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- (to Aqualad) You can split your time between the surface and the sea — but not your mind. Either you’re here one hundred percent or you need to walk away…
Synopsis "...and the Penalty" (20-pages)
Previously in Young Justice (vol. 2) #11 (Feb 2012) and Young Justice (vol. 2) #12 (March 2012): In revenge for messing with her affection, Talia Al Ghul locked Matthew Hagan in the Lazarus Pit and left him for dead. Six Months later a monstrous shadow of Hagan emerged from the Pit as a confused, shape-shifting clay-like monster. Ra’s Al Ghul saw the potential in of the “Clayface” creature for chaos and had it shipped to Bruce Wayne as a “reward” for his interference as Batman. The creature escaped into the Gotham City sewer system and Batman ordered the Team to hunt it while he created a weapon to neutralise it. However, Aqualad, the team’s leader, is distracted by thoughts of home and leads the team straight into Clayface’s ambush.
Aug 27th – Clayface pins the Team to the wall of the sewer tunnel forcing them to use extreme force to stop themselves from being smothered. They think they’ve dismembered Clayface, but he rapidly reforms and blind sides them again. He escapes, laughing as he goes, and Aqualad is left to report their failure to the Batman. The other members of the Team are eager to bag Clayface themselves, but Aqualad is still lost in thought. Batman is studying a sample of the creature and believes it can be neutralised with a simple tazer if he can just find the right frequency for the electrical pulses.
Meanwhile in Star City, Artemis is led though the Police Station in handcuffs and parked on a bench to wait processing. She finds herself sat next to Icicle Jr., Their dads, the Sportsmaster and Icicle Senior, use to be collogues in the super-villain business and Icicle assumes that Artemis is as well. He hints to her that she should get herself tried as an adult and deliberately transferred to Belle Reve. Artemis is freed after Icicle is led away. She reports Icicle’s suggestion to Green Arrow, but then warns Arrow “Don’t ever as me to do this again! I signed on to the team to be a hero — not a snitch!”
The rest of the Team tracks Clayface to a warehouse, but his methods have become increasingly sophisticated. He isolates each of the members of the Team and mimics one of their friends to get close enough to incapacitate them. Aqualad is the last to fall. He is just about to fall concious when Batman crashes in through the skylight and hits Clayface with his specially designed taser. The electrical pulses cause Clayface to loose cohesion and collapse into a pool of mud.
Later back at the Cave, Batman correctly deduces that Aqualad’s “head wasn’t in the game” and that is a thoughts for a girl which are distracting him. He tells Aqualad to make a decision, commit his focus to the team 100% or walk away.
- This issue takes place on the 27th of August. The final fight with Clayface, the Batman’s intervention, and his conversation with Aqualad also appeared in the episode “Downtime”.
- Artemis use to know Icicle Jr. when their super villain father’s worked together. At Green Arrow’s request she uses that old familiar link to get a hint at something involving Belle Reve. This sets up the events of “”.
This is an unusual issue and a slightly unsatisfactory one at that. The last five pages run parallel to the cartoon so 25% of this comic is material that we’ve already seen. The Team spend two longish sequences getting their butt handed to them again by Clayface. Thus, there isn’t too much new here. The end of last issue’s cliff hanger could just have easily led directly into “Downtime” without any of this issues running in circles.
Overall this arc has helped the overall storyline and gives some more background to why the Team were fighting Clayface. Read on its own this issue sets up the two-part Atlantis story coming up next in this series. Read with the cartoon it sets up Aqualad’s visit to Atlantis in “Downtime”. (For those of you keeping track, the comic-book Atlantis arc takes place over a week after the events of “Downtime”, immediately after the events of “Bereft”).
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Page 4. Miss Martian references a “rabid Ma’alefa’ak on Mars”. In the comic books Ma’alefa’ak was J’onn J’onzz’s brother, the only Martian born without telepathy. He was responsible for near extinction of the Martians.
Page 6. This is Cameron Mahkent, Icicle Junior who appeared briefly in the opening sequence of the first episode, “Independence Day”, fighting Green Arrow and Speedy (Red Arrow as is). His father is Icicle Senior. His appearance here is setting up the events of “Terrors”. Artemis’s father is the Sportsmaster.
Page 7. This is actually quite an important sequence for Artemis. In the episode “Targets” the Sportsmaster, Artemis’s father, teases Aqualad with the knowledge that there is a mole on the team. Artemis’s displeasure at snitching on an old friend would seem to indicate that she is loyal to the team.
Page 8. Point of continuity, “Downtime” shows the team in their normal costumes so its nice to see it explained when/how they changed out of their stealth suits.
Page 9. The sign on the Warehouse is not legible on screen, but can be read here as “Bichel Co.” Hal Bichel is the lady responsible for putting YJ artist Christopher Jones’s website together, she’s also his girlfriend.
Page 15. The last three panels of this page is where this issue syncs up with “Downtime”. Everything hereafter is a match for the tag of that episode, although some additional dialogue at the Cave is left out of the comic book.