Young Justice is ending in one week, so why does Greg Weisman spend so much time recapping the plot of this season in “Summit”? The Reach and the Light (sans Lex Luthor, Klarion, and Queen Bee) meet in Santa Prisca for a conversation that is essentially an extended “previously on…” segment, and while the episode does eventually take off, too much time is wasted at the start that could be better used elsewhere. If you’re not watching this show by now, you’re probably not going to be jumping on at the last episode of the season. Granted, this is also a show targeted to children, so they probably need everything laid out from time to time, especially when the plot has as many shifting alliances as this one.
I say this a lot, but it’s astounding how large this show’s cast is. At the start of the episode we have Black Beetle, the Reach Ambassador and Scientist, Vandal Savage, Ra’s Al Ghul, Ubu, Black Manta, Kaldur’Ahm, Tigress, Monsieur Mallah, the Brain, and Deathstroke gathering to chat. That’s just a lot of people. Mallah and the Brain don’t do very much, but everyone else does. Vandal and the Reach ambassador argue, with Vandal saying that if the Reach was completely honest about the history of the Scarab, the Light would have been able to keep the young heroes away from the ancient Bialyan temple. This is a bold-faced lie; as we saw last week, the Light wanted Blue Beetle and Green Beetle removed from Reach control.
Everyone has to take off their masks at the start of the episode, which is foreshadowing the end of Kaldur and Artemis’ deception this week. When Ra’s Al Ghul spots Tigress’ glamour charm, he pulls off the necklace and reveals her true face to the gang of villains. It doesn’t take long for them to put the pieces together and realize that Kaldur didn’t kill Artemis, meaning that he’s also been a part of this ruse. The Reach wants him dead, but Black Manta won’t allow his son to be killed. Deathstroke shoots them both to save everyone an altercation, but as Kaldur bleeds out, he delivers his final blow to the Light, playing a message that outlines all the ways they’ve betrayed the Reach over the course of the invasion.
The Light has been manipulating events since the very start in hopes of making Earth the major power in the universe, but as they focused all their attention on the aliens and the adult members of the Justice League, they underestimated how much damage Young Justice could do to them. Like taking out Deathstroke and having Miss Martian replace him at the summit, putting on a three-person show with Kaldur and Artemis to reveal the Light’s true intentions to their alien allies. As Kaldur rises from the ground, he tells the villains, “We value our true friends, and unlike you, we are not short on them.” That’s when Superboy, Guardian, Bumblebee, Batgirl, Kid Flash (!), and Nightwing appear to save the day. It’s still so exciting to see this entire team in action, but that’s only nine heroes and there are still six more waiting to strike.
The Light’s ninja henchmen show up to even out the odds, and the adults take the opportunity to gloat, prompting more leader speech from
Kaldur Aqualad: “Still you refer to us as children. No wonder our successes mount, you consistently underestimate us.” The team’s heavy hitters Jaime, Lagoon Boy, and Beast Boy burst through their disguises as Light henchmen and start attacking, and an all-out brawl explodes, with Robin, Wonder Girl, and Impulse also shedding their ninja disguises to join the battle. Last week, I brought up that sequence in The Avengers where the camera moved from hero-to-hero in the final fight, and that basically happens in this week’s episode once every single hero stands revealed. The action is outstanding, and the hand-to-hand combat on this show continues to be incredibly dynamic and hard-hitting. Things get really fun when Klarion appears to summon up a fire snake to attack M’Gaan and Aqualad faces off against his dad, wielding his Water-Bearers to show that he’s back to his old self. It’s a nice move on Weismann and director Tim Divar’s part to put the fire and water fights side-by-side, which provides a strong visual contrast in the bright oranges and cool blues of each element.
Lagoon Boy saves his ex-girlfriend and Kaldur knocks out his dad, bittersweet wins for two characters that have had a rough season. Black Beetle escapes with the Reach scientist while Vandal is teleported away by Klarion, but the mission is an undeniable success in Nightwing’s eyes. Kaldur is sad that he had to beat the crap out of his dad, but his friends remind him that he crippled the Reach and broke the Light in half. He should be proud, and to thank him for all his work during the invasion, Dick hands leadership of the team back to Aqualad. That’s when a magical portal opens and tosses Black Canary, Black Lightning, and Captain Marvel (or is he Shazam now?) into the Watchtower. Vandal Savage and Klarion just attacked them and have taken control of the War World, which is bad. Meanwhile, Black Beetle has seized control of the Reach and is going to destroy the Earth before the Green Lantern Corps shows up to kick their asses. Also bad. But a potential appearance by the Green Lantern Corps in this show’s season finale? Very, very good.
Let’s run down that hero list one more time: Aqualad, Artemis, Miss Martian, Superboy, Guardian, Bumblebee, Batgirl, Nightwing, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle, Lagoon Boy, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse. That’s a team line-up that would make long-time DC fans salivate if they all appeared in one comic book together, and DC dropped the ball big time not folding this show’s mythology into the New 52 universe. There’s even a five-year jump between seasons 1 and 2 that would have fit the five-year jump in the Justice League title. I say that because I want this series to live on after next week, and Weisman has made it clear that he’s going to be leaving some potential seeds for future storylines at the end of the show because it was written long before they knew they weren’t going to have a third season. For example, Kid Flash tells Impulse that he and Artemis are going back in retirement and that he should be the new Kid Flash. We’re never going to see that happen, and that makes me sad.
- This week in DC Nation: It’s a re-run of Plastic Man trapped in a TV and the final “Amethyst” short, in which I realize that the entire story is a Wizard Of Oz-Sailor Moon hybrid. That’s a pretty great combo, and I would totally watch an “Amethyst” series if the character experience a giant boost in popularity
- Deathstroke was taken down off-screen. Not cool, Weisman. I wish they had introduced Deathstroke last season just so that we would have had more time to spend with this show unfortunately-ponytailed version of the character.
- How perfect is it that the Reach ambassador and scientist are stopped by Blue Beetle’s staples? My favorite superhero weapon of the year.
- “And I always heard ‘The Great One’ was a gentleman.”
- “I so wanna kiss you now. Or kill you for me putting me through all this.”
- “I believe that was fairly ruthless, father. I hope it made you proud.”
- “No more faking anyone’s death for at least a year.”