Young Justice "Cornered" Review: Despero Measures

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Jan 12, 2013

Young Justice S02E11: "Cornered"

After last week’s plot- and action-heavy outing, it was natural for Young Justice to take a bit of a breather, to showcase the ramifcations of the events of the past couple of episodes. And I like that the show does this—actions should have consequences in narratives—but "Cornered" was mostly a dull slugfest.

Despero is not a character I’ve ever particularly enjoyed, and his incarnation here—a growling, non-speaking, roaming space gladiator—was about as engaging as I’ve made it sound. He arrived on Earth due to the League’s expanding galactic presence, to prove himself tougher than the mightiest champions, but had to settle for Zatanna, Captain Marvel, Conner, M’gann, Malcolm, and Karen at the Hall of Justice. He punched, they punched, he uses his psionic third eye, and the Hall got destroyed.

It was so boring.

A large part of the problem is that Despero has no personality whatsoever. He’s a brute who fights and leaves the talking to his robot, L-Ron. It would've been one thing if there was some witty banter between the heroes and Despero and L-Ron, but everyone sort of ignored each other. Despero didn’t speak, and the heroes more or less ignored L-Ron, who was quite funny, but the robot’s schtick could only go so far without anything to bounce it off of.

The fight did afford a bit of character work. Malcolm, frustrated with being placed in an abandoned warehouse in Blüdhaven, of all places, following the destruction of Mount Justice, tried to move in with Karen, but she continued to shut him down. Poor guy. But he also donned Guardian’s outfit to buy everyone some time during the fight, in keeping with the character’s pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths history. It was the highlight of the A-plot since Mal’s bombastic parody of a superhero was genuinely amusing, and it was nice to see Malcolm finally do something.

M’gann was forced to deal with the fallout of her psychic assault on Kaldur as she resisted using her abilities on Despero. She was understandably slow to use that ability, but she does have other powers that might’ve been useful in the fight. It was mostly place-setting for a bigger emotional moment about this particular plot, as it resulted in her taking up residence in J’onn’s Chicago apartment instead of the warehouse. Conner, of course, noticed all this, and the episode ended with the two of them about to talk.

While all this was going on, Black Canary was debriefing/counselling the teens recovered from the raid on the Reach’s undersea lab. There wasn't much going on with that arc, but I appreciate the throughline of Canary as counselor; it nudged along the Jaime-as-the-destoryer-of-Earth plot, as he wants the League to do whatever it can to get the scarab literally off his back. Like Bart said, this course of action may be what triggers all the badness, but we’ll see how it goes.

If there’s one thing I did really enjoy, it was the Reach ambassador’s consistent undermining of the League in the light of both political institutions and the media (well, G. Gordon Godfrey, anyway). Last week, commenter @opalemeraldcat questioned why the the League just didn’t tell the truth about the Reach and this week we saw how that’s no longer an option. The League’s been keeping things, including the Watchtower and the team, hush-hush from the governments of the world, and the Reach ambassador (voiced with diplomatic slipperiness by Phil LaMarr) has been more than happy to make all this known. He even took down Despero’s forcefield and then took Despero into custody. He is a public relations master.

So the fallout from the first big confrontation with the Reach is being felt. I just hope that the impulse to stage largely pointless fights doesn’t continue to get in the way of the more interesting aspects of the series.

Notes & Quotes

DC Nation Short: Part two of the Amethyst story involved our hero being sent on her quest and having a quick crisis of confidence before dispatching a spider, sent by Dark Opal, with a green pepper. It was fine, nothing too awful or awesome. The serialized nature of the short sort of works against it, but it’s unlikely we’d ever see a half-hour version of this character, so we’ll see how it goes.

– The Reach exposed Virgil to "little static shocks." We see what you did there, show. It also seems that you're going to continue to draw out the full awakening of his abilities. Static fans are going to have to be patient a little while longer, it seems.

– I really fail to see how no one knew about the Watchtower. Is it in some sort of weird orbit that avoids any and all other satellites or space stations? Even by comic book logic standards, it’s a real stretch.

