Warning: This is a full episode recap, so if you don’t want to read any SPOILERS, please watch the episode first!
When DC and Warner Brothers revamped ‘Young Justice’ into ‘Young Justice Invasion’ and leapt five years into the future, fans reeled. Robin had grown into Nightwing. M’Gann and Conner had broken up. And most shockingly, many members were missing and unaccounted for. Last episode, we learned what had become of Aqualad; he had discovered that he was Black Manta’s son and after the death of his ex-girlfriend Tula, had joined his father’s villainous mission. This episode we learn what happened to Red Arrow and it doesn’t look good.
Green Arrow tracks down his former protegee, who it was revealed was actually a clone of the original Roy Harper, a.k.a. Speedy. Red Arrow vowed to find the real Speedy, but it doesn’t look like that’s happened yet. Green Arrow spies Red Arrow as he foils the robbery of a health food store, but not before pocketing some of the money the robber had taken. It should be noted that Red Arrow is noticeably skinnier than he used to be and his hair is longer and dissheveled and he has a five o’clock shadow.
Elsewhere, Adam Strange activates his Zeta Shield to prevent aliens from using Zeta technology to invade the Earth. Superboy, pessimistically, remarks that it still won’t stop a space ship or Boom Tube. Jaime Reyes, Blue Beetle, gets frustrated at all the jargon complaining that he doesn’t understand half of what they’re talking about. Mal comments that the feeling is mutual, referring to Blue Beetle’s constant one-sided conversations with his armor. Annoyed at La’gaan and M’gann’s PDA, Superboy is forced to take Blue Beetle with him on a “personal” mission.
Red Arrow fumbles a rooftop landing and falls at Green Arrow’s feet. Then from out of the shadows step Black Canary, Nightwing and two plain clothes red heads… Wally? And the other Roy? The second Roy looks like the clean cut Red Arrow from last season. Red Arrow has obviously fallen on hard times but doesn’t want their help. Green Arrow pulls out the money Red Arrow pocketed and he justifies it by saying the search for the original Speedy is expensive, especially since eveyone else has given up hope.
Superboy explains to Blue Beetle that the bomb used to destroy the island of Malina last episode, was alien in origin. They are looking for Whisper A’Daire and Bruno “Ugly” Manheim, two lieutenants in Intergang, a crime organization known for trafficing in alien weapons via Boom Tube. He points out that both are in the truck below them and are headed toward the Hall of Justice.
We learn that this Red Arrow is still the same clone of the original, but he is angry that the League gave up on trying to find the original. Black Canary asks when he last trained or even slept. Roy responds that he’s in the best shape of his life, which prompts Black Canary to spar with him until he almost falls off the roof.
At the Hall of Justice, Blue Beetle attempts to scan the case Manheim is carrying but is unable to. He argues with his armor again and Superboy asks who he’s talking to. Jaime explains it’s his armor, “Jiminy Cricket with a bad attitude.” He reveals that the scarab was created by Ted Kord, the original Blue Beetle, whom Superboy seems to know of. Beetle says Kord was killed by The Light. Beetle scans the Hall of Justice and says it’s deserted. Manheim activates a device which disables Blue Beetle as a secondary effect, but their true purpose is to reactivate the Appellexians inside the Hall, which as Catherine Colbert explained last issue were lifeless shells for a race of energy creatures, which first brought together the Justice League. The Apellaxians combine into one giant creature.
Superboy, Wolf and the Super Cycle fight back, but any damage they inflict heals itself. The Super Cycle is at least able to jam Manheim’s signal, allowing Blue Beetle to function. He fires a sonic beam at the Appellaxian but it absorbs his blast and turns it against Superboy, Wolf and Beetle himself. Manheim orders a retreat. The Appellaxian sprouts wings and they fly away.
Green Arrow tries to convince Roy to come back to Star City with him. The other red head that looks like Roy Harper steps forward. It’s Jim Harper, formerly the Cadmus guard known as The Guardian and also a clone of Roy Harper, who retired to find a life of his own. He tells Roy that they both spent years looking for the original Speedy and insists that the reason they never found him is that The Light killed him. (Not true, by the way, but they don’t know that.) He urges him to live to honor the original Roy Harper.
Superboy chastises Blue Beetle for using a sonic attack. It seems Blue Beetle hasn’t done his homework and didn’t know that one of the Appellaxians was made of crystal which could absorb and redirect sonic blasts.
They catch up to A’Daire and Ugly and Superboy has the Super Cycle jam all Apocalytian signals. Manheim’s device short circuits and the Appellexian creature rampages out of control. It knocks everyone unconscious and heads toward a nearby nuclear power plant. In the shadows, Sportsmaster and a mysterious “partner” observe the rampage. The stranger wants to see how the scenario plays out, but tells Sportsmaster to take out Superboy and the others.
Blue Beetle helps capture A’Daire and Manheim. They attempt to stop the Appellaxian but it is too powerful.
On the rooftop, Wally reveals that he “ditched” the super hero game, but that they did the math and the original Speedy was kidnapped before any of them ever met him. This Roy on the rooftop with them, is the only Roy they’ve ever known. He was their friend. It doesn’t work. He tells them to go try and save Kaldur. He leaps off the rooftop, but not beforetelling them to “Blow.” (Was that a tacky reference to the comic book Roy’s drug addiction? Yuck!)
Blue Beetle tries a different tactic, using his sonic powers to communicate with the Appellaxian, learning that the creature is in great pain and wants to unleash the power of the reactor to kill itself. Superboy wants to help, but the mysterious shadow figure intervenes and destroys the Appellaxian.
When they find Manheim and A’Daire, they are alive but mind wiped and unresponsive, “handled” by the Sportsmaster to send a message to anyone who strays from The Light.
Wally returns home to Palo Alto, where he is a full time college student. (This reflects a similar develpoment for the character in the 80s.) He is living with his girlfriend Artemis and they have been together ever since the end of Season One. She also appears to be in school. Wally laments that Roy is lost to them.
Speaking of Roy, he returns to a filthy, dilapidated apartment. But he’s not alone. Cheshire (Artemis’ assassin sister) steps out of the shadows and says she’s there to straighten him out. They talk and we discover that the two were a couple before Cheshire returned to a life of crime. She reveals that they are still legally married and that they have a daughter. She hands Roy their baby, Lian and says she needs him to get his head straught for her. She also says she called in every chip she had and scared up one last lead to help them find the real Roy.
The Appellaxian storyline was a nice chance to learn more about Blue Beetle, one of the newest members. We do learn that he is tied to Ted Kord, but unlike in the comics, this Blue Scarab is a man-made device, not an alien artifact. It was a bit weird to see Superboy in a mentor/leadership role, though. Guess he’s learned a few things in the missing five years.
The fate of Red Arrow, however is depressingly similar to the “Cry For Justice” and “Fall of Red Arrow” storylines in the comics, two stories that, by the way, pretty much everyone hates. The idea that Roy may have a drug problem is hinted at, displayed by his gaunt appearance and lack of coordination, but that’s probably a subject taboo for a cartoon series. It was just frustrating to see how far he’d fallen and that he refused everyone’s attempts to help him. I hope this storyline gets resolved next episode, because it’s just so sad and depressing.
The reveal that Wally and Artemis had simply retired was a tad anticlimactic, but at least fans know what became of them. The fact that they seem to be living together and that Artemis was walking around in a short nightie was a tad risque to me, for a show that is at least on some level aimed at kids. Is this the last we’ll see of them? I hope not! They were major players in the first season. It seems a shame to bench them for good!
What did you think? Did you like the reveals this issue? Comment below.