses that this whole experience has pushed him further and further into the mindset that he never wants to be Batman, an idea that Tim really perpetuates in the comics. Dick has been Batman before, which really all the Robins have at some point, and while he enjoys being Nightwing more and is fundamentally different than Bruce, and is, of course, a fundamentally different Batman, Dick still understands the duty and the obligations Batman has to exist. Dick’s whole deal is he’s the Batman who is over the trauma. It’s an odd character beat, and further exemplifies the amalgamation that is this Robin.
3. Infinity Man and the Forever People
The title of a poor New 52 series aside, the Forever People showing up in this episode is awesome. They arrive in full Silver Age, bombastic, bright colored glory. They are really stark contrasts to the mostly dark color palette and intensity of the therapy interviews the rest of the team is experiencing. When they formed and became Infinity Man I caught myself saying “Hell yeah,” allowed. It’s all beautiful stuff and the shots of the Forever People explaining to Superboy the New Genesis versus Apokolips age-old conflict is hilarious. All of it hilarious. and those scenes are handled really well. The only bits of the Fourth World stuff that seems odd in this episode is how little Desaad feels fleshed out, and the inclusion of a “Father Box” which really shouldn’t be a thing. Mother Box is where it’s at. Ping. Ping.
4. “We bonded ok”
Sphere’s a she and she’s great and if you don’t love Sphere you have no soul. The moment at the end where Superboy tells the Forever People that they can’t have her because they bonded is great. That is all.
5. Does this episode work or not?
So the real question of this whole episode is if the tension of Black Canary’s therapy sessions and Superboy’s adventures work spliced together. And for me, the answer is really no. They really feel like two different episodes, or like Superboy’s adventure is the main Silver Age tale, and the trauma is the back up. Or vice versa. Not enough time is devoted well enough to both. Imagine how much better just a full episode of Black Canary playing shrink would have been with her interviewing the team along with the team coming to terms with everything, Canary reporting to Batman what’s been happening, the League talking, and the mentors really mentoring the young no longer sidekicks. Furthermore, picture a Kirby tribute, completely of course devoted to Superboy and the Forever People, that further fleshes out Desaad and the whole Fourth World conflict, maybe they Boom Tube to New Genesis. Both of those could have been more awesome than what this is. Instead, the trauma feels underserved, and that’s definitely not ok because it immediately goes away next episode. I think the biggest sin of the episode is the interviews with Superboy at the beginning and end that almost look like they could have been the same scene. The lesson Superboy learns of now knowing what it’s like to be Superman also seems like a weird thing to want to admit after the Forever People team up.Continued below
This episode and next week’s episode are two I feel don’t work as well as they could. But in a season of awesome, two blips isn’t bad. This could have been better, and instead, both plots are watered down.
That’s it for this week, sound off in the comments, and tune in next week for a Halloween, one-off adventure.