Friday, April 8, 2011

Young Justice: Episode 4 (Drop-Zone)

Episode 1 and 2 Episode 3
As always, there will be spoilers behind the cut.

We open in Santa Prisca, where a group of red-hooded cultists have cornered a luchador and some mooks. The luchador is told (in Spanish) that if he defeats someone in single combat, he and his men can go. The luchador, who turns out to be Bane, is given back his Venom so that he can fight at his best.

His opponent (a scrawny dude) is given a purple injection and mutates into a huge Hulking monster with his skin splitting to show the muscle underneath in places. Ew.

Bane gets taken down easily. The cultists start chanting "Hail Kobra!"

Um, since when does Kobra employ Hulk-wannabes? At least Kobra looks suitably snake-like, unlike his champion.

After the opening, we cut to Young Justice, who are all in Miss Martian's ship. And it's flashback time: we see Batman briefing them on their current mission in Santa Prisca. Santa Prisca is apparently home to Venom, a neo-steroid. (Because regular steroids just aren't cool enough.) The factory is still producing the stuff, but hasn't been exporting it. They are told that it is a recon mission, and that if necessary the League will get involved.

They're told to work out the leader between themselves. Given how mature, responsible and awesome Aqualad is, I'd say he's the logical choice.

Back to the present, Aqualad leaves at the first drop zone. He swims past mines and cuts his way past a net with ease. He puts some sort of device in place that hides them from heat and motion sensors. Nice of the bad guys to include an easy port to install that into. I declare them officially Too Dumb To Live.

Young Justice uses camouflage-tech to make their uniforms darker (except for Miss Martian who doesn't need it, and Superboy who wears a t-shirt and jeans. Superboy declares: "No capes, no tights." Someone's been watching too much Smallville.

Superboy hears something. Robin takes off, while Aqualad tells them to use infrared to see if they're being tracked. Two groups of bad guys converge and start fighting. (Bane vs. Kobra, Round Two!) Kid Flash tries to find Robin and ends up tripping into the middle of the fire fight.

There's a quick fight, and Robin asks the rest of the team why they didn't vanish into the jungle like he did, and Kid Flash points out they aren't mind readers (aside from Miss Martian).

After they've figured out that Kobra is hording the Venom, Robin attempts to take charge. Kid Flash points out Robin's only 13 and he wandered off without telling them.

Miss Martian attempts to read Bane's mind, but he blocks her by reciting football scores and Spanish. (The main problem with having a telepath on the team is that the writers have to pull stuff like this to keep their powers from interfering with the plot.) Bane tells them "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" while they consider untying him.

They do, and Bane leads them into a hidden entrance. They follow Bane, and he leads them into the warehouse, which is surprisingly empty. Robin immediately disappears, and Kid Flash runs off. "Great chain of command."

Robin knocks out a cult member while they watch the shipment being prepared. Kid Flash catches up with Robin. They find out that the new drugs are a combination of the Blockbuster serum and Venom, which is much stronger than either and permanent.

Sportsmaster, of all people, turns out to be the buyer. I'm not sure whether to be impressed that they're using an obscure villain, or confused about why he's the buyer. (Hm. Sportsmaster and super-steroids. Nope. No connection there.)

Coms are being jammed (of course). Bane comes up with a brilliant plan: attack the guards and draw attention to himself. Actually, it is a rather clever plan: Young Justice is forced to fight the cult members while Bane sneaks off.
Sportsmaster is able to throw a javelin and nearly hit Miss Martian while she's invisible, which is pretty darn impressive. Because the com is down, Aqualad tells her to link them together telepathically. Robin goes to attack Kobra. His henchwoman (Shimmer) fights him for about five seconds before Aqualad tells him to get back and work with the team. (Honestly, is there anyone in the audience at this point who doesn't realize that Aqualad is the obvious pick for leader?)

They make a strategic retreat but are quickly followed. Superboy takes out the support beams, blocking Kobra from following them. They have a talk as a team, and Aqualad points out that Robin (who is 13) has the most experience of them all, but this is actually a bad thing. He's used to working with Batman, and both of them know exactly what their roles are.

"You two do not need to talk. But this team is new. And a leader must be clear. Explicit. He cannot vanish and expect others to play parts in an unknown plan." Robin points out that Aqualad should be leader, and after a momentary objection by Kid Flash, they all agree that Aqualad is the best pick.

"Then I accept the burden, until you are ready to lift it from my shoulders." Aqualad, you're my favorite character, but this may be the dumbest thing I've heard on this show. Robin may be skilled, but he's shown zero leadership abilities or potential. Nothing you could say could possibly make this any worse . . .

"You were born to lead this team. Maybe not now, but soon." -_-

Excuse me while I scream.

They arrive at the exit only to find Bane there. He's set explosives. Aqualad asks him why he betrayed him, and while Bane is monologuing, Aqualad has Kid Flash grab the detonator. Bane is easily knocked out by Superboy.

Bane taken care of, they head to attack Kobra. They show signs of actual strategy, and take out mooks without effort. Sportsmaster somehow locates Miss Martian again while she's invisible, grabbing her and using her as a human Martian shield. Robin goes to take on Kobra, pointing out that Kobra hates to get his hands dirty.

"Sometimes even a god must stoop to conquer." I like Kobra. He's a pretty awesome villain. And he backs up his boast, blocking Robin's attack with his hands behind his back.

Sportsmaster takes off, and it's revealed that Miss Martian had planted explosives on the helicopter. It blows up, but he parachutes to safety.

Kobra leaves, fading into the jungle.

Cut to Mount Justice, where Batman chews them out before telling them they did a good job.

"No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." Their ability to adapt to the situation show He's also pleased with who they chose to be leader.

We then see Sportsmaster, who only managed to get one vial of the super-drug from the island. His employers turn out to be The Light.

Final Thoughts: I'm annoyed that Robin is set up to be "destined" to lead when Aqualad is clearly a superior leader and strategist. This is a minor issue, though. Overall, the episode is good with some fun fight scenes and a decent plot.

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