REVIEW: ‘Young Justice: Phantoms,’ Episode 3 – “Volatile”

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Young Justice Phantoms Episode 3

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 3 more than lives up to its title, “Volatile.” After the events of “Inhospitable” and “Needful,” Superboy (Nolan North), Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) continue to investigate the murder of Mars’ previous king while also preparing for Conner and M’gann’s wedding. On top of that, Beast Boy begins to suffer hallucinations of Geo-Force (Troy Baker), who is trying to kill him and Superboy.

Continuing the trend from the first two episodes, Cipes continues to be a standout as Beast Boy. The shapeshifter is missing the Outsiders, who serve as his second family, and freaks out when Superboy holds off recharging in the sun to prepare for his wedding. On top of that, Geo-Force’s actions in the Young Justice: Phantoms finale continue to haunt him, as the two bonded during the events of Phantoms. Other superhero shows such as Doom Patrol and WandaVision have addressed their heroes’ respective trauma, so it’s nice to see “Volatile” handling Beast Boy’s—the kid’s lost so many people in his life. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t want to lose his new brother-in-law. Cipes shares an emotionally taxing scene with McKellar, as Beast Boy breaks down over his supposed failure to stop Geo-Force.

McKellar also gets a chance to deliver some emotional dialogue, as M’gann confronts her sister Emry (Hynden Walch) over the fact that she changed her name and how she and her brother Ma’le’feak were treated due to being White Martians. Emry hits a relatively low blow by insinuating that Miss Martian and Superboy’s relationship is unnatural, but M’gann isn’t having it; she points out that she was a child and Emry should have protected her and Ma’le’feak. Despite heading to Earth and changing her form, M’gann still has fond memories of her homeworld and wanted her marriage to take place there. Series co-creator/executive producer Brandon Vietti penned the episode and taps into a wellspring of emotion which can be overwhelming at times but ultimately cathartic.

One of these emotional moments happens to be the revelation that Miss Martian’s Bioship has given birth to a child and is planning to live out the rest of its life on Mars. I mentioned before that Phantoms seems to be addressing the ten-year legacy of Young Justice and to see the Bioship—which has ferried the members of Young Justice across three seasons-retiring hit me in my heart. Same for the ending, which will no doubt melt even the hardest of hearts. All I can say to Vietti and fellow co-creator/producer Greg Weisman is to keep it up.

Director Christina Sotta opens the episode with a James Bond-style action sequence, which features Beast Boy and the Outsiders taking on the cult of Kobra. Not only does this tie into the theme of Beast Boy missing his second family,  but it’s so much fun! From Beast Boy shapeshifting into a rhino to take down Kobra’s leader to the other Outsiders—including Tim Drake/Robin and Stargirl—sending Kobra cultists flying left and right, it’s a nice jolt of adrenaline that eases audiences into the more emotional elements. Sotta also displays how dangerous Mars is; the surface is a series of never-ending dust storms. A scene finds Martians traveling to the molten core—a dangerous proposition, as Martians are extremely vulnerable to fire.

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 3 wraps up the Mars storyline while dealing with Beast Boy’s trauma and bringing Superboy and Miss Martian’s relationship to its natural endpoint. The appearance of a fan-favorite DC team only piques my interest, as well as the mysterious threat they’re attempting to stop. I don’t know what the next episode will bring, but Phantoms is definitely off to a strong start.

New episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms will be available to stream on HBO Max on Thursdays.


Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 3
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 3 wraps up the Mars storyline while dealing with Beast Boy’s trauma and bringing Superboy and Miss Martian’s relationship to its natural endpoint. The appearance of a fan-favorite DC team only piques my interest, as well as the mysterious threat they’re attempting to stop. I don’t know what the next episode will bring, but Phantoms is definitely off to a strong start.