How do you do, fellow teens? Because you demanded it, Young Justice is returning for a third season in 2017, and that means that there's no better time to get caught up on the first two seasons. Elle Collins, who has seen the entire show and likes it a lot, and Chris Sims, who hated the pilot and never went back, are sitting down to watch the entire series before it makes its triumphant return.

This week, Aqualad's back! I'm sure he's here to help out! "Alienated" was written by Kevin Hopps, directed by Melchior Zwyer, and originally aired on May 12, 2017.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Chris Sims: Watch out, Elle! The Krolotean Invasion is heating up, and everyone is in danger from this sinister master plan to replace people with robot duplicates! It could be literally anyone, because in a move that defies comprehension, they've come for the Secretary General of the United Nations, and… Metropolitan diner cook Bibbo Bibbowski?

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

The plan could use some work, is what I'm getting at. Perhaps they'll find the direction they need by teaming up with Black Manta, who's working with the not-quite-DNAliens in an effort to score points with the Light, who I guess have been taking a five year hiatus from constantly trying to conquer the world.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Meanwhile, on the heroic side of things, we finally find out what went on in the Missing 16 Hours: The heroes of the Justice League went to Rimbor — future home of Ultra Boy from the Legion of Superheroes — and basically just tore stuff up while loudly announcing themselves as being from Earth.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

It certainly sullied their galactic reputation, but honestly, it seems like that's a pretty big waste of having three or four Superman-level beings under your control for the better part of a day. Regardless, all of this comes together when the team (and a few of their older pals) head into battle against Black Manta and the Kroloteans, only to reveal to us, the viewers, that Aqualad is now Black Manta's sidekick and really hates the rest of the team.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

With that revealed and Black Manta officially welcomed into Vandal Savage's team of baddies, the Justice League heads to Oa to answer for their crimes, leaving Earth in the care of Captain Atom and a bunch of teenagers. With them in charge, I give this planet about three weeks.

Elle Collins: I'm pretty sure that when he was being kind of boring in Season 1, I said at some point that Aqualad gets a lot more interesting Season 2. And now here we are, finally seeing his new black armor, fascist haircut, and newly established relationship with his formerly estranged father, Black Manta. And it only gets more dramatic from here.

Chris: I think it's fair to say that you are a little more predisposed to be super into a story involving Tula and Black Manta than I am, but it is nice to see another good use of the five-year time jump, and Aqualad's "betrayal" is actually handled pretty well. It's not like he suddenly woke up evil, he just decided that Aquaman (and the Team) were the bad guys in his story.

Elle: I may be an Aquaman defender in most situations, but if your sidekick doesn't know that he's the son of your archenemy, you should probably tell him before his father gets a chance to. Otherwise it's just not going to work out well for anybody.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Chris: Also, I do think it's a little weird that while Tula appeared back in the first season, we are literally introduced to the concept of "Aquagirl" with Aquagirl being dead as an underwater doornail. But as far as Black Manta being Aqualad's dad (Aquadad) goes, is this a thing Kaldur didn't know before?

Elle: He is specifically angry at Aquaman for not telling him, so it seems he learned pretty recently. I don't remember if we ever learn the full story of his parentage, I assume his mother is Atlantean since Black Manta is human. Historically he uses that big helmet to breathe underwater, so it's weird that Kaldur also has one, despite having gills. Anyway, I agree with you about Tula. They should have retroactively killed off Garth instead. Nobody likes Garth.

Chris: Listen, if we're going to get into a discussion of which DC Comics Atlanteans people don't care about, we're going to be here all day. Suffice to say that I've seen enough superhero stories that while I haven't read ahead, I definitely suspect that Aqualad is going to end up being a double (triple?) agent.

Elle: In the interest of not giving anything away, I'm choosing this moment to change the subject. Let's talk about Bibbo. I can't imagine it was cost-effective to build a robotic Bibbo suit just so the Kroloteans could take over a diner, but I liked that the real Bibbo showed up and got a good punch in.

Chris: For those of you who aren't familiar with Bibbo, he was a supporting character in the first Dan Jurgens era of Superman, back in the mid '90s. He was a former heavyweight boxing champion who considered Superman to be his "fav'rit," because people talk weird in comic books, and admired him enough to name his dog Krypto. So yeah: Post-Crisis Krypto was a rescue puppy owned by a boxer who ran a dive bar.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Elle: A dive bar that has became a diner for this show because it's aimed at kids. Bibbo is still pretty much Bibbo though. I always remember in "Reign of the Supermen" when Bibbo said something like, "None of these dopes are the real Superman," and turned out to be completely correct, while at the same time Bill Clinton was officially endorsing an evil cyborg imposter.

Chris: Would you believe that I just got that the bar being named "Ace o' Clubs" is a joke about how he was very good at clubbing people with his fists? Like, just now, this very moment?

Elle: I have to be honest, Chris. I just got that, right now, because you told me.

Chris: Oh good, I feel less alone. But yeah, it's nice to see Bibbo showing up — I'm a sucker for weird obscure DC Continuity showing up in this show — but it's super weird that he'd be someone the aliens are trying to replace. Like, even if he's a guy who knows Superman, which he was in the comics, I feel like he'd be maybe 19th on that particular list. And if he is, and Jimmy Olsen foiled a Krolotean robot replacement plot and they didn’t let us see it, this show is trash.

Elle: While we're talking about Superman stuff, I'm going to jump ahead to the end of the episode to say that Superman standing in mid-air five seconds before a massive bomb goes off and calmly telling a whole army of malicious aliens that he will save all their lives if they let him is the purest and truest of Superman moments.

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Chris: Yes! That's really, really good, and while I said earlier that the whole Rimbor Rampage was a waste of all the power they had, it does certainly do the job of hurting Superman. If you really want to twist the knife for that guy, you take away his ability to help people, and ruining his reputation with the rest of the galaxy is a really great, smart way to do that.

Elle: That's a really good point. The show is very vague about whether the mind-controlled Leaguers killed anybody on Rimbor. I don't know why Vandal Savage wouldn't have wanted them to, but it would presumably mess them up all the more to know they did. So it's probably best left unaddressed.

Chris: In the images that we see, Hawkgirl is definitely taking a swing with her mace at an alien, who suspiciously does not look at all like Ultra Boy.

Elle: Well as long as he's not using any of his other superpowers at the moment, maybe he's invulnerable! I'm kidding, I know that unlike most Legionnaires, Ultra Boy doesn't share his powers with his whole planet. He gotten them by being swallowed by a space whale, which is a much better origin.

Chris: The more we talk about Jo Nah, the more I want to do our Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes follow-up column. For now, though, what did you think of the Light coming back? Are we meant to assume this is the first time they've done anything in the past five years?

Elle: I don't remember specific details from episodes to come, but I suspect they've been doing stuff behind the scenes all along. Like you said once before, nobody plays a longer game than Vandal Savage. And by the way, did you notice the shadowy figure who set the bomb on the island? Any theories on who that is?

 

Young Justice S2E3: Alienated

 

Chris: No idea. With Glorious Godfrey still running around in this issue, I'd guess it would be someone from the Fourth World, but it doesn't look like any of the usual suspects. Too small to be Kalibak, not fancy enough to be Kanto.

Elle: Yeah, definitely no beret outline in that silhouette. And he's probably too athletic to be Vundabar.

Chris: Could be one of Baron Bedlam's mannequins! But seriously, who is it? You asked and now I need to know.

Elle: I would gladly tell you privately, but I don't feel like I should spoil it in the recap. By way of hinting, I will just say that there are players in this saga who have barely been hinted at so far.

Chris: Hmph! We'll just have to keep watching, I guess.