Sunday, October 16, 2011

Super Powers Are For Chumps

by Christopher Scott

Young Justice
“Homefront” (S02E03):

I love the Young Justice team. I love the characters. I love the story. I love the powers. But, you know what else I loved? Batman cartoons. The guy is the single greatest hero in the DC Universe. Hands down. Bruce Timm, creator of Batman: The Animated Series, reminded me of that fact time and again. He had the brains, brawn, money, and skills to make all the super-powered cohorts of his look weak and foolish. In this episode, we are reminded again of what it takes to be a hero… and it’s not powers.

The episode starts with a very short flashback and intro that are worth mentioning. Following Artemis, the flashback shows us a very young version of her trying to convince her stepsister to stay and wait for their mother to return from prison. Why she is there makes little difference. Her stepsister is Cheshire, which explains some things. It also shows us a small window into Artemis’s psyche. She has a problem with leadership. She is great at backing up her team, but when the pressure is on, she loses it. Good to know.

The short intro is split into very few insignificant parts. First, Artemis started her first day at the new prep school she got into during Season 1. It happens to be Robin’s school too, and he is quick to introduce himself. It is clear he knows her secret identity. (For a split second we meet Barabara Gordon, Batgril, too. Man it would be so cool to add her to the team. She has really only had one cartoon where she got her due and it was excellent. Go watch The Batman starting at Season 2 if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) In Mount Justice we see the remainder of the team going about business as usual. Aqualad confides in Red Tornado his suspicions of a mole in the team. Red Tornado leaves the matter to Aqualad to deal with and exits the hideout. All is well at this point.

Robin arrives at the Gotham City teleporter to Mount Justice at the same time. She says that she was there to visit her cousin …. lame. Robin enters first, followed by Artemis. Cue disaster! She enters to a blazing fire with smoke everywhere. Robin shouts words of warning and she reacts accordingly. The fire takes a life of its own, chasing the two down corridors. The chase scene and acrobatics cannot really be described, so if you can I suggest you find this episode online because it is animated very well.

They make their way to the showers and hit the water to stop from being burned alive. Great idea, until the shower heads come blasting off of the wall. Water is now gushing into the room at an alarming rate. So either the enemy can control elements or there is more than one villain in the lair. Greeeeat! Robin blows a hole in the wall to escape, which buys them a 30-second lead.

Next, they are in the kitchen, catching their breath as best they can. Robin downloads blueprints of the hideout so that he can track movements and runs through an escape plan. Artemis chooses a vent over the stove as their next step and the two jump inside. The faceless enemy is no fool, shooting waves of flame through the ductwork. They dodge the brunt of the attack and quickly run through their options. Robin disables the security sensors so they cannot be tracked so easily now and then runs through the security footage to see what they are up against. All they see is the mountain being flooded as the cameras are systematically dismantled.

They have now found their way into the library, still being chased. Someone speaks out, calling for Artemis and Robin in the voice of Red Tornado. Artemis jumps out excitedly to her rescuer, only to find that it is a robot, and red, but very clearly not Red Tornado. Robin, with his intense training, falls for no such trick and saves Artemis from a very hot fate. And we’re on the run again! Into a secret passage in the library, which impresses Artemis, the two escape without a scratch. (I like when Artemis gives a nod to the secret passage and Robin mentions how much more complicated and impressive the Batcave is. I’m glad they added someone to the team with such a rich history.)

The androids come over the intercom to state that the remaining heroes have 10 minutes to surrender, and we get a glimpse of where the rest of the team is. Miss Martian and Aqualad are in a cage of fire. They both have a weakness to the heat, so they are out of commission. Kid Flash and Superboy have been trapped by some metal that was melted and then reshaped around them. They are also surrounded by water that is slowly rising to drown them. Things look bad. Fortunately, the remainder of the free team is still very capable of freeing their friends.

Robin and Artemis head for the hanger as instructed, but covertly. They have a doubled-edged plan to begin freeing everyone. First, they want to test the strength of their captors. Second, they need to establish communication with the remainder of the team. They start to fight. There are explosions. And Robin throws a well-placed batarang that lands next to Kid Flash. Artemis and Robin escape again and are reminded that they only have 6 minutes to comply with their surrender.

Robin is unfazed while Artemis begins to freak out a little. Robin starts to talk to KF though the batarang to come up with a plan. They decide on an EMP. Robin grabs parts from the X-Ray machine and they head to the generator in the hangar to hook it up, but of course it doesn’t fit. Meanwhile KF and Superboy distract the robots. The two are spotted and Artemis uses her last arrow to fend off the attackers. Artemis manages to retreat, but Robin is not so lucky.

And then there was one. Artemis loses her composure and thinks of escaping the mountain. Surely her friends would die under those circumstances. She finally comes to her senses, deciding to save her team or die alongside them. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is! She grabs the arrow on display in the trophy room and returns to the hangar to fire it into the generator, completing the circuit. The EMP goes off and the bots hit the ground hard.

Red Tornado returns to the scene, coming up with an excuse that the teleporter was down and he couldn’t get there earlier. Suspicious, yes. During their interaction the EMP wears off and Red Tornado is affected by the other two cyborgs. His eyes turn red and he sucks all of the air from the room. The team go unconscious and are woken by the Justice League hours later. The three machines have escaped and left them all unharmed.

That’s where the episode stops y’all. Pretty epic I think. Like I said, if you can find it online do yourself a favor and catch this one. It was intense! What did you think!? Leave your comments below.
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