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Amanda Waller: I am the law of last resort. My name is Amanda Waller. I am not your mother, your maiden aunt, or your friend. I am your warden and you are my prisoners.
September 14th — The Terror Twins (Tommy and Tuppence Terror, a pair of super-strong siblings who had previously tangled with Kid Flash and Superboy; Young Justice (vol. 2) #0 (March 2011)) are locked in a superpowered brawl with Superman and the Martian Manhunter. The fight passes through three States until it crashes into a warehouse in the Old French quarter of New Orleans. The Twins pick themselves up, but Aqualad and the Red Tornado step-out of the shadows and click power-dampening collars around their necks. Superboy then steps forward dressed as Tommy and Miss Martian shapeshifts to look like Tuppence. Batman attaches duplicate power dampening collars to the two disguised heroes and places them under “arrest.”
September 16th — The battle against the genuine Terror Twins and their replacement with the disguised Superboy and Miss Martian is an elaborate charade on Batman’s part to place undercover operatives within the Belle Reve super-villain prison. Immediately prior to the Team’s formation the League and their sidekicks had fought four ice/cold themed villains involved in separate, but simultaneous crimes (“Independence Day”). Killer Frost and Captain Cold were immediately sent to Belle Reve, but Icicle Jr. and Mister Freeze have just successfully petitioned to be sent there themselves. Batman suspects that this was the intention of the attacks all along and he, distrusting even the guards at Belle Reve, is sending Superboy and Miss Martian in undercover to discover why.
“Tommy” and “Tuppence” find themselves on the same transport as Mister Freeze and Icicle Jr. The younger criminal gets chatty about Tommy’s “sister”, but he is silenced by their arrival at the Prison. They are paraded before the formidable Warden Amanda Waller and Hugo Strange (the prison psychologist). Waller warns them that their collars have been specifically designed to counter their individual superpowers and can also be used to deliver incapacitating electrical-shocks in the event of disorder. She even tells them that the prison walls are strong enough to contain Superman. The Twins are split-up, but they remain in touch via Megan’s telepathy which isn’t blocked by her collar (each collar is custom designed and can only block powers the authorities are aware of).
Superboy and Icicle Jr end up sharing a cell in the male wing while Tuppence finds herself rooming with Killer Frost in the female wing. Exercise takes place in an enclosed fitness yard watched over by guards and gun emplacements. Junior shows Tommy around and they mingle with the other inmates – many of whom the Team were responsible for capturing. Superboy almost gets recognised by Professor Ojo (from “Infiltrator”) after he defends Junior. The alteration almost turns ugly, but Icicle Senior (Icicle Junior’s father and the leader of the criminals is Belle Reve) is impressed with Tommy’s spirit and steps in to break it up. Senior then compliments Tommy at the expense of Junior causing Superboy to identify with Junior’s father issues.
Tommy and Tuppence are reunited when the prison psychologist attempts to interview them together. “Tommy” gets annoyed when “Tuppence” admits to Strange that “He won’t admit it, but Tommy really wants to be like his.. our father. Be able to fill Pa’s shoes, do you know? Pa’s distant at best and refuses to give Tommy the time of day. It makes Tommy feel unworthy…” However, Tommy angrily cuts her off before realising that he’s upset her. Later Tommy asks Junior about his own relationship with Senior, but Junior just tells him that his father’s a jerk and that he only wants him around when its useful. Junior makes Superboy realise that “Tuppence” was probably right about him in the psychologist’s session.
Earlier Superboy’s superhearing has allowed him to overhear Icicle Senior telling the other ice villains that their plan was to break every single criminal out of Belle Reve. New prison uniforms were then delivered to each inmate and their cell-mates advised Tommy and Tuppence to change into them as quickly as possible. News that the break is coming soon is relayed telepathically to Aqualad and the Red Tornado who are waiting outside the prison in the stealth Bioship, but they decide to wait for Senior to actually make his move.
Icicle Senior and Mister Freeze take delivery of a consignment of parts (including Mister Freeze’s equipment) from the Laundry room. They then stage a fight in the lunch room which causes the guards to haul Freeze in front of the Warden. In the Warden’s office Freeze overcomes his guard and disables the restraining collars, but not before Waller puts the prison on lock down. In the Cell Block the prisoners regain their powers and quickly overwhelm the guards.
