Young Justice "True Colors" Review: You Are What You Eat

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Jan 19, 2013

Young Justice S02E12: "True Colors"

I like it when shows get even vaguely topical about current events and issues. Justified's second season used mountaintop removal, a big, divisive issue in the Appalachia region of the U.S., as window dressing for its larger plot, and The Legend of Korra used abuse of governmental (and supernatural) powers to tackle issues of equality. On Young Justice this week, the real-world topic was a little less sexy than the governmental abuse of power, but probably more commonly known then mountaintop removal: genetically modified foods (but only kind of)!

As part of their PR blitz, the Reach partnered with LexCorp to basically end world hunger by sharing some agricultural secrets, first with LexFarms and later with other farmers so that everyone could benefit from the additives the Reach were including with new fruits and vegetables. So while the overly friendly LexFarms representative insisted there was no genetic modification going on, I have to imagine that if GM foods stir up plenty of debate and protest, that alien-enhanced foods likely wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms. But it was all part of a feint as the real plan for these Reach-influenced goods was in Reach-branded bottled water (or soda or something). “Everything the body needs,” Lex Luthor noted before Vandal Savage corrected him, “Everything the Reach needs it to need.” [Insert ominous organ music here]

In any case, it was a neat way of bringing a contemporary issue into the fold of the narrative, and while I’m not expecting any grand extrapolation or debate over the use of GMOs in the series, I appreciate the gesture. That the drinks contained whatever it is the Reach needs in order to do whatever they need to do to the human race feeds into the real-world fears about GMOs having adverse effects on our bodies.

I do wish a lot of this felt fresher, though. The villains getting good PR while making the heroes look terrible feels very much like Alex Ross’ and Jim Krueger’s Justice comic series from the mid-’00s, while the Light’s desire for its own team of superpowered soldiers is very much in line with a big subplot from the first season of Justice League Unlimited. I acknowledge that this is more of an issue due to my familiarity with past media, and if you don’t have that, it’s all new to you (which is great), but I’m just finding some of the beats... not really bad per se, but maybe just a little less engaging.

In a less “Noel is reading WAAAAY too much into things” take on the episode, the team dispatched to investigate LexFarms—Tim, Jaime, Bart, and the original Roy, now going by the name Arsenal—did battle with the Black Beetle some, and it was all generally well-done. I do appreciate some consistency in power levels, so while Black Beetle was essentially just putting on a show so the team thought they were getting the real intel, he wasn't exactly holding back either, and I like that he still felt very much like a threat.

However, my knowledge of the Blue Beetle mythos had failed me again, and I know squat about the Green Beetle of Mars, if such a Beetle exists in the comics and so on. His arrival seemed a little convenient, plot-wise, as it may be a way for Jaime to break free of the scarab in the aftermath of the failed attempt to get rid of it at the start of the episode (a little mini-adventure—see what I did there?!—with the Atom and Karen), but we’ll see where it goes. I don’t know that this show needs any more characters involved in its plots, but Young Justice has never seemed concerned about over-stuffing things before, and Green Beetle may not be around for too long.

Over in the villain subplot, Sportsmaster attempted to negotiate with the members of the Light for reparations for the death of Artemis. While they offered a significant amount of money, Sportsmaster wanted blood, something the Light wasn’t willing to give. Deathstroke arrived, as the Light’s new enforcer, to chase off Sportsmaster after he made what was likely a half-hearted attempt to kill Black Manta. But with the rejection of the offer, Sportsmaster and Cheshire are now free to go after Black Manta and Kaldur without looking like dishonorable punks. Why that particular aspect for Sportsmaster is so very important I don’t know, but at least this plot is moving along now.

While those pieces are now in place, M’gann’s psychic assault on Kaldur is about to blow the whole op, as Vandal has enlisted Psimon to repair the mental damage done to the double agent. And as Vandal so helpfully informed us, it’ll mean that Psimon will end up knowing Kaldur better than anyone, which means that he’ll find out about the plan just as easily as M’gann did. See, Dick, this is why telling the alien with mental powers about a big covert plan might’ve been a good idea!


Notes & Quotes


DC Nation Short: It was Part 3 of the Amethyst shorts. I actually rather liked this one as I found the overly chipper talking trees and plants to be more creepy than friendly, which gave everything a slight genre-subversion vibe. I also appreciated that the slime monster, which I’m going to treat as a Dragon Quest shout-out of sorts, was just suffering from allergies.

