REVIEW: ‘Young Justice: Phantoms,’ Episode 26 – “Death and Rebirth”

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Young Justice Episode 26 - But Why Tho

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 26 has everything you could ever want in the finale of a superhero show – action, closure, and emotion. “Death and Rebirth” picks up immediately from the end of “Over and Out,” as  Superboy (Nolan North) prepares to kill Superman on the orders of General Zod (Phil Morris). Nightwing (Jesse McCartney) and Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), along with the rest of their superhero allies, race to stop Zod and his forces before the sun rises and supercharges their Kryptonian cells.

Every season finale of Young Justice has managed to deliver some of the series’ best action work, and that’s no exception for “Death and Rebirth”. Director Vinton Heuck is clearly having a blast pitting various heroes against the Kryptonians. Nightwing and  Tigress (Stephanie Lemelin) use all of their martial arts skills and weaponry to keep Zod’s massive soldier Non at bay. Zatanna (Lacey Chabert) and Ursa (Vanessa Marshall) go head to head, as Zatanna’s magic is pitting against the power of the Emerald Eye. The Legion of Superheroes use their own gifts to do battle on multiple fronts – the shapeshifter battle between Chameleon Boy (Dee Bradley Baker) and Male’feak (Ben Diskin) is perhaps one of the best uses of Studio Mir’s animation this season.

But the highlight of the battle is the faceoff that Superman and Superboy have with General Zod and Lor-Zod. Not only is it satisfying to watch the Els resoundingly thrash the Zods but co-showrunner Greg Weisman brings thematic depth to the battle. Given the history between the Els and the Zods prior to Krypton’s destruction, and the mental manipulation Superboy suffered at Zod’s hands, it’s only right that the Men of Steel are the ones who stop Zod’s rampage. Miss Martian also proves to be a formidable force – Nightwing describes her at one point as “a ball of sunshine hiding a terrifying goddess”, and that proves to be prophetic as various villains feel the full force of her psychic powers.

And speaking of full circle, there are moments that echo the Phantoms premiere – both thematically, especially when it comes to its ending, as well as literally since time travel is involved. This is another strength of Young Justice: in the end, every plot thread that’s introduced will either be tied up or set up stories for the next season. And in the tradition of most recent superhero media, there’s a post-credits scene that features the debut of another long-awaited character from the Superman mythos. It’s extremely exciting to think about where the series could go – Weisman and co-showrunner Brandon Vietti have a clear love for the DC Universe and have shown they can put new twists on classic characters and storylines.

This also extends to the cast, who has a decade’s worth of experience with these characters under their belts. North and McKellar have a heartwrenching reunion when Superboy and Miss Martian finally reunite, and North continues to shape both Superboy and Superman into distinct characters. Morris is absolutely terrifying as Zod; the opening of the episode features his declaration that he will be the God of Earth – which he intends to rechristen as New Krypton. But the MVP is Jason Marsden as Kid Flash, who adds some much-needed levity to the proceedings. Case in point: every time he speeds around and steals something from the bad guys, he shouts “Yoink!” And thankfully it doesn’t get old.

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 26 ends the season on a high note, with plenty of action and romance as well as plot threads for future episodes. HBO Max hasn’t renewed the series yet, but there is plenty of story for a fifth season. And fret not, Young Justice fans: Weisman is writing a comic book miniseries that will pick up where Phantoms left off, with Young Justice storyboard revisionist Christopher Jones on board. 

All episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms are currently available to stream on HBO Max.


Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 26
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    Rating - 10/10
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TL;DR

Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 26 ends the season on a high note, with plenty of action and romance as well as plot threads for future episodes. HBO Max hasn’t renewed the series yet, but there is plenty of story for a fifth season. And fret not, Young Justice fans: Weisman is writing a comic book miniseries that will pick up where Phantoms left off, with Young Justice storyboard revisionist Christopher Jones on board.