By: Kevin Hopps (writer)

The Story: You have to hate it when villains catch on to the value of teamwork.

The Review: Over the course of this series, we’ve seen a lot of interconnected plotlines, a neat feat for a cartoon, one for which the show’s writers should give themselves a hefty pat on the back.  We’ve seen elements featured from early episodes, like the Blockbuster formula and Bane’s Venom, pop up again in later ones, developing into much bigger sources of tension.  We also know almost every foe the team has faced has some connection to the mysterious Light.

In this episode, the official halfway point of the series, almost all those elements finally get put into play when the Injustice League (or Society or what-have-you) launches attacks around the world.  It’s a pretty powerful group (Count Vertigo, Black Adam, Wotan, Ultra Humanite, Atomic Skull, Poison Ivy, and the Joker), but their particular method of collaboration is what proves most ingenious and challenging, not only for Young Justice, but their mentors as well.

Indeed, as much as our stars get to do, we see nearly as much action from the Justice League, which may draw out some wistful nostalgia for all you Justice League Unlimited fans.  Besides the usual suspects, we see appearances from some very surprising members.  Some are fun delights (Plastic Man), others interesting choices (Blue Devil and Guy Gardner as Green Lantern), and some just throw you for a loop (Milestone heroes Icon and Rocket).

But what of our young heroes?  While the big guns tackle the big, imminent threats, Batman entrusts YJ to take down the villains at the source, with no help or supervision whatsoever.  A major mission, to be sure, one that feels a tad early since the team still feels pretty rough around the edges.  At any rate, this should shut down any further accusations about being babysat and doing only grunt-work, once and for all.

Having had a taste of taking on A-list villains, maybe the YJers will reconsider their eagerness to play with the big boys so soon.  Black Adam alone has firepower enough to take on the entire team (plus Wolf), and mostly they spend the episode getting tossed around like playthings.  That said, the confrontation with the Injustice League proves a great test of their abilities, from Robin flipping and dodging Ivy’s attacks to Aqualad actually demonstrating some mystic skills.

But let’s not fool ourselves here; competent as YJ may be, they still need a major Plan B to get through the episode alive (one using yet another great element introduced and brought back from an earlier episode).  And at the end of the day, the villains wind up decoys for a less flashy, but more influential crew of criminal masterminds.

Hopps puts in some strong writing, avoiding the wildly obvious and unsubtle dialogue of recent episodes.  You might not be thrilled with his portrayal of Joker as your run-of-the-mill crazy with multiple personality disorder, but Hopps delivers a mostly solid script.  We get some fun jokes (Kid Flash’s distress over Captain Marvel eating a candy bar: “Why is he eating my snacks?!”) and one-liners (Robin’s short, dry “Timber” after demolishing Ivy’s source vine).

Conclusion: A strong outing for our heroes, with a pretty intricate plot that actually opens more questions than it wraps up.

Grade: A-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Zatara’s cool, but I think I speak for all of us when I say I miss seeing his daughter do what he does—in fishnets.

– Artemis: “I feel naked—not in a fun way.”  Not the most terrific line for an adolescent hero on a cartoon, but a pretty decent joke, nonetheless.