Young Justice: Disordered

Featured Screen Shot

Screen Shots

Quotes

Serafin: Come on pard’ners, lets ride in there, guns a blazing, and round-up them outlaws!
Dreamer: He’s watched a lot of Earth Westerns.

Synopsis "Disordered"

Previously in “Failsafe”: The Martian Manhunter had linked the Team’s minds together telepathically to create an artificial reality (AR), a shared dream, where the Earth was under attack. The Team were asked to fill the void left after the AR Justice League were killed. However, they were unaware that it was a no-win scenario constructed to test their performance against an impossible enemy. The AR turned into a nightmare after Artemis was “killed”. Miss Martian’s subconscious could not differentiate between the AR and reality and her untrained telepathic mind convinced everybody else that the events they were experiencing were real. Each of the Team “died” in turn as the no-win scenario degenerated towards destruction. It was only at the end, when only Miss Martian was left, that the Manhunter was able to wrestle control of the AR back from her subconscious and shut it down. The Team were left them shaken and disturbed at the choices and sacrifices they had made whilst under extreme duress.

October 23rd — A week has passed since the AR scenario was shut down, but it is clear that the Team are still traumatised. Their mentors are concerned for them so Black Canary begins a series of counselling sessions to help them process their experiences. As usual Superboy (Conner) is the toughest of them to reach. Canary tries talking to him, but he just proclaims “you don’t know what I feel!” and walks out of the session.

Conner is looking for some fresh air and is about to take his motorbike out when the Sphere (the intelligent machine they rescued from the deserts of Bialya in “Bereft”) blocks his path. The Sphere surprises him by transforming into a high-tech trike. A smiling Conner then takes the Sphere out for a test flight with Wolf tagging along in the passenger seat. Batman runs into the hanger just as Superboy leaves, but his calls for him to come back remain unanswered.

The Forever People

The peace and quiet of Metropolis is shattered by the opening of a Boom Tube, a teleportation gateway, through which flies a car carrying five super-powered teenagers. These are the Forever people. Their leader Vykin consults “Mother Box” (a box-shaped living alien computer) which informs him via its pinging sounds that what they seek is on world. Superboy is flying down the coast when the Forever People block his path and demand the return of the “New Genesisphere” (Superboy’s Sphere) and other technology stolen from them. However, before the confrontation turns violent Mother Box pings to tells Vykin that Superboy actually saved the New Genesisphere from the real thieves. The Forever People’s attitude suddenly softens and their biggest member Bear, who had just threatened Superboy, enthusiastically proclaims “Apologies! The Forever People embrace you as an ally and worthy warrior!”

The Forever People introduce themselves to Superboy as “new gods” and give their names as Serafin (a gun toting teen obsessed with Earth’s Wild West), Dreamer (their telepath), Moonrider (who remains silent), Vykin (their leader with magnetic powers), and the bombastic strongman Bear. Mother Box has tracked technology stolen from their home world of New Genesis to Earth. The Sphere was the first piece, but they are now zeroing in on the second item, the Rescue Drill. They find the tunnelling machine being used by criminals from Intergang to tunnel into the Metropolis Federal Reserve (“a heist!” explains Serafin). Superboy leads the Forever People underground where they find Ugly Mannheim and Whisper A’Daire directing the Intergang operation.

Vykin naively demands the return of their technology, but Intergang respond with powerful weaponry – discs which cause intense pain, gravity traps which entomb the target, and energy whips. Dreamer is shocked and tells Superboy that the weapons are those of the “Gods of Anti-Life” from the planet of Apokolips. Those weapons give Intergang a distinct advantage in the confined tunnel created by the Rescue Drill so the heroes fall back to the surface, to the construction site Intergang had used as a cover for their drilling operations. The Sphere joins the battle by firing at Intergang. The Forever People gather around their Mother Box and shout “Tarru”. The five teens dissolve in a burst of light and merge into a single giant armoured form called Infinity Man. Its power turns the tide of the battle and forces Mannheim and his men to escape via another Boom Tube.

Infinity Man finally dissolves back into the individual Forever People, but they are concerned about Intergang’s source. Whisper had been captured by Infinity Man and Dreamer uses her telepathic power to project images from Whisper’s memories. A vile hooded figure appears before them and Dreamer exclaims “Desaad!” Superboy has finally had enough of his enigmatic new friends and demands to know what is going on. Dreamer explains that they come from the twin worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips. Bright New Genesis is home to the Gods of Life, Freedom and “The Source” while the brutal world of Apokolips is home to the Gods of Slavery and Degradation. Intergang are using weapons from each faction. The figure Whisper remembers is Desaad, “god scientist and chief torturer” of Apokolips — although the name of Desaad’s “unspeakable” master remains unspoken.

Mother Box tracks the Apokoliptian technology back to a hanger on an airfield, but Superboy’s infra-red vision shows no heat signatures. They sneak inside, but discover that Intergang have been masking their heat patterns and that it’s a trap. The Forever People are too distracted preparing to merge into Infinity Man again to notice that Desaad is disguised as one of Intergang’s foot soldiers. He hands Mannheim a “Father Box” which Mannheim throws at Infinity Man before he’s fully formed. Father Box places Infinity Man fully under Desaad’s control. It batters Superboy around the air-field, but Father Box knows Desaads “predilections” and is more interesting in hurting Superboy that killing him. Infinity Man/Father Box’s focus on Superboy blinds it to the Sphere which attacks the Infinity Man’s head and plugs into its armour. The Sphere can’t free Infinity Man, but it can control him and creates a set of controls that lets Superboy ride Infinity Man like a machine.

Infinity Man, with Superboy at the Sphere’s controls, blocks Intergang’s attacks and fights back. Superboy and Infinity Man disarm Mannheim and his thugs with ease. Mannheim pleads to Desaad for assistance, but the god scientist calls a Boom Tube and makes his own escape. As he goes Desaad shouts “All will suffer!” and throws a bomb back at Infinity Man/Superboy. They destroy it with Infinity Man’s optic blast, but the backwash from the explosion causes Infinity Man to separate back into the Forever People. Wolf destroyed Father Box, but the Sphere has been heavily damaged/wounded. Superboy is concerned for his friend, but Vykin’s Mother Box starts a healing process. The teen gods still intend to take the Sphere back to New Genesis, but Superboy reacts angrily to them taking his friend. His emotional connection to the Sphere reassures them that he won’t just treat “her” as a machine and they agree to him keeping her.

The Counselling Sessions

Canary continues her counselling session while Superboy is away from the Cave. Artemis is terrified when Canary suggests she could tell her team-mates about her real parentage and cites how Kid Flash would react (a choice Canary notes with interest). By comparison Kid Flash is much more relaxed during his session, but he also over reacts that when Canary bring up his reaction to Artemis’s “death” in the AR and tries to change the subject.

Aqualad offers his resignation as leader to Canary during their session and says that he behaved more like a soldier than a general during the AR. Canary then makes him realize that none of the others are ready to assume that mantle and he reluctantly takes back his offer to resign. The AR had also made Robin question whether really wants to be the leader. He had always expected to grow up to become the next Batman, but the AR made him realize that he does not have the same “thing” inside of him which makes Batman able and willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the mission. He confides in Canary that “I don’t want to be THE Batman any more.”

Miss Martian blames herself for the AR collapse. While talking to Canary her green skin turns human-coloured without her thinking about it. She reacts with shock then Canary calls her “white” until she realises that she meant Caucasian. Martian M’gann thinks that being plain-human Megan without any powers will solve her problems, but Canary tells her that not being herself is never the answer. However, she seems to accept Canary’s advise to keep practising until she finally has control.

