Saturday, November 05, 2011

Young Justice - "Homefront"

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Episode Eleven: "Homefront" - Airdate 09/30/11

It's Young Justice Saturday!

by Andy Luckett


On this episode of Young Justice, Robin and Artemis face down a deadly threat that's already taken down the other members of the team!

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The story opens in Artemis' apartment. As she wakes up, she begins thinking about the day her older sister (obviously the future Cheshire) left, after getting fed up with their parents. Then it's off to Artemis' first day of school at Gotham Academy, the site of her first interaction with the Young Justice team (in which she fired an arrow that distracted Amazo and saved Kid Flash's bacon). In a funny in-joke, Dick Grayson snaps a picture with a bewildered Artemis, telling her "we'll laugh about this someday."

Back at Happy Harbor headquarters, the newly-romantic Superboy and Miss Martian are enjoying their new making out privileges. Kid Flash arrives, but in typical Wally fashion, totally misreads the situation and assumes the pair are working on Superboy's cycle/sidekick. Meanwhile, Aqualad discusses the mole situation with Red Tornado; wondering if he should tell Batman. Tornado responds that while the League expects the YJ team to solve their own dilemmas, it is up to Aqualad how he chooses to proceed. Abruptly, Tornado leaves for monitor duty, even though he is exempt because of his responsibilities to the younger team. When Aqualad questions him, he responds that he is taking Green Arrow's shift, since he's going out with Black Canary.

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As Artemis apporaches an abandoned phone booth (which hides the Gotham teleport station to Happy Harbor) she is surprised by Robin, who clearly is lightly poking her somewhat flimsy secret ID as Green Arrow's niece. They take the teleporter to the headquarters, and as soon as they arrive are assaulted by a barrage of water and flame from an unknown source. Their attackers hold little back, chasing the pair through the headquarters and up into the air ducts.

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Soon, the villains are revealed...as siblings of Red Tornado, with similar elemental powers over flame and water! To make matters worse, Robin and Artemis are informed that the other team members have been captured and imprisoned under threat of drowning and dehydration. Time to bust out some John McClane action! After holding off the attackers a bit longer, Robin realizes that with their oppressors being machines, an electromagnetic pulse might shut them down. Sadly lacking one at the moment, the duo are directed by Kid Flash to make one out of the nearby x-ray machine. But since it doesn't have a complete circuit, the plan's a no-go and Robin is captured in a water bubble.

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Artemis, suddenly the only John McClane left, goes a little fetal for a sec and tries to convince herself that escaping will enable her to get help for the others. However, as she stumbles across Wally's souvenir case and sees her sister's Cheshire mask, she realizes that the seperation approach of her biological family will no longer work, and she decides that now is the time to pull it together and save her new family. Finding the arrow that she fired at Amazo that fateful night at Gotham Academy (KF kept that as his souvenir), Artemis sets out to save her friends.

She fakes a surrender, and then once in range of the makeshift EMP emitter, fires the arrow into the circuit, using the metal to generate the pulse and take out the robots. The others perk back up, and Artemis basks in the glow of saving her teammates. Until Red Tornado gets back, that is. At first he seems surprised at the existence of his brother and sister, but at that moment the EMP wears off, the two baddies revive, and Tornado goes rogue too. He creates a vortex, sucking the air out of the room and causing the whole team to pass out. When they awaken, the League is there to sort through the wreakage, but the three robots are gone.

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I really enjoyed this episode. It started a bit slow, taking time to set up some continuing threads, before plunging into some well-done action. The concept of Robin and Artemis forced to survive by their wits against a more powerful force did remind me of Die Hard, but a strong concept is a strong concept and this one was handled nicely. The action gave some nice character development to Artemis and Robin, showing what they're capable of not possessing superpowers and backed into a shrinking corner.

Unfortunately their attention means a lack of involvement for the others, basically resulting in Superboy, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Miss Martian reduced to a few speaking lines and little else. Aqualad does have a nice moment expressing his feelings regarding the mole to Red Tornado, but sadly he is given little else to do. I think this show (and the comic) needs to avoid the trap of highlighting one or two characters to the exclusion of the others. I've noticed lately (in the last few issues of the comic and this episode) that Artemis is being given a large spotlight. Which is okay, as long as the other members are given the same courtesy. With the attention to detail that is abundant on this series, I would think that such an oversight is probably unlikely.

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