Young Justice returned today on the DC Universe app with the second half of its long-awaited third season. Many DC fans are familiar with the struggles the series went through after its cancellation in spring 2013. Numerous campaigns were launched to bring the series back for a third season and ultimately fans were heard when it was announced that the series would return on DC Universe. Fans of the series fought to bring it back because of the attachment they formed with the characters and captivating storylines that brought them back each week. But for me Young Justice provided another reason for me to love the series, it was my true introduction into the world of DC.
Growing up in the age post-Justice League: Unlimited, I did not get to bask in the glory of the original DC Animated Universe (DCAU). Series such as Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Justice League were series I occasionally watched as reruns on television. Series such as Teen Titans, The Batman and Green Lantern: The Animated Series introduced the concept of an interconnected comic book universe to me, but nothing opened my eyes quite like Young Justice.
Dick Grayson is a character that has always resonated with me. My first introduction to him was through the aforementioned Teen Titans, but I fell in love with the character through Young Justice. Already familiar with the Robin character, it was an easy transition going from Teen Titans to Young Justice. While each version of the character was distinct in their own way, I found myself gravitating to the Young Justice version for his ability to lead while understanding he still had much to learn. His maturity and understanding of the world around him made him a far more compelling version of the character than his Teen Titans counterpart.
However what truly caught my attention were the other characters on the Team. These were characters that, at the time, I had never heard of but understood their roles in the universe. Of course I knew who Superman, Aquaman, Green Arrow and The Flash were, but I knew very little of their sidekicks. By putting these characters in the spotlight, fans not only got a new perspective on a universe they had known for so long, they also got a great introduction to this pre-established world. Unlike most comic book television series and films, Young Justice was not an origin story for this world. While this was an introduction and origin story for the Team, this was already a living, breathing DC universe with decades of history built into it.
By opting to go this route, the Young Justice universe had the ability to do something special – use its history to develop plot lines that were “years” in the making within its first season. Most notably, the use of Project Cadmus to introduce Superboy and the clones of Roy Harper. Because the universe had been “lived in” right from the start, using a character like Superboy was possible. His character has ultimately become one of the most compelling thanks to his relationship with M’gann M’orzz. As for Roy Harper, all three versions of his character have continued to play vital roles in the series and the character development for each of them has been nothing short of superb.
Speaking of superb character development, you can single out almost any character in this series and be impressed with the way they’ve been handled. Artemis and Kid Flash’s relationship, the internal struggles of Jaime Reyes, and the emotional toll that the Batfamily has had to go through are all highlights of a never-ending list of great character pieces. What continues to surprise me, however, is the depth that the series goes in introducing new characters and corners of the DC universe.
Within the last three seasons, Young Justice has been able to introduce fans to hundreds of unique DC characters including Red Tornado and the Tornado family, the White and Green Martians, the Reach, the world of Atlantis, Doctor Fate ad the world of magic, Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows, Cyborg, the New Gods, the Green Lantern Corps., Lobo, the planet Rimbor and many others. The world is constantly expanding with just recently super children such as Damian Wayne, Jonathan Kent, the Tornado Twins and even Artur Curry. Constantly I find myself researching new characters I see on the series because even after a decade within the fandom, Young Justice still introduces characters I do not recognize.
Obviously the series is a good introduction to the very large world of DC, but ultimately what I love about the series is that it does not act as if the audience is dumb. One of the series’ most brave decisions was to create a five year time jump from seasons one to two. In this time frame a lot had changed, and when season two aired audiences found their fan-favorite characters in new unexpected places with no immediate explanation. However, with time and trust in the audience, