Thu Jan 24 2013 at 6:29 PM
With the Reach and Lex Luthor publicly working together, the Team attempt to discover the truth. It's back to the classic format; sending a small squad on an undercover covert operative mission. And it wouldn't be Young Justice if it didn't expand on their already huge DC universe character set. New heroes and villains enter the mix.
* Warning: This review contains spoilers *
At the end of "Cornered", Blue Beetle had asked the League/Team to have his Scarab removed, in fear that Impulse's prophecy would come true. The start of this episode has the Atom and Bumblebee unsuccessfully attempting to sever the Scarab's connection to Jaime whilst inside his body at microscopic size. In a brief side story, Sportsmaster is replaced by Deathstroke as the Light's enforcer after being denied the request to exact revenge on the death of Artemis.
The dominant storyline for "True Colors" focuses on the Reach taking advantage of their newly earned trust by the public and working with LexCorp in creating the "food of the future". Nightwing sends an undercover Alpha Squad, led by Robin to take a tour of LexCorp Farms to try and uncover the truth. The squad consists of Blue Beetle, Impulse and the back in commission real Roy Harper, now known as Arsenal. After gathering evidence (non-terrestrial additive in the food), the squad is discovered by Black Beetle. They hold their own despite Black openly admitting that he's toying with them. Then out of nowhere a Green Beetle appears and assists the squad in escaping. We learn that Green is a Martian who's physiology doesn't allow the Reach Scarab to take control. He's come to Earth to assist in stopping the Reach. By the end of the episode, we find out the Light had planned for the League/Team to get a hold of the additive and look to form a young superpowered team of their own.
Even with all the stakes being raised in the past few episodes, it was welcoming to see a mission-based episode again. As were the freshman choices for the squad. Although it's an obvious plot point, I love the fact that the public is being played by both the Reach AND Lex Luthor, while our heroes struggle to find a place called home. It's a recurring theme from Season 1 that the Light is so many steps ahead of the Team/League. This is all fine and good. Everyone loves an underdog story. However, I hope the triumph of the heroes over the villains isn't crammed into half an episode like it was in the Season 1 finale. The fact that the Light spent all season creating the Starro Tech only to have a cure created in no time at all was a bit cheap. There's still 8 episodes left so here's hoping for a more balanced climb to victory.
Out of all the new Team members, Tim Drake's Robin has received the short end of the stick in terms of characterization. So it was great to see him get some focus and lead a squad consisting of basically all the most recent recruits to the Team. Also fun to see the second generation of Season 1's Team. Impulse = Kid Flash, Arsenal = Artemis, Robin = Robin (duh). Throw in Lagoon Boy = Aqualad and Wonder Girl = Superboy and you have a near full Team.
My only nitpick is that the general experience of all the new members in Season 2 is a little too advanced and clean-cut. They're a little too good. I'd like to see them make more mistakes. Moments Kid Flash stacking it multiple times in Season 1 and Wonder Girl getting caught by Devastation come to mind.
Robin/Tim Drake - There are a lot of similarities in Tim and Dick but the differences at this point in time (given Tim's lack of screentime) are sufficient for his Robin to be more than just a copy. He has a reluctance that is easily succumbed by his quiet confidence when in the field. His leadership is strong, despite his lack of experience and he seems pretty by the book. Him slick stealth stealing a sample of the additive screamed pro Batman training!
Arsenal - While I think it's really cool to have seen 3 superhero identities of Roy Harper (Speedy, Red Arrow, Arsenal), to be honest, I'm a little bored of this character. And simply because we've seen the same angry angsty guy in Red Arrow back in Season 1. The only interesting plot point he possibly carries is whether or not his acceptance of Luthor's cybernetic arm puts his allegiance in question.
Impulse - Despite the League/Team knowing about the prophecy, his responsibility and choice to protect Blue Beetle hasn't wavered. Also, a nice nod to the Kid Flash moment in Season 1's "Bereft" where KF was playing around with his stealth mode. Here, Impulse poked around but wasn't able to find it.
Sportsmaster - For a character that by name alone sounds awfully cheesy, his interpretation in Season 1 was credible and a serious threat. However, his Season 2 revenge storyline just has cheese smeered all over it. Permission to have his daughter killed. You take mine, I'll take yours. Sealing his rep. All to prevent others from perceiving him as a punk. Sorry pal. All your actions and dialogue have been punkish.
Also, the storyline between him and Cheshire at the end of Season 1 seemed to go nowhere (unless it was explained in the companion comic). Cheshire had left Sportsmaster to be captured yet here in Season 2, everything seems to be roses.
Deathstroke - Very cool intro for the character. Though he pretty much cancelled out how sharp his shooting was by spraying the air with bullets and missing a relatively slow moving chopper.
Aqualad - With Psimon assigned as Kaldur's "doctor", I'm on the edge of my seat on which direction they take this. It would be tragic for Kaldur to have worked this hard to be outted now and possibly reprogramed as a true villain. Or even worse, as the triple agent Wally feared he might be.
Black Beetle - Still coming across as nothing more than the Reach's muscle. It was interesting to see that underneath his beetle suit his species was that of the Reach.
Green Beetle - A cool surprise to see this character pop up, especially not knowing what his initial intentions were. Personality-wise, he's quite similar to Martian Manhunter. No doubt they wouldn't introduce another good beetle unless he played a key role in the story. The double sonic cannon attack reminded me of how the Spider-Man symbiote is weakened with sonic vibrations. Remember, magic damages the scarab as well.
Crispin Freeman - Now I love Crispin Freeman's voice. It's easily recognizable, sharp and has a baritone/bass-ey depth to it. It's very mature and adult sounding. So the suitability of his voice for Arsenal's young character is a little off.
Masasa Moyo - Okay, so I know Sharon Vance's character was supposed to come across as somewhat brain-washed in preaching the integrity of the Reach's food of the future, but the performance was just over-the-top and cringe-worthy. Now Masaso's a great actress so I fault the direction she was given. I do think there was a more realistic and convincing manner in which Vance's character could've been portrayed.
Phil LaMarr - He's certainly voicing a lot of characters this season and why not, he's one of the best voice actors around. His calm and serious-toned delivery for Green Beetle matches perfectly with Kevin Michael Richardson's Martian Manhunter (and even Carl Lumbly's version in Justice League). The deliberate accent to make it sound like English is a Martian's second language (which it is) is a naturally clever addition.
"Fine. If the minnow is under the size limit, I'll go fish for the whale." - Sportsmaster
Not as gripping as previous episodes, but the more "relaxed" nature of "True Colors" still retained the consistent high caliber of quality. It did what Young Justice does best, plants seeds to make the question count continue to dwarf the answer count. What is the additive and how will it affect humans? Is Green Beetle really on the side of good? How does he plan to help Blue Beetle? What purpose will the Light's young team serve and how will they be controlled?