Of all the episodes that we have gotten from Young Justice: Phantoms “Encounter Upon the Razor’s Edge!” one with the most surprises delivered. Not only do we get major plot progression as we learn the truth about the big bad of the Young Justice: Phantoms season but also get a huge tie-in to a fan favorite animated series. that delivered the biggest surprises. Combining both this episode is in the argument for one of my favorite episodes of Young Justice as a whole.
Getting the big fanboy part of “Encounter Upon the Razor’s Edge!” was the reveal that the fan favorite Green Lantern: The Animated Series exists in the continuity of Young Justice. This is something that fits in since there have been several time jumps in Young Justice that make this type of development easily explained. And using one of the things that Young Justice does so well in is it trust the viewers enough that as soon as Kilowog and Razer reunite you immediately get their chemistry. The writing is very careful so that you get this is a reunion of two friends who haven’t seen each other for years.
The reason for Razer in particular coming into focus was handled so that it has a strong tie to the current New God storyline. The show’s staff do a great job in using Metron as the tying force as his manipulation of Razer to test out the powers of both the Red Lantern and Blue Lantern Power Rings is so fitting. This put into focus how fans saw Razer evolve during Young Justice: Phantoms and how this was another test of who he is as a character. Seeing the balance between the two sides of Razer’s character as he becomes the first Red and Blue Lantern hybrid was exactly the payoff you want for him.
Razer’s arc also worked in well into the narrative with the New Gods storyline that Rocket is in the middle of. Much like Razer is a merger of two sides of the spectrum, Rocket is trying to bring sides together that would not normally work together. Even though the New Gods are showcased as a benevolent force there are many aspects where they are looking out for themselves. Which you see with how the New Gods don’t immediately join the Justice League on their plan even if it benefits both sides. It wasn’t until the end with Razer constructing the new statues that include Forager that you could see things turning around.
This all works as a good test for Rocket’s leadership as she is at the center of these talks. These two episodes have done a good job at pushing Rocket’s character as she is both trying to be Justice League leader and concerned parent at the same time. It is not an easy thing to juggle, as we see once again on multiple occasions. First it was Vykin calling out Rocket for not being able to get passed Orion being Darkseid’s blood-related son rather than the son of Highfather and Highmother. Then there is her conversation with Noble about their own son’s future. In both instances we see Rachel challenged in ways she wasn’t expecting in the moment. This makes where her arc goes something that continues to be something your invested in.
The other big part of “Encounter Upon the Razor’s Edge!” is that we get full development on the big bad for this season, and it turns out they aren’t Vandal Savage or Darkseid. Rather it is none other than the son of General Zod, Lor-Zod, who comic book fans of pre-Flahspoint DC Universe may know as Christopher Kent. Equal to Razer’s appearance, Lor-Zod was not who I expected to see appear on the show but immediately the Young Justice staff got over as a major threat.
And for the first time this season the still-frame animation storytelling actually worked. A big reason for this is in changing the art style for all the flashbacks that made it work. We learn everything we needed to know as to why it is Superboy, not Superman, in the Young Justice Universe that is such a key part to the Legion of Super-Heroes existence. Tying it all into the history of Krypton along with Lor-Zod, not General Zod, giving this story more of a generational tone to it. It continues how Young Justice is very much about the next generation of this DC Universe as we have the best representation of that on the villains side with Lor-Zod.
This also worked to explain why Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, and Phantom Girl are stuck in the present. It was fitting that Bart Allen was brought into their story as a fellow time-displaced variant whose timeline no longer exists. This was honestly the emotional tie that the Legion of Super-Heroes side of the narrative was missing as Saturn Girl and Chameleon Boy dodging questioning was getting old. Bart being someone who understands how they feel adds a good way to bring in other Young Justice cast members into the bigger storyline of the season.
When all was said and done “Encounter Upon the Razor’s Edge!” is one of the best, if not the best, episode of the season. So much was accomplished as we learn the truth about Lor-Zod as the big bad and the mystery behind Superboy’s earlier exit. That along with the awesome tie-in of the Green Lantern: The Animated Series as part of the Young Justice continuity makes this episode a big win for the show’s history.
EPISODE RATING: 9 Night Girls out of 10