Phantoms Hints at A Orion and Rocket Romance

The following contains spoilers for Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 24, “Zenith and Abyss,” now streaming on HBO Max.

One of the most endearing aspects of young justice has always been its knack for romance. The show evolved over time, moving from simpler bonds with Wally and Artemis, and the likes of Dick and Zatanna, to more nuanced arcs. For example, it embedded grief into Miss Martian and Superboy’s separation, which ended with him a pawn of General Zod; not to mention, the series shifted to addressing LGBT arcs as well with Halo and Kaldur.

These all prove the series wants to canvas various dynamics in different relationships. interestingly, Phantoms‘ latest episode hinted that a new romance is on the horizon, which would definitely be way different compared to any of these aforementioned Earth-centric ones.

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It was teased when the Justice League cracked the secret of the Kaizer-Thrall and realized it could be used to extract Superboy from the Phantom Zone. They had no clue Conner was being weaponized by Zod, but still, they were able to get Orion over quickly from New Genesis with a Motherbox. Using this device, they could open a portal, finally bringing Conner home.

Interestingly, as he touched down, Orion asked for Rocket, making it clear her energy bubbles could be useful if a scrap ensues. Now, this is telling for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he was quite nervous as he said this, plus Orion isn’t the kind to ask for help, not even during a truce. Sure, he liked working alongside her as they stopped Lor-Zod on New Genesis and broke his Zone projector, but Orion’s words and tone suggest he wanted Rocket there for a more sentimental reason.

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Admittedly, they did shoot each other wistful glances a lot on New Genesis — and for good reason. Rocket saw Orion for the brute underneath the helmet, which helped her come to terms with her son’s outbursts back home. While Orion was grateful she helped him deal with his claustrophobia and understand teamwork. Simply put, they made each other better, acknowledging as much before they departed.

Unfortunately, Rocket was already inside the Zone after Nightwing and Zatanna’s team found a way in, trying to save Conner. To make it worse, Zod’s cult escaped, and thanks to Lor and M’comm’s intrusion, the Kaizer-Thrall was able to restrain Superman, Orion and Co. on Thrombus under a red sun. Thus, everyone’s in potential danger, which means folks could end up dying, like Tomar-Re did against Zod’s acolytes.

Hopefully, the heroes make it out, which could lead to Rocket and Orion evolving into star-crossed lovers. It may improve diplomacy between two planets and test them long-distance, capitalizing on their potential. As heroes? Sure. But from how they’ve been pining for each other, this could provide the show’s deepest, most relatable couple to date who will still have many differences to work out.

New episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms debut every Thursday on HBO Max.


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