Young Justice: Phantoms started out with a four episode arc that focused on Miss Martian, Superboy, Beast Boy, and the politics of the Martians. The story arc ended with Superboy making the ultimate sacrifice to save the Martians that costed him his life. That is a massive blow to Young Justice as Superboy has been in this series from the beginning and we were finally going to see him and Miss Martian get married. With such a massive moment taking place how will Young Justice: Phantoms handle this and other ongoing plotlines. Let’s see with episode 5 of Young Justice: Phantoms titled “Tale of Two Sisters.”
The opening for “Tale of Two Sisters” does a good job setting the tone for how we are seeing Young Justice: Phantoms deal with trauma and mental health this season. There is no character that can better relate to the pain Miss Martian is currently going through than Artemis who similarly lost Wally West in season 2 of Young Justice in his own heroic sacrifice. Seeing how Artemis goes from living her normal life as a college professor and leader of one of the Young Justice teams to being disconnected to the world around her after learning about Superboy’s death was a powerful opening. It is an immediate reminder of how the pain of loss can’t go away.
While focusing on Artemis reaction to Superboy’s death was well handled I do wish that at some point in “Tale of Two Sisters” that someone mentioned how Miss Martian was doing. Not showing or mentioning Miss Martian just did not seem right given the weight of Superboy’s sacrifice. Even if it was a silent scene of one or more of the original Team members being with Miss Martian would of gone a long way to address it as a sub-plot while Artemis had her own major problem to deal with.
It was also odd to see how the episode open with what came across as just a slide show. This approach to catching us up to where Artemis is at this a year after the end of season 3 did not work as well as if it was fully animated. It instead gave off a feeling that production of this episode, and possibly season, has been rushed to cause this type of storytelling to be implemented for Young Justice: Phantoms.
All that said, “Tale of Two Sisters” was a good episode to kick start a new story arc for Young Justice: Phantoms. What was specifically enjoyable was having Arrowette, Arsenal, Red Arrow, Cassandra Cain as Orphan, Spoiler, and Terra making up the team Artemis is working with. A major complaint with the Outsiders season was how quickly all the heroes introduced in season two were sidelined for other new characters. So going with a team that actually spotlights characters who haven’t gotten much screen time since being introduced was a refreshing change of pace.
Assembling this team also further highlights how Young Justice: Phantoms will be a season where we will see the original Team at the end of the first season take on more leadership roles. Artemis as Tigress leading this team emphasizes this about the Phantoms season. Even while Arsenal is his typical rogue self everyone on this team respects Artemis as the leader. She is the one making that everyone turns to making the final decision on what to do next after they share their opinions. That is shown with the arguments Terra, Spoiler, and Orphan make about what to do with Onyx and Cassandra Savage.
The story involving the League of Assassins also gave way for the show writers address a complaint with Young Justice’s reliance on a team mole or traitor every season. Onyx and Cassandra Savage both being set up to once again revisit this type of storytelling was a chance for the heroes to bring up this being something they’ve dealt with a lot. While it is breaking the fourth wall a bit it is done in a way that makes sense to the developments that take place over the course of the episode. The heroes only bring it up because they don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past which is a logical way you hope they would address this type of story after it happening many times in the past.
With the League of Assassins involvement it was good to see that Artemis is bringing her sister, Cheshire, into the fold. We’ve seen over the course of the last three seasons that the show’s staff has been slow playing Artemis and Cheshire’s relationship. There have been many hints that these sisters would eventually put aside their differences and become a family again. This conflict with the League of Assassins could be the catalyst for that to finally be dealt with along with Cheshire, Will Harper, and Lian Harper’s family.
For all the things I am excited for this new story arc that features Artemis at the forefront I would be lying if the Batman Family elements didn’t peak my interest most. Seeing Talia Al Ghul carrying an infant Damian Wayne with a brainwashed Jason Todd in his special League of Assassins gear really caught my attention. While the focus of Talia’s appearance was to push the Artemis and Cheshire story there are a lot of things here that make it clear we will see a Batman Family story take place at some point. Which will likely mean Nightwing’s own personal story arc involve Jason Todd, Talia Al Ghul, Damian Wayne, and the other Batman Family members on the Team.
Overall, “Tale of Two Sisters” was a good set-up episode for the second story arc in Young Justice: Phantoms. Artemis evolution continued as she steps up in a leadership role that gives many lesser used heroes in Young Justice a chance to be spotlighted. Where exactly the show’s staff plans to take the League of Assassins story has me excited for the many possibilities presented for this story arc and the future of the season.
EPISODE RATING: 8 Night Girls out of 10
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