Superboy eventually returns to the Cave after his adventure. His report concerns Batman who believes that further investigation is required. Superboy also returns to his session with Black Canary. He admits to her that he was not traumatised by the AR and was actually “at peace”. The one things he has wanted to know / wanted to be since Cadmus created him is what it would be like to be Superman. The AR gave him that chance and that made him relaxed, even happy, there. However, he now feels guilty for feeling happy when the same events so traumatised his friends. Canary admits that there is no easy answers, but that admitting how he felt is the first step in dealing with it.

Continuity

  • Black Canary refused to speak for a while after her first Canary Cry almost deafened her first grade class.

Commentary

New Genesis and Apokolips

Every DC Cartoon series has to at some time or another introduce Jack Kirby’s New Gods. Jack Kirby was a legendary comic book creator who worked predominantly for Marvel Comics in the 1960s. He co-created the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and numerous other characters as an artist working alongside writer/editor Stan Lee. By the end of the decade Kirby was looking for new opportunities and crossed town to work with Marvel’s chief rivals at DC Comics. His work for DC comprised four interlocking comic books – the New Gods, Mister Miracle, Jimmy Olsen, and the Forever People – which explored the war fought on Earth by alien gods – the evil gods of Apokolips and the new gods of New Genesis.

The “Fourth World”, as it became known, was a vast almost Tolkien-level milieu that is now widely celebrated, but it almost ended up still-born as DC management, citing poor sales figures, cancelled the titles prematurely. Despite their initial lack of foresight, DC have continually minded Kirby’s concepts for characters and settings. The biggest of these draws is the central villain of the entire saga, a secular Satan figure called Darkseid. He has proven to be one of the few cosmic villains in the DC Universe will any great traction. The appeal of the figure to writers is so strong that he ended up being the principal enemy in the DCAU Superman and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. He is also the villain that Geoff Johns and Jim Lee chose to use in the New 52 refoundation of the Justice League.

The Forever People

The Forever People first appeared in Forever People #1 (Feb 1971) in a story that actually reads more like a Superman story. It’s written almost like an issue of a Superman comic that is guest-starring the Forever People. He is in Metropolis and helps the kids and Infinity Man battle Darkseid. It’s not really until the second issue that they take over their own title properly. This episode keeps the connection with Superman by having Superboy be the one to meet them first.

Within the Fourth World saga the Forever People represent the next generation of gods. As they were created at the end of the 1960s they display a strong flower-children / counter-cultural inspiration. However, they each also have a resonance with a different period of Earth’s history (something played up by later writers). They are in effect flower-child equivalents of a Norse warrior (Big Bear), a Wild West rogue (Serafin), a Victorian gentleman (Mark Moonrider)… okay, the analogy breaks down, but the point is that Kirby never uses just one or two ideas when he could mash a dozen of them together. The names Kirby used have been shortened for this episode so Big Bear and Beautiful Dreamer become Bear and Dreamer. Also, thankfully, Vykin the Black is just Vykin.

The Forever People are the original archetypes of the group of characters who merge into one single character, another pick-up from the communal ideas of the hippies. When they all touched their Mother Box – a living computer – and shouted the world “Tarru” the Forever People are replaced by an adult super-god called the Infinity Man. This pre-dates everything like Captain Planet and the Transformer combiners.

Vykin and Serafin are voiced by regulars Dee Bradley Baker (Wolf) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Martian Manhunter). Dreamer was voiced by Grey Delisle who has also voiced Barbara Gordon in Batman: Year One, Fire in Batman The Brave and the Bold, Black Canary in the Green Arrow short. She may presently be better known as the sultry voice of Catwoman in Batman: Arkham City and as the modern voice of Scooby Doo‘s Daphne. Bear was voiced by Bill Fagerbakke who has also voiced Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm’s alter ego) in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Broadway in Greg Weisman’s Gargoyles. However, Bill will probably be most widely known as Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants. Mark Moonrider does not speak.

