Young Justice "War" Review: Big Alien Death Moon

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Feb 09, 2013

Young Justice S02E15: "War"

Last week, I advanced a theory that the Light had decided to start working against the Reach in Lex’s recruitment of the young Super Friend expies as their own version of the Team. Admittedly, this theory was bound up in concerns over “plotting and conniving,” but I also did want it to be true because it would add an interesting element to the Reach takeover.

In “War,” we received another indicator that the Light may indeed be making moves against the their former allies (I’m running with the assumption that the two groups have been working together the entire time). Vandal Savage, watching the trial of the Leaguers happening on Rimbor, planted a few choice words in the ears of Mongul (voiced with all the dulcet menace that Keith David does so well) as word arrived that the Reach had been invited to set up camp on Earth. Since the Reach are pretty devious and powerful, and Mongul would rather rule the galaxy himself, he put War World into overdrive and set out to destroy the Reach by obliterating Earth.

I can’t think of a reason why Vandal would do such a thing other than that the Light has planned to stab the Reach in the back. I also doubt it’s for altruistic means. Sort of in the same way Mongul sees himself as doing Earth a favor by destroying it before the Reach so that they don’t pose a threat to his plans, I imagine that the Light has decided to position themselves as the saviors of humanity from the Reach in an effort to gain lots and lots of power. The Light let the Reach through the front door by setting the Leaguers off on this little galactic trial/apology tour, and now they’re going to be the ones who kick them out, too.

And so the heroes that remain on Earth went in and took down War World. It wasn’t the most exciting of Young Justice action sequences, with each of the heroes divided up into teams with specific goals. Arsenal, Conner, Cassie, and Wolf against Mongul was neat enough, but hardly anything really exciting happened. Karen, Mal (in the Guardian outfit), and Sphere went to go shut down the power source, and ended up really saving the day. Bart, Garfield, and Jaime took the key to the entire War World, and destroyed lots of those red diamond defense robots. So, yeah, really nothing stellar on that front.

But then the episode lowered the boom.

I wasn’t expecting the show to pay off the scarab-controlled Jaime quite this quickly (though given how few episodes are left, maybe I should have been), but I’ll take it. Again, it wasn’t the best staged action sequence, but the suddenness of it gives the scene a nice chaotic quality that makes up for that. And Arsenal’s extreme reaction—both in trying to space Jaime and then in running away—provided the necessary emotional beat. The sense of betrayal can come later; right now, it’s just the fear and confusion, and Arsenal helped that land.

Notes & Quotes

DC Nation Short: Level 4 of the Amethyst shorts had our hero doing battle with a disgraced-prince-turned-skeleton-warrior. There was a quick Legend of Zelda nod ("It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.") and Amethyst convincing the skeleton that he’s not really a loser. It was cute.

– I loved the bit of Krolotean dialogue about the trial still going on because the Justice League hadn't bribed anyone yet.

– I’m glad I'm not podcasting or video reviewing this show as I really hate saying the phrase “War World” out loud.

– "Sorry I’m a little preoccupied with the SECOND MOON IN THE SKY."

– "At least a big alien death moon notices when I’m around!" I’m glad Karen and Mal have worked out their issues, if only so we don’t have to have this (sadly) underdeveloped subplot cropping up again. I do wish it were better executed, really, as it’s not often there’s an African American couple on TV, let alone on programming targeted at kids.

– "But it seems the mercies of Mongul are not appreciated."

– And here’s a picture of Batgirl just because I can:

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

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  • nimrod Feb 12, 2013

    Nice pic of Batgirl. Also, Mongul needs a hug. Savage really get's around, doesn't he?

  • JT_Kirk Feb 10, 2013

    I really didn't like the voice direction on this episode, it felt very off, a lot of reactions that didn't feel like they fit (including that bit about the second moon), to the point where it was distracting.

    One thing this show could stand to do is remind viewers that certain characters are affiliated with whatever organizations. I had forgotten Vandal Savage was with The Light just because I hadn't seen him in a while here (and had seen him in a DC animated movie where he wasn't). Bringing Warworld to Earth can't possibly be anyone's plan for Earth's benefit unless they plan to steal Warworld itself, and if that's the case, then The Light's plan either worked perfectly if you assume they're still working with The Reach, or it backfired miserably because The Reach ended up with the key to Warworld. WARWORLD! (It's so stupid, but I'm not a fan of a lot of bronze age DC mess.) In any case, none of this was what I was thinking about while watching this episode, I was more engaged in the situation at hand and how The Reach were such a large focus - exposing their fleet so soon after saying they were there with only one peaceful ship was the thing that stood out for me as an end result here.

    So, aside from the main action and the voice direction thing, other elements on my mind:
    - The sound effects were underwhelming.
    - Wonder Girl now has the distinction of getting beaten up at every opportunity possible, she seems to be the show's token crap member.
    - Wolf sure can take a beating though.
    - Warworld's effects looked pretty crummy, this episode felt like it was done on the cheap, maybe because of how broad the script was.
    - The Reach expose their hidden fleet, but don't send out their superpowered Black Beetle?
    - Mongul had some good lines, and Keith David was an interesting choice rather than going with someone boomier.
    - Bumblebee's solution got shortchanged, we never got to see what systems she shunted to. If she had watched TNG, she would have figured out this solution way earlier.
    - Blue Beetle didn't really need to give a crap about getting spaced, did he? He can handle outer space, he already had the key, and he was fully suited up.
    - Captain Atom's and Captain Marvel's space masks looked like robot beards.
    - I definitely felt like Bee & Guardian's relationship problems had been dragging down and needed this, it's the sort of thing that pulls DC stories downwards too often because they're given too much or not enough room to tell.

