Young Justice: Phantoms – “Odnu!” Review

With Artemis completing her Young Justice: Phantoms spotlight arc in the previous episode its time for a another core member of the original Team to lead a story arc. That is where we kick things off with the episode “Odnu!” as we find Zatanna now having become a mentor to young magic users. In the process we get to see the rarely explored magic corner of the DC Universe and Zatanna’s history built over the course of Young Justice’s history.

Given that Young Justice: Phantoms has been given the opportunity to tell more long-form stories that stretch over the course of four episode “Odnu” takes the opportunity to set the stage for this new story. Which given the complicated nature of the magic world it was a good thing that “Odnu” doesn’t just place the story focus on one character. There will be time over the next three episodes that will enhance Zatanna’s role in the story as the lead character that is being spotlighted from the core Team. Allowing this episode to introduce us to all the players was a much smarter choice to go with to kick things off.

Starting out with showing Zatanna allowing her young proteges in Traci 13, Khalid Nassour, Mary Bromfield, along with Leroy the Iguana, take the lead in dealing with some magical beings worked very well. It quickly established how the personalities of these three characters and where they are at this point in their respective lives. It’s a strong example of how to do show rather than tell. This allows Zatanna coming in at the end to act more like the teacher than just being there to provide exposition for how magic works.

This also works well with how we show the progress Zatanna has made over the years. Even though she is confident in her magical ability Zatanna is still learning how to best be a mentor. There is good balance of confidence with her learning on the job. This is also a great role for Zatanna as she can relate to each of her students as she has grown up in the magic world there isn’t a massive age difference between her and her students like there was when her father was mentoring her.

Throughout the episode we also see a lot of groundwork laid out for what this new magic-based arc will be. While Zatanna is the leader of the story like Artemis, Miss Martian, and Superboy were for the previous two arcs it won’t just be about her. There are hints specifically with Mary Bromfield’s past as Mary Marvel and why she gave up being the superhero we associate her to be that hopefully is explored during this arc. Giving other characters main storylines within a story arc helps strengthen the developments we see, as Cassandra Wu-San’s story did with Artemis’ arc.

It was also good to see that “Ondu” shows us how there is an already established magical world in this DC Universe. It wasn’t simply limited to just Zatanna, Doctor Fate, and Klarion. Bringing in Madame Xanadu as the tracker for what will be taking place in this arc was a great use of her character. She wasn’t in this episode very much but what we did get of Madame Xanadu perfectly played into her character. It all highlighted how there the Young Justice Universe is one that has a deep history even if we haven’t seen it all.

Adding in Klarion the Witch Boy and Vandal Savage as the main antagonists was also a good way to emphasize the importance that The Light still have with how things are going in this DC Universe. Klarion once again is shown to be one of the heavy hitters of The Light with how he is able to take on Zatanna, Traci 13, Khalid Nassour, Mary Bromfield by himself. The agent of chaos that he is was fully on display throughout the fight. Which led in well into the tease of the bigger story as he is pulled away from victory. What the magic circle created at the end of this episode will be interesting to see.

Now I will say I continue to not be a fan of the slideshow storytelling being implemented by Young Justice: Phantom. The visuals we are given with Vandal Savage’s own history with Klarion are certainly stricking. But this is an animated show. It would be much more effective if we actually saw these flashbacks fully animated to drive home what it was trying to tell with the history of Vandal and Klarion.

That said it was great that the flashback was not being told to us by Vandal Savage but by Phantom Stranger. Given the magical nature of this new storyline Phantom Stranger is a great character to bring in to play a role in the story. The show’s staff did a great job giving Phantom Stranger an ominous presence that made you believe a major crises was on the horizon.

“Ondu!” also continued the ongoing sub-plot of Beast Boy going through the stages of grief after Superboy’s death. It is certainly clear that there is an even bigger story brewing with Beast Boy given that he has been the constant presence in Young Justice: Phantoms. Seeing how there has been time that has passed that even characters like Blue Devil are now calling Beast Boy out for the way he has closed himself off is very interesting. Hopefully as this sub-plot progresses we see other heroes help Beast Boy out because it would be odd that everyone around him just ignored how he has been acting given the big cast in this series.

Overall, “Ondu!” got the job done in setting the ground work for Young Justice: Phantoms latest story arc to explore the magic corner of the DC Universe. There was enough here to establish all the major players of this story. In the process we finally got to see Zatanna be positioned as a main character in this show again. Which is always great as she is one of the bet characters in the show and DC Universe as a whole.

EPISODE RATING: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

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