Young Justice S01 E04: Drop-Zone

ayj1The Team gets their first official mission, a covert recon mission to the tiny island nation of Santa Prisca. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where the super-villain Bane hails from. And the cult of Kobra is trying to take it over.

This episode really didn’t do anything for me the first time I saw it. It didn’t seem to follow suite of the superhero show it had promised. Bane and Kobra seemed odd choices as villains, and they were definitely not favorites of mine. I always thought Kobra worked better as designed in his 1970s solo title as opposed to the megalomaniac cult leader super-villain he later became. And Bane, to me, was at the center of the whole Bat-Azrael thing, which in my opinion was more a marketing stunt than a storyline. I never warmed to him.

ayj2What I didn’t know then, and do now as hindsight is always 20/20, is that the showrunners were not just doing a new Teen Titans cartoon, they were worldbuilding and developing characters. It wasn’t about Kobra or Bane or even The Team, it was about establishing the world of these characters and how they were connected and reacted to one another. In hindsight, this episode I didn’t care for was one of the better ones.

We get to see the stealth costumes for the first time, a wonderful idea, especially for folks whose chosen profession calls for jumping around in rainbow-colored pajamas. And then there is the question of leadership, purposely left up in the air by Batman to see how the kids handle it. It doesn’t go well at first, with Robin eventually going with Aqualad as leader.

ayj3“Drop-Zone” also gives us a look at some of the villains who have aligned themselves together. To prepare a staggeringly powerful combination of venom and the Blockbuster formula, it seems that Kobra, Mammoth, Shimmer, and the Sportsmaster are in cahoots with The Light. Interesting new origin for Mammoth and a non-speaking role for Shimmer… I wonder where the rest of the Fearsome Five are in this continuity?

ayj4The Sportsmaster is an interesting choice for a villain, and a major player in this series. Originally Crusher Crock, he was an enemy of the Golden Age Green Lantern, who later developed an arsenal of sporting themed gimmicks and weapons to commit crimes. He had a scar on his face from Green Lantern punching him with his power ringed fist, and was later best known as being part of the first husband and wife villain team with Wildcat’s foe, the Huntress. Sportsmaster was always a favorite of mine but thought most folks considered him passé. It was a surprise to see him here.

So all told, we had more wordplay fro Robin, sad flirtation from Miss Martian, even sadder from Kid Flash, some new powers from Aqualad, and already, one too many Hello, Megans. Still, I dig it. What did you folks think of this episode?


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