When DC Comics reset their multiverse for the first time with Crisis On Infinite Earths, they opened up their new singular universe with a story called Legends. Concerned by the threat posed by the heroes of Earth, Darkseid of Apokolips enacted a plot to destroy the people’s faith in their heroes with a propaganda war. The storyline helped to reestablish the Justice League and the character of Shazam (or Captain Marvel as he was still known then) and introduced the Suicide Squad.
The base idea of Legends has lurked in the background of Young Justice‘s third season, but the latest episode, “First Impression,” drags that classic crossover into the center stage. It also introduces a nod to the classic Teen Titans comics of the 1960s while, ironically enough, updating the concept of both stories for the 21st Century.
The opening of the episode picks up right where last week’s “Illusion of Control” ended, with Garfield “Beast Boy” Logan making a case to Aquaman and Ms. Martian that the Justice League is losing the hearts of the people and that an openly-operating team of teen superheroes will help to tackle most of their issues. Teen heroes will help to humanize the teenagers being abducted and sold into super-slavery, who are being written off by adults as inhuman monsters not worth saving. And they can help to energize young people, showing them that they can make a difference and change the world for the better, even without superpowers, and use that idealism to challenge their elders.
It’s a bold plan but Beast Boy has though of everything – even how to pay for it all and add insult to injury by using his salary as an actor for Goode World Studios, which is secretly a front for the slavers of Apokolips. This leads to Garfield Logan finding himself cast in a new role – team leader – and the new team finding themselves tested immediately by the return of an old enemy in Brooklyn, Maine – a small town that has little use for teenagers shaking the status quo and even less use for metahumans.
Admittedly, this last point (taken from the very first Teen Titans story in Brave and the Bold #54) is a little corny and it isn’t helped by the animators throwing a visual tribute to Scooby Doo into the mix while introducing a new gender-flipped version of Jack Kirby’s Newsboy Legion. And while it’s easy to see concerned citizen Thomas Thompkins flipping his wig over the property damage caused by a group of teen superheroes while stopping an alien invasion, it beggars belief that he’s somehow able to call in the military to perform a perfectly legal air-strike when the town sheriff is in the middle of trying to work with the assembled heroes.
On the other hand, this sort of thing is part and parcel of teen hero comics and Thompkins’ antics are no more ludicrous than everything J. Jonah Jameson did to try and bring down Spider-Man. The idea of reintroducing Gabby, Big Words and Tommy (now Tommi) Thompkins as a trio of social media savvy teenage girls who run their own news blog while continually filming everything around them is a solid update of Jack Kirby’s classic idea and one wishes we saw this kind of creativity in the new Young Justice comics.
More, based on the skyscraper base that Garfield builds for his team, it looks like Young Justice is finally edging closer to that moment when they’ll finally call its team of young heroes something besides “The Team.” Perhaps something evoking their teen membership and the Titans of legend? Time well tell, but either way it’s nice to see Garfield Logan being written as the joking but heroic figure he was in the original New Teen Titans comics, with a fantastic vocal performance by Greg Cipes.
(Yes, the same Greg Cipes who voices Beast Boy on Teen Titans Go! but with a totally different voice! Oh, the irony!)
Bottom Line: “First Impression” makes a great impression and might be a good episode for introducing those who have yet to get into Young Justice to one of the best series based on the DC Comics universe.
First Impression will be available to stream on July 9th, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.