Senior loses lost contact with Killer Frost in the women’s wing. So Tommy, trying to find an advantage, admits to Senior that he’s in psychic contact with his sister (a twin thing) and volunteers himself and Megan as a vital communications link between the two wings. Senior tells him to send the message that “it’s going down now!” However, Tuppence reveals her hand when she stops Killer Frost from killing one of the female guards. She gets a last message to Tommy before she does silent. He’s worried about her, but doesn’t let onto Senior that his telepathic link is down.
Icicle Senior locks Waller and the guards in a cell and then reveals why they needed so many cold powered villains for the breakout. The walls can withstand Superman’s strength, but the intense cold created by the cold-based villains can make the walls brittle enough for the superstrong prisoners to damage. It’s a slow process, but only possible with that combination of cold and strength. Icicle Junior and Tommy’s job is to work on the thinner wall between the male and female wings. Killer Frost and the female prisoners will escape via the male wing. The special uniforms delivered earlier protect the prisoners against the intense cold caused by the work.
Superboy works at the wall desperate to save Megan, but he know he can’t fight an entire prison on his own. He lies to Junior that the collars are turning back on in the women’s wing and leads him away to the Warden’s office. They disable the prisoners guarding it and Superboy turns the collars back on incapacitating the majortiy of the prisoners. Senior is furious and confronts Waller under the assumption that she had something to do with it. He tries to attack her, but Hugo Strange lunges at Icicle Senior knocking him unconscious. Freeze, Mammoth, and Blockbuster confront Icicle Junior and Tommy/Superboy, but Superboy convinces Junior that its all part of Freeze’s plan to unseat his father. Their ice powers look evenly matched until their switch opponents.
Superboy finally breaks through into the female wing to find that Frost has frozen Megan in a massive ice formation. He knocks out the waiting female prisoners, but Junior stops him from breaking Megan’s ice prison out of fear that it would shatter her as well. Superboy reaches out to Megan’s telepathy and she finds the strength to shatter her prison with her telekinesis. It turns out that her Martian physiology isn’t so vulnerable to ice. She and Superboy embrace each other with a kiss and Miss Martian drops her disguise as Tuppence. Icicle Junior finally realises his error.
Afterwards, Amanda Waller is replaced as Warden by Hugo Strange and it appears that all the prisoners are accounted for except for the Riddler who somehow vanished during the chaos. It was Strange who smuggled the uniforms and tech inside. The breakout failed, but it seems that it otherwise achieved the Light’s goals.
- This episode takes place on the 14th and 16th of September – its unclear how many days/nights Megan and Superboy are undercover.
- Miss Martian and Superboy kiss for the first time.
- Junior’s reaction to the Kiss
- The New Orleans warehouse that instantly makes you think Joker, but is then not followed up. Maybe it was just a warehouse.
- Where did the Riddler go?
- What did the League do with the real Tommy and Tuppence during this charade?
- Whatever happened to Amanda Waller? She isn’t a person to be counted out easily.
- What is Professor Ojo’s animosity towards Icicle Junior?
I quite liked the focus on Superboy as it really showed off his character. The chemistry between him and Junior worked well and I wouldn’t mind seeing the character again. Fun fact: Yuri Lowenthal who voices Icicle Junior has also played Superboy (he was Superboy in the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon). Its interesting to see Superboy interact with somebody outside of the Team or the Justice League for once. Even at High School he’s almost constantly chaperoned by Miss Martian and this is the first time we’ve really seen him unrestrained, out of his own. Despite the disguise, he really chills out – pardon the expression – without the constant threat of Aqualad or Megan telepathically shouting “NO!” at him.
The mass of old badguys was interesting to watch – did you spot Abra Kadabra? I’m convinced that Black Spider must be in there somewhere, but we don’t know what his face looks like. The only down side to all those criminals was the sheer amount of orange on screen. it was also nice to see Amanda Waller pop-up, but it felt that the character was wasted as just a prison warden – she should be plotting her own schemes not falling foul of somebody else’s conspiracy. Maybe we’ll see her again.
The one thing that is beginning to get repetitive with these varied episodes is the “but, the badguys actually got what they wanted” ending. Nevertheless, we’re half way through the season and the show is already beginning to pay off its multiple set-ups.
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