The las time we saw everyone in Young Justice: Phantoms General Zod ordered Superboy to kill Superman and Nightwing, Rocket, Miss Martian, Black Lighting, and other heroes appeared to be dead. To say things were bad for our heroes would be an understatement. So with that Young Justice: Phantoms season came to an end with their 26th and final episode “Death And Rebirth.”
The opening minutes of “Death And Rebirth” certainly set the stage for how bad things are. Though as bad things got we quickly got a sign of hope with Nightwing and Miss Martian revealing that they faked their deaths to trick General Zod and the House of Zod. The comment about Nightwing and Miss Martian being used to faking their deaths was a good way to get meta.
What really made this interaction work was that Miss Martian did not get angry when learning that Nightwing, Aquaman, Zatanna, Artemis, and Rocket kept the mission to save Superboy from the Phantom Zone a secret. We’ve seen far too often how characters get angry for keeping secrets from one another. But by having Miss Martian understand what her friends were doing you see how far everyone has come in maturing to understand certain choices they have to make as superheroes.
This transitioned well into how the original Team assembled to take on the House of Zod. Starting the big final fight out with just Aquaman, Artemis, Zatanna, and Kid Flash helped set how the odds were stacked against the heroes. Even without the House of Zod being at full power, because they haven’t absorbed the energy from the sun, they were shown as a formidable force as their military training already made them strong.
This set-up also gave greater importance to Nightwing’s talk with Miss Martian about her not holding back in using her full power out of fear from past consequences. It helped to put over Miss Martian’s greater character arc from the beginning of Young Justice. We’ve seen various instances of how Miss Martian has held back. Nightwing pumping her up by reminding Miss Martian that with her power and experience she is basically a Demi God was well done for both characters. This made how she used her full power to get Superboy back and defeat Emerald Empress great character moments for Miss Martian.
Miss Martian’s character arc worked well with Superboy’s own arc that similarly dealt with his past. Seeing how his connection to not only Miss Marvel but also Superman was what helped him was well done. This showed how connected Conner Kent has become to the people in his life. At this point Conner isn’t that lone wolf character we saw in the first season. He has strong family connections that once Miss Martian drew them out you saw how that was his strength. It made the moment with Clark and Conner teaming up in a callback to season two a bigger deal because of how it was about their connection compared to the disconnect Lor-Zod and General Zod had.
With the battle with House of Zod we also got a great look at the original Team working together again. This is a battle that the Phantoms season has been building towards as we haven’t seen them all fighting a threat together since the first season ended. It was refreshing that even with Superman, Kid Flash, and the Legion trio there that it did come down to the teamwork of the original Team. Nightwing also finally naturally stepping up as the leader by coordinating everyone’s efforts was handled well.
Throughout the fight the House of Zod also shined as bad guys. There was enough nuance to the way the characters acted so you never lost sight of what was motivating General Zod, Lor-Zod, Emerald Empress, and the others. At the same time, it is in their character development that made them such good antagonists that you want to see our heroes defeat. Lor-Zod’s fate also felt like the character got what was coming to him given everything he has done this season. Which is all a testament to how well done as a villain Lor-Zod was developed.
The conclusion of the fight also worked as being a definitive win for our heroes while leaving things open ended. The open ended nature of the fight is tapped into with how we see not only Emerald Empress going to Daxam for refuge but The Light return with the House of Zod captured on Warworld. We haven’t seen The Light or Darkseid very much this season. While that made for a refreshing season it was good that when Phantoms ended we saw both The Light and Darkseid still present with their own plans. It certainly gives hope for a future season five as the reveal of Black Mary and Supergirl being part of Darkseid’s new Furies is an exciting prospect.
Going back to the heroes side of things, with the uncertainty of their being a season five I’m glad that the show staff was able to end Phantoms with the wedding of Superboy and Miss Martian. Conner and M’gann were the characters that got the most development as individuals and as a couple. Which made it fitting that we end with their successful wedding being what we see towards the close of Young Justice: Phantoms. Plus, their wedding just further showed how adorable Jon Kent as an excited kid is with his moment as the ring bearer.
The one thing in “Death and Rebirth” that may give some DC Comics fans pause is the mention of Sanctuary. The word Sanctuary does not convey positive feelings given the negative critical and fan reaction to Heroes In Crisis. That said, the show’s staff did actually handle the reason Black Canary brings up Sanctuary to the rest of the Justice League that works within the context of the show. This entire season’s sub-plot, in its own way, adapts what Heroes In Crisis was meant to be about. We’ve seen with Beast Boy, Miss Martian, Aquaman, Zatanna, and many others dealing with a lot of emotional pain that different people helped them with. Having seen how mental health was dealt with throughout Young Justice: Phantoms I can understand why Black Canary would suggest creating Sanctuary to better deal with mental health in the superhero community.
Overall, “Death And Rebirth” was a very satisfying end to Young Justice: Phantoms. This episode did everything it needed to so that the main plot of the season wrapped up in a way that brought together the major villain plots. The ending provided us with a happy ending of sorts while also setting the stage for the Young Justice Universe to continue on as a living universe. Hopefully we do get an announcement of a fifth season being greenlit soon.
EPISODE RATING: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10