REVIEW: ‘Young Justice Phantoms,’ Episode 18 – “Beyond The Grip Of The Gods!”

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Young Justice Phantoms Episode 18 - But Why Tho

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 18 launches the season’s penultimate story arc, which places its focus on Raquel Ervin/Rocket (Denise Boutte). “Beyond The Grip Of The Gods!” finds Rocket traveling to New Genesis alongside Jay Garrick/The Flash (Geoff Pierson) and Forager (Jason Spisak) in order to broker a peace treaty between the New Gods and the Green Lantern Corps. However, trouble strikes when another Bug steals a defective piece of technology from Supertown, leading Rocket and her fellow Justice Leaguers to investigate alongside the New God Orion (Ben Diskin). Meanwhile, Superboy (Nolan North) learns more about the strange purgatory he’s trapped in.

Each story arc has focused on a founding member of Young Justice, and in my opinion, Rocket is the member who definitely deserves one. Not only is it nice to see a Milestone hero who isn’t Static getting the spotlight, but Rocket was a member of Young Justice who needed some more development. She joined the team during the final episodes of Season 1, and in the five-year time jump between Seasons 1 and 2 wound up joining the Justice League, so fans didn’t get to spend much time with her. That changes here, as the episode features her taking the lead as the leader of the Justice League mission and in her home life with her son Amistad.

In fact, it’s that opening that resonated strongly with me, as Amistad is revealed to be autistic; he arranges his toy cars in a certain way and won’t leave the house without one of his wool hats, and is rather blunt with his words as he says a woman on the subway smells funny due to her perfume. I was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and I exhibited similar behaviors; I still kind of do, including eating my meals at a certain time and rapidly tapping my foot while sitting at my desk. Thankfully, my mom was able to get me the help I needed, and I saw a lot of my life reflected in Raquel’s interactions with Amistad. Between this and the Aqualad arcYoung Justice: Phantoms is actively reflecting my life—and it also shows that writer Taneka Stotts has done her research.

The struggle even spreads to Orion, who many fans will recognize as the biological son of Darkseid. Orion has inherited a berserker rage from his father that he struggles to tamp down, and it’s reflected in how he follows protocols. He attempts to contact the Bugs when he learns about the missing tech and he attempts to confiscate Rocket’s inertia-winder belt, as it’s “unregistered” technology. Diskin infuses Orion’s voice with a low, gravelly timbre; it’s a similar trick he used while voicing Eddie Brock/Venom in The Spectacular Spider-Man. Diskin also returns to voice Male’feak, who is continuing to work with Darkseid.

Speaking of Darkseid, the Lord of Apokolips is revealed to be working with the mysterious time-traveler who appeared in Phantoms’ first story arc. His identity is finally revealed and it features a connection to DC Comics lore that also sheds light on why this series is sub-titled “Phantoms.”  A similar revelation is also presented when Superboy meets another infamous DC Comics character and learns where he’s ended up after his supposed death. Director Christina Sotta puts the young clone through his paces before said revelation, as Superboy has to deal with a series of hallucinations where he is under the thrall of his “father” Lex Luthor (Mark Rolston). This sequence also contains a reference to another famous DC Comics story that put a huge smile on my face.

Young Justice Phantoms Episode 18 launches the season’s penultimate story arc, giving Rocket some much-needed focus while also revealing the meaning behind the “Phantoms” title. With the series racing to its end, all the pieces are in place to deliver an emotional—and explosive—finale.

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


Young Justice Phantoms Episode 18
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Young Justice Phantoms Episode 18 launches the season’s penultimate story arc, giving Rocket some much-needed focus while also revealing the meaning behind the “Phantoms” title. With the series racing to its end, all the pieces are in place to deliver an emotional—and explosive—finale.