    All in all, this was a lesser episode for me, but I look forward to seeing how it affects the future of the storyline.


    Amethyst's Zelda moment was an awesome and instant touchstone for me, I was dying. Prince Sadbones was almost a funny moment but went thin at the end.

    I was promised a second "brand new DC nation short" and instead got Vibe - part one! Not a stellar rerun, I do like the animation style taken from the '80s, and that weird "Vibe!" titles yell, but I certainly didn't need to see it again.

  • noelrk Feb 11, 2013

    Vandal showed up three episodes ago in "True Colors," hanging out with Lex at the LexCorp farms and then telling Sportsmaster, during a meeting of the Light that he couldn't kill Kaldur in retaliation for Artemis's death. So, while not present in every episode, it's not like there hasn't been a recent, semi-important reminder, either.

    I don't think Beetle was worried about getting spaced due to lack of oxygen but that it would've prevented him from capturing as many of them as possible, which would've been in the Reach's goals to help with meta-gene research. But I'm just guessing.

    I don't know that Mongul's even been given booming voice. Eric Roberts voiced the character in the DCAU, and he's not very boom-y. I can't remember how Gary Anthony Williams voiced him on Batman: BATB, though.

  • JT_Kirk Feb 10, 2013

    Oh, and Cat Grant is a bummer of a news anchor, c'mon girl!

  • Watashii Feb 10, 2013

    Its interesting how they added projections of how much the war world missiles were going hit Earth. I thought that was very smartly written. I still have no clue what Vandal's plan is but since they mentioned that the Reach is some ancient species, maybe Vandal had contact with them way before hand.

    What I would like to know is that why Roy/Arsenal was trying so hard to get away from Blue Beetle? I might have missed it but he isn't one of the meta-gene prisoners. He said "not again"? Was it just the betrayal?

  • noelrk Feb 10, 2013

    He was not a meta-gene prisoner, but he was captured and locked in a tank for a decade or so, and given that I have to imagine he was told about that raid at some point, he was not happy at the prospect of being captured again.

  • Loralee_jk Feb 09, 2013

    Mongul!! I was kinda really wanting/thinking Queen Bee was gonna show up b/c
    1) It would be awesome!
    2) she can control men's minds, so I was like "they're prob recruit her! She'd be down for helping Earth"..But it didn't happen :(

    - Kat should have started drinking, She was getting pretty emo.
    Good for her for soldiering on tho.
    - I feel like Wally would have shown up for this. This isn't a normal mission.
    - Cassie is so adorable!
    - Roy was funny. I liked him a lot more here then 2 weeks ago. He's really soldiering on too.
    - I ship WondeRoy
    ...That's kinda the biggest thing I took away from this episode. Plus Blue's evil but NBD

  • noelrk Feb 10, 2013

    WondeRoy. That's nice.

  • Weesiwel Feb 09, 2013

    I think people are right on the money with the fleet being destroyed. It seems though that the only team left is the justice league (Dr Fate was awesome in this episode) as well as the original team except superboy, arsenal and red arrow. Which means Wally is gonna come in and save the day also Static.

    However I believe we know Lex's team saves them now anyway.

  • WindUpRobot Feb 09, 2013

    Totes agree on Karen and Mal. I liked their plot a lot more than you did, and while I get your complaints about it it was still nice to see them on the show for the reason you summed in that bullet point. (And way to ignore Icon's background as a lawyer! Obviously he'd be representing the league!)

    The episode was okay. Better than the Despero episode in terms of overpowered villains randomly showing up since at least Mongul had a reason that tied into the narrative, but, yeah, the fighting was dull.

    While I appreciate fan loves, a just because inclusion of Batgirl? Dude. You're a bit better than that aren't you? Even a little? She didn't even do anything this week! No picture of Mongul for that matter?

  • noelrk Feb 10, 2013

    When it comes to Barbara, I will stop at nothing.

    And there weren't any press photos for Mongul. I would've used one of him instead of the one of Wolf, Cassie, and Conner running down the hall had there been.

  • Mantis82 Feb 09, 2013

    I noticed they only have air dates until ep 18, and nothing after that, it would suck big time if they don't air the last 2 eps

  • noelrk Feb 10, 2013

    CN's stated that all episodes produced will air. They normally only provide dates in monthly blocks, so we may have to wait until just a bit longer into the month to get them...provided they intend to air the episodes in March, of course. Sigh.

  • prowly Feb 09, 2013

    I'm glad I'm not podcasting or video reviewing this show as I really hate saying the phrase "War World" out loud.

    I think we need to start an official petition to have Noel post an audio clip of himself saying "war world" at least three times.

  • noelrk Feb 10, 2013

    This is not going to happen. I just said it as I read this comment, and no. :-P

  • prowly Feb 10, 2013

    Come on, Noel. I bet it sounds adorable.

  • WindUpRobot Feb 09, 2013


  • JackODea Feb 09, 2013

    I have 2 theories. Either A. Savage did that so the Reach could get that crystal and is actually still working with them or B. Savage did it knowing that War World was so strong that the Reach would have to get involved and loose a lot in their fleet.

    I wonder how Earth will react now that (presumably) The Reach have come out that they had these war ships hidden away. That can't be good for them,

  • Mantis82 Feb 09, 2013

    I think B.

    What would be cooler is if Savage had his own plans and is just using the light, the reach, and JL for his own gains.

  • perualonso1 Feb 09, 2013

    Keith David did a good job of voicing Mongul. On the other hand, I wasn't happy to see Blue Beetle turn traitor.

  • noelrk Feb 09, 2013

    Well, bound to happen after last week's revelation. At least it wasn't dragged out.

  • prowly Feb 09, 2013

    Right. With the series ending, I'm glad that this won't end up as some dangling plot line.

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