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The Phoenix Gate

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Comments for the week ending May 2, 2021

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I remember reading the Captain Atom story in the "Young Justice" tie-in comic, and Eiling's speech at the end felt exactly like one of Xanatos's "what my real plan was" speeches.
Todd Jensen

Yes he has made mention of that, it's funny that a character he helped create hasn't had a larger presence in the series. I keep expecting him to show up as a member of the Light.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Matthew> And I think Weisman or someone discussed the 1986 Captain Atom version of Wade Eiling as a Proto-Xanatos or something along the lines too.

Have most unfortunately not all issues.


Thanks Todd, I actually think Greg purposefully put a bit of Xanatos in when writing Lex Luthor. Traditionally the character is such an egotist he'd be backstabbing the other members of the Light just out of pride and would have Speedy killed just out of spite.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

MATTHEW - Thanks for another good review.

The scene between Luthor and Speedy that you mentioned is another of the moments in Season Two of "Young Justice" that I recall well. You compared it to Xanatos's "Do you want vengeance or a solution?" moment that I mentioned earlier this week, and I definitely see the similarity. It also reminded me a bit of the scene in "Hamlet" where Claudius calms down the vengeful Laertes and persuades him to join him in his scheme to get rid of Hamlet.

(The other part I remembered about this episode, and which you referred to in the Quotes, was the part ab out Captain Cold making the mistake of trying to carry out a robbery next to a super-heroine hen party, and having a big "Ulp" moment when he realizes what he'd walked into. I'd forgotten the part about Oliver's new goatee being part of the big changes that Speedy's reeling from, though I found it amusing when I read it.)

Todd Jensen

A not-so-happy return.

Watched "Satisfaction" today which sees a return to the original Roy Harper plotline and the aftermath of it. Namely the shock of Roy waking up to find eight years have passed, a clone has been living his life and he's now asymmetrical. In a way, the original Roy (who I'll just refer to as Speedy for this review) reflects some of the darker aspects of Red Arrow's original pursuit, and brings up some unfortunate points that would follow accomplishing that goal. For starters, just what is Speedy going to do now? How do you pick up your life after eight years? Eight years that you've never aged, eight years that no one knew that you were alive.

Back in "Salvage" Roy showed nothing but contempt at the other heroes for abandoning the search and yet we see here a much quieter, empathetic Roy Harper. Perhaps it's because he's been humbled by the fact that ultimately his search would've been fruitless if not for Jade's help. Perhaps he's found a satisfaction of his own by not only rescuing Speedy but being a parent as well. Or perhaps he, like everyone else, is still mourning Artemis' "death" and feels that bringing any kind of negativity isn't needed when there's so much of it already. But the days of short-fused, bitter Roy Harper are gone. Unfortunately there's a younger and angrier Roy to step up. And unfortunately, that anger is pretty justified. Waking up mauled while knowing your kidnapper walked free is infuriating, but knowing that your mentor, friend, father-figure wasn't the one to free you but your replacement did? That's a level of anger all on its own.

It's funny that Todd would bring up Xanatos' "Do you want vengeance or a solution?" quote. Here Luthor gives his own twist on it. Offering Speedy a choice of his own, does he want revenge which would end in both of their deaths. Or does he want satisfaction? To be satisfied knowing that an angry, one-armed teenager got the best of Lex Luthor and had to be bribed out of killing him? Luthor is a bit different here than in other continuities, for starters he's actually concerned about his chauffer/bodyguard Mercy Graves, Luthor is often times most concerned about himself alone. The second part is the willingness to bet his own life on Speedy's decision. This is something I'll go into next episode, but there's an interesting parallel between him and Nightwing that should be discussed. But I do like that Luthor is genuine in both his compliments to Speedy and the advice he gives him, he's channeling plenty of Xanatos when he acts like that.

And to wrap things up, there's the aftermath of everyone believing Artemis to be dead, and the consequences of that. There's the little things like the girls having to put in the effort to stay happy for Raquel's bridal shower, and the fact that Raquel feels guilty celebrating right after her friend's death. Paula is mourning the loss of both her daughters and slinging a lot of unintended guilt towards Wally. The Team are still reeling, and undoubtedly looking for payback. Heck even Mal, the most mellow member, is throwing around threats and what sounds like slurs against Atlanteans. And of course, not one of the conspirators planned on the other half of Artemis' family looking for blood...

