By: Jon Weisman (writer)

The Story: In the middle of a mission to shut down some mechanical creepy-crawlies, the team decides whether to nice or ice the new girl.

The Review: There are a couple classic ways to handle the rookie-on-the-superhero-team situation.  You can let them run into the group and merge them in through a trial by fire, or they can join the team formally and slowly work their way into the mesh of the group.  Either way, it’s usual for the newbie to receive a reasonable dose of distrust or doubt.

Congratulations are in order for Young Justice then, since their reception to Artemis has none of the obligatory distrust and is light on the doubt, mostly from the outraged Kid Flash.  Weisman continues the tradition of allowing the teens to act as collected as possible, even when thrust into the situation of relying on an untried, unknown teammate during a high-stakes mission.  It’s a relief to finally get some fictional adolescents that don’t act like completely overemotional idiots.

Even though Speedy—I’m sorry—Red Arrow is technically not part of the team, his character has been handled really well each time he’s shown up.  His resentment towards his former mentor comes off a little hissy, but since it never goes over the top, it works—he’s just your typical rebel without a cause, to borrow an old cliché.  And before his temper makes him too unlikable, his confrontation with Artemis at the tail end of the episode reassures you he’s still looking out for his friends.  Here’s hoping he’ll be a key ally for the team in the future.

I’ve had my concerns about the show getting a little overinvested in its drama and action, while neglecting the fact most of these guys are still in the throes of puberty (possibly excepting Aqualad, who sounds like he left the womb wailing in baritone).  So the gang’s beach outing is just the thing the show needs more of.  It has all the syrupy cheer of a high school anime’s summer montage, a perfect contrast to the grimness of Wally’s first day of school (love him getting pummeled during dodgeball—the timing is on par with Avatar’s standard of slapstick).

Alas, the fun stuff is over too soon (to the dismay of Wally, who shows up to the mission with beach gear in tow), but the show is pretty honed at letting the characters show some personality during the action.  The writers wisely give them some fairly expansive operations, encouraging them to split into interesting team-ups.  Their interaction is mostly enjoyable, though the tension between Kid Flash and Artemis is as groaningly obvious as Miss Martian’s crush on Superboy.  And Aqualad is really starting to grow on me; he feels as aloof as ever, but his assurance to Speedy, “We have always wanted you on the team, and we have no quota on archers” wins respect points in my book.

The long-term plot of the series isn’t forgotten, as clues are laced throughout the episode of how the mission’s events may play out in the big showdown we know is coming between the team and their mysterious adversaries.  Robin’s claim of what the Wayne tech their adversaries are trying to steal can theoretically hack is cut off, but you suspect it must be JLA-related, so whoever the masterminds are, they’re out for the big leagues—worthy foes of YJ’s steel.

Conclusion: The show finds the right balance of comedy, drama, and action in this episode, and will hopefully stick to that sweet spot.  I’m half-ready to declare this series on the same quality level of Justice League, if future episodes can maintain and improve on the caliber of this one.

Grade: A-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Is anybody else as tired of the “We have someone on the inside” plot as I am?

– Miss Martian has twelve sisters back on Mars?  I guess in this universe, the red planet still has a prospering—worryingly fertile, even—population.

– Why is Wally the only one in school?  In early August, no less?  What the hell kind of insane, borderline Communist, semester schedule is this?