Monday, May 07, 2012

Young Justice - "Happy New Year"

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It's Young Justice Monday!

Hey again everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here with my review of Episode 2 of Season Two of Young Justice, entitled "Happy New Year".
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After a brief prologue to remind us that six Justice Leaguers (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkwoman, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Martian Manhunter) disappeared for sixteen hours while under Vandal Savage's mind control, we jump five years into the future, specifically January 1st, 2016. Superboy is hunting through the Gotham City sewers and stops to examine a strange pile of goop. He is attacked by Clayface, who tries to suffocate him. Miss Martian is able to stop this from happening, and new Robin Tim Drake arrives on the scene to distract Clayface with electrical Batarangs. These don't stop the monster, but they do slow him down enough for Superboy to toss a pellet into Clayface's mouth which dries his body from the inside out. Also present for this battle are Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, and Bumblebee.

Back at the Happy Harbor HQ, La'gaan, aka Lagoon Boy, is losing a sparring match with former Robin Dick Grayson, now calling himself Nightwing. The squad that fought Clayface comes back, and L'gaan kisses Miss Martian, much to the chagrin of Superboy. Soon after they arrive, Captain Atom calls in to inform them that the United Nations headquarters is under attack. Since Young Justice's Beta Squad is close by, Nightwing orders them to tackle the situation. At the UN, alien bounty hunter Lobo is making short work of UN security on his way to find UN Secretary General Tseng. He finds Tseng, but is interrupted by Wonder Girl, who punches him hard enough to drop to his knees.

Meanwhile, Batgirl crashes in and escapes with Tseng. Unfortunately Wonder Girl doesn't hold off Lobo for long, and he reengages Batgirl and Tseng on the Assembly floor. Batgirl manages to attach a couple of explosives to the giant brawler, but he just shrugs them off. Grabbing Tseng, he stretches his arms apart until his body splits in half. Thankfully the Secretary's body is only a robotic shell housing a small green alien. Lobo grabs the smaller alien and takes off, claiming that his bounty has been fulfilled.
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Soon after, on G. Gordon Godfrey's talk show, he reruns the security footage of Lobo's attack, using it as a example of dangerous extraterrestrials. He goes on further to say that although Superman and Martian Manhunter are known to be heroes, there could be many aliens on Earth that mean to do humanity harm. He even wonders aloud whether Amazons, Atlanteans, and others could be aliens in disguise.

On the Watchtower, newest Justice League members Zatanna and Rocket arrive to hear John Stewart in the middle of a briefing regarding the Lobo incident. He says that while Lobo is a potential threat, his bounty hunting lifestyle keeps him away from Earth most of the time. Stewart is more worried about the alien Lobo captured, one of a species called Kroloteans. According to him, Kroloteans always travel in packs, meaning that there could be many more on Earth.

Martian Manhunter introduces Adam Strange, who is the chief engineer of the Zeta-tube teleportation system. Strange tells the heroes a story. One day when performing a routine upgrade on a Zeta-tube, Strange was teleported to the distant planet Rann. There he met a scientist named Sardath. After they could communicate roughly, Strange came to realize that some of Sardath's Zeta technology had been stolen. Since the Kroloteans traffic in stolen technology, Sardath gave Adam Strange a device which can detect traces of Zeta radiation around the globe. Using this device, the League has pinpointed many possible locations for Krolotean bases.

Captain Atom wants to order a two-headed attack; with one team of Leaguers hitting all Krolotean targets simultaneously, and the other team traveling to Rann to stop the thefts of Zeta technology. However, Strange points out a problem with that plan. Apparently, the same six Leaguers who went missing for 16 hours five years ago are also wanted fugitives in Rannian space, and there is a planetary watch out for the entire Justice League. So, some of the time those Leaguers spent MIA must have been spent near Rann, and they must have been misbehaving. Nightwing offers to send a squad of Young Justice members to investigate, since they are not Leaguers and can slip in unnoticed. Captain Atom agrees, but Adam Strange warns Superboy, "If you're going, don't wear that shirt." As Nightwing, Miss Martian and Superboy are leaving, Zatanna stops to remind them that League membership is still an option for all of them. Surprisingly, all three say that they are happy where they are.