The Super-Cycle

As well as creating great characters Jack Kirby was also brilliant at designing their devices and vehicles. In the comic books the Forever People travelled in a large 5-person flying-cycle called the Super-Cycle — this is the Sphere or New Genesisphere that Superboy liberated in “Bereft”. The Super-Cycle was picked up by Young Justice creator Peter David as his team’s transportation in the original comic book series that this cartoon is based upon. The flying car that the Forever People use in this episode is called a Whiz Wagon and was originally used by the Newsboy Legion, a group of clones created by the Cadmus Project (another Kirby production).

Intergang

Intergang was created by Jack Kirby as a criminal organization run and supplied by Desaad on Darkseid’s behalf. Although any given one of their activities were more likely than not to be a result of Desaad operating on his own. Originally Intergang was run by a seedy executive called Morgan Edge, the CEO of Galaxy Broadcasting – the “GBS” station fronted by Cat Grant which is used for all the TV slots in this show. Edge was later replaced by a second generation gangster called Ugly Mannheim. He alludes to his father, Boss Moxie, during dialogue in this episode.

Later writers, including Greg Rucka, explored the religious/cult concepts of a criminal organization sponsored by a god and turned Intergang into a cult who worshipped Darkseid and his “Crime Bible.” One of the new characters they introduced during this time was Whisper A’Daire whom first appeared in Detective Comics #743 (April 2000) as a follower of Ra’s Al Ghul she resurfaces later on working with Ugly Mannheim in the 52 weekly series.

Misc

  • Miss Martian is baking again as shown in “Welcome to Happy Harbor” and in “Downtime”. The Superboy was shown watching the same TV programme, i.e. static, in “Downtime”.
  • Kid Flash’s arm is still in plaster – it was broken in “Revelations”.
  • Martian Manhunter: “Trauma tends to linger, as I know you know. ” — this is an allusion to Batman’s origin and how the trauma of seeing his parents killed before him caused Bruce Wayne to dedicate his life to become the Batman.
  • Wally diet: pop-corn while talking to Black Canary.
  • Full Credits: Ask Greg

Opinion

Highlights

  • A Superboy and his Wolf out for a joyride.

Oddities

  • Mark Moonrider isn’t very talkative is he.

Unanswered Questions

  • What is Intergang’s relation to the Light? What is Apokolips’ relation to the Light?

My Thoughts

As the team cope with the trauma from “Failsafe” the secret of the (New Geni)Sphere is revealed and the Forever People come to Earth. This episode is a breath of fresh air after after the darkness and trauma of last episode. Indeed this episode opens with, and is interspersed by, the team’s counselling seasons with Black Canary. These give an insight into the characters and vocalizes the Artemis and Wally tension that has been running since she appeared. I thought the admissions from Robin and Superboy were interesting. The former was horrified at where being his mentor took him while the later found peace in his mentor’s role. Robin doesn’t want to be Batman, but Superboy wants – needs – to be Superman.

The Forever People are an interesting counterpoint to Young Justice. Each of them can be seen as a close, but far more self-assured parallel of a YJ member – Dreamer is Miss Martian, Bear is Superboy, Serafin is Kid Flash, Vykin as Aqualad, and Moonrider as Robin. They are relaxed in their own identities and the merger into Infinity Man gives them an openness and intimacy that YJ do not have. Their use here is to give Superboy a juxtaposition of how a more harmonious team could operate. As we saw in “Terrors”, he’s quite a different character when he’s out from under the pressure of YJ and his own need to be protective towards Megan. He relaxes and becomes a far more engaging character. The scene with Black Canary at the end of this episode shows Superboy dealing with his own emotional baggage about being Superman’s clone, but I wonder how much longer that this can run before they have to actually have the confrontation between him and Superman.

The Verdict

Stars
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
TypeSiteReviewerRatingEquivalent
Grand Average 70%
Character Site The Captain's Justice League Homepage Jason Kirk 3.5/5