Young Justice Phantoms: "Inhospitable" and "Needful" Review

Yesterday, Young Justice kicked off its fourth season with a surprise two episode drop on HBO Max. After waiting for over two years, expectations are sky-high, with many wondering if the eagerly-anticipated fourth season would live up to the hype. Not only did the first two episodes fulfil nearly every expectation, it completely destroyed them. 

“Inhospitable” picks up where Outsiders left off, refreshing the audience’s memory that M’gann and Conner vowed to resolve their issues and reinstated their desire to marry one another. Flash forward one year later, and things have mainly stayed the same— with a few notable changes. Harper Row and her brother Cullen now live with Lucas Carr and his new wife, Police Chief Bethany. The Happy Harbor home is heartwarmingly chaotic, with the west-coast based heroes (Violet, Tara and Forager) arriving for their daily transport to Happy Harbor High. M’gann and Conner say their goodbyes as they head off for a three-month-long trip to Mars for a traditional Martian wedding ceremony, taking Bioship, Garfield and J’onn with them. 

As the group arrives at the epic beauty of Ma’aleca’andra, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a happy, relaxing vacation. On top of Garfield’s uncharacteristically snippy attitude, racial tensions are high, both towards the unwanted Earthers and the G’arrunn and A’ashenns. “Inhospitable” does an excellent job at bringing the audience up to speed by having the exposition equally demonstrated and explained throughout the episode. It’s easy to get invested in this first episode. New characters like M’gann’s sister Em’ree and her parents J’ann and M’aatt are both engaging and endearing, and as the plot thickens, so does the audience’s interest. By the time we reach the shocking cliffhanger of an ending, our fingers can’t hit ‘next episode’ fast enough. 

Thankfully, “Needful” doesn’t leave us in suspense for too long. It continues “Inhospitable”’s story, raising its low simmer to a steady boil. The hostility and racism between the G’arrunn and A’ashenns only grows, fueled both by M’comm and the new antagonist, R’ess E’dda. Add Prince J’emm assigning Garfield and Conner the task of solving the mystery of the King’s murder, and we’ve got a jam packed story ready to unfold over the next few episodes. Luckily, we get a sweet breather in the gift of M’gann and Conner’s pre-wedding Ma’ayava’ana ceremony. It’s the perfect antidote to the brief heaviness— at least, until someone tries to murder them under an avalanche of rocks. Throughout the two episodes, we see three Legionnaires (Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, and Chameleon Boy) follow M’gann, Conner and Garfield. We don’t yet know as to why they’re there on Mars and following the three, but one thing’s clear, there’s an unseen villain behind much of the trouble the trio are facing and the Legionnaires are there to stop them. 

The writing of these two episodes is top-notch and solid— truly, this is Young Justice at its best. Though some expository dialogue is to be expected with a time skip, once it gets past the requisite explanation, the dialogue is witty, sharp, and often funny. The tone of the episodes is a good blend of dark and lighthearted, never straying too far into each spectrum so it’s easy to bounce between the two. Several plotlines are teased, between the Legionnaires, the mystery villain, M’comm’s gene bomb, M’gann and Conner’s wedding, and more, there’s plenty to be covered in the future episodes. Our only disappointment with the story was the sole focus on the Mars trip, and the status of all the other core team members (Artemis, Dick, Kaldur, etc.) are left unknown. However, this is a minor qualm and we appreciate the refreshing return of solely focusing on a small batch of characters to complete an arc. We’re sure we’ll see the remaining core members in the episodes to come!

In addition to the writing, the emotional moments and character beats are very well done. Garfield’s frequent lashes of anger are disturbing and leads us to suspect a turbulence in his emotional psyche. M’gann and M’comm’s confrontation was heart wrenching and leaves us with a deeper understanding of both their characters. Even Bioship’s small arc made us a bit teary-eyed, and we cannot wait to see more of baby bioship.

One thing that truly stands out in both “Inhospitable” and “Needful” is the art. Between the character designs on the Martians, the stunning scenery and backdrops, and the vivid color schemes, we were constantly left in awe. Truly a job well done to the art team. The animation is a vast improvement from Outsiders, thanks to the sole use of Studio Mir, and we loved to see it. 

The intro is brand-new to the season, a spin on season one’s theme that made us a little weepy with nostalgia. However, the new additions to the outro might be our favorite part. While Outsiders featured calming music with a serene moment (Brucely sleeping, Bioship humming), it seems that Phantoms is using the extra minute of screentime to showcase important conversations that will play a role in upcoming episodes without detracting from the main plot. We found it an excellent use of time, and are extremely looking forward to seeing Violet’s journey in learning about Islam and what it holds for her. What other conversations and small moments will we be privy to? We can’t wait to find out. 

Overall, these two episodes alone were more than worth the wait. They were an excellent setup for what’s to come this season, and going off these two alone, we’re sure we’re going to be in for a hell of a ride. 

Young Justice: Phantoms is currently airing on HBO Max. New episodes will be released every Thursday until 12/30. 

What did you think about the two episodes? Love them? Hate them? We want to know! Share with us in the comments, in our forums, or on our Twitter. And make sure to follow us on Twitter for episode updates, preview images and all related Young Justice news!

Ariel Horn
Author: Ariel HornWebsite: https://youngjustice.tvEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lead Writer
About the Author
Ariel is's lead writer. She has been obsessed with the show since its early days, and looks forward to cover this exciting new season with everyone. May hope burn bright!

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