Back in Happy Harbor, Nightwing assigns teams to investigate possible Krolotean beachheads around the world. He assigns himself and Wonder Girl to Alpha Team, headed to Philadelphia. Since he is not on Alpha Team, Lagoon Boy hopes to make Beta Team. But Beta Team ends up being Bumblebee, Batgirl, and Wolf, investigating Vlatavostok. That leaves Lagoon Boy, Blue Beetle and Robin to make up Gamma Team, going to New Orleans. Lagoon Boy complains that Gamma Team always gets the soft gigs, and Robin is apprehensive about his first time leading a team. Nightwing assures him that this is a good chance to get experience.
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As they arrive in at a New Orleans junkyard, Gamma Team has tracked a trace of Zeta radiation to an old toolshed, which Blue Beetle destroys. It turns out to be just a toolshed, until Robin realizes that the radiation is underneath the waterline. Lagoon Boy dives in first, and soon finds an entrance. The others follow, and Lagoon Boy increases the size of his body like a pufferfish to open the entrance for them.

Once they get inside, they find a massive base full of Kroloteans, and their stolen tech. Almost immediately, the trio are spotted by the aliens, who all charge at once. The heroes fight back, and are doing pretty well, until the alien's leader sees Blue Beetle. He signals all his compatriots to teleport away and sets the base to self-destruct. Blue Beetle's alien armor also detects the presence of humans below, and they find a number of people, including the real Secretary Tseng, held captive in a cage. Lagoon Boy rips the cage open, and the heroes and the abductees make it out just as the place explodes.
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As they bob in the water, the entire Justice League (including newer member Black Lightning) appears, but it seems that Gamma Team has already saved the day. Meanwhile, Adam Strange arrives on Rann along with Superboy (wearing a different shirt), Miss Martian and Beast Boy.


I have to say that this episode was quite a surprise. After setting up the mystery of the six Leaguer's missing sixteen hours, the show time-jumps five years into the future. I don't know if this will be a permanent change, or if certain episodes this season will go back and fill in some gaps from that five year span. Whatever the case, color me intrigued by all of the new questions. How did the new YJ members get recruited and join? How did Miss Martian break up with Superboy and start dating Lagoon Boy? Where are Aqualad, Artemis and Kid Flash these days? And of course, what did the missing Leaguers do that has Rann so angry with them?

Speaking of Lagoon Boy, his addition is a welcome change to the team. He's a bit insecure but also has the interesting power of inflating himself into more of a Hulk-like size. However, I hope he's not the replacement for Aqualad as the resident water-based hero, simply because Aqualad is such a solid foundation stone for Young Justice. I suppose only time will tell, but I did enjoy some of the focus being on him this episode.

4 comments:

Kenn said...

I generally hate time jumps, but this one is intriguing for all the reasons you stated. When/how were the new members added? Why/how did those who graduated become JLers? What caused Dick's growth spurt?
(If you've seen the second epi, they're starting to answer some stuff, while moving the season along!)

Joe said...

Great recaps Andy!

To answer your question, YJ: Invasion was originally written as a mini-series that would be airing at the same time as regular YJ episodes (hence the 5 year gap to keep story-lines separate) but due to CN's scheduling shuffling and then later DC plans to block DC Nation programming, YJ:I was incorporated into Season 2.

Invasion will run 10 episodes while the whole season is 20 or 22, so it may be safe to assume that after Invasion ends, the timeline will revert back to the present day.

Be cool if you or rob! contacted the producers for an exclusive Shrine YJ interview (hint, hint)!

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Another nicely done, thorough recap!

This was an exciting ep, very fast moving and action-heavy. It was nice to see the Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Girl and Tim Drake Robin make the scene. Like you, I wanna know where the missing YJers are! What happened to Aqualad?!

Minor quibble: a lot the cooler elements of Adam Strange's origin have been done away with! I always liked the "John Carter" aspect of Adam Strange's story: the earth man whisked away to be a champion on another world; and his being unable stay permanently on Rann with the woman he loved was a nice touch of pathos. I also liked him better as an archaeologist, rather than another nondescript scientist; the idea of a man who studies the ancient past being caught up in a world of super science and futuristic menaces was a neat juxtaposition.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Andy Luckett here. Thanks for the kind words, guys. Since my computer has trouble posting comments under my name, I'm posting as Anonymous for now.

@Kenn: You're right, I'm glad to see the show beginning to answer some of these questions early on.

@Joe: I didn't know that about Invasion being a miniseries. It makes a bit more sense of the format of the new episodes. I'll be curious to see how the timeline shifts after Invasion is over.

@Joseph: I think your quibbles regarding Adam Strange may be a bit relieved by events in the second episode. Not completely, but there are the introduction of a few shout-outs to classic Adam Strange.