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GUIDES - EPISODE REVIEWS - "PRINCES ALL"

Princes All
Original Airdate - January 4, 2019 -- Season Premiere
After the Justice League faces a horrifying incident on the planet Rann, Dick Grayson gathers an elite squad of heroes to shut down a meta-human trafficking syndicate in Markovia.

Written by Greg Weisman
Directed by Christopher Berkeley
Review by GregX
Media by Warner Bros. Animation


Images


Young Justice: Outsiders Intro



Review:
Wow. That's all I can think to say at the start of this review. Who would have ever thought we'd be back here watching the third season of "Young Justice"? I remember where I was when I heard the news. I was driving home from work and, on my dashboard, my phone buzzes and a close friend of mine, Jennifer L. Anderson (Post Production Assistant and Talent Coordinator of "The Spectacular Spider-Man"), messages me asking if I had heard about "Young Justice". I had to wait fifteen minutes to arrive home, google "Young Justice" and read the fantastic news.

Since then, I've revisited the first two seasons of "Young Justice", as well as my reviews for them. My early reviews greatly underestimated the series, and really they shouldn't have considering my knowledge of what this creative team was capable of. How intricately it was all plotted. I learned, at that time, that maybe I wasn't as patient of a viewer as I thought, or as patient as I felt others should be. But the fact is, despite all that, "Young Justice" was my gateway into the DC Universe outside of Batman. Don't get me wrong, I loved "Batman: The Animated Series". But the rest of the Timm/Burnett DC Animated Universe doesn't jazz me all that much. Yes, I understand and respect that this is a minority feeling... but this is me being honest. If you like it, if you love it... that's perfectly fine. You certainly don't require my approval. I just appreciate different styles and aesthetics of storytelling and character development. Treat me with respect, and I'll treat you with respect. I say this because, going forward, there will inevitably be some comparisons, but I promise that in these reviews, when they happen, I will explain my preference without tearing down the other.

Anyway, our real world time-skip is over. We're back with "Young Justice: Outsiders". Our premiere episode, "Princes All".

We open where we left off, Nightwing resigning from the Team, as we saw at the end of "Invasion". We then jump forward two years to a Markovian girl, Ana Von Furth, being abducted from a children's hospital in a very tense scene, and watch as her meta-gene is activated and she is transformed into what can best be described as a plasma monster. Suddenly Ana finds herself fighting on the planet Rann, against the Justice League, alongside an army parademons. While the League wins the battle, Ana is tragically killed by Black Lightning in a scene that sadly plays out way too often in real life.

What an opening! Within the span of only a few minutes, we're reminded of what came before. During "Invasion", the Light lured the Reach to Earth, with every intention of betraying them, however during their brief alliance, the Light used the Reach to teach them how to activate the meta-gene that was latent in many humans. Already this gives us a strong clue as to what's going on. And Black Lightning killing a young child tells us that the stakes are raised. We're not on Cartoon Network anymore. We're not dealing with Cartoon Network's Standards & Practices. But that doesn't mean that shock value is what this creative team has in store for us, no... this team is too good for that. But nobody is safe, anybody can be killed, anything can happen, and our heroes will have to live with the pain, the trauma, and the consequences. Strap yourselves in.

I also need to comment on that short title opening featuring Earth and Apokolips. I have never seen Apokolips appear more terrifying. The combination of the music, the flames, and the sound effect that sounds like somebody recorded a fire and a blowtorch. Very ominous. Naturally, Darkseid and his servants are characters we've seen before in other animated series, films, and video games. While they might feel old hat, that introduction serves to fill me with dread at seeing them again, and the right kind of dread.

What follows next is all the pieces being put into place to set up, not just this set of introductory episodes, but the season as a whole. At the end of season two, Lex Luthor (who had always been ten steps ahead of everybody else) maneuvered himself into the Secretary General of the United Nations' seat. And using that seat, he's been able to manipulate the League's UN charter to cut the League off at the knees. Kaldur, now Aquaman, alongside Wonder Woman are unable to hold the League together as Batman resigns and with him there's a mass exodus from both the League and the Team in what is a chilling moment. The Justice League has always been compared to a pantheon of gods and never before have these gods felt so powerless. While we ponder the fallout of Batman's actions, we also cannot help but wonder whether this will hinder the Light or help them.

Black Lightning also resigns from the League, but for very different reasons. We see a broken man. A man who only wanted to help people, send himself into exile because of what he accidentally did to an innocent girl.

Throughout the episode the plot continues to advance as we catch up with our heroes. Miss Martian seems to have embraced her White Martian identity, as she no longer pretends to be green when she assumes a Martian form. And without any artificial hair as well, giving her a more alien, albeit humanoid appearance. In her human form, she know longer looks or sounds like Megan Wheeler of "Hello Megan", all indicating that she has come to terms with who she (M'Gann) was, and has matured considerably. Even Conner now proposes to her. Now, because of what my previous review said about M'Gann, Conner, and their relationship... the companion comic book, "Torch Songs" covered my lingering issues there.

Artemis is now living with the clone of Roy Harper that we knew as Red Arrow, although he's taken on the name, Will. And Will seems happier than we've ever seen him, or at least a lot more mellow. He's raising his daughter, Liane with Artemis's help. But Artemis still seems to be mourning her departed lover, Wally West.

Finally, in the fictional country of Markovia, we are introduced to Prince Brion and his older brother, Gregor. We learn that their younger sister, Tara, was abducted two years prior. Brion also asks the family physician, Dr. Helga Jace to test him for the meta-gene, he tests positive... meaning that Tara likely woult test positive, too. After Brion's parents, King Viktor and Queen Ilona pledge their country's resources to fight against meta-human trafficking, they are quickly assassinated in their bed in a chilling moment of brutality. Gregor is next in line to be crowned but his uncle, Baron Frederick Delamb will rule as regent until Gregor is of age.

Last, but most certainly not least, Dick Grayson, who has been operating solo for two years and is currently trying to track down the Bedlam Syndicate, one of the most largest meta-human trafficking organizations on the planet. After cracking open a base in Moscow, the home base of a real life supervillain (you know that Vladimir Putin would totally be one of the Light), Nightwing acquires a sample of tar, which Oracle informs him is only found in Markovia. He recruits Superboy, Artemis, and a very reluctant Black Lightning to accompany him to Markovia in the hopes of finally bringing down the Bedlam Syndicate.

This episode does everything it needs to do, it catches us up with where our heroes were with what they're doing now, answers a few questions while giving us new questions to ask. As Greg Weisman and his team have done previously with "Gargoyles", "W.I.T.C.H." and "The Spectacular Spider-Man", things keep moving and shifting which equate to a satisfying viewing experience that leaves us wanting more and never feeling like we've been jerked around.

Now, I'll admit, as happy as I was to hear that "Young Justice" was coming back, there was a pettier side of me that kept on wishing that it had been "Gargoyles", or "Spectacular Spider-Man." But while I would very much like to see a return of those shows, I won't lie, I didn't realize just how much I missed "Young Justice" until I was watching this episode. I was happy to get it, and I am grateful for what comes next.


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