After putting the focus on a measly three characters last week, “Alienated” returns to the sprawling cast established in the premiere, bringing the action back to Earth as the Justice League and Young Justice team-up to take down another Krolotean Zeta platform. It’s an intensely plot-heavy episode, revealing what the Justice League did in their missing 16 hours five years ago and checking in with one of the former Young Justice members that hasn’t shown up in season 2 yet. It’s pretty amazing to see how many pieces the writers are putting into play on this show, and they’re still in the groundwork stage. If each episode is as packed as “Alienated” and “Happy New Year,” then the end of this season is going to be superhero action insanity.
The episode opens with Bumblebee and Blue Beetle in Metropolis, stopping a Krolotean that is impersonating strongman Bibbo Bibbowski. The fact that I get to write that sentence gives me nerd goosebumps, and this show incorporates so many different aspects of DC continuity that it's hard not a turn into a drooling fanboy when watching. How long before Young Justice meets the Legion of Superheroes? What if Swamp Thing or John Constantine show up? As the characters become more obscure, these questions become more realistic, and this season’s universe-spanning storyline allows the writers to take this show to whatever corner of the DCU they want to explore.
When the Zeta team returns from Rann, they reveal what the League did during their missing 16 hours: under Vandal Savage’s control, the six heroes went on a rampage through Rimbor, the home planet of the the Legion’s Ultra Boy in 1,000 years (come on, Legion...). It was there they announced themselves as the Justice League of Earth, gaining the attention of the Kroloteans and inadvertently bringing the alien race to Earth. It’s unclear how this is all connects as part of Savage and the Light’s plans, but this episode’s cliffhanger promises more of the supervillain cabal in the future.
The Light are working with the Kroloteans’ “competitor,” officially establishing that there is more than one alien race gunning for Earth. But I have the feeling that for once, these villains actually have the planet’s best interests in mind. It’s possible they’re playing the alien races against each other, putting the Justice League in the middle of it all to help wipe out the alien invaders and hopefully lose a few superheroes in the process. Or there’s always the more predictable option, which is that they’ve made a deal with the aliens that makes them emperors of the Earth after the invasion or something similarly supervillainy.
Ex-Aqualad Kaldur’ahm returns in “Alienated,” and the five years have changed him more than any other member of the team (excluding the ones we haven’t seen yet). During the time gap, Tula joined Young Justice as Aquagirl, and was killed in a mission. The tragedy of her death, combined with the betrayal of learning that his father’s true identity was kept hidden from him, pushed Kaldur to the dark side, and he’s switched allegiances from Aqua to Manta. As the protégé of his father, Black Manta, Kaldur has become a lackey for the Light, proving once again that anything can happen this season.
This episode has so much delicious fan-service, from the souvenirs in the Hall of Justice to an awesome Bat-family reunion. Remember that passing shot of a museum model of Guardian, because judging by the shield-carrying silhouette of the man that plants a bomb in the Zeta platform, the Cadmus Head of Security is about to join the fray. (Looking back, Guardian’s G-gnome sure does look a lot like a Krolotean, doesn’t it?)
Seeing Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl is already sweet, but throw in great fight choreography from director Mel Zwyer, and the family reaches a whole new level of badassery. My favorite sequence is Batgirl and Nightwing’s “maneuver seven,” in which he gives her a boost to the platform above them and she knocks out the two henchman before hitting the ground. I love seeing all the ladies kick butt on this show, and when Wonder Woman and Woman Girl, the girl power reaches a record high.
After the bomb planted by probably-Guardian destroys the Zeta platform, the heroes are left with a new set of questions, like where did the non-Krolotean alien biobomb come from? These are mysteries Young Justice will have to investigate on their own as the Justice League six, along with Icon and Hawkman, leave Earth to clear their names on Rimbor. It’s not the best time to leave the planet unoccupied, but hopefully the loss of the Justice League means a shift back to the Young Justice cast and filling in the gaps of the last five years. As satisfying as the huge superhero cast and explosive action sequences are, the show will only get better once the characters are more defined.
- This week’s DC Nation: a disturbing/adorable Mother’s Day “New Teen Titans” short, and a fantastic “MadTV” Super-Friends musical about how the Trinity doesn’t appreciate the other heroes. And next week: Vibe!?
- How soon before we find out one of the heroes has been replaced by a Krolotean?
- G. Gordon Godfrey is continuing his attack on the Justice League, and the public is beginning to believe that the League is working with the aliens. I can’t wait to see that storyline come to a head.
- Who wants a Grant Morrison Seven Soldiers episode of Young Justice? There’s already Zatanna, Klarion, and Guardian (albeit a different version), the writers could use Rocket for Rocketeer, and just introduce Shining Knight, Frankenstein, and Mister Miracle (who’s probably going to show up this season at some point anyway). Shining Knight should be on the anyway, and how amazing would it be to have Grant Morrison’s Frankenstein on this show?
- La’gaan calls M’gann “Angelfish.” Cute! Also, they’re names rhyme.
- “Nice aim.” “X-ray vision. I cheat.”
- “A little less fangirl, a little more Wonder Girl.”
- “Blood is thicker than seawater.”
- “Hello Megan!”