Young Justice: Phantoms continues exploring the magical corner of the DC Universe with the latest episode “Nomed Esir!” that is part of the third story arc of the series. With this episode we get some unexpected developments that force characters to show their hands as the battle between the Lords of Order and Chaos is being set up. This episode in particular places a large focus on the Lords of Chaos as Klarion the Witch Boy surprisingly takes the lead of this episode.
For the life of Young Justice we’ve see how as big of a threat Klarion the Witch Boy is he simply likes to have fun spreading his own brand of chaos. Even when he fails and throws his tamtrums its always been done with the thoughts Klarion will be back to cause greater chaos. Which makes the arrive of The Child the Witch Girl an even more intriguing development. Because for the first time we do see Klarion thrown off his game for the entire episode rather than for a moment after losing.
The dynamic between Klarion and The Child is really where this episode shines. Both the writers and animators have a blast giving Dragon Ball level display of powers between these two powerful magic users. The entire fight has a great sense of escalation that played into the greater mental game going on as The Child constantly calls out Klarion for being a failure as Lord of Chaos. Adding in the detail that the other Lords of Chaos are tired of Klarion’s constant failures and are backing The Child creates an interesting scenario for another side to be created in this battle between magic users.
But as interesting as the battle between Klarion and The Child the rest of the way “Nomed Esir!” uses the other magic users is a big mixed bag. Zatanna is the biggest example of this as she is basically made out to be the sole audience member in the magical boxing match between Klarion and The Child. When it comes to the fight itself Zatanna’s presence doesn’t add anything to what we see take place. The only interesting thing about Zatanna’s presence in this episode is learning why Phantom Strange chose her to be the only one to witness the fight. It was clearly done to position her as the main character of this arc but it just didn’t work as intended.
The same goes for Phantom Stranger being a big driving force for the heroes side in “Nomed Esir!” He is given the importance you want to see from the character as he is not really picking sides. Rather Phantom Stranger feeling that the balance of Order and Chaos is tipping is really the sole reason he is now interfering. But while that part of his presence is interesting Phantom Stranger is a character best served in quick appearances rather than being a constantly around. You get tired of his whole mysterious act after a while.
The introduction of Jason Blood, like Madame Xanadu in the previous episode, works to establish how there are many different magic characters in this universe. Jason Blood begrudgedly transforming into Etrigan the Demon is effectively puts over his whole character in a short time. Given the type of character Etrigan is his addition to the cast of this arc should provide a lot of fun scenes with the more calm Zatanna as she continues to be the leader of this team.
Now the one part of “Nomed Esir!” that just does not work as you would hope given the game changing revelation made during these scenes are with almost everything involving Vandal Savage’s backstory. Telling the entire story of how Vandal Savage is closely connected to the history of Atlantis falls apart from the start. This is due to the creative choice the Young Justice: Phantoms staff has made to tell portions of this season’s character arcs in slideshow format. This all just leads to everything being shown to the viewer to feel like we are being forced to watch a slideshow presentation during a business meeting. Which makes it even more evident that Vandal Savage’s backstory is just a necessary evil to progress the story in this third arc that we need this massive exposition dump.
The only thing that does work with this half of “Nomed Esir!” is the greater ties this builds to Vandal Savage to the Atlanteans. What we learn here makes it clear that Vandal Savage is not only going to play an important part in this arc but possibly the Young Justice: Phantoms arc that will focus on Kaldur’s Aquaman. The close ties Vandal Savage has to the Atlanteans adds a new layer of intrigue whenever Young Justice: Phantoms has us focus on Atlantis with Aquaman.
In comparison what does continue to work in Young Justice: Phantoms is delivering on how impactful Superboy’s death continues to be. We once again see how Beast Boy is shutting himself off as he is in a complete state of depression over Connor’s death. Adding in an extended scene with Miss Martian made the impact of Superboy’s death even greater. Seeing Em’ree take such an active role in helping her sister deal with Connor’s death was great to see. Even if they aren’t as close as they once were Em’ree and M’gann are sisters. That bond can’t be broken and the staff does an excellent job showcasing this with how Em’ree is there to support M’gann during this tough time.
Overall, “Nomed Esir!” is the weakest episode of the Young Justice: Phantoms season. There are some interesting character beats as we delve deeper into the magic world of the DC Universe. Unfortunately the creative decisions to tell the backstory of Vandal Savage and Zatanna not doing much but watching the fight between Klarion and the Child left a lot to be desired. Hopefully with how things conclude in this episode these problems with the pacing are fixed given the fantastic potential this arc for Young Justice: Phantoms has.
EPISODE RATING: 6 Night Girls out of 10
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