By: Greg Weisman (story)

The Story: Roy, we’re your friends, but we feel like we’re losing you.  Come back to us, man!

The Review: Although the finale offered a pretty good wrap-up of the first season’s major storylines, it also left a couple open.  The biggie, of course, is the truth of what happened to the “16 hour” Leaguers while under the Light’s possession, which will undoubtedly form the basis of much of the coming season’s conflicts.  But we also have the issue of Red Arrow being a clone of the original Speedy (who remains MIA), which the show put on the back-burner.

Weisman uses this episode to follow up on that particularly volatile plotline, showing us that in the interim five years, clone-Roy has fallen on hard times, a sad twist for the ex-sidekick who first earned League membership.  Weisman clearly gets his inspiration from the infamous “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” storyline in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85-86, which depicted (the original) Roy as secretly addicted to heroin, a problem he overcame with Black Canary’s help.

And although Black Canary (and a whole posse of Roy’s truest believers) arrives in this episode as part of an intervention, the resolution is far from clean and easy.  But then, Roy’s problems are quite a bit more complicated than a drug addiction.  His is more of an existential crisis, which plagues him both psychologically and spiritually.  His physical deterioration (which Canary points out in painfully clear fashion) is more of a side-effect of this inner turmoil.

All in all, Weisman does a pretty excellent job tackling what might easily have been a melodramatic premise and making it credible.  Each participant of the intervention has good reason to be there and they offer the most appropriate responses: Green Arrow’s fatherliness, Jim Harper (formerly the Guardian) as a fellow clone, Nightwing and Wally West (formerly Kid Flash) as friends.  The voice actors seem to really take to this purely dramatic material, and knock the scenes out very convincingly, at times even movingly.

Speaking of Wally, we finally get an update on him and Artemis, both of whom are alive, well, and flourishing, by the looks of it.  We have no idea what drove them out of the vigilante business, but it doesn’t seem like it was an unfortunate parting.  Wally declaring, “…ditching the game doesn’t mean ditching my friends,” hinting that when the inevitable crisis hits YJ, he and Artemis will probably don their costumes again to help out.

It’s a pleasure to see that five years have really matured our not-so-young-anymore heroes.  You can see that firsthand in Superboy, this episode’s other star.  His partnering-up with Blue Beetle to take down an Intergang transfer of alien weaponry shows that the formerly raging, gruff clone has become a thoughtful, strategic, inclusive, even friendly hero, acting as mentor and chaperone to the newbies.  But we also see that he has deep-rooted inner problems of his own.  When the Appolaxian golem expresses its pained desire to end its pain and to be “still again,” he murmurs, “I can relate,” hinting this “can’t grow up” thing is more of a burden on him than he’s let on.

Even more surprisingly, Superboy doesn’t seem as troubled by his own problems as he is with others’.  His frowns at Miss Martian and Lagoon Boy have taken on new meaning now that we’ve seen some of her own “issues” come to light.  This episode shows us that Sportsmaster still works for the Light, and he has a new partner, one who left Intergang members Whisper and Ugly in a drooling, semi-lobotomized state—which bears a disturbing resemblance to the state M’gann left the Kroloteans in after she psychically probed them.  Betrayal in the works?

Conclusion: There is a ton of stuff going on in this episode, and nearly all of it is important in some way, down to the bits of extraneous exposition.  This is what I call a cartoon for kids and grown-ups.

Grade: A

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Of course it’s the reluctant romance that ended up working out.  Their chemistry is pretty legit now.  I especially like Artemis’ opening the fridge (to their shared apartment—woo!), declaring, “I got you your favorite food: everything.”

– Apparently the Light bumped off Ted Kord (the original Blue Beetle) before he could use the Scarab (which he invented, supposedly) himself.  It’s clear the Scarab will be a crucial weapon against them later.