Episode 10 Review
Young Justice: Phantoms
Zatanna is given a front row seat in the battle between the Lords of Chaos Klarion and Child. Lesson learned, she admits she is going to need a lot more help than her Sentinels of Magic and Etrigan. Three weeks into the journey to Earth is enough for Em'ree J'onzz and she attempts to jilt Miss Martian out of her grief. While Zatanna has quickly seen the need for help and Miss Martian gets some guidance counseling of her own, Beast Boy is still languishing on his own island of pain and trauma. Speaking of tragic, we also finally lay witness to more of the chaotic origins of Atlantis. In "Nomed Esir!", help is what our characters need but will it come with its own set of unintended consequences as Varl'jat once learned the hard way?
Thankfully, the Phantom Stranger lecturing Vandal Savage last week wasn't a one-off appearance and this time, he's approached Zatanna and her Sentinels of Magic. In a nice twist, one week she's the teacher and this week Stranger teleports her to Roanoke Island to learn what is at stake and it's time to call in as much help as she can muster. It was certainly a delicious reveal that Child has been sent to eliminate Klarion and is wielding the power of all the other Lords of Chaos. The series has come a long way to illustrate why Klarion's presence is so important and what his absence could lead to. The implications alone for disrupting The Light's plans and plunging Earth into a new age of chaos is shaping up to be a riveting mid-season arc. On the flip side, Vandal Savage points out what some of us in the audience have been wondering since last season. It looks like Nabu is going to have to find a new host soon if he stands a chance of being a factor in the current conflict. And even if he does (cough)Khalid(cough), what does that bode for Zatara? Considering Zatanna is the lead original member of the Team this time around, are we store for another of our young heroes experiencing new heart break?
As a fan of the supernatural side of DC Comics, I'm chomping at the bit to see who else is going to show up in the next three parts of this arc. It's a fun time of uncertainty. Swamp Thing, Spectre, Enchantress, Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, Black Orchid, Ragman, Raven, Dr. Mist, Amethsyt, Timothy Hunter, Nightshade, Dr. Occult, Zauriel? But let's talk London. Both a hat tip to Marvel's Doctor Strange with Sanctum Sanctorum and the cameos of Phoenix Gate, the Grimorum Arcanorum and the Eye of Odin from Disney's Gargoyles? Holy lawsuit, Batman! And naturally, the name drop of Merlin, a staple character tied to Blood and Etrigan's back story and current "relationship." Though it wouldn't be Young Justice if I didn't go "Huh?" Where the name "Varl'Jat" or "Psy-Backs" originates is still to be gleaned. Last but not least, the big shocker coming off last week's shocker about Atlantis, we learn Arion was a grandson of Vandal and thanks to a gift from the Lords of Order, he was the progenitor of the Homo Magi. But that naturally raises more questions like was that the only line of Homo Magi on Earth or not and thus would that make Zatara and Zatanna descendants of Vandal, too? Also, what's up with that Metropolis school bus and Earth-17? I guess for the latter, we missed out on a zany Multiverse fiasco between seasons.
Now let's talk the ongoing mental health issues. Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti have been crystal clear this season that the traumatic events our characters go through aren't going to be fixed in under 30 minutes, that doesn't make it all the more heartbreaking to witness Garfield Logan's decline. Still none the wiser that no man is an island, he is still portrayed in nigh isolation. Will Miss Martian's return change things? She still has a lot left to process herself even after Em'ree tricked her into a cathartic moment aboard Baby. Or at this point will it only be the surprise return of someone to the show like Perdita, the Monkey God, or dare I say Conner to finally put Garfield on the mend? Playing it a little more subtle, there's Zatanna. A critique of this arc, while on the surface, Zatanna doesn't seem to be getting much development despite being the lead. Sure, she played the role of the happy-go-lucky teacher with her band of students only to be hoisted on her own petard by Phantom Stranger this week, but is all this her way of putting up a false front and avoiding dealing with her own issues, namely her role in her father becoming the host of Dr. Fate? Last season showed us she's clearly still got that weighing heavily on her. Plus, Zatara isn't getting any younger one year later as Fate's host. The mid-season ending on Zatanna suffering the death of her father would be as soul crushing as the death of Conner in the opening arc of Phantoms. Also of note, probably one of the few if not only time we saw a chink in Vandal's armor when he expressed true remorse for the death of Arion and the loss of the entire Atlantean continent.
In "Esir Nomed!", Jason Blood may be able to readily summon his 'inner demon' but the same can't be said for our main cast. Going on two months, Miss Martian and Beast Boy are still reeling from Conner's death while Phantom Stranger offers harsh perspective to Zatanna that she and the others can't just stay on the sidelines and let Klarion and Child duke it out. Help is needed. A lot. And both figuratively and literally.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5