Sunday, 25 March 2012

Young Justice - Episode 22 Recap and Review

Agendas, Spoilers

- Recap, first, as always
The episode opens up with a shot of the oft referenced, but never show, JL satellite: the Watchtower. Looks like it's build partially into an asteroid, which makes a some sense as the rock would provide extra protection and the like for the structure.

Within the satellite, it is revealed that it's large enough to house an entire forest, complete with a flock of birds, which the Trinity watch as it flies past. Wonder Woman, voiced for the first time by Maggie Q, mentions how it's at times like these that they feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. It seems that they are preparing for a meeting that will decide how the world will look at the Justice League for years to come. Aquaman tells them that everyone is ready, and the meeting begins. Dr Fate/Zatara is there, as it John Stewart (yay!), as are Hawkman and Hawkgirl etc. etc.

Title Sequence.

It turns out that the reason for the meeting is that Superman and the rest of the Trinity want to expand the Justice League further, but J'Onn has his doubts. He says that by increasing the number of members they risk of the supervillain community retaliating in kind, with another Injustice League. Superman says that he has a point, and that everyone has the option of voting no to all the prospective candidates.

He nominates Icon, and Ollie snarks whether this is because Superman thinks that he might be another Kryptonian like he did with Captain Marvel (cue Billy being pleased). Diana agrees with Superman on this, and suggests that they hire Icon's protege Rocket also, because "Athena knows that the League could use more female members". Black Canary and Hawkgirl agree with this. Captain Marvel looks nonplussed when the male members remain silent on this issue.

Back at Mount Justice, Megan and Zatanna are preparing Thanksgiving dinner, with Wally oogling them. Megan reminds him that he's spending the holiday with his family, causing him to rush off. Zatanna bursts into tears because these are the things that she made with her dad, while Conner sulks in the Lounge about how "At least she has a father".

Suddenly a piercing shriek hurts his ears. It's Lex Luthor, who says that since Superman is offworld, Conner is the only person who should be able to hear the message, and that he should meet him at Washington DC in a few hours. He leaves, saying that he's walking his giant wolf, saying that he shouldn't be long.

On the Watchtower Batman is suggesting the Atom for membership, though Captain Marvel has his doubts due to how small he is. Barry Allen suggests someone with more "Raw Power" and says that Guy Gardner might be a good choice, though this is instantly overruled by John Stewart and Hal Jordan. Barry tries to protest but is shut down again by the GLs.

Meanwhile, Conner lands in Washington on his Superbike. Lex shows up showly afterwards, complete with Mercy the RoboBodyguard. It reveals that he's now the chairman of the board at Cadmus (uh oh). Conner naturally isn't happen about this, and goes back to his own home, where it appears that genomorphs have been disappearing. Conner angrily asks where the new superclone is, but Dubbliex and Guardian say they have no idea what he's talking about, while a scientist there says that all human and Kryptonian cloning was shut down since Conner's escape. Or Liberation, as he puts it. It's revealed that Guardian is actually Roy Harper's uncle, which I'm not sure how canon that is with the comics, but whatev.

In the Watchtower, Ollie is suggesting Roy for League membership, on the basis that he's 18 and thus a legal adult at this point. Aquaman points out that Roy thus far has been uncooperative and disrespectful, and rewarding that behaviour with a membership sends the wrong signal to Kaldur and the rest of the Team.

Guardian is showing Conner around the New Improved Cadmus, which is now apparently doing legitimate medical research and the genomorphs now have more independence. Even some with names, like one doing dishes called Benny. Dubbliex however isn't happy with the situation, as he tells Conner telepathically. He says that the League won't let them walk the surface and that their purpose has just been changed from being living weapons to menial labour. Conner then continues the conversation outloud, possibly accidentally revealing Dubbliex's telepathy to Guardian and Lex, who is watching via CCTV. Guardian allows Conner the run of the facility, as he has his own genomorphs to find, though he says he doubts Conner'll find what he's looking for.

Conner wanders down to his own cloning chamber, and Wolf discovers another door hidden by the organic growths that cover the walls. They bust it open, and find another gigantic chamber behind, kept on cold storage and full of cloning tubes. In short order, Conner finds the additional Superclone and frees him almost instantly. The clone sees Conner's Super-shirt though and instantly starts beating the tar out of him. Soon afterwards, Conner is unconscious the clone having inherited Superman's eyebeams and flight (which Conner doesn't have). The clone, then seeing he doesn't have an S symbol due to Conner tearing his jumpsuit, burns one into his own flesh with his heatvision.

Back at Watchtower, Superman overrules the rest of the Team from being inducted into the League on the basis that they're not going to hire children, this causes Captain Marvel to look nervous. Dr Fate then suggests that they hire Kid Flash and AqualadZatanna as well, getting an angry putdown from Dr Fate in the process. Wonder Woman then points that that this sounds oddly protective of Dr Fate, which means that Zatara must still be alive in there somewhere. The fact that Dr Fate is a member puzzles Marvel, who points out the fact that he's basically mentally enslaved Zatara for the rest of eternity, which ISN'T something that heroes do. This causes Red Tornado to suggest kicking him out, though Dr Fate says that Zatara wants him to be a member of the League so that they could keep an eye on him and Nabu.

In Cadmus, Conner wakes up back in his tube, causing him to freak out, understandably. It turns out that the reason why he was in the tube was that it was the quickest way to heal the injuries that he sustained in the fight with the clone, who turns out to be called Project Match. Conner blames Dr Spence, but Guardian says that she was as shocked by the appearance of Match as he was. They rush off to find him since Match vanished after the security cameras went down after the fight, while Conner begins talking to Lex, who appears on a monitor.

