Young Justice: Influence

A familiar face before she joins the right side.

After the mid-season break, Young Justice goes on with their story. They have a lot of moving parts, and the settings range from a few familiar places on Earth to distant planets and space stations. The conspiracy against Earth’s metahumans, aided by villains and alien gods, gets deeper and more complicated, and they even work in a really obscure DC Character, as we see the spread of the bad guys’ “Influence.”

The episode starts off on Thanagar, homeworld of Hawkman and Hawkwoman. There’s been an attack, and Commander Talak of the Thanagarian Wingmen isn’t impressed with the explanations from the Hawks and fellow Justice Leaguers Wonder Woman, Superman, and Guy Gardener, the most annoying member of the Green Lantern Corps. There’s a lot of arguing, not helped any by Guy’s attitude, and references to Nth Metal, common on Thanagar but a rare, valuable, and powerful element on any other world. The heroes, having worn out their welcome, leave, and find out Guy actually did something useful. Back home on Earth, at Mt. Justice, Dick Grayson, Artemis, and Superboy talk with new recruits Cyborg, Geo-Force, Halo, Terra, and Forager about the chance to join the Justice League. The more experienced heroes go way out of their way to make sure the new kids understand there’s no pressure, and cite, among other things, Trioa and Garth leaving the League to become ambassadors for their homelands. Most of the kids love the idea of joining, while one clearly isn’t interested and one very much has their own agenda.

On the tv news, Aquaman/Kal (I still want to know what happened to Arthur) gives a press conference about the League moving against metahuman traffickers, and both Goode Goggles and the Metahuman Youth Center in Taos gets mentioned again. With it coming up this many times, you just know there’s going to be a major incident out there before the season is over. In a series of clever scene shifts, the news conference segues into Lex Luthor once again bad mouthing the League to the UN, and obnoxious tv host G. Gordon Godfrey rants against metas in general. Before he shifts to interviewing Gretchen Goode, we even see that Commissioner Gordon has shut down the Bat-Signal in Gotham. Goode makes a bunch of excuses about the Goggles program having been diverted by a disloyal employee, and makes bland promises.

Not at all impressed with Goode’s comments, Gar Logan storms out of his place in LA. Hitting the street, he witnesses a mugging and leaps into action, stopping the mugger as a gorilla. This gets a lot of social media attention, and is another interesting nod to DC’s wide and strange past. The woman he rescued, according to the credits, is Angel O’Day, from one of the weirder tiles back in the 60’s. Angel ran a detective agency with a very unusual partner that gave the title its name: Angel and the Ape. Nice choice with Gar going gorilla in this scene. Afterward, Gar has a tense scene with Gretchen, where she makes subtle threats, and Gar’s just as careful in his responses as any angry teenager would be. The space team is rescued from more of Guy’s singing when they discover a huge space station that’s “at least twice the size of the Watchtower.”

Speaking of, the new recruits get brought to the Watchtower and made official members, minus the one who bowed out. There’s a lot of talk about the growing membership, Tigress and Superboy officially rejoining, and a surprising announcement from Halo. This is about when Gar shows up, still steamed from his meeting with Gretchen, and also rejoins. Continuing the war of public opinion, League liaison Catherine Colbert and Trioa (formerly Wonder Girl) give a talk from the wreckage of the Hall of Justice, which, two years after its destruction, still lies in ruins due to committee issues. This links us back to the detestable G. Gordon, who really ups the sliminess quotient on his show by interviewing Lex Luthor. We learn, among other things, that LexCorp is being run by Lena Luthor. Lena is a big part of the Supergirl tv show, and aside from that, a very minor character in DC Comics.

The huge space station, which is, indeed, no moon, turns out to be called the Orphanage, and is crewed by, among others, Grannie Goodness and the Female Furies, more big bad guys from Apokolips. Well, bad girls in this case, although scientist/torturer Desaad keeps lurking in the background. As the League closes in on the base, we see some dissension in the ranks among the Furies, and how Grannie deals with people not following orders. It’s not pleasant. Back at Happy Harbor, the new team buzzes with excitement, Dr. Jace feels left out and talks about plans for the future, and the spy in their midst sends information back to one of the deadliest men on Earth.

Team Space attacks the station, and a major battle ensues. For some reason, Guy doesn’t take part in the fighting, even though, obnoxious as he is, he’s still a Green Lantern and, as such, really powerful. We get to see the Furies in action, some big guns get fought to a standstill, and there’s a shocking discovery before the Orphanage Boom Tubes away. It’s not the heroes’ best moment, although Superman’s heroic behavior makes an impression on someone who, in the comics, desserts Darkseid’s forces and eventually comes to live on Earth. The episode end with Gar doing some media searches and not being happy about what he finds.

What I liked: There was a lot of good story progression on several fronts. The space scenes showed the reach of the conspiracy the heroes are fighting. I liked the nods to Donna Troy and Garth. The infiltrator plot is being handled well, and, just like in the original story in the comics, there’s going to be a lot of heartbreak when that one gets revealed. I’m glad to see Gar back in action, although he really needs to calm down a little. Guy was obnoxious, but true to his usual character.

What I didn’t: The cast is huge, and the time jumps between seasons are huge, so there’s a lot of room for things to get lost. I want to know what happened to the original Aquaman, and what the heroic careers of Garth and Donna were like. What happened to the group of kids they were showing for a while who were essentially the “ethnic” Superfriends (Apache Chief, El Dorado, Samurai)?

Aside from those minor quibbles, which most people probably don’t even think about, I thought it was a great episode in a really good season. I’m giving this a 4.5 out of 5.

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