By: Thomas Pugsley (writer)

The Story: You’re not the boss of me now!  And you’re not so big, either.

The Review: Ever since Aqualad received word from Red Arrow that the team possible had a mole lurking about and he decided to keep it a secret, we all knew it would be only a matter of time before word got out and he would have to face the consequences of that.  As we’ve learned time and time again in comics (half the time with Batman or Professor X as the offending character), heroes don’t usually take well to secrets being kept from them.

That said, the overreaction of the YJers to the news seems a little extreme, and their collective cold shoulder to Aqualad rather harsh, given how obviously penitent he is about his actions.  It’s understandable their good sense may be a little rattled from nearly perishing at the hands of Red Tornado and his “siblings” last episode, but no one seems to remember that Aqualad came just as close, if not closer, to dying as any of them, with maybe the exception of Miss Martian.

Consequently, Superboy’s rage towards Aqualad not only highlights his trademark emotional instability once again, but also reveals an one-tracked overprotectiveness for his new flame.  At least Miss Martian manages to keep her head about Aqualad’s betrayal, and even shows irritation at Connor acting like her handler.  The couple then get their first, cherished taste of romantic drama when M’gann and Artemis pair off, leaving a confused clone behind.

Of course, the team has to go through the tiresome process of splitting off and sulking before they finally get over their self-righteous anger over what Kaldur did or did not do.  Fortunately, Pugsley doesn’t spend too much time on these familiar beats, which do little except make the characters look petty and whiny, proving that Aqualad perhaps had good reason not to reveal what he knew to the team.

Instead, a lot of the episode features the guest appearance of Captain Marvel, whose presence on the show is just a hoot.  With the team caught up in their leadership squabbles, they can’t seem to catch on to the unusually deferential and hyperactive behavior of their “supervisor.”  The writers on the show have always chosen well in who they bring in to chaperone, and the good captain, with his particular origins, fits with the team especially well.

Mind-controlled animals always make for good temporary enemies, especially when they’ve been oversized by Cobra venom, but the real baddies of the episode turn out to be Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, among the most bizarre duos of villains from any comic.  The team-up of a brain in a mechanized, Dalek-inspired robot and an intelligent gorilla with a beret has so much inherent weirdness.  Even after Pugsley scrubs Mallah of his speech abilities (and French accent) and the two of their love story, they still take the prize for oddest characters on the series yet.

The show’s animation was strong from the start, but it has really refined itself in these recent episodes, becoming even more cinematic in its storyboarding, ambitious in its action sequences, and detailed in its dramatic scenes.  Now you can see small, subtle changes in the characters’ faces, allowing a greater variety of expression and finer acting.

Conclusion: Again, an old plot formula, but one with enough zip to it for good entertainment.

Grade: B+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I’m pretty sure I won’t be happy unless Billy Batson changes his hero name to “Le Capitaine Marvelle.”

– Love the Planet of the Apes reference, obvious as it is.  I wonder how many kids watching this cartoon would get it.

– Man, Superboy has some of the greatest collection of pets ever.  If he gets Krypto too, I will be one happy watcher.