Episodic Review: Young Justice Invasion 19 & 20 (Series Finale)

“Business as usual”

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So from the get-go, the two groups of baddies are having their own meeting when Black Beetle orders the members of the Light to remove any masks they may be wearing. Um…

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With exception to the Reach Ambassador and Scientist, aren’t all the Reach present wearing some sort of mask? Maybe it shows how the Earth villains don’t really see the Reach as no more than aliens that blend together, while the Reach prefers to see the face of the criminal masterminds they’re dealing with. Two very different types of villainy indeed.

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The Reach Scientist (still think it’s weird none of the reach actually have names) is sure getting some lines in for these last episodes. Makes me wonder if she would have played a bigger role had the series entered a third season.

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I haven’t read that much old-school Stan Lee comics, but the first half of the episode definitely felt like one. It was so densely packed with people talking, that I’m pretty sure I still missed out on some details, some of which just re-iterated past plot points. Honestly, I feel like a decent amount of lines could have been removed from the series in general if the series opted for “last time on Young Justice” style recaps.

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Yet another intricate fake death and another powerpoint-style explanation. Again, I have to wonder when Aqualad had the time to set all this up. Maybe he keeps multiple tabs open on his browser while with his pops.

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Early iterations of post-time-skip Artemis tended to draw her face a bit stretched just for the sake of making her look aged. Very glad we’re past that awkward moment, though I’m still unsure how to feel about her looking significantly hotter now and pairing said hotness with super-smexy  poses and lines every now and then. Not complaining; just… very confused as to how they were able to get away with it. Oh, and all the fake and real blood shown this episode.

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Was gonna comment on how glad I am that KF is still willing to go on a mission every now and then… then I noticed the complete derpiness of the above screencap. This episode in general looks to suffer from the occasional derp-looking moments, which make me question if the creative team blew their load on earlier episodes a la Evangelion minus the avant-garde ending.

I mean, just look at this screwup:

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Cave door’s closed…

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Cave door’s opened. Both shots in question are literally seconds between each other. Quality control, guys!

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Quality. Control. Derp faces aside, I could have sworn Wonder Girl was taller than both the new Robin and Impulse. Maybe Zatanna cast a temporary height change spell? Honestly, sometimes missing gaps of information like this can be more annoying than intriguing.

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I did like how the Reach’s speaking nuances were kept consistent with each other, though. Couldn’t have seen a better way for the Ambassador to get his comeuppance.

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Checking the YJ wiki, it looks like the episode takes place almost six full years after season 1, episode 1. Quite the ways the team’s gone, though I guess I’ll save that for the next episode.

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I’m not the biggest fan of Beast Boy, but seeing him with lines did make me appreciate his comic relief. The fact that I just now realized his voice actor also plays the lead in The Amazing World of Gumball is an additional plus. Anyone interested in seeing an honest-to-goodness cartoon that just feels like a cartoon, there’s my one plug for it.

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The finale episode! Also known as one of the better examples that show off the series’ pros and cons. Since the start, Young Justice came off as one of those groundbreaking, envelope-pushing series that tries to make a point in saying that they’re not your typical action animated series. Not only does it take advantage of the DC Universe’s infinitely expanding roster of characters (heroes, villains, and civilians alike), but they do so creating these incredibly involved and always criss-crossing story arcs that don’t speak down to their audience. That’s the pro.

Its cons stem off from one of the series’ positives: its dense story. With so many storylines and plot points running around and rubbing shoulders with each other on occasion, it can be pretty difficult to get a solid idea of how to pace everything just right and giving just the right amount of fleshing out for certain things. While the season 1 running theme of “who’s the mole” was pretty much run into the ground by the time that question was answered, a more loosey-goosey approach seems to have been taken with season two. The main Leaguers and their time on Rimbor was going on through most of the season, but the most we actually got from it were the dull-for-the-most part court scenes. Considering the series does have a solid timeline, it makes sense for those Leaguers to be in space for most of the season, but at least some kind of better payoff outside of the court would have been appreciated. Maybe show the Leaguers imprisoned after the counsel claimed them guilty and having them share some kind of backstory about their according sidekick…

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… or at least give some kind of reason as to why the Hawks kept getting screen time, but minimum to no lines. Probably more seed-planting for future seasons, but I guess we’ll never know now.

