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Young Justice – Downtime Review

4 min read

When Aqualad returns home to figure out which world he wants to truly be a part of, everything goes wrong.

What They Say:
Aqualad returns to Atlantis to make a choice about his future.

The Review:
The Young Justice TV series has tickled my fancy like few other superhero cartoon series have as it’s largely playing things straight and has been working out the few kinks from the start. Watching it in combination with reading the comic series that’s fleshing it out, these are characters that are fun and they’re doing a very good job of tying in the older cast as well. It’s a two tiered team series that focuses on the younger team but treats the older team properly as they’re all an important part of the lives of those that we’re here to watch. If you have a series of sidekicks coming together as a team and ignore their established partners, you miss out on a huge part of what makes the characters tick.

This episode puts most of its focus on the new original character for the series with Aqualad. He’s been quite the strong character for a lot of fans since he takes the Atlantean ways in a serious direction that avoids the camp, enough so that he ended up being the leader when you would have expected it to be Robin. With it being two months since the start of the team, he’s not made his way back to Atlantis and it’s starting to take its toll on him as his mind is wandering at critical times. And Batman doesn’t like that in the slightest. It’s interesting that Aqualad doesn’t shrink in front of him, but is properly deferential, which gives him the feeling of a proper leader in the making. Considering most people are quaking in their shoes when they’re in his presence, this is pretty significant when you have Batman critiquing what you’re doing in a stern voice.

Sending Aqualad back to Atlantis lets us see more of how they’re designing this world and it’s pretty neat. There’s a lot of familiar elements here to the majority of interpretations of Atlantis and Aqualad certainly fits in well here. Being back among familiar settings helps to soothe his mind a bit but there are things afoot there that starts to surface quickly, notably with Black Mantis roaming about with a plan and the fact that his friends are acting a little strange as things aren’t what they were before. It’s fairly obvious from the outside what’s changed, but Aqualad is oblivious to it which in a way doesn’t say too much good about him as a leader when his closest friends can’t be read. And when one of them is someone he cares very deeply for. It does give him the kind of added motivation he needs though when the she moves heavily into the action segment, which is very well done as it shows off the strength and design of Atlantis and lets Mera have her shot at the enemy as well. There’s a lot to like here with this as it lets Aqualad figure out more of which world he belongs in, though he’ll always be of both.

In Summary:
While Young Justice focuses heavily on Aqualad’s storyline here, it does cover a good bit of ground with the rest of them too. There’s a wonderful teenage scene involving Megan and Conner as the two spend lots of alone time at the base and I really liked seeing Dick and Bruce spending some time together just playing basketball to smooth out their relationship a little bit. Even more fun is watching Wally at home when Barry and Iris comes to visit. It’s these things that tie them to the larger world that helps to make it feel fully realized and open to so many possibilities. The main focus here with Atlantis and the attack by Black Mantis is really strong overall though, showing the internal conflict that Aqualad is going through and the external one as his city is under attack and falling to Mantis’ plans. It all wraps up well enough in the time allotted but it never feels rushed as it lets all the characters have their moments. This series has really hit the ground running right from the start and only gets better. Now to see how they handle Bialya!

Grade: B+

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