As the year draws to a close, Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 12 attempts to do the same for its latest story arc. “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” begins after the Child (Erika Ishii) kills the familiar of Klarion the Witch Boy (Thom Adcox), leaving Klarion to depart the mortal plane. Zatanna Zatara (Lacey Chabert), along with Doctor Fate (Kevin Michael Richardson) and her Sentinels of Magic, chase the Child throughout the world as she causes chaos. Meanwhile, Klarion finds a surprising anchor to the mortal realm and crosses time and space trying to find heroes to help Zatanna & friends turn the tide.
Previous episodes, including “Odnu!” and “Teg Ydear!“, showed only a glimpse of the malevolence the Child is capable of. In this episode, it’s on full display and rightfully terrifying. Half of India experiences an intense blizzard that leaves frozen victims in its wake. A volcano erupts in Australia. Gravity begins to reverse, leaving people fighting for their lives as they float into the air. Director Christina Sotta stages these sequences with a, well, chaotic flair that’s reminiscent of disaster movies including The Day After Tomorrow and Dante’s Peak, and has the chance to stage rescue sequences with several heroes. From Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazons grabbing people out of the air to Red Tornado literally blowing away a river of lava, fans are definitely going to get a thrill out of the action sequences.
In between heroes fighting back the tide of chaos and the Sentinels chasing after the child, the episode is peppered with narration by Giovanni Zatara (Nolan North), along with flashbacks from Zatara’s past. Zatara recalls how he became a superhero after witnessing Superman’s exploits; in perhaps one of the most resonant moments of the episode, he also points out that he and the Man of Steel are immigrants to America. There’s also tragedy concerning his wife Sindella and his eventual choice to become Doctor Fate in order to spare Zatanna. The previous episode showed that Zatara’s faith —not only in God but in his convictions — has kept him going through dark times, and once again, it’s on display here, as he tells Nabu to pass on his words to Zatanna. Though he’s best known for voicing Superboy on the series, North delivers a phenomenal performance as Zatara here.
Another great performance is Ishii, who continues to be downright horrifying as the Child. Unlike Klarion, who showcased a malevolent glee when fighting against others, the Child either calmly watches the world burn or says “You can’t kill me” in a sing-song tone that sent shivers down my spine. It’s also impressive to watch Mary Bromfield (also voiced by Ishii) and the Child go at it; Ishii essentially delivers a back and forth between herself that once again serves as a reminder that voice acting is an art form. You have to deliver a wide range of emotions using nothing but your voice and she succeeds here.
In addition to Zatara’s storyline, the episode also focuses on Klarion possessing a bus (yes, really) and Beast Boy’s (Greg Cipes) depression weighing on his acting career. The former more or less serves as a way to keep Klarion in the story (while also revisiting some of Young Justice‘s past and explaining a recurring element in this story arc). Still, the latter is significant as Beast Boy is finally encouraged to seek therapeutic help. I do hope future episodes have him going to a therapist, as he clearly needs to talk to someone about Superboy’s death.
Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 12 brings all the flair and despair of a blockbuster disaster movie, as the Sentinels of Magic fight against the forces of chaos. With the end of the episode hinting at a longtime character’s possible death, I expect next week’s episode to be full of action and heartbreak. Then again, that particular combo seems to be this series’ stock in trade.
New episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms are available to stream on HBO Max on Thursdays.
Young Justice Episode 12
- Rating - 9/109/10
Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 12 brings all the flair and despair of a blockbuster disaster movie, as the Sentinels of Magic fight against the forces of chaos.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.