Young Justice: Phantoms continued its second story arc by delving deeper into Artemis and Cheshire’s backstory while developing the League of Shadows even more as a big threat. Through the course of “Artemis Through the Looking-Glass” we got to see how the creators of Young Justice: Phantoms has shown a stellar job of integrating the best parts of the DC Universe’s history to make this universe so unique.
Artemis backstory is one of the aspects of Young Justice that we have seen explored throughout the show’s history. Since this story arc dives more into her backstory it was smart to change up some of the perspective to give us further insight into Cheshire. Cheshire provides us a different view of how she and Artemis grew up as being the older sister she became the outsider after experiencing her father, Sportsmaster, way of teaching first. These flashbacks add depth to how Artemis as a young kid would grow up to rebel against her father not by going the path of a villain but instead a hero because she saw what happened to her sister.
At the same time, it provided greater context into how close Artemis and Cheshire were growing up. Anytime we’ve gone back to this time period we’ve been led to believe that Cheshire just bounced and never had meaningful interactions with Artemis. Showing that to be untrue and actually building out the bond between Artemis and Cheshire to things like the code words they use with each other was well done.
It also played in well into the main story involving the League of Shadows that Onyx and Cassandra Savage. These two trying to convince our heroes that they are done with the life of the League of Shadows and The Light does a good job at playing into the well-worn territory of traitor storyline that Young Justice has done so often. The writers and voice actors play into this in a way that does have self-awareness that they’ve been through this before. In the process we do see the how the show is able to make greater use of the DC Universe by bringing in characters like Looker that fans are likely not familiar with.
This storyline also is chance to explore Cassandra Cain’s backstory outside of the comics. The change to her name in the Young Justice Universe to be known as Cassandra Wu-San was a great way to emphasize her history with the League of Shadows before joining the Batman Family. It made the reason why Lady Shiva made Orphan a target even more notable as we are quickly given Cassandra’s backstory in an efficient manner. Delving into Cassandra’s backstory also provides this story arc an additional leading character along with Artemis and Cheshire.
The one critique I do have for the main storyline with the League of Shadows that I do have is the lack of involvement from the rest of the Batman Family. We do see Spoiler briefly in this episode but she quickly leaves being part of the story. Given how Orphan becomes a key character in this story arc it is odd that Artemis wouldn’t at least contact Nightwing or Oracle to help her out. It’s a missed opportunity to develop other characters at the same time. Which is something I hope is done more in the future since it looks like the Young Justice: Phantoms will have four-episode long story arcs. Keeping things to a very small cast just feels like the potential of the Young Justice Universe is no being fully tapped into.
Back to the positive note, it is great to see how the show’s staff is tackling mental health this season. We see that with Beast Boy as he has returned to Earth and has shut himself off from the people in his life after Superboy’s death. It is understandable given that Beast Boy was already dealing with his mental health going into Young Justice: Phantoms that being there when Superboy died would hit him hard. Credit to Greg Cipes for making Beast Boy sound much more maturity in this portrayal to further help put over the character’s current state of mind.
Though as Beast Boy’s character arc is likely to continue to be a sub-plot in Young Justice: Phantoms I hope that we also see Miss Martian developed as well. Afterall, Miss Martian would be hit even harder by Superboy’s death. Not actually developing her character after what happened would be a wasted opportunity to deal with such a serious topic. That said, I do trust the Young Justice staff to understand this importance and we’ll see Miss Martian’s character arc developed as well.
Overall, “Artemis Through the Looking-Glass” was another strong episode as we are still early on in Young Justice: Phantoms season. The character development around Artemis, Cheshire, Cassandra Wu-San, Onyx, Cassandra Savage, and Beast Boy was all handled extremely well. Hopefully as this story arc develops we do see other Young Justice characters used to help the story elevate to another level.
EPISODE RATING: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
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