– "Magicism is cheating!" So Zatanna’s spells aren’t allowed, but Captain Marvel’s abilities are okay?

What'd you think of this week's episode?

  • Comments (34)
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  • wendelllima10 Jan 16, 2013

    – "Magicism is cheating!" So Zatanna's spells aren't allowed, but Captain Marvel's abilities are okay?"

    They are not ok. That´s why, in my point of view, Despero didn´t kill Billy Batson. He didn´t consider the boy a worthy oponent.

  • JetixMasterDan Jan 14, 2013

    Not knowing about the Watchtower kind of flabbergasted me since the Watchtower was the League's first big headquarters, though it alienates them from the rest of Earth. Apparently this universe is slightly away from Justice League, especially since Virgil has his powers in Justice League but not here in Young Justice.

    I guess I really need to catch up on what is going on with Young Justice. I've missed most of the episodes past episode 8, so I'm kind of lost with all the betrayals and destruction that is now occurring.

  • snake63 Jan 14, 2013

    If you are talking about the Justice League animated series then yes Young Justice is in another universe.

  • wingsabre Jan 13, 2013

    Wonder Woman flies an invisible jet, Wayne Enterprise owns probably half the government satellites in orbit, and the League magicians have the ability to hide/disguise things in public. There's more than one way to hide the Watchtower. Plus they had a very public Hall of Justice, so it was a huge front for the public. It's hard to look for something when you don't know it exist.

  • noelrk Jan 14, 2013

    That's great. In-narrative explanation now, please. ;)

  • xFanandSwordx Jan 13, 2013

    I thought the episode was good as always, but I wasn't feeling the same excitement I got with the previous episodes. That's probably thanks to the haitus (Well done CN!). I really hope we get some focuse on Wally in the upcoming episodes, I'm really starting to miss that boy....

  • yutg25 Jan 13, 2013

    Captain Marvel cheating yes Despero didn't know the source of the power after he changed into Billy Despero stasis him. SO he's not interested in fighting Magics. The fight was pointless Captain Marvel really? Nightwing could have done better. The fight is more for the younger fans what is important is whats happening around it.

    Reach got major PR points today and they discredited the league not only with the watchtower but that the founding members of the league are intergalactic criminals on trial. A fact that was hidden from the public to maintain that the league is perfect. (the league has an Image of being perfect and now the reach is nibbling or breaking that with half-truths.

    Intro of static shock quite interesting I didn't even notice him in the last episode; I notice a guy in the last part where capt. atom and Marvel was trying to break through the cage there was an African American character who had lightning bolts who was that? (whoops already answered.)

    Mgan is feeling guilty.

    Blue beetle confession

  • snake63 Jan 13, 2013

    We are going to see M'gan and Conner to leave the team after confronting Nightwing. They feel that they were not trusted with truth aboout Aqualad and Artemis.

  • kanniballl Jan 14, 2013

    It's hard to take the moral high ground when you're lobotomizing people and making Full Blown leaguers not notice (the interrogation room). Also lobotomizing a friend.

    As for Connor: covering up the lobotomizing

  • kanniballl Jan 14, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • EsmeBuffay Jan 13, 2013

    I reference the final note I think either Despero didn't know Captain Marvel used magic or he figured his magic gave him simple enough powers that he would allow it. Given time Zatanna can do a wide variety of creative things, Captain Marvel on the other hand only gets super strength and the ability to fly (apparently wisdom as well but that's not shown very often) making him much more manageable.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 13, 2013

    I think I'm mad @ bumblebee for not being straight w Mal. Either cut him loose, or get with it lady!

  • Loralee_jk Jan 13, 2013

    Also, I find it weird they gave M'gan curtains (tho very sweet of them) but she doesn't change cloths.

  • speedroc Jan 13, 2013

    They gave her curtains for a semblance of privacy. She was the only female that was supposed to stay there since Bumblebee had her own apartment.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 13, 2013

    I want more Wally & Artemis!

  • xFanandSwordx Jan 13, 2013

    Same, I miss them :/

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