– How much fun is Tim Curry having with G. Gordon Godfrey? Answer: All of the fun.

– Poor Bart. He really wanted a pluot.

– “Plus I enjoy making Lex miserable.”

– “Nothing like a warm plasma bath to calm the nerves. And wash off the tomato stains.”

– “Cornfield or cornfield?”


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

  • Comments (34)
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  • andreido9 Jan 26, 2013

    Can't believe how awesome is this animated series!!

  • dragon22a Jan 21, 2013

    The show is really going in its own direction, taking full advantage of the fact that it takes place in a identifiable, yet untapped, world in the multiverse. The show has introduced us to a Green Beetle, something never seen in the comics. I actually like the character and the fact that his martian powers are used while the armor is activated, though he still has the weakness to fire. It will be interesting to see if he actually is what he claims to be or if he is actually working with the Reach to get to Jamie.

    The show also did something that to my knowledge has not been done in the main DC universe, they revealed Black Beetle's face. Here we can plainly see that he is a member of the Reach species, little more than a soldier by the looks of things. In the comics, it is unknown who he is yet. Blue, Black, and now Green. add a Yellow, Red and a Pink Beetle, and it will look like the Power Rangers running about.

    The rest of the episode was good. I am glad they have not dropped the story of Sportsmaster and Cheshire seeking revenge. Also having Dick placing Tim in command. Plus it was nice seeing Mr Kent in the series, like the old days of Superman the Animated Series.

  • kanniballl Jan 21, 2013

    Yes and no.

    Pre New52... Black Beetle's true identity was a big mystery. Was it Jaime's friend? Was it a future/alternate version of Jaime? Was it someone else? It was an interesting sub-plot.

    Currently, there is no "Black Beetle" after the reboot. WE THOUGHT there was, and many fans were annoyed at how they introduced him (and his identity immediately). But they're calling this character "Blood Beetle" So hopefully they introduce a proper "Black Beetle" at some point.

    "Blood Beetle" was the result of Jaime using scarab-tech to save Paco's life. The only thing the Scarab could do was implant a fail-safe scarab into Paco to act as his heart. The fail-safe scarab would activate and attack Blue Beetle if/when he felt BB wasn't fulfilling the Reach mission.

  • dragon22a Jan 21, 2013

    Thats right, it must have been because, if I remember correctly, they have rebooted Jaime in New 52 with a new origin and basically a clean slate. So no Black Beetle.

  • kanniballl Jan 21, 2013

    Yup, so I imagine as his heroic tenure continues we'll eventually get a new Black Beetle. So far (post reboot), his career has been pretty bad: he's the poster child for metas-gone-wild and such because he was caught on camera b*tch slapping his female friend. The readers know it was a ruse to fool Blood Beetle that he was full Reach, but the casual observer thinks he's a jerk.

    It's just people flipped out when Blood Beetle appeared, because they hated how instead of the mystery we find out from the start who this new beetle is.

  • JediKnightJace Jan 21, 2013

    Did anyone else notice that the Beetle from MARS was named something like "B'ars O'oom" (like "Barsoom")? Awesome reference, it cracked me up.

  • filmstu2005 Jan 22, 2013

    Awesome how you caught that

  • Glimdrel Jan 21, 2013

    from John Carter?

  • JediKnightJace Jan 21, 2013

    Yup.

  • JT_Kirk Jan 21, 2013

    "Could be fresher", exactly how I felt about this episode, I liked watching the story unfold, I liked the team dynamics, and yet it felt overly trodden territory, the way the battle was paced how there was defeats, temporary victories quickly stolen, distractions, and then teaming up to win the day is old hat, as is the G. Gordon and The Reach being evil with Lex stuff.

    I didn't know of the Green Beetle either, and it does appear to be created for the show, I can find no reference to it in any other context. It was a bit of a convenient plot device, hopefully they'll justify it or pull a switcharoo.

    The stuff with Sportsmaster and Psimon really could have used more weight, it's important and yet somehow didn't feel particularly like it was invited to the party in this episode.

    This episode wasn't a thinker, but it also wasn't a stinker. The humor mostly worked, Tim Drake got to take front & center, and it was well-acted (although Black Beetle's voice work feels at times like it's straining to sound that way, which is offputting).

    --

    As for Amethyst, holy crap when the flowers were all happy to be eaten by the unicorn, I was laughing my ass off, that was sick in the head hilarious.

