Every season, young justice increasingly incorporated the DC Comics universe into its larger story to help convey the idea of a living, breathing world. Thanks to its arc-based storytelling, the current season of Ghosts has expanded the scope of the comic book story it draws in, like the Legion of Super-Heroes and Jack Kirby’s New Gods. But it’s the way the show brings in those elements that can always make for a nice surprise, and that approach has made The Young Justice always fascinating universe to explore during its four seasons.
This week’s episode has an…interesting take on DC history, to say the least. In its B-plot, it tells an intriguing story about the Legion and its members Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, and Phantom Girl, who have traveled to the present day to secretly aid modern-day heroes while pursuing their own enemy from the future. . But the episode’s A-plot takes its own hit by pulling another show from DC’s animated pantheon into its orbit.
The current arc focuses on Rocket as she, Forager, and Flash travel to New Genesis for a peace summit between the New Gods and the Green Lanterns. This week’s episode, “Encounter Upon the Razor’s Edge,” introduces us to the two Summit Lanterns, Kilowog and Tomar-Re, familiar to many Green Lantern fans. As they fly through space, they fly towards a blue lantern distress beacon and see no one but… Razer, a character from Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
A history lesson, before going further. It’s easy to forget, but during The Young Justice original tenure on Cartoon Network, it aired alongside the CG The Green Lantern series. Hal Jordan and Kilogwog were the show’s two big protagonists, but its real protagonist was arguably Razer, its Red Lantern with a heart of gold. When it aired its final episode in 2013, it ended with him searching the galaxy for his love Aya, who he was convinced was still alive somewhere among the stars. After Razer as he took flight was a Blue Lantern ring, something the show teased earlier when Razer asked Saint Walker for advice on how to control his rage. (Razer voice actor Jason Spisak, recited the Blue Lantern Oath following the show’s cancellation.) But over the years, it’s never felt like Lantern could get a surprise second chance at life the way young justice did.
With the appearance of Razer, young justice incorporated the The Green Lantern series – or at least a sufficiently similar version of the events of this show – in its canon. In real-world context, most of “Razor’s Edge” is about continuing the redeemed Red Lantern story that was left unfinished nearly a decade ago. The episode was written by Lantern co-showrunners Jim Krieg and Giancarlo Volpe, and this shared history they have gives Razer’s story an extra power that otherwise might have been lacking. In the same way that previous arcs managed to successfully convey that the veteran heroes we grew up with have been through so much, the same goes for Razer. Seeing Kilowog embrace his old friend in a big hug at the start of the episode, then seeing Razer later initiate a hug before bidding him goodbye, was truly touching. And it doesn’t hurt that Spisak and Kevin Michael Richardson are back to voice their respective characters from the Lantern Pin up; Spisak’s performance really sells the exhaustion he has from repeatedly failing to find Aya over the years. Even if you didn’t watch the original series (or understandably forgot how it ended), the episode provides enough information about him to make you realize why he would be lost in doubt and despair.
When Metron agrees to give Razer back his red ring in exchange for the blue ring, it was clear that the episode worked on a certain angle, as they wouldn’t have brought it back just to back off. Metron revealing that he intentionally provided Razer with false clues on his journey is enough to piss Razer off and become a Red Lantern again. The rampage of New Genesis and the accidental injury of a female Forager (who we know to be female because she’s pink, as opposed to the male, red Forager we’re used to) is enough to snap Razer out of his haze of rage and to demand his Blue Ring on his back. But rather than just ending up with him relearning how to hope again, the episode does something quite interesting and lets him wield the blue and red rings, complete with a magical girl-style transformation sequence. If you know this character’s backstory, it looks both incredibly appropriate for him and also ridiculously cool, and in all of his different costumes in this episode, he just looks Well in the artistic style of this show.
Lanterns able to wield different rings simultaneously is old hat in the comics, and some like Hal and Kyle Rayner were able to wield all seven rings to become the White Lantern. young justice never focused on the lanterns until now, so it’s fascinating to see them using that character – a wildcard, in that he wasn’t born from the comics and came from a show different – to convey this concept. the The Green Lantern The series touched almost the entire spectrum over its two seasons – the Orange Lantern Larfleeze appeared for one episode, as did the Star Sapphires, and a handful of episodes featured yellow fear crystals. Kilowog even jokes about Razer finally becoming a “rainbow lantern,” which feels like planting a seed for a bigger story involving the rest of the color spectrum in potential future seasons.
For now, Razer is a Double Lantern and happily continues his search to find Aya. With how many characters young justice juggles and how certain storylines will play out in the background until they are fully brought to light, it may be a while before we see Razer again. But even if we didn’t, getting him here in the short amount of time that we did is proof enough that eventually everything will be fine.
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Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are based in the US, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.