Young Justice: Illusion of Control

Superheroes’ day out

The holidays are coming as the Young Justice crew deals with assorted problems in various locations. We see domestic developments in Star City, problems with the new meta-kids in Taos, and an unexpected attack with some great misdirection. There are also a few more secrets hinted at, a good speech, and a few characters we haven’t seen in a while return in “Illusion of Control.”

In Taos, there’s a Harvest Festival being set up, and they get an unseen, superspeed assist from Bart Allen, who has never been known for his patience. Over in Happy Harbor, Thanksgiving preparations are under way in Miss Martian and Superboy’s home, with a bit of not necessarily helpful help. People, and various tensions, gather in Star City, where Artemis and “Will” Harper are hosting assorted family and teammates. Meanwhile, in Dakota (home of the Milestone characters, some of whom appear in this episode), Dr. Jace makes what appears to be a disturbing discovery in her lab.

Back in Taos again (they really are all over the place in this episode), Gar and his girlfriend Princess Perdita arrive in style, and get a big fangirl reaction from Traci 13, who repeatedly elbows Jaime for not telling her they were coming. Most of the group are couples, which leaves poor Virgil (Static) feeling very alone. We get a passing reference to Cassie (Wonder Girl) and Tim (Robin III), but they’re in Gotham working on their relationship. There are assorted family scenes in Star, with some interesting glances among various characters, and Halo feeling out of place after what she learned last episode.

Everyone (except poor Virgil) has fun at the festival. In Happy Harbor, Vic (Cyborg) is really not adjusting to his new life well, and Forager is doing what he can to help him out. You’d think maybe either a telepath like Miss Martian or someone used to being seen as an outsider like Superboy would pick up on this, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Perdita does her best to fit in with the folks at the festival, telling them over and over to drop her titles, at least for today. She sees Ed worrying about Wendy, considering their less-than-successful training session last time, and does her best to perk Wendy up. Perdita does seem to be the most down to earth royalty, which I enjoyed. I also like how her relationship with Gar is being shown. The fun comes to an abrupt end when Count Vertigo, Perdita’s uncle and potential rival for the throne in Vlatava, shows up and executes a well-orchestrated kidnapping. The heroes give chase, but Vertigo’s powers mess with everyone, and Jaime, who has the best chance of resisting, keeps arguing with the Scarab inside his Blue Beetle armor.

Forager tries again to reach Cyborg, and fails, although Vic does show some concern for Forager at least. The alien makes a great analogy while trying to get Vic to listen to him, although it involves some unlikely wildlife. While Jaime and his Scarab argue some more, Traci uses her magic to force the escape chopper down. It’s not Thanksgiving without some kind of family drama, and Dr. Jace inadvertently lets something slip that angers Paula, Artemis’ mother and the former villain Huntress, or Tigress, depending on which version you go by. They have an argument out in the hall, and Paula makes a few observations Artemis wishes she hadn’t.

Team Taos keeps up their rescue efforts, and learns a few things that make no sense with what appears to be going on. Gar makes an interesting choice to overcome the new problems, and then they all realize what’s actually going on. This leads to a fight back at the festival, and some great teamwork among the heroes. Among the bad guys that show up are Holocaust, a major Milestone villain, and Icicle II, a second generation bad guy. Eventually, the heroes triumph, but Gar realizes there’s something more to do. Against pretty much everything they’ve been instructed to do, Gar and Bart, both in costume, hold an impromptu press conference and Gar proves to be really good at inspirational speeches.

Back in Star City, Halo has an unexpected emotional outburst over a joke, and storms off. Dr. Jace follows, learns what’s wrong, and does her best to reassure the young girl. After Halo goes back inside, Jace places a phone call. The scientist is clearly keeping secrets, and, to those familiar with her comic book history, this is troubling at best. Forager finally sees some of his efforts rewarded in Happy Harbor, giving the episode a happy ending of sorts. I suppose the next episode will be a Christmas and/or New Year’s one.

What I liked: I enjoy the way the heroes are being shown. Gar and Perdita’s relationship really shone, and Artemis’ scene with her mother was emotional, but nicely done. They’ve taken the old, bad stereotype El Dorado from Superfriends and actually made a much more interesting character. The attacks were well-thought out and showed some good planning and deception. I can’t say Forager is a favorite character, but he’s growing on me.

What I didn’t: I have to admit, some of the history changes they’ve made occasionally confuse me, like the tangled relationships with Artemis/Paula/“Will” who should be Roy/Lian/Cheshire. I guess my own comic book knowledge is working against me. I do wish they’d give Static a break. During the fights out in Taos, I get most of them not taking time to change into costume, but Bart should have been able to switch to Kid Flash with no problem at the very least.

I’m really liking this series, and glad there’s supposedly another season coming eventually. I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5.