Slick’s Nit-Picks: Young Justice, Episode 112 – “Homefront”
Dick Grayson has been a sidekick for a long time and he has learned from the best there is, the Batman. Both have had to face incredible odds and take on villains that are ridiculously more powerful than they are, even with a fully stocked utility belt. It takes a cool head and quick thinking to survive these situations and thankfully Robin has had quite a bit of practice in that department. Artemis however, at least this version of her, seems to be better suited for long range combat. Considering the cartoon' character's convoluted backstory, I don't know if the writers even know what they want to do with her yet, but so far she is fleshing out pretty well and “Homefront” gives the viewers a chance to see what happens when she is completely out of her element.
PLOT Keeping with her mother’s wishes, Artemis starts her first day at Gotham Academy. She has an unexpected run-in with a freshman, not knowing that the boy is really Robin (none of the team knows his true identity yet). She runs into him again on her way to the cave and he plays extra dumb (probably to hide his own identity again). Today however, the Harbor is not so Happy and the pair face two unknown assailants; one manipulating fire and the other, water. The rest of the team has been incapacitated already and Artemis and Robin have to survive long enough to save them before the invaders terminate all of them.
THE REDS The two mystery attackers are known as Red Torpedo (water) and Red Inferno (fire) .For some reason, their genders have been switched from the original comic characters. The implied connection to Red Tornado (Torpedo has the same voice) implicates Professor Ivo and T.O. Morrow in their creation, but despite that, I would not be so quick to call Tornado the mole (more on that later). Their ability to manipulate fire and water with ease, combined with the location of the cave and the element of surprise made them more than a match for the team. If not for the teamwork of Robin, Kid Flash and Artemis, it is questionable whether any of them would have survived.
CAMEOS When the inevitable Young Justice DVD/Blu-Ray releases, there almost has to be a trivia special feature. In just about every episode, you have characters that either go unnamed or unexplained as to why they appear on the show. In this ep, we get not one, but two Batgirls in Bette Kane and Barbara Gordon. We once again see Artemis’ mother, Paula Crock and get confirmation that Cheshire is Artemis’ sister. In a flashback, Artemis tells Jade that someone has to be home when mom gets out of prison, which goes with the history of her mother being the first Tigress (hero) and the Huntress (villain). We also see the return of an item from a previous episode which once again saves the day.
NO POWERS Never underestimate the little guy. Robin is the smallest member of the team (physically) and along with Artemis, the only one that has no super-powers. One might think that makes them the easiest to take out, but a smarter villain would figure them to be the most dangerous of the team. Neither of them has the near invulnerability of Superboy, the speed of Kid Flash or the offensive capabilities of Aqualad or Miss Martian. They may be in peak physical condition, but it is peak human condition; not to mention they are teenagers which also limits their strength. Robin proved that he (now) has what it takes to lead this team; he stuck with Artemis and never ran off like he used to. He put himself in danger to cover her mistakes and made sure they never got separated until it was strategically necessary. Artemis (to me) proved her loyalty to the team. She was frantic when she saw the condition M’gann was in and was terrified at the thought of losing her friends. You can fake that easily, but why bother at the point where she was the only one left. She also proved that she will put her life on the line for the team although (unbeknownst to her) I seriously doubt that the team was ever in any mortal danger.
ARTEMIS The episode was all about establishing her character and it is unfortunately very necessary. What I mean is that The Young Justice version of Artemis is nothing like the comic version. Not only that, she is an amalgam of at least two DC comics characters. The name Artemis Crock belongs to a character that is the child of Huntress and Sportsmaster. She does have expert marksman abilities, but she uses a compact crossbow, not a composite bow like Green or Red Arrow. In comics, she is a villain named Tigress (which her mother previously used, but as a hero). The character that most resembles The outfit she wears is named Cissie King-Jones, once a member of the comic Young Justice team named Arrowette. Her mother, Paula (Brooks) Crock is Caucasian in the comics, but Vietnamese in the show. Also, she is not the mother of Cheshire in the comics, whose real name is Jade Nguyen. It is interesting that they created a “new” character for the show as it keeps hardcore fans from having the “I know what happens next” laziness, but it could and hopefully will not backfire. Two things that DC cartoons are always known for are good storytelling and plot twists, so I am hopeful.
YOUNG LOVERS This is just a quick note to the writers. We get it – Superboy and Miss Martian are a thing. We understand they are teenagers and both experiencing their first relationship, but damn, do we need to see them swapping spit every episode? I found it really annoying that every five seconds during the attack that Conner was all “M’gann this!” and “Is M’gann OK?” Dude, Wally is stuck next to you encased in molten metal and Kal was in that fire cage with your girlfriend as well. Cold you pretend to give a crap about them at least? Please dumb down their intimacy a bit. I like them as a couple, but this is not “The Adventures of M’gann and Conner.” We have a whole team here.
THE MOLE In my last review I gave reasons why each member of the team could be the mole. Now we “apparently” know who it is and it is none of the individuals that I suspected. Let me say that I do not buy it. I am someone that will “read a few pages ahead” so to speak and I knew about this episode before it aired. Red Tornado as the mole is stupid. Yes, the comic character’s original programming was to infiltrate and destroy the Justice League, but it was the Justice League, not this rag-tag band of sidekicks that is just now starting to come together as a real team. This is all speculation and I will be the first to say that I am one hundred percent wrong if I am, but there is still a mole and this episode proved it. The Reds were not at all interested in the team – they wanted Red Tornado and the proof is there for you to see. They waited for Robin and Artemis to return before they started to really torture the others. They wanted Red Tornado to not have contact with any of the team so that he would come to the cave. If they really wanted them dead, they could have killed everyone except maybe Superboy with relative ease. Red Torpedo could have flooded the whole cave at anytime and drowned Artemis and Robin. You can say “that would free Aqualad” but again, they could have killed him earlier. And Tornado did not reactivate Red Inferno, it looked more like Inferno temporarily controlled Tornado and made him suck the air out of the room because neither of RT’s “siblings” got off the floor. They were probably still damaged from the EMP. And there are two other things that do not fit. Conner said “Kryptonians do not need to breathe.” So how was he knocked out by the removal of oxygen from the room? That and the sphere – it was stuck in the wall for the whole episode and then just pops out at the end.You ask me, one of them is the mole, possibly without knowing so.
“Homefront” was a fantastic episode because it provided answers and more questions to ponder. It gave the fans a lot of info on one of the more mysterious characters and it showed most of the team for what they really are – kids. Despite their ability to beat the crap out of supervillains, read minds, move faster than the eye can see or bullseye a fly from a thousand yards, they are teenagers. They get scared. They get emotional. They are superheroes that may not yet be ready to be “super.” Most of them have not spent their childhood with Batman and thus they may not be ready for the madness. Despite that, they try. They look to each other for support and they move forward, together. I know that sounds like a tub of unpopped popcorn, it is what it is. It is why this show is great.
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