(This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want any spoilers, please watch the episode first!)
So Cartoon Network and/or Warner Brothers decided to rebrand their ‘Young Justice’ show as ‘Young Justice: Invasion’… and didn’t tell anybody, so most of us that live by our DVRs failed to catch this show when it first aired on Saturday morning. Luckily, they chose to rerun it on Sunday.
Not only is the title different, the show actually jumps five years into the future! A startling move to say the least! The Season 1 finale built to a point where I, personally, couldn’t wait to see what was coming next, now suddenly they skip five whole years?!
The episode opens with Superboy being assaulted by Clayface in a sewer tunnel. He is engulfed by the villain, until Miss Martian arrives and frees him with her telekinesis. Superboy ends up taking Clayface out with a pellet that causes the villain to harden like concrete. The pair are joined by a Robin, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle and Bumblebee. Miss Martian identifies their team as Dealta Squad and radios Mount Justice. She is answered by Nightwing! Meaning that the Robin we saw just last episode, has now grown up and shed his Robin title. The new Robin is Tim Drake.
The Delta Squad returns to their base, where Nightwing and Lagon (known as Lagoon Boy in the comics) are sparring. Also at the base is Mal Duncan, originally introduced as a schoolmate of Conner Kent and Meagan Morris, then and now the boyfriend of Karen Beecher, Bumblebee, who unfortunately is too busy to stop and chat with him. One shocking change in the status quo is Miss Martian is now dating Lagon not Superboy, and it seems to irritate the Boy of Steel who gives them a nasty glance as they kiss.
Captain Atom contacts the team and reports that the United Nations is under attack. Mal responds that the Beta Squad is nearby. The attacker turns out to be none other than Lobo, intergalactic bounty hunter. Just as he is about to attack a dignitary, Secretary General Tseng, who should intervene but Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) who slugs him and sends him flying. Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) enters and ushers Tseng to safety. It would appear, however, that Wonder Girl’s initial blow was a lucky shot as Lobo grabs her by the head and flings her aside, knocking her unconscious. He then goes after Tseng and Batgirl, who uses a smoke pellet to escape. This gives Wonder Girl enough time to rejoin the fight. The two heroes put up a good fight, but Lobo manages to knock them out of the fight long enough to grab Tseng by two arms and rip him apart… revealing an alien inside! He takes it and flies away on his space motorcycle, leaving Wonder Girl and Batgirl with a lot of questions.
Later, a political commentator, G. Gordon Godfrey (who if you’ve ever read the ‘Legends’ miniseries, you know is no ordinary political commentator) shows the security footage of Lobo ripping Tseng apart and extracting the small alien inside. He demands answers. He cuts to Cat Grant at the Hall of Justice who tries to get a statement from the two newest members of the League, Zatanna and Rocket, who were actually the two newest members of Young Justice just last season. Catherine Cobert, the League’s publicist tells Cat that they will issue a statement in time. (Ms. Cobert, in the comics, was the liason to Justice League Europe… so many Easter Eggs in this series!) Godfrey accuses her of stonewalling and wonders what the League is hiding, implying even that The Amazons or Atlanteans and even other heroes like The Flash might even be from space. “What are they keeping from the real earthlings… like us.” (Once again, if you’ve read ‘Legends,’ there’s irony in them thar words.)
Zatanna and Rocket beam aboard The Watchtower, where John Stewart is briefing Batman, Nightwing and others on Lobo’s background, explaining that he is dangerous but not likely to return. The real threat is the small alien he extracted, which John identifies as a Krolotean and explains that they travel in packs, meaning there are more on Earth. Martian Manhunter introduces the teams to Adam Strange, who tells the team about his experience being teleported to the planet Rann and meeting another scientist, Sardath, who like Adam studied Zeta Beam technology. Sardath told Adam that some of his technology had been stolen and John Stewart remarks that Kroloteans built their whole culture around stealing technology. Sardath detected transmissions from a single location on Rann and multiple locations on Earth. He was investigating those, when he accidentally beamed Adam to Rann. Adam gives the League a device that can pinpoint all the locations where Kroloteans have beamed to Earth.