  • noelrk Jan 21, 2013

    I didn't mind the amount of time given to the villains here since I was starting to feel like they had been forgotten (or maybe it was just the hiatus that was making me feel that way? It's becoming difficult to know any more). The episode description for next week seems to indicate a good bit of Black Manta, so perhaps this episode was just place-setting, and we'll get the main course next week.

  • DeangeloHill1 Jan 21, 2013

    This Episode was great i loved it like every other and i liked that they finally introduced Death Stroke and overall my favorite charecter is Tim Drake he looked cool in all stealth robin uniform

  • spriggan1985 Jan 20, 2013

    why isn't this on the internet yet :P I want to watch it, btw I'm not from "Hummerica"

  • damasta414 Jan 20, 2013

    oh, its on the internet. :)

  • spriggan1985 Jan 20, 2013

    just got it, but the quality of the 175MB rip is very low, hate web-rips ;)

  • Loralee_jk Jan 20, 2013

    Also, I think Sports is gonna be a lil pissed when Artemis isn't dead. Also I want Artemis to snuff out the brain.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 20, 2013

    Also, I feel like Artemis will take care of Brain. B/c she's still kicking around in later episodes. Either she tell Miss M to fix the problem, or she'll (I really want this to happen) kill him.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 20, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • roweantarts Jan 20, 2013

    You mean Psimon? Because the Brain is someone else entirely (often seen in the company of a gorilla), I suspect Tigress' partnership with Deathstroke (which we've seen in a trailer) will be a ruse to warn the team about Psimon.

    As for Green Beetle - J'onn's broadcast would've stopped when he left to stand trial, that was some time before the Reach's presence was known, which makes me think there's an ulterior motive at work here. Perhaps his intentions to help Blue Beetle will (unintentionally or intentionally) bring about the prophecy

    I'm curious as to what is in those bottles. Everything the Reach needs the body to need, sounds like it has addictive properties. So why are the Light pleased (or at least not disappointed) that the team obtained a sample of it, could they be preparing for an eventual betrayal (which has always been my theory as to why they want the Justice League alive)

    As Light members Klarion, the Brain and Ra's al Ghul have been rather quiet this series, we'll see if that continues as the finale closes in.

    Speaking of quiet, the Apokolips side of things seems to have been rather quiet for now, I know Intergang is no longer operating for the Light, but Desaad promised 'all will suffer' over 5 years ago.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 20, 2013

    I think Lex & Clark grew up together ish. Not like in Smallville (the show), but Lex & Clark did grow up together in smallville, or something, I don't think it was random that Lex has a factory/work stuff in smallville, Just so they could introduce Pa kent? Nope. Or maybe it's just Lex letting CK know he KNOWS

  • wingsabre Jan 20, 2013

    when you have a giant international corporation that deals with different fields, like military, pharmaceutical, agriculture, etc... Then it's not surprising that they had a farm in Kansas.

  • Loralee_jk Jan 20, 2013

    Greg Wiseman, doesn't just writing things in at random.

  • wingsabre Jan 21, 2013

    I think it just opens up the possibility to use the Kent farm for the housing of Green Beetle.

  • noelrk Jan 21, 2013

    I think even if you're right, Loralee, with only 8 episodes left in the season, and Superman still doing a galactic apology tour during their Vandal Savage-controlled time, I doubt the location of the LexCorp farm is actually to be a big deal.

  • kanniballl Jan 20, 2013

    They've gone back and forth with the "Lex from Smallville" bit in various retcons and such. I forget where it stood before the New52 reboot... and so far post-reboot I don't think there's been enough "Lex" in the comics to get much of a back story.

  • prowly Jan 20, 2013

    Well, Dick was kept in the dark about M'gann's... less humane methods, so he had no way to really foresee this development. That one's on Conner. I guess secrets *are* bad.

    Okay, so question about the 4 kids at the end... Apache Chief, Static Shock, Samurai, and...? Black Vulcan seems a bit redundant, so is it going to be El Dorado? If so, please oh please update the costume.

  • noelrk Jan 20, 2013

    Black Vulcan was redundant in the '70s because Black Lightning was around already. The Super Friends series couldn't use him due to a rights entanglement.

    On the flipside, bringing back El Dorado, with some updates, would be pretty cool.

  • prowly Jan 20, 2013

    True, and we *did* see Black Lightning last episode, and there's really no need for three people with lightning powers...

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