Some Final Thoughts: The bit where Wendy cheers up Conner on his birthday led to a ship between the two which the fans called "Neverland." It took me longer than it should've for me to realize that it was named because it involved a girl named Wendy and a guy who never seemed to age. The scene at the grotto where Jaime theorizes that the reason the memorial for fallen heroes is hidden away is because the League doesn't want to advertise that they're mortal is a bit ironic considering thanks to popularity power several comic characters pretty much are immortal. It's also noteworthy just how quickly (heh) Bart has attached himself to Blue Beetle. Plus I love the fact that despite the nature of his secret mission he keeps letting things slip, scavenger rights anyone?

So it's no surprise that some heroes of cycled through lots of different names and aliases over the years. The situation with Speedy and the clones feels like a way of the show getting to have its cake and eat it too. Both using the Speedy name and each one using one of the names he took later in life. Interestingly Roy started using the name Red Arrow after he lost his arm in "Cry For Justice," most of his adult life he operated under Arsenal.

Acting MVP: Once again the cast brings their A-game and continue the emotional ride from last episode. But Crispin Freeman, Alan Tudyk, Kelly Hu and Mark Rolston make the episode. Rolston brings his usual composed flair to Luthor, Freeman has to play the same character at different ages and does a beautiful job bringing the fury as Speedy. Kelly Hu balancing both sorrow and anger as mother and daughter And Tudyk gets to flex his acting muscles, the scene between him and Roy at the chapel is incredibly poignant.

DC Profiles: Mercy Graves originated in the 90's Superman the Animated Series acting as the personal chauffeur/bodyguard/secretary/confidante of Lex Luthor. When she made it to the comics they tweaked around with her origin, apparently being of Amazon descent. Otis of course is a reference to Lex Luthor's dimwitted lackey from the Christopher Reeves film.

Favorite Lines:

Speedy: So, let me get this straight. While I was on ice you found another Roy Harper, the sidekicks formed their own team, aliens invaded the Earth, and Ollie grew that dopey goatee?
Roy: We try not to call ourselves "sidekicks".
Oliver: You don't like the goatee?
Speedy: So missing the point! You've both been talking around it all day. Now I want answers. What happened to me?! How can their be another Roy Harper?! And what happened to my ARM?!

Roy: Lex Luthor and the Light, this criminal organization he works with, abducted you. they amputated your arm.
Speedy: Why? To keep me from using my bow?
Roy: No, they needed an endless supply of your DNA. To perfect their human cloning process...
Speedy: So that's what you are. A clone.
Roy: Yeah... they grew me, or rather force-grew me. In a matter of months, I looked your age. They programmed me with all your memories and skills...and worse.
Oliver: Then they spoon-fed me clues to your location. I thought I was doing detective's work, but in hindsight...you've been missing three months. I'd been going crazy, so when I found you- him...I didn't question the good fortune. I had no idea it wasn't the real...the original you. No idea Luthor had stored you on ice all this time.
Roy: So... what you're saying is, you took my place. You've been living my life for eight years.
Oliver: And he's been tirelessly searching for you in five of those years.
Speedy: Huh, but not you, Ollie. You gave up on me.
Roy: I don't want to be the cause of more conflict between you two. I'd understand if you'd never want to lay eyes on me again.
Speedy: I dunno. Seems the clone didn't do anything wrong. He didn't ask to be created, plus he found me. I can't blame him for this. [to Oliver] BUT I CAN TOTALLY BLAME YOU!
Oliver: Roy, I-
Speedy: We were partners! Friends! How could you not know I had been replaced? How could you leave me in Luthor's hands for eight years?...And how did I not see how useless you are. Get out. GET OUT!

Oliver: It's a curse, isn't it. Having me for a mentor. Speedy, Red Arrow... Artemis. The three of you all poster children of the "Stay away from Green Arrow club".
Roy: I may have not always shown it over the years, but I don't feel that way. Neither did Artemis. And trust me, I know Roy doesn't feel that way either. Not really. You're a good man, Ollie. So get back in there. He needs you, whether he knows it or not.

Jade: We had our differences, but Artemis was my sister. And I loved her. I should taken better care of her. Protected her from you for starters!
Lawrence Crock: Yeah well, too late for that now little girl.
Jade: But it's not too late to get vengeance on her killer. Aqualad is mine.
Lawrence Crock: As usual, Jade, you're missing the point. Artemis' death is an insult to our professional reputations. The son of Black Manta cannot kill Sportmaster's daughter - not without running it by me first. I can't let this stand, or everyone will think I'm a punk. You can have Aqualad, I want a reckoning with Manta.

Speedy: So, "new Roy" goes by Red Arrow. Wow. That's an original name.