Captain Atom, who is apparently in charge of the League now, wants to order a two pronged attack, sending half their forces to locate the Kroloteans on Earth, while a second team goes to Rann to cut them off. Strange informs them that Earthlings are not welcome in Rann’s sector of space and that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, John Stewart and Hawkwoman are wanted criminals. Nightwing deduces that this explains the missing 16 hours.
John says he’ll contact Hal and Guy Gardner on Oa. Captain Atom states that there are still 15 other active Justice Leaguers that can go to Rann, but Strange tells him that there is a planetary watch out for all Justice Leaguers. Nightwing steps in saying not all of them are members of the Justice League. He volunteers his team to go to Rann to seek answers. Captain atom tells him to “Do it.” Adam Strange tells Superboy, “If you’re going, don’t wear that shirt.”
As Nightwing, Superboy and Miss Martian depart, Zatanna tells them that all three have an open invitation to join the Justice League, but all three are happy where they are.
Nightwing dispatches the team to the 14 Zeta Beam locations on Earth. Mal coordinates their communications from the base. Nightwing and Wonder Girl (Alpha Squad) head for Philidelphia. Batgirl and Bumblebee (Beta), along with Wolf and head to Vladavostok. Robin, Lagon and Blue Beetle (Gamma) are sent to New Orleans. Nightwing tells “Tim” that he is making him field leader on this mission even though he’s never led a mission before.
As they arrive in New Orleans, Lagon piloting Miss Martian’s Bio-Ship, Blue Beetle starts arguing with his sentient armor. The team deploys and Blue Beetle destroys a tool shed thinking it’s a Zeta platform. Robin is confused until he detects the Zeta radiation is eminating from below the water line and sends Lagoon Boy to investigate. Once Lagon finds a secret entrance tunnel, he signals Robin and Blue Beetle to join him. Lagon morphs into a giant hulk and forces the entrance open. Inside they locate an entire Krolotean base with aliens teleporting in and out. Mal tells them to lie low, but they’ve already been detected.
Batgirl and Bumblebee report that they located their assigned platform, but the two Kroloteans they encountered teleported away before they could capture them. Mal tells them to destroy the platform and return to base. Nightwing reports a similar finding and Mal says the League is encountering the same thing. The only ones to find anything of note is Gamma Squad who battle an entire army of Kroloteans on their own. They are vastly outnumbered and at one point, Lagon is nearly overcome, but for some reason, when the Krolotean leader spies and points out Blue Beetle, they all turn around and flee, teleporting away. Blue Beetle can somehow understand the Kroloteans and hears their leader, Hef ordering them all off-planet and setting the base to self destruct in four minutes. He also says something about sacrificing the “play things” below… the abductees.
Blue Beetle leads the way and captures a Krolotean. The prisoners are thrilled when they see Robin, but are terrified of Lagon and Blue Beetle, whom they think are more aliens. Lagon frees them and Blue Beetle discovers his armor can help him speak Krolotean. He interogates the captured alien and guides them all out.
The heroes and prisoners escape just as the base blows sky high. In a scene mirroring the very first episode, a ticked off Justice League descends from the sky above them. (Worth nothing, Black Lightning is now among them.) Robin thinks he is about to get chewed out, but Nightwing appears and yells, “Dude, way to get your feet wet!”
Finally, the Zeta Squad, Superboy (wearing a solid black shirt), Miss Martian and Beast Boy arrive on Rann with Adam Strange.
Wow! How was that for a season premier? I was put off at first, due to the five year time jump. The first season just built to such a great point and there was so much potential for the Young Justice team to build upon. To completely skip all of that and leap forward like that seems really crazy! But I think it worked itself out by the end of the episode. I liked that they immediately connected back to the missing 16 hours, but there are still a lot of questions left unanswered. What happened to Red Arrow and Speedy? Where are Kid Flash, Artemis and Aqualad? (Is it possible that Barry Allen died and Wally became The Flash?) I’m disappointed not to see the further adventures of the youngsters from last season, but the time jump was handled extremely well and I’m just as intrigued to see where this new alignment of heroes goes. At the very least, I’m delighted to see a Wonder Girl on the team, even though it’s not the one I’d have picked (Donna Troy).
This show is proving itself to be quite an epic and a fantastic series carrying on the tradition of excellent animated shows from DC and Warner Brothers. What did you think of the time jump and the all-new, all-different Young Justice? Sound off below!