REVIEW: ‘Young Justice: Phantoms,’ Episode 22 – “Rescue and Search”

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Young Justice Episode 22 - But Why Tho

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 22 launches the final story arc of the season, which finally brings Nightwing (Jesse McCartney) into the fray. “Rescue and Search” has Zatanna Zatara (Lacey Chabert) approaching Nightwing for help in finding Superboy (Nolan North) after the events of “Odyssey of Death!” The former Boy Wonder starts to investigate, and soon learns of Kid Flash’s (Jason Marsden) disappearance. Meanwhile, General Zod (Phil Morris) and his wife Ursa (Vanessa Marshall) interrogate Superboy about the fate of Krypton.

Each story arc has tackled a different genre based on what character it focuses on. Zatanna and Aqualad (Khary Payton) dealt with magic, Tigress (Stephanie Lemelin) had an espionage-focused arc and the previous arc with Rocket (Denise Boutte) was a grand sci-fi adventure. With Nightwing, the focus shifts to a mystery which isn’t surprising given that he was trained by Batman – a character who’s literally called the “world’s greatest detective”. Writer Charlotte Fullerton leans into the mystery elements, with Nightwing piecing together clues to Superboy’s whereabouts and learning about the existence of the Legion of Superheroes. And many of those clues just happen to tie into previous episodes of Phantoms! I also appreciate that Fullerton indirectly pays homage to the link between the Batman and Superman mythos, as Nightwing takes his codename from Superman’s Kryptonian heritage.

Speaking of previous episodes, the fun part of the episode features Nightwing slowly assembling the original Young Justice members, as each of them has a key role to play in the mystery. A major feature of Phantoms is how it’s been able to celebrate the series’ decade of history; the fact that each story arc has focused on an original Young Justice member adds to that sense of history. It only makes sense that the final story arc would feature all of them coming together – and with a threat like General Zod on the horizon, the team is going to need all the help it can get.

Zod himself plays a major role in the episode’s secondary arc, as he and Ursa start to learn more about the fate of Krypton and Superman. In contrast to other portrayals of Zod, Morris portrays the General as a methodical being, with only a hint of menace underlying his words. It’s a marked contrast to how his son Lor-Zod has operated, and how Ursa immediately tries to kill Superboy when she learns that he’s a clone of Superman. As Ursa, Marshall is abrasive and confrontational – a far cry from her performance as Black Canary. It only spells trouble for when the duo and their fellow Kryptonians escape the Phantom Zone, as they obviously don’t share the same sense of morality as Superman.

Director Christopher Berkeley keeps the episode moving at a nice pace. Even though the majority of the episode features characters standing in a room and having a conversation, it never feels slow. And the episode ends with an intense battle as Zatanna attempts to summon Klarion the Witch Boy (Thom Adcox) with less than desirable results. Berkeley shows how outmatched the others are; Nightwing and Tigress are mere humans, and Aquaman and Rocket have their powers turned back on them with terrifying effect. Only Zatanna stands a chance – and she takes that chance, in a sequence that shows why she’s one of my favorite characters in the DC Universe.

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 22 starts to tie together its various plot points, as the season approaches its end. This isn’t the end of Young Justice, as a comic book miniseries is slated to debut later this year. However, I hope that HBO Max renews the series for a fifth season as there are so many more stories for this universe to explore.

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


Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 22 - "Rescue and Search"
  • 9.5/10
    Rating - 9.5/10
9.5/10

TL;DR

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 22 starts to tie together its various plot points, as the season approaches its end. This isn’t the end of Young Justice, as a comic book miniseries is slated to debut later this year. However, I hope that HBO Max renews the series for a fifth season as there are so many more stories for this universe to explore.