Luthor: Oh, who knew enabling an alien invasion would entail so much paper work?

Speedy: Gotta love modern weapons tech. Easier for a one-armed man to fire a missile launcher than pull on his pants.

Luthor: And that my dear is why I spent top dollar for a customized desk.

Captain Cold: I'm completely doomed, aren't I?
Rocket: One hundred percent.

Luthor: Quite the arsenal you brought tonight, Mr. Harper.
Speedy: You haven't seen the half of it, Luthor!
Luthor: Oh, I wasn't talking about the weaponry. I myself never go armed. No, the greatest arsenal any man can bring to the party consists of the resources of his own mind. His intelligence, his stratagems, his force of will. And you, my young friend, have all of those in spades.

Speedy: That's detonation cord, Luthor. The kind LexCorp sells illegally. It's the perfect revenge, I use your own tech to do you what you did to me.
Luthor: Except we gave you anesthesia. Your method seems tad more... violent.
Speedy: We reap what we sow, Luthor.
Luthor: Indeed, but are you prepared for the harvest?
[Roy realizes he's surrounded by LexCorp security]
Luthor: Vengeance is a sucker's game, son. And yours can only be achieved at the cost of your own life.
Speedy: You think I won't pay that cost?
Luthor: Honestly? I have no idea. But I might just be dying to find out.
Otis: You want we should take him out now, Mr. Luthor?
Luthor: No, Otis. I'm content to wait patiently for young Mr. Harper's decision.
Speedy: Don't mock me, Luthor! To get my revenge, I'd run any risk!
Luthor: I don't believe in risk. I believe in preparation. You see, ever since you vacated that cozy little freezer unit we provided for you in Tibet I've expected this confrontation. So I came prepared. [slides the briefcase over to Speedy who goes to open it but hesitates]
Speedy: How do I know it's not booby-trapped?
Luthor: I suppose you don't. [Speedy opens the case and gasps at seeing its contents] What is it you really want son? Revenge or satisfaction?

Green Arrow: No, we can't be too late. I cannot have failed him again!
Red Arrow: No wait, look!
[Points at Speedy emerging from the building, carrying a briefcase]
Speedy: Hey guys, what took you soo long?
Green Arrow: Roy, are you alright?
Speedy: I'm good, well... better than I've been in eight years, anyway.
Green Arrow: You didn't...?
Speedy: Kill Luthor? No. Not tonight.
Red Arrow: What's in the case?
Speedy: Satisfaction.
[opens the case, revealing a robotic arm]
Speedy: It's not elegant. Won't fool anyone into thinking it's actual flesh and blood, but it's more powerful and versatile than the model he gave his own bodyguard. And it will literally make me a living weapon. No one's putting me on ice again. Ever.
Green Arrow: Speedy...you sure you're okay?
Speedy: Speedy died eight years ago. But I kinda of like the sound of... Arsenal.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

"Oh that's just something I heard a long time ago, I'm not even sure where I originally heard it from."

Sounds kind of like Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins. "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up."

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

That's a good one, but just wait for the next episode when Luthor brings his own spin on it.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

MATTHEW - Ah, I see.

But you're right about "the villains have some wisdom to dole out"; I can certainly think of Xanatos's question to Goliath in "City of Stone", "Do you want vengeance or a solution?"

Todd Jensen

Oh that's just something I heard a long time ago, I'm not even sure where I originally heard it from.
Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

MATTHEW - Where is that "The stronger man...." line from? From the context, I'm assuming it's from Greg Weisman's work,but I can't identify it.
Todd Jensen

Thanks Todd, I personally really like that line from Black Manta about how character is measured in defeat, feels very similar to the "The stronger man isn't the one who has never fallen but the one who falls and gets back up."

One thing you can always count on in Greg's shows, the villains will always have some wisdom to dole out.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Thanks for the latest review, Matthew.

The bit I remembered most about this episode (as I've mentioned before, my memories of "Young Justice" are patchy) was the part you quoted where Manta gives Kaldur a "well done son" moment for refusing to take credit for a victory which he knows he didn't achieve. It's certainly an impressive moment - and despite the fact that Manta's one of the villains and the act one of sabotage, it's still a good point about having the courage and maturity to admit that a success didn't happen because of your efforts.

Despite it being, as you said, a dark episode, I spotted a bit of humor in the Quotes section in the exchange between Nightwing and La'gaan ("There's no static in a psychic link!")

