Young Justice: Phantoms continues its journey into the war between Chaos and Order magic with its latest episode, “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” This latest episode in particular was one were it never felt like we got to the next gear for the story being told. It all just comes down to how reliant this episode is to the biggest negative of this entire arc, which is the flashback storytelling Young Justice: Phantoms has been heavily reliant on.
When it comes to Giovanni “John” Zatara my knowledge of his character starts and ends with the version we have been presented in Young Justice. o the credit behind the staff of Young Justice for the first three seasons it did feel like they provided us a good amount of information to understand Zatara’s character. Which is why “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” felt like it was using the flashback story to tell Zatara’s backstory to feel more like it was a delay tactic to make this story arc five episodes rather than the four episodes the previous arc was. And I’m not sure if that is because the first half of the season is 13 episodes and they didn’t want the mid-season finale be the start of a new arc but it just felt like we were just getting forced extension of the story.
This slideshow flashback storytelling also highlighted the problem with this style of storytelling. The more this happens during an episode the slower things feel. While there were very impactful imaging with Zatara’s life, especially learning how he lost his wife, the most emotional was the goodbye between Zatara and Zatanna that happened shortly before this arc. The reason why this flashback scene was the most impactful was because it was the one flashback scene that was fully animated. Being fully animated drove home how tough it is on Zatanna to not have her dad around as Dr. Fate reminds her of how her decision led to this situation.
What also didn’t help the heavy use of flashbacks was the fact that it felt like it took a long time before Dr. Fate was able to find the Child and Flaw. It would’ve been one thing if the different crisis’ that the Child created was just done in rapid succession to show other heroes in action. But unfortunately when you add in this to the flashbacks and Klarion’s Magic School Bus routine it all made “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” feel like one big delay episode. Everything just added on top of each other of forcing this story arc being five episodes.
Now I will say what did work was the character storytelling with Mary Bromfield. Even after overcoming her trial with her past as Sergeant Marvel the arc Mary is on is not over. She once again does something in this episode that shows that she has a lot of growing up as a hero that she needs to do. And I’m glad that Khalid Nassour and Traci 13 called her out on what she did to make her realize her error. While Mary does not fully understand what she did it is good that they are pointing it out so that maybe by the end of this arc Mary’s comes to see what she needs to do better.
The Beast Boy segments of this episode continue to explore the current state of depression that Beast Boy is in. Actually seeing him out in work and messing up his job added a layer to his sub-plot because now we see how normal people are reacting to his current state. At some point we do need to see Miss Martian and the other older heroes on the Team interact and help Beast Boy but given the crisis going on in the world you understand why it didn’t happen in this episode. Hopefully with the mid-season finale we see something on this part of Beast Boy’s sub-plot as it has been odd none of the older members of the Team have been shown seeing Beast Boy in his current state.
The after credit scene with Superman telling Black Lightning and Nightwing that they should create new Justice League teams because of all the crisis that are happening was interesting to see happen. This may point to the second-half of Young Justice: Phantoms leading into the direction the other members of the original Team will take. It would make sense given how many more crisis happen that we could see the formation of the Justice League Dark, Justice League Odyssey, or Titans being formed.
Overall, “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” is easily the weakest episode to date for the Young Justice: Phantoms season. There were just to many delay tactics implemented in this episode that felt like this story arc is being forced to be five episodes rather than four like the Miss Martian and Artemis stories. Hopefully the final episode of this story arc around Chaos and Order magic in the DC Universe will provide a satisfying conclusion to the first-half of Young Justice: Phantoms season.
EPISODE RATING: 5 Night Girls out of 10
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter. You can also watch the fun and silly videos Kevin is making over on his TikTok.