I am looking at Season Two of the Young Justice animated series, examining its origins in comic book lore and how the show develops its complex mixture of characters and plots. Spoilers for everything up to these episodes.
Events continue to move quicker and quicker, which means, fortunately, that some plot lines, both external and interpersonal, start getting resolved.
We see finally that the missing Team members, as well as Mongol, are prisoners of the Reach, but the Reach themselves are constrained by not wanting to blatantly claim the Crystal Key that would give them control of WarWorld. It’s been bad enough for their image to have revealed that their peaceful mission to Earth included a secret war fleet.
Somebody is still on the loose though. I’ve questioned the utility of having Arsenal along on missions, but here we see his ability to survive and remain active as a rogue element (though it’s a little hard to just accept that he’s managed to figure how to operate the alien tech of WarWorld).
Lex Luthor’s plans for the runaway heroes (our group of re-repurposed Super Friends) gets revealed, as he enlists them to rescue the captive Team members. He provides them with a Boom Tube creating “Father Box.” Now that is a deep pull from DC Lore. A fundamental element of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories was the super-technological Mother Box — which made a brief appearance in “Disordered” back in the middle of Season One. Now while I have a lot to say about Kirby’s intent with Mother Box, for now I’ll only a grumble a bit about how over the years Mother Box had become little more than generic technology from New Genesis. That’s all it was in the Justice League movie. The “Father Box” sometimes appears as the “evil” version from Apocolips. Kirby had both side of his conflict utilizing Mother Box, but, as promised, I won’t go into that here. The significance of it appearing here in Young Justice is as another clue, for the DC comic literati, that Darkseid is at work, somewhere in all this, and that schemes are within schemes with schemes. My question is whether or not the Light know that they are working for Darkseid or not. I can imagine they think they are working with Darkseid, as partners — but it never really turns out that way with the Tiger-Force at the Core of All Things.
Another hidden-in-sight sign of Darkseid is G. Gordon Godfrey’s ambush’s interview of the Reach Ambassador. It’s satisfying to see his lies about the secret fleet called out —but then that feeling is replaced by the cold dread of knowing, as I’ve mentioned before, that Godfrey is actually literally an evil god of deception, so nothing good is going to come from anything he’s up to.
Some straight talk between Nightwing and Miss Martian is another nice advancement on the character level. M’gann accepts that fear of her power let her be manipulated by Green Beetle, and Dick admits he was wrong not to trust her about Aqualad’s secret mission. That they both then understand that self-blame will not advance their cause is an even deeper sign of the maturity these two have developed over the course of the show.
Action dominates the rest of the episode. Arsenal’s freeing Mongol to fight Black Beetle is another example of his survival instinct and ability to think out side the hero box. Which does not make him a good team player. It’s another point in Nightwing’s favor that he comes to realize his error in thinking Arsenal could ever function as part of the Team. So Aresenal joins the runaway Super Friends as they go their separate ways from the Team. Fortunately they also realize that Luther was only using them as well as part of a typically secret scheme to get the Crystal Key.