Todd Jensen

Dark revelations come to light.
Watched "Depths" today, an apt title considering we see the apparent depths Kaldur will go to this episode and the actual depths the conspirators will go through to gain some advantage over the Light and their unseen partner. Something I realized, this season uses a fair amount of in media res at the beginning of the episodes, in this case with the fake out of Artemis' death. Showing her "dying" at the beginning of the episode was a great way to set the mood for the episode, creating a dark and foreboding atmosphere as the audience waits with baited breath until the end. And even with the denouement at the end where it's revealed that not only is Artemis still alive but that Kaldur isn't a traitor and in fact a deep cover agent for the heroes. But with just line from Wally the apprehension returns and we remember that our heroes or venturing back into the lion's den.

When we talk about depths, we see an example of which as mentioned in "Alienated" as Kaldur could either warn his friends of the bomb or warn the Kroloteans but not both. There's something a bit disturbing over the deaths through inaction, not just the Kroloteans but also the unconscious Manta Troopers who were undoubtedly left behind or didn't make it to the Manta Flyer in time. Kaldur had military training when he was just twelve and there's little doubt that it included possibly using lethal force, at the same time there's something dark about well...not killing them but also actively choosing not to save them. And yes, both parties were certainly bad but that just leads to the next point.

This is the episode where we find out exactly why Conner broke things off with M'gann, that they had a fight over her use of her psychic powers and she in turn tried to make him forget that they had a fight. It's funny that way back in "Welcome to Happy Harbor" there's that throwaway line about it being okay for her to use her telepathy against the bad guys and now she's taken that to an extreme result, leaving everyone she psychically interrogates a vegetable. It's rather appropriate that he compares her to Psimon considering their first encounter caused them to all to forget.

In "Earthlings" we saw that despite the tension they were able to complete the mission, here not so much. As Superboy's derisive comments worsen Lagoon Boy's resentment over being the "water guy" which causes him recklessly attack the troops. This will be explored further in the season and into season 3 for that matter but it's unfortunate that for all the work the heroes put in portraying a united front, beneath the surface there's a lot of dissatisfaction and bitterness.

Some Final Thoughts: This episode also really demonstrates the delicate situation the conspirators occupy, having to succeed and fail at the same time (which is the reason that they were working with a smaller team this mission) and just how easy it is to swing all the way to failure. The whole point was to ensure the launch of the communication satellite and "lose" Artemis, but at the end of it Artemis has died, the satellite is destroyed, La'gaan captured and everyone gunning for Kaldur. But the tenuous situation has only just begun. It's easy to forget, but Nightwing's only action before this was the assault on Malina Island, this backstage position Nightwing's taken will be explored further as well as the consequences of it.

If I was the average civilian, I'd wonder why Superman and Martian Manhunter decided to show up for a press briefing and then were nowhere to be seen at the attack. You know, I feel pretty bad for Carol Ferris, back in "The Pit" her rocket was almost highjacked by the League of Shadows and now she has to battle alienophobia rhetoric as well as another super villain attack. It's an offhand comment now, but Kaldur mentioning that their friends possibly never forgiving them will be further explored, as well as the downside of being the most hated man in the seven seas.

Acting MVP: Once again, everyone is MVP but I do have some special mentions. Khary Payton once again shows off his acting chops as he switches between the murderous Kaldur and the one we know an love. But I have to give Jason Spisak credit as well, with just a few lines he shows just how angry he is over the situation.

DC Profiles: Carol Ferris is a character from the Green Lantern series, a colleague and later the boss of Hal Jordan. The two of them have had an on again off again relationship since their inception, though the relationship was often tense because the corrupting power of the Star Sapphire turned Carol into the super villain of the same name.

Favorite Lines:

Wally: I'm not happy about this.
Artemis: As I recall, you were wearing yellow and red just a few weeks ago.
Wally: That was an emergency. I was needed.
Artemis: Well, I'm needed now.
Wally: He shouldn't need you. He's my best friend. He knows we're trying to leave the life behind.
Artemis: Don't blame Nightwing. The decision was mine. [the two of them kiss] Babe, you're freaking out over nothing. What could go wrong?

Mal: They're both gonna wind up our responsibility, aren't they?
Nightwing: Not necessarily. Bart, Impulse, is staying with Jay and Joan Garrick in Central City. Roy, the original Speedy is recuperating at Royal Memorial Hospital in Star City. Arrows Green and Red are watching over him.
Mal: Mm-hm. They're both gonna wind up our responsibility.
Conner: Doesn't everything?

Superboy: Ugh. I hate monkey suits.

