By: Nicole Dubuc
The Story: Well, this beats watching Sweet Valley High, I guess.
The Review: It’s a pretty old cliché that most people all go through some kind of identity crisis in their teenage years. Not that there isn’t truth in the notion, but it doesn’t happen in one big, dramatic burst like in movies. Very rarely does your average high school kid get stricken with a profound, revelation he’ll carry with him for the rest of his life. More often than not, it’s a slow process of figuring out who he is, one that doesn’t even end once he leaves his teens.
But Young Justice, for all its attempts to rise above the pure entertainment standard for cartoons, remains a fiction. And so you have about half the team going through the angsty, rage and anxiety driven pangs of ID confusion—literally, as these are superheroes we’re talking about. Superboy has had one violent incident of inner conflict after another since the pilot; Artemis has a whole mess of a criminal background to worry about; and we’ve seen the whites of Robin’s eyes all of three times, maybe.
This episode reveals that of all the YJers, Miss Martian probably has the most deeply-rooted issues about dealing with who she really is. Stands to reason; when you can alter your shape at will, you can avoid facing up with your actual face for as long as you want. But her problems go quite a bit further than that, as she essentially assumed the persona of an Earthling sitcom character—and a rather irritating one at that—long before she ever arrived on Earth. I imagine she must have caused quite a stir on Mars with that shtick.
In her defense, making herself out as a perky, preppy redhead with freckles probably did beat brooding in her true form. Anyone with a smidge of familiarity of Martian Manhunter lore knows of the White Martians, but aside from M’gann hinting darkly that “Growing up on Mars was…not a happy time for me,” we don’t know what the exact relationship between the whites and the greens was. If it was as grim as it is in the comics, then you have to wonder how M’gann developed her relationship with ol’ Uncle J’onn. A pretense the two of them concocted together to protect her, or something she got him to believe using her superior telepathic powers?
Sooner or later, it all must come out in a gasp-producing scene with an appropriate musical sting, but in the meantime, we can enjoy the traditional beats that accompany such a conflict: visions of the loathing doomed to fall upon her should she reveal her secret (whether psychically or not); the increasingly unconvincing degrees of lies required to throw others off her track; blackmail from those who know the truth and want to take advantage of her with it. All this would be fine stuff—if only we didn’t traipse over many of these same bits with Artemis.
The rest of the episode’s plot, involving the political status of fictional Middle-Eastern nation, Qurac, works fine, but it really only gives the team something to do in between gawking over episodes of Hello, Megan!—I’m not kidding—and meeting Gar Logan, child of a former child-star and potential future YJer (or Teen Titan; you never know), possibly thanks to Miss Martian’s life-saving transfusion.
Conclusion: A Miss Martian-centric episode which humanizes the at times repetitive and flat character, strangely by focusing on her alien nature. Well done, but sticks to tried and true formulas for her particular kind of storyline.
- Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - Oh, good Lord—“Hello, Megan!” is starting to infect the others! Everyone run!
- I’d like to know how Superboy feels about his civilian name being the end product of his girlfriend’s vicarious celebrity fantasy? Imagine if your significant other insisted you change your name to Fonzie or Paris or something?
Filed under: DC Comics, Reviews Tagged: | Batman, Black Canary, Bruce Wayne, Connor Kent, DC, DC Comics, Dick Grayson, Dinah Lance, Gar Logan, J'onn J'onzz, Kid Flash, M'gann M'orzz, Martian Manhunter, Megan Morse, Miss Martian, Queen Bee, Robin, Superboy, Wally West, Young Justice, Young Justice episode 21, Young Justice episode 21 review