Lex explains to Conner that, in a twist obvious to those familiar with his comicbook origin, he wasn't in fact created witrh pure Kryptonian DNA and that the gaps had to be bridged with sequences of human DNA, thus why he doesn't have the full range of Superman's powers. Match, however, was created with pure Kryptonian DNA but without the gaps filled with human genetic material he's become... kind of insane. Luthor advises the shocked Conner to get Match under cryogenic containment as soon as possible, though Superboy is reluctant. To help him defeat Match, however, Luthor provides strange patches that will supress Conner's human genes, thus allowing him to access all of his Kryptonian powers. Conner says he wants nothing from Luthor, though Lex responds with the smile of a drug dealer finding a desperate person with a severely addictive personality.

The Justice League have reached Plastic Man in their candidate list, and it appears that his very appearance is enough to cause Captain Marvel to just burst out laughing. Barry is worried about his... extremely large criminal record though. Marvel's outburst causes the League to wonder, however, whether he should stay on the team either, considering they've just worked out that he's really ten years old. They do point out that he's got an adult's body and the wisdom of Solomon, but Aquaman points out that wisdom does not equal maturity. Dinah asks whether Billy would like to leave the room until the situation is sorted, but Batman says that he should stay because, as a member of the League he stays that way until people vote otherwise. Diana points out though that the other big issue as to whether he should stay or not is that fact that he'd been lying to them for a considerable amount of time also. Batman points out that he actually knew Billy's real age, responding in Diana saying that she isn't surprised, considering Robin started crimefighting at the age of nine. Bruce points out that Dick needed to find the men who killed his parents and bring them to justice, resulting in Diana asking whether this means "So he'd turn out like you?" getting the reply of "So that he wouldn't" from Batman.

Back at Cadmus, Dubbliex reveals to Conner that Match was the first attempt to create a Superman clone but his unstable behaviour resulted in them trying again and making Conner. He also tells him that Lex was one of the co-founders of Cadmus and that he had hand in the creation of Match, causing an angry outburst from Conner. Conner asks whether this means that Luthor was responsible for the disappearance of Match, but Dubbliex corrects him with the revelation that it was actually his doing. As Conner follows Conner's progress on the security cameras as he follows Dubbliex's directions, Lex smiles smugly.

Conner makes his way down a series of previously hidden tunnels, until he comes across a huge cavern populated by hundreds of genomorphs. Dubbliex greets him, declaring that it's Genomorph City and that he'd liberated the genomorphs so that they could be free here. Match is there though, being kept docile with some of the telepathic genomorphs while being chained to a rock. Dubbliex explains that he's there because his existance would set back the path to their being given civil rights by decades, but Conner says that this isn't any better than keeping him trapped in a pod. Match sees Conner's s-shirt while they're arguing though, breaking free of the control and beating up everyone, Conner, Wolf, Dubbliex etc. etc.

Being stuck in a bad situation and seeing no other choice, Conner sticks one of Luthor's shield patches onto himself, unlocking his full powers. The following fight is actually pretty savage, with Match burning Conner's eyes with his heatvision and Conner nearly pounding Match's head flat until he's stopped by the arrival of Guardian, Mercy and the rest of the Cadmus staff, Dubbliex looks ashamed by this. Match is then frozen again, but Conner is sad that this is the only option.

Back at the Watchtower for possibly the last time, the Trinity have come to the final stage of voting. Diana says that out of the criteria that they've gone over, age, background, powers etc. etc. the key thing that they're looking for in candidates for the League is whether they can be trusted. The voting begins.

Conner confronts Luthor, about both the tracker that he'd placed in the patches' box and the fact that he'd started the entire cloning project in the first place. Lex then comes out and fully states that he was the human donor for Conner's non-Kryptonian DNA, even calling him son, and saying that really he as more in common with Lex than he does with Superman. He then gives an actually pretty effective speech about how Superman exists in a world of black and white, and that he must feel that since Conner was created by the bad guys that there must be something wrong with him, but both he and Lex know that life isn't really that well cut. That there are shades of grey. He points out that he was originally planning to free Match, but in the end he went with Lex's suggestion of refreezing him for the greater good of all, and that although he considers Lex to be a villain, he still accepted his help in the form of the patches when it all came down to it. Conner, realising where this is going, tries to give them back to Luthor, who refuses, saying that they are a present from a father to his son, resulting in Conner just grabbing him by the tie and trying to punch him. Lex then just shuts down Conner's brain with the phrase "Red Sun" and walks off, leaving Superboy to come too some hours later. Conner wonders that since Luthor can shut down his brain with just two words, what else can he make him do? He goes to throw away the patches, but then stops and walks away.

- Review
A good episode overall, acting as both a means of continuing some of the plot threads introduced at the beginning of the season as well as acting as a means of expanding upon both Lex and Conner's characters in the show.

The animation was pretty much very good across most of the episode, particularly in the fight scenes, and in the scene where Luthor is attempting to corrupt Conner with the knowledge of who is actual father is, playing up that Lex is the only one who's been even remotely affection towards him and the like.

The Luthor in this show is actually coming across as one of the show's better villains, of a different sort to the Clancy Brown version, but still very good. He comes across as a master schemer who might actually be able to combat the likes of Superman, only with Batman levels of prep-time to manipulate other people into doing it for him. Cool characterisation.

Overall, a good episode. Not one of the best, but one that manages to hold up very well all considered.

- Some of the Cameos

Amanda Spence, a villain from Conner's original comic series.

Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, obviously.

Guardian, introduced in the series back in the first episode, though he was a member of Conner's comic's cast too.

Hal, the first of the modern Green Lanterns, and John Stewart, the Green Lantern that was actually interesting.

Black Canary and Hawkgirl

Dubbliex, a powerful psychic from the Cadmus related comics who appeared at the beginning of this series.

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