Miss Martian: So now we're never talking again?
Superboy: Gee, you read my mind.
Miss Martian: I don't have to read your mind to know how you feel, Connor. But the breakup was your idea.
Superboy: Don't pretend you don't know why.
Miss Martian: I know, I know, you disapprove of how I use my psychic powers.
Superboy: You mean how you abuse them? Ripping intel from the minds of your victims with no concern with what it does to their psyches.
Miss Martian: They're not victims. They're the bad guys. That information is helping the Team, the League, the entire planet.
Superboy: And leaving your victims in a catatonic state. It's not right M'gann. You're behaving no better than Psimon!
Miss Martian:...If you feel that strongly, why not tell Nightwing? Or the League?
Superboy: I was hoping I mattered enough to you to make you stop. I didn't think you'd try to tamper with my mind. Try to make me forget I was upset with you.
Miss Martian: Conner, I'm so sorry about that.
Superboy: Sorry you did it? Or sorry you got caught? After all we'd been through. How could you think I wouldn't recognize your touch inside my mind? Didn't you know what that touch meant to me? [Miss Martian wipes away her tears at hearing that] A-and to have you...pervert it like that. Guess I was kiddin' myself. I mean how replaceable was I? Two minutes after I end it, you're dating the rebound guy from the black lagoon.
Miss Martian: La'gaan is not my rebound guy!
Superboy: Well, lucky La'gaan.

Nightwing: Lagoon Boy, stand down!
Lagoon Boy: Sorry, you're breaking up. Kkkcc! Kkkcc!
Nightwing: There's no static on a psychic link!

Kaldur: Welcome back.

Black Manta: Congratulations, Kaldur'ahm. You had quite a day. Capturing the Atlantean, killing a former teammate, destroying the com-sat.
Kaldur: My crew did not destroy the com-sat, Father. It's rocket must have malfunctioned. Our victory was mere luck.
Black Manta: I don't believe in luck. Which is why I arranged to have a bomb with an altitude sensors smuggled onto the com-sat rocket days ago. This was your final test. To see if you would take credit for what you have not accomplished.
Kaldur: And what if I have succeeded?
Black Manta: Then another test would have awaited. For it is not in success where true character is revealed, but in failure. I'm quite proud of you, my boy. You're ready for the next level.

[Nightwing looks over the photo he took of himself and Artemis]
Nightwing: We'll laugh about this someday. [a door is heard opening] Wally?
Kaldur: [emerging from the shadows] No.
[Wally and a hooded figure also step forth, it's revealed to be Artemis]
Kaldur: I take it our ruse was successful?
Nightwing: Almost too successful. The Team and the League are in mourning. They may never forgive us.
Kaldur: And still, only we four know the secret?
Nightwing: This secret and the other. That you've been under deep cover in Black Manta's organization since leaving the Team. How'd it go on that end?
Kaldur: Successful as well. I've proven my loyalty to my biological father. He's moving me up the ladder, bringing me closer to the Light, and their unknown partner.
Nightwing: Not without cost, Kaldur. The com-sat wasn't supposed to be destroyed. And La'gaan definitely wasn't supposed to be captured.
Kaldur: It was the only way to save his life and maintain my cover.
Nightwing: I'm not blaming you. I know you've been forced to make impossible decisions. Like choosing to save the Kroloteans on Malina Island-
Kaldur: Or saving my friends. And I will find a way to help La'gaan. You have my word.
Artemis: So what now?
[Nightwing places a necklace on her]
Wally: Uh, dude, why are you giving bling to my dead girlfriend?
Nightwing: Glamor charm. Courtesy of Zatanna. Visio-morphic spell I think. She said it backwards.
Wally: Wow, you look... exactly the same.
Nightwing: To the four of us. And only us. But to anyone else, your a totally different person.
[Artemis' reflection shows a different person and her speaking voice sounds deeper]
Artemis: The more impressive trick is how you got something so specific from Zatanna without reveling who or what it's for.
Nightwing: We have a history.
Wally: [nudges Nightwing] Dog.
Kaldur: It is time.
[Artemis and Wally embrace and kiss once more]
Artemis: What could go wrong?
Wally: [chuckling] Don't say that.
[Kaldur and Artemis enter the Manta Flyer while Nightwing and Wally watch from above]
Nightwing: They're in. We're through the hard part.
Wally: Who are you kidding? It only gets more dangerous from here.

Remember, young or old, rich or poor, friend or foe. We're all in this together.

Jurgan - [jurgan6 at yahoo dot com]

The Terrible Twos!

First again.
Todd Jensen