Young Justice: Leverage

Psst, Halo. You’re kind of spoiling the camo effect here.

The Young Justice cartoon has been impressing me since it first started. They have a huge cast of characters, some major storylines, and new spins on a lot of ideas. There are a lot of new developments and a clash with one DC’s shadier teams as a master manipulator gets some “Leverage”

One of the subplots that’s been running for a while now is the clash between Gar Logan and “Gretchen Goodness.” Gretchen is the identity Darkseid’s minion Granny Goodness has taken on Earth, and, while no one knows this yet, Gar at least knows she’s nothing good. We see Gar on the set of his show Space Trek and Gretchen interfering with production to make Gar’s life harder. In Star City, there’s a small scene of domestic happiness with Roy and Lian, while Artemis looks on amused and maybe feeling a bit more. Up at the Watchtower, we see Gamma Squad getting sent to check out some interesting reports out of Russia. The team is led by Tigress, and filled out with Beast Boy, Forager, Geo-Force, Terra, and Halo. Aquaman sends the team off with a warning to not prejudge what they’re going to see.

At the Taos center that we’ve been hearing about, we see some new meta-kids getting settled in. Ed Duardo, an update on the old Superfriends “El Dorado” character, is a peer counselor, and among the new kids are Live Wire, Mist, and Windfall (inexplicably Australian now). I kind of wonder at that grouping, since in the comics, all of them at least started off as villains. Topics include getting used to their powers and the option to wear meta-cancelling collars, although they were first developed for Belle Reve inmates. In Russia, the team executes an actual stealth mission without any major hitches. They learn what the League received reports about was this world’s version of the Rocket Red Brigade, a unit of Russians in power armor. While Geo-Force isn’t happy about the decision (then again, when is he happy?), Tigress says that volunteers in their own country isn’t a matter for League intervention. All this sound too easy? Of course it is.

Apparently, the League aren’t the only ones who received reports about this place. The very odd group of Monsieur Mallah, Captain Boomerang, and Black Manta suddenly show up to attack the base. Hm, a bunch of criminals with no real ties taking part in what sure seems like a covert operation? It doesn’t take much to imagine this being the not-so- subtle hand of Amanda Waller and her Suicide Squad. This rapidly devolves into the League versus the Squad, with the Rocket Reds gearing up to see who is setting off explosions just outside their facility. All the makings of a big international incident, which isn’t going to be good for anyone. Rocket Red 4, Dmitri Pushkin, has a particularly painful power up process. Dmitri was a member of the Justice League International back in the 90’s in the comics.

The fight goes on longer than it really should, considering the villains are both outnumbered and out-powered. The bad guys make their escape when two of the Rocket Reds show up demanding answers and pointing weapons. Tigress, showing how much she’s matured over the course of the show, does her best to keep things peaceful. The villains get orders that aren’t going to help the situation any from their boss. Back in Taos, Ed talks to the new group of powered kids. The power nullifying collars are a hot topic of debate, with some very mixed feelings about them.

The mess in Russia gets worse for a bit, and Halo gets a flash of memory from her past that throws her off her game. Finally, again showing impressive growth, Artemis talks the team out of a major fight and serious incident, the Rocket Reds grudgingly conceding her point. An attempt at a power training session in Taos goes seriously awry, with Windfall losing control and ending up acting a lot more like a minor DC villain. This doesn’t exactly endear her to some of her fellow residents, and Ed manages to save the day, barely. Windfall is deeply shaken by this. At Belle Reve, Aquaman isn’t satisfied with the story about “escaped prisoners” that his team brought back. He ends up in a confrontation with Amanda Waller, and she plays her cards well.

A series of quick scenes wraps the episode, setting up things to deal with in the future. In Dakota, Hardware shows someone around a new work space. It’s great to see Hardware again, and sad this is the only place to see any of the Milestone characters at this point. Garfield goes over his social media and broods, not happy with his current situation. Someone takes something that I can’t help but feel is going to be a big problem later on, while elsewhere Artemis and Lian share ice cream. Geo-Force, Halo, and Terra relax after their op, we see some more developments on the relationship front, and then Halo gets a memory back she probably wishes she hadn’t to end the episode.

What I liked: As I said above, it’s nice to see Dakota, Hardware, and anyone from Milestone these days. The covert op went very well, at least initially, and Artemis/Tigress has really grown as a character and leader. Bringing in the Rocket Reds was an interesting touch, and I’m curious to see how that develops. The Artemis/Roy/Lian scenes were fun, and I suspect we all know where that’s heading. I like the concept of the Suicide Squad, and it’s always interesting to see them pop up.

What I didn’t: If they’re going where I think they are with Halo’s memory, it’s kind of a stretch. I get they’re expanding their cast, but I miss the original team.

I’d say this was another good piece of a great show and overall story for the season. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5, and I’m curious to see where a lot of these plotlines go.