One of the things I really like about Young Justice is that their world is off on its own, so it has its own history and they can make changes and adapt things to fit their own mythos. Many of the characters have progressed with their own lives, changed their personal situations, and advanced their own stories. We see the results of a lot of this, as well as a few different places throughout the DC Universe, or their version of it, anyway. They work in some action and surprises, but there’s also a “day in the life” feel to “Home Fires.”
The episode starts in Bialya, with some of the Light having one of their dramatically lit meetings. I wonder if they hired a lighting designer for that look? Queen Bee talks about a special new hire they recently acquired, and Vandal Savage throws in his two cents’ worth, while others pose in silhouette. Next up is Rimbor, a distant planet that’s like a global version of the Mos Eisley “hive of scum and villainy,” and also home to Legion of Super Heroes’ powerhouse Ultra Boy, but not until the 30th century. Here, a contract droid hires intergalactic bounty hunter, and one of my personal least favorite characters in DC Comics, Lobo. There’s news coverage of a new center for metahuman youths, victims of the traffickers, and two special speakers. One of them is, I think, a nod to a classic Superfriends character, and the other, well, I think it’s just cruel and unusual punishment to make Aquaman speak in Taos, New Mexico. Really not his environment.
There’s a lot of time spent at a special gathering in the suburbs, as we gradually see how many of our heroes have had kids of their own. It starts with Bart and Iris Allen, who have some secrets they’re hiding and some kids in their care who also tie back to the Legion of Super Heroes, just like Rimbor. More and more characters are added as the episode goes on, and we see someone ominously watching from across the street. They draw on a lot of different plots and stories by the time this gathering is complete. Back in Happy Harbor, Superboy and Forager watch the G. Gordon Godfrey show, where we see a special guest that seems very familiar, and hear more about these “Goode Goggles” that keep popping up. Superboy and Miss Martian have a telepathic chat about the show, and Lucas shows up with an interesting attitude about his new job. Brion is ignoring most of this and watching the news from back home.
As “Will,” Roy’s newest name, dodges questions from Lynn Stewart-Pierce at the gathering, the watcher keeps taking notes. In Maryland, Nightwing’s newest unnamed team (I’m going to start calling them the Outsiders for ease’s sake at this point) meets for training and intel exchange. Dr. Jace, there as a guest, doesn’t approve of Nightwing’s training methods. While this argument goes on, a few more guests arrive at the Super Play Date.
The Outsiders keep arguing over training methods, until their debate over surprise attacks get interrupted by… a surprise attack. Lobo has arrived, and generously offers to let everyone go except for the target of his contract. Naturally, they refuse. A massive fight ensues, that shows, among other things, that Lobo is immensely powerful and the Outsiders are still more a group than a team. The numbers at the Play Date keep growing, and the Watcher is finally satisfied with the attendance. But at the last minute, there’s an unexpected visit from one of the most dangerous people in the DC Universe, and things don’t go the way anyone is expecting. I didn’t see the events unfolding as they did.
The Lobo/Outsiders fight wraps up with a few different surprises. While I still don’t care for Lobo, it was a well-handled battle. The new Light meets up again and we get a rundown of their membership, and some of their new goals. It’s an intriguing, and very, very dangerous group. I certainly can’t fault who they are sending to do their dirty work. I foresee some rough times ahead for our heroes.
Minor potential spoilers, so skip this paragraph if you want, but I believe the people at the big Play Date were: Bart (Impulse/Kid-Flash II) Allen, Iris Allen, Don and Dawn (Tornado Twins) Allen, Mera the Queen of Atlantis with Arthur, Jr. (where’s Aquaman??!!), Raquel (Rocket) Ervin and Armistad, a very pregnant Karen (Bumblebee) Beecher, Roy Will Harper and Lian, Lois Lane and Jon Kent, John (Red Tornado) Smith and Traya, and Lynn Stewart-Pierce with Anissa and Jennie (eventually Thunder and Lightning).
What I liked: The mention of Rimbor was a nice touch, and a perfect place for Lobo to be hanging out. The lineup at the Play Date was really impressive, and really made me want to see some of the stories that led to that grouping, both all of them together and what happened with the various kids. I guess Even Younger Justice might happen eventually? I get Jace’s reaction to Nightwing’s training, but considering who he was raised by, I get it. I’m fascinated by the new version of the Light and thrilled about who they hired.
What I didn’t: The cutesy bit about “surprise attacks” was a bit much. I’m a bit disappointed at the power behind the Goode Goggles, and confused at the enmity from a usual ally, unless there’s some weird manipulation going on. I get how powerful he is, but I think Lobo breezed through things too easily, especially given the lineup opposing him. I want to know what happened to Aquaman I/Arthur and see Rex Mason/Metamorpho!
Another great episode. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5, largely for the play date, the watcher, and the resolution of that issue. Really great job.