Episode 4 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
Does one sad goodbye beget an ever sadder one? It also doesn't help that they were so close to getting married. Something horrible was going to happen! Oh, man. Oh, man. Only four episodes into Young Justice: Phantoms and we are given perhaps one of the most shocking moments of the entire four seasons and canon tie-in material combined. What will surely rock the Team and the Justice League and tip the scales in the ongoing conflict with the Light and Apokolips felt like a complete and heart shattering seismic shift in the series' storyline. And oh yeah, the murder of the king gets solved, too.
Ma'alefa'ak's plan reaches its conclusion after his introduction last season on Outsiders. Well, not the conclusion that he dreamed of. It's one thing that he wouldn't make amends with M'gann or could have cared less about his mother and Green siblings dying in the explosion of the gene bomb, but he took away the love of his sister's life. I think it's safe to say when M'gann is done grieving, there will be a reckoning and we may see her slide back to season 2 nastiness. Or even just up and quit the hero life altogether.
The detective angle went CSI: Miami-esque with Beast Boy, Superboy, and Miss Martian heading to the mental plane to go over the intel Prince J'emm downloaded into the boy's heads. And to put R'ohh K'arr and his compatriots to shame, they find a big white clue pretty quickly. Then bombs start dropping. Well, the figurative ones. K'arr M'angg shares an important tidbit that the missing White servant was a Green and points out the racism once again contributed to the king's untimely death. The guards didn't bother every thinking a Green would sneak into the palace posing as a White. This immediately sends a red flag to J'emm and he confronts S'yraa S'mitt, who accidentally killed the king with her magic in a moment of weakness. But not that much of sting when it's blatantly revealed he's was still racist. Though he believed Green and White should be equal, Reds were still superior. That explains why J'emm and S'yraa broke up and why she basically became a nun at a young age.
No surprise that R'ess E'dda tried to move fast to use the revelation to his political advantage and stress the need to preserve tradition. Buuuuttt, J'emm J'axx presents the more common sense approach: the color of skin defies their worth in a society of shapeshifters is dumb and they should look towards empathy rather than prejudice, a new way rather than the old. As long as J'emm stays alive, we appear to be on the precipice of major reform on Martian society. A society that just got saved by a half-Earther, half-Kryptonian. Hmm-hmm-hmm.
Lastly, the big freakin' shocker of all shockers. With no time and no other options, Superboy makes the call and the ultimate sacrifice, to force Ma'alefa'ak's gene bomb into a lava flow under the royal arena to burn out the viral load while completely aware it was tampered with by our mysterious future boy. Not all full strength thanks to the lack of a yellow sun, a gene bomb, Kryptonite, and lava – Superboy seemingly perishes! It's been awhile since we all we aghast at the death of Kid Flash but it's definitely the same feelings here. Yet, am I crazy in suspecting all these conditions manipulated by the future boy wasn't to kill Superboy off? And is this future boy in fact, Superboy – or to be more exact, a version of Superboy from the 31st century. Like in Superboy's weakened state and further weakened from the presence of Kryptonite, the exposure to the altered gene bomb is gonna change Superboy's ethnicity to African American and maybe even upgrade his super power set? Maybe he was essentially a mosquito in amber for a 1000 years, discovered by the Legion of Superheroes, accepted as a member, began planning a way to change the timeline in his favor and/or to undo another apocalypse-like event that occurred in his absence, and pulled it off? Some scary shades of daddy Lex there with manipulating things behind the scenes. And will M'gann and the others be able to accept and adjust to a potentially new looking Superboy?
Would it be cruel if this is the end of this arc and next week we're taken to Earth for a new arc with a different set of characters going through some mission simultaneous to the events on Mars and we won't see the fallout of Superboy's "death" for awhile? Feels totally on-brand for Young Justice. The release of a new poster on HBO Max on Wednesday seems to totally connote that. If "Involuntary" is a sign of things to come in the next 22 episodes and Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti have been wearing the kid gloves up until this episode, man, this is gonna be so crash!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5