Review: "Beyond the Grip of the Gods"

Four arcs down, two to go! This season has been nothing short of spectacular, and with this new arc, we leave the beautiful underwater scenery for the bright, popping colors of space. This grouping of enticing stories will be headlined by Raquel Ervin, who’s more well-known by her superhero moniker, “Rocket”. With Rocket finally getting a chance to shine, along with some captivating new stories set far away from her home, fans of Young Justice will be in for a treat that’ll surely delight and surprise many viewers. This episode contains a lot of twist and turns, so we'll avoid going into major spoiler territory in our recap or review. However, if you enjoy going into episodes completely blind, consider this your spoiler warning!

As stated above, the plot of "Beyond the Grip of the Gods" generally centers around Rocket, who’s taking care of her son, Amistad, at the beginning of the episode. Amistad has special needs with many specific quirks, and Raquel seems to have a difficult time managing them and accepting her son's diagnosis as having autism. Regardless of her son’s activities, Rocket’s main focus is on an intergalactic Justice League mission with the aid of Forager and the original Flash, Jay Garrick. The trio make their way to the otherworldly Supertown, where they meet popular characters in the DC Universe associated with the esteemed New Gods such as Orion, Lightray, and Highfather.

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However, not everything on this interstellar adventure is sanguine, as the frightful Ma'alefa'ak is still at large and in association with Apokoliptian warlord, Darkseid. However, he needs to pass one final test of loyalty and is ultimately forced to align with a mysterious being... the same mysterious being who laced the bomb with Kyrptonite that killed Conner. Meanwhile, Conner is still trapped in his polychromatic purgatory and fighting off the visions of Lex Luthor. It’s a race against his own sanity to not give into the hallucinations of Superman’s greatest adversary while also trying to keep “Ghosty” safe.

This episode excels in a variety of spellbinding ways, and the first major factor to point out is the beautiful animation. The way Supertown is animated is absolutely gorgeous, it's unlike anything we've ever seen on the show before. Every single setting in this episode uses a wide variety of colors that vividly bounce off the screen. The new places we see really catches the eye of anyone watching, and it makes us eager to see more of these unearthly locations in further episodes.

The world-building in “Beyond the Grip of the Gods” is also borderline immaculate, and that's saying a lot considering how much world-building has been in the show beforehand. The DC multiverse has always had rich roots in their expansive galaxies, and we get to see more of that in the first chapter to Roc ket's arc. Ranging from the hellish landscape of Apokolips to the varicolored lands which Forager’s species inhabit, this episode highlights that there's more to Earth-16 than just the Earth per say. It'll be interesting to see how many other unworldly environments we'll see in the next couple of episodes, the creative boundaries are nonexistent with the characters and locations we have at standby! 

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Finally, in regards to the episode's many strengths, the introduction of a plethora of new and returning characters was also massively exhilarating. Fans of the New Gods will be enthused to see the debut of the real Orion, after Ma'alefa'ak impersonated him in “Away Mission”, finally in action. Not only that, but we also get to see the Young Justice debuts of Highfather and Highmother, it's only a matter of time until we see characters like Mister Miracle and Steppenwolf one day. We also get to see more of Rocket’s family like her son, Amistad, at the beginning of the episode and get to really understand what it feels like to be in the hero's shoes in regards to motherhood. All of these old and new faces are always welcome in a show that revolves around so many fascinating heroes and villains.

There are very few, if any, drawbacks to “Beyond the Grip of the Gods”, but there are some questions that can be drawn as to why some characters would be considered “monsters” when they're clearly repentant and the situation itself wasn't too black and white. Some of the smaller subplots are also not terribly engrossing such as the scenes with Forager and other beings of his species. While their designs are imaginative, the subplot that correlated with them was less than stellar when compared to the overarching stories that were going on in the episode. Nothing too detrimental to completely ruin this, but there are definitely some minor points to bring up in this otherwise fantastic episode.

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Overall, “Beyond the Grip of the Gods” was an invigorating start to the fifth arc of Young Justice: Phantoms that generally put the main focus on Rocket. The animation and world-building in this episode was utterly sensational, and helped expand the already lucrative universe that's associated with Earth-16. Seeing an array of fresh faces and returning favorites was also quite enjoyable to see, it'll be exciting to see where this newest arc will take us going forward. We're all engrossed in what kinds of stories will be on the horizon, and “Beyond the Grip of the Gods” was certainly one outstanding way to start this all off!

What did you think of the episode? What kinds of theories do you have regarding some of the big reveals? Let us know down below in the comments and forum!

Author: Connor T. DavenportEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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