Young Justice "War" Review: Big Alien Death Moon

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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