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With Black Beetle having proved himself a powerhouse in his own right, the whole process of defeating him should have warranted at least one full episode. While it does make sense that with both Blue and Green Scarabs off mode, taking care of Black Beetle ended up being easier this time around, having some kind of explanation to said plot device would have been nice. Perhaps a back-and-forth between Blue and Green, with B’arzz giving some kind of formal apology to Jaime while teaching him how it’s possible to purify Black Beetle. There was just so little time given to such a major villain, and while the end solution was great, getting there took a lot less time than I thought it would have.

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The same can be said about the finale’s latter plot point with the Magnetic Field Disruptors. Luthor and Blue clearly made more than the necessary amount of anti-Reach tech, anticipating that there’d be something of a struggle.

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Luthor himself says that the drones guarding the MFDs are as powerful as a Reach warrior. Uhm… I’m assuming these would be warriors without an equipped scarab? Because the League as a whole was able to make quick work of the problem, with the real problem just being “ohbytheway there’s a 21st MFD I couldn’t find until just now” which brings me to the next point…

dmncap00021I understand that since Kid Flash was the comic relief and all-around nice guy since season1, so his death was probably inevitable, but really? To have the second season focus so much on Blue Beetle (before I forget: hearing his scarab say “hermano” was just perfect) only to have the final obstacle solved by three less major (I hesitate to call them “minor”) characters just felt off. It was the same problem I had when I was watching the DC adaptation of A New Frontier—you have such a large cast, and the series itself is more about the team than any individuals, so to have the season/series’ final problem resolved by the speedsters alone just felt out of theme for the show.

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… meanwhile, the rest of the series’ mains literally went to the spot of conflict just to point and stare. It just felt off. Like my gripe with the Rimbor 7 and Black Beetle’s defeat, the MFDs and KF’s sacrifice could have done with some beefing up and just in general bringing the point on home. Maybe show some more teams struggling with the MFDs, or having a brief yet emotional clip show as Wally started to fade out, just… something to not just state the point, but really milk it for all it was emotionally and “plot relevant-ly” worth.

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But instead, we’re treated to the main Leaguers popping in and taking the credit since the Team is technically their covert ops division.

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Splitting the finale in two would have also meant more time for epilogue-type material. Artemis was clearly one of the people that took KF’s death the hardest, so following up more with her would have been nice. Maybe something with her talking to her sister and niece, or even her mom.

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Alright, I’ve heard some people say that Wonder Girl hooking up with Robin was random, but considering the amount of time they’re seen together whenever they’re on camera, it makes sense to me… especially when considering how the series has approached relationships in the past. It’s actually one of the other things I think the series did a good job of from start to finish.

(Also, hooray for Static and finding a mentor in Black Lightning; seeing more time with him as a hero is one of the bigger things I’m sad about not being able to see in future episodes.)

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I also liked how hard Nightwing took Kid Flash’s death, and just seeing him at the entrance of the tower while it was “business as usual” with the heroes… it kinda reminded me of Kermit standing at the entrance looking at the rest of the Muppets learning to deal with Jim Henson’s loss (obscure comparison, but seriously look it up cuz it’s friggin touching as hell).

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Seeing how things were “business as usual” for the villains as well did serve as a nice stopping off point for the series as a whole. The Team and the League have been united under one roof, and the sidekicks from season 1 have officially made their way in life and established a system for future younglings that want to be the next Superman.

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…my real problem with the final scene was this. You’re telling me G Gordon was in cahoots with the baddies this entire time? Definitely a dangling thread that warrants a season 3, or at least a comicbook spinoff (Weisman’s last project in the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series had some technical jibberjabber preventing the series from continuing in any form, but I’m pretty sure the same problem doesn’t exist for Young Justice).

So there you have Young Justice. It was definitely a fun ride and one of the best action animated series to date. Like all series, it had some kinks to work out in its first two seasons, but that just makes a third season that much more… ugh, WANT NAO.

About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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