So never in all my days did I think the SOURCE would bless me with an arc of Young Justice explicitly made for me, but this week it begins. Within the history of the show, Darkseid and the New Gods of Apokalips have been ongoing factors in the show’s stories. Vandal Savage is the usual big bad with The Light—his version of the Legion of Doom/Secret Society of Supervillains—aiding in his cause to save Earth from Darkseid and Darkseid’s never-ending search for the Anti-Life Equation. Which would turn Earth into another Firepit laden world, subjugated to the will of Darkseid.
Now some may know this, and some may not, but Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is my $#!T and it’s one of my focal points of DC Universe knowledge. So, while Young Justice has made some okay changes, I was getting worried that the show, like many others, would get lost in Darkseid, Granny Goodness, DeSaad, and the rest of Apokalips without balancing them with the good New Gods from New Genesis. BUT BEHOLD! Not only do we get a New Genesis story with ORION THE DOG OF WAR AND LIGHTRAY it also is a focal story for the OG Young Justice team member Rocket. Now with Rocket from Milestone Comics, it was always cool that the series folded the Milestone characters into this version.
As with the rest of the team, we see Rocket in her everyday life, with her son, which will pique OG Milestone fans’ interests since her having a child was a big part of her story with her mentor Icon. She’s joined on this mission by Jay Garrick, the golden age/original Flash, and Forager from New Genesis. All I’ll say is this got me hyped; this episode is excellent for fans of both Milestone and Fourth World folks, including some fascinating surprises in the Conner Kent/Superboy plot that’s been a B-plot in these episodes since the return. I now know, this will be my favorite arc to date since I’m finally getting my NEW GODS!
Several Geek Girl Riot hosts got excited when we heard about this new arc of Young Justice: Phantoms, because we knew it would delve more deeply into DC cosmic lore while continuing the high-level goodness of the series at large. Many of us were disappointed last year when the Ava DuVernay x Tom King New Gods movie was shelved. We love us some Jack Kirby, the creator of both the New Gods and The Eternals (see what he did there?), we couldn’t wait to see what DuVernay’s interpretation of Big Barda, Scott Free, Granny Goodness, Orion, and Darkseid would bring us. And Kalibak is always an interesting character to see designed. That story didn’t or hasn’t happened yet, but Young Justice, as always, comes to the rescue.
In S4 E18, Beyond the Grip of the Gods!, we begin a 4-episode arc that starts with fire. Rocket returns and this time we get to meet her son, Amistad, who is on the spectrum. Being a working mom, she is soon sent to New Genesis accompanied by Jay Garrick (original Flash), and Forager (a New Genesis citizen). There we meet Orion and the other New Gods and, y’all, it is already an adventure I cannot wait to see come into fruition. It seems there are five major forces about to get in each other’s ways: The Lord of Apokalips, the New Gods, the heroes of Earth, Vandal Savage, and one other mystery force that is going to take this thing nuclear.
The storytelling is rich with parallels between characters that you won’t see coming. You’ll also get hit with surprise cast members, who add foreshadowing of wild times to come along with a sense of foreboding. This is good stuff.
One of the things Young Justice: Phantoms, and the entire series, does so well is balance superheroic action, with real human shortcomings, and interpersonal relationships that feel honest and grounded. These characters make mistakes, disappoint themselves, and they evolve into better heroes. Put that on a backdrop of great plots and this series is one of the best the DCEU has to offer. And I’ll take it every time.
Go watch Arc 5 of Season 4 right now. It will make you happy.