Superman on Television

Young Justice: Episode Reviews

Season 1 - Episode 4: "Drop Zone"

Reviewed by: Jon Wilson and Barry Freiman

This was a very enjoyable episode that suffers only a little from some confusing plot construction. I had to watch the episode twice to make sure I knew what was going on and the opening scene several times before I was certain of what to write in the synopsis. The parts that confused me were the politics and interactions between Bane's drug manufacturers and Kobra's Cultists. Much of the key events between these factions are crucial to the setup of the plot but happen offscreen. It's all expounded in a couple of lines between Robin and Kid Flash, so the facts are there but I didn't piece it all together on the first viewing. Aside from that, though, there's lots of good stuff on this episode.

I have to question Batman's methods a bit when he sends the team into a Caribbean superpowered drug scenario without a set chain of command. I understand wanting the team to decide their own leadership, but perhaps this should have been done beforehand? Of course, deciding these questions while in the field makes for a much more interesting story than figuring out Aqualad should be leader while practicing tactics in Mount Justice.

Bane is introduced in a somewhat minor role, but anyone who's read anything about Batman's modern history might expect him to be the big bad in this show. I appreciate the fact that he's not, that there are actually two other significant villains in this story whose roles appear to have a more sinister impact on the show's metaplot. This gives Bane some identity other than "the guy who killed Batman" and also room to possibly grow into such a sinister role down the road.

After having seen a super-angry Superboy last episode, it was refreshing to see a more evenly-balanced presentation of the character here. I was willing to give him some leeway last week because people have different stages of grief and coping, and adjusting to life after coming awake and finding out you're a clone is bound to take you through many of those. Seeing him angry last week was understandable, but only if he was allowed to move on from there, and that's what's happening here. He's even slightly flirty with Miss Martian.

Speaking of Miss Martian, the triangle is firmly established in this episode. Kid Flash likes Miss Martian. Miss Martian likes Superboy. Superboy is reluctant. And this particular episode had Miss Martian being the most forward in her expressions of affection. There's a very cute scene where she compliments Superboy on his clothes, but is immediately embarrassed. Whereas any other teenage girl might wish she could be invisible, that's exactly what Megan does: pull her hood up and turn to camouflage mode.

I found the election of Aqualad as leader achieved very organically. Robin's and Kid Flash's egos have their place, but on this team they get in the way, whereas Aqualad is able to see the team as a fluid unit and coordinate everyone's efforts effectively, though Miss Martian's telepathy is of no small assistance here. He doesn't necessarily want the leadership position, but he has the self-confidence that will allow him to fill the position as long as the team wants him.

Bane was the big tease leading up to this episode, but it's actually Kobra who is introduced as the big bad at the beginning, as he invades Bane's Venom production facility and begins manufacture of the Venom/Blockbuster compound. But on top of that, Sportsmaster is the one with the connections to Cadmus' Board of Directors, the Light. Of the three, the only one who seems to have not gotten away is Bane, but his Venom factory is destroyed. So we're left wondering what role either of the other two might have to play in the metaplot's future developments and the plans of the Light.

I think this episode is going to have to weigh in at three teen stars. The story in outline and the interactions of the characters (especially our heroes) are probably worthy of four, but I have to take off points for some of the confusing storytelling. I'm definitely enjoying the series, though, and I'm eager for more.

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