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Young Justice Phantoms Episode 3 Review: It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Dan and Ethan are back with a review of the latest episode of Young Justice!

Dan: Another week of our favorite team of superheroes with big emotions (not that one). This week’s episode was very heavy for a character who’s been given a lot more emotional depth in this show than he had in his other animated outings. We didn’t mention this last week but the new title card is really cool. Ethan, how are you? Ready to head back to Mars?

Ethan: I’m doing good, thanks Dan. Definitely better than the ceratin hero we get a spotlight on this week that’s for sure. Things are heating up on the red planet, and it seems like disaster is just around the corner so let’s dive right in!

If you haven’t watched this episode yet, stop here before you hit the spoilers!

Family Matters & Sacred Traditions

Ethan: Throughout the episode, we get to find out more about Mars traditions. The wedding preparations for Miss Martian and Superboy’s upcoming nuptials are truly fascinating to watch, especially the bridal party’s telekinetic construction of a ceremonial arch that will be used in the wedding. This leads to a frank conversation between M’gann and her older sister, J’ann about their childhood. How M’gann felt ostracized for being part-White Martian, that her sister, who is a full Green Martian, never stood up for her family. It’s a powerful scene brilliantly acted by Danica McKellar and Kari Wahlgren that isn’t neatly resolved at the end, but we instead see the beginning of the road to reconciliation between the two sisters.

Meanwhile, the groom and his groomsmen are busy making the base for the arch to be placed on. While doing so, Conner discusses with M’aatt, M’gann’s father, how his marriage with Em’ree resulted in her family disowning her, except for J’onn, Martian Manhunter, who not only accepted them but also from his time on Earth learned to accept the couple for everything they are. It’s another really well-done scene showing how Young Justice is just as good, if not more so, at the quiet, conversational moments between characters as it is in the big superhero action scene.

And one last point, it’s a delight getting to hear Carl Lumbly as M’aatt, continuing his longstanding tradition of playing Martians in DC projects, from Martian Manhunter in the DCAU to J’onn’s father in Supergirl. He remains, as ever, great.

Dan: So I was raised Irish Catholic and the only traditions I know are shame and repressing almost anything I can. But, recently, I attended a Jewish wedding of two of my dear friends where I was enlisted to help the family put up their Chuppah. I had zero idea what I had been recruited to do but I spent some time with the builder who taught me all about the tradition and symbolism. It’s a canopy under which the couple is wed that symbolizes the home that the couple will build together. 

What M’gann and Conner are building for their ceremony evokes that ritual-type item to me. That it’s symbolic of them both bringing something to build something that lasts. That each of them brings their trials and tribulations to create something new together through marriage. Seeing these traditions and things of Mars shows a fully realized culture which is something I would love to keep seeing explored in the series.

Beast Boy, that’s it. That’s the title. 

Dan: Beast Boy hasn’t been a huge character in the comics since the New Teen Titans run from Marv Wolfman and George Perez other than his YA books. In the main line, it seems like no one really knows where he fits in my opinion. During the New 52, he felt like he was tacked on to any story he was on. He was also red which I dug but that’s another story for another day. Most people know the character from Teen Titans the show and Teen Titans Go which have brought a lot of character elements that have stuck with him such as his veganism. But what Young Justice has done with the character and continues to do with him is some of the best material this character has gotten.

Last week, it was clear Garfield was going through it. Beast Boy typically is a very happy-go-lucky character with a huge heart but we haven’t seen that this season. We have seen Garfield who seems a lot more distant and quick to anger. When the Prince tries to download all the facts of the murder of his father, Gar transformed into a martian beast and nearly attacked him. 

We met that beast again today when he saw Markov rising from the lava during Superboy’s trial. But, uh, Markov wasn’t really there. It’s pretty apparent that Beast Boy is dealing with some lasting trauma or some sort of PTSD after feeling like he failed as a leader of the Outsiders. What are your thoughts on this?

Ethan: Oh man, it is, as the kids say, a lot. Seeing Gar go through this pain is a tough watch, but I think something very important for the show to give to audiences. We mentioned this last time, but having a character accept help for their mental health, especially a superhero, is not a common occurrence, at least not until recently. Now getting two characters seeking this kind of support out after only two weeks of the show being back on the air, it’s great to see. And it being done in such a beautiful scene makes all the feelings I was getting while watching this go down all the more profound. Even if there is a bit of a mystery as to who exactly it is giving Gar this help. Speaking of which…

Legion of Super Creepers (Or Voyeurs, up to you)

Dan: Ethan, I am going to be real honest with you. I don’t know diddly squat about the Legion of Superheroes. Jake read nearly all of it in the last year or two so I only know what I have gotten through osmosis jones. I know they’re from the future, Jim Shooter wrote them when he was like 12 (He is 6’7 and a smidge inches tall by the way according to the official Marvel Handbook), and they are a lot of people’s favorite thing. 

Ethan: So yeah, I’m in pretty much the same boat as you. I’ve not really read much of the Legion, and what I have has been from writers who aren’t great people, or maybe haven’t had a good grasp of given the myriad characters’ unique voices. But I do know enough to tell you that the three Legion members who have traveled back from the future, who we see shadowing our heroes on Mars are Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Chameleon Boy. They seem to be on a mission to avert some sort of disaster from happening. What that is I don’t know, but if it’s big enough to cause them to intervene in history, we should be worried.

Dan: Anytime a future person comes back to the past, it’s gonna be a bad time. Other than Booster Gold who is a delight and an absolute hot mess.

Let The Credits Roll

Dan: If you haven’t figured it out yet, moments where characters interact about almost mundane things are ones that work so well for me. So a call between a husband and a wife talking about their baby makes me happy. Now, if you have known the brand for long enough, you know that the Super Sons are SUPER important to us. So when the husband and wife in question are Clark Kent and Lois Lane, that means the baby is Jon Kent. So these credits lead to me screaming through Slack to Ethan before he watched the episode. You can hear how excited and nervous Clark was when Lois said his eyes were glowing red. 

Ethan: DAN. DAN. DAN. We got Jon Kent. He’s in the show. Yes he’s only a baby right now but he’s here and I couldn’t be more excited. Now I don’t expect him to have a big role yet, given the diapers and everything, but I sure hope there’s enough story left in the show for us to see him eventually take up the mantle of Superboy, and in turn, perhaps see Clark retire and pass on the mantle to Conner. I’m going off on a tangent that’s not really necessary but I’m just SO EXCITED. And I’m in full agreement on a scene like this, the mundanity of the conversation being something I love to see in my superhero stories. And based on the now three-credits scenes we’ve had this season, I feel like it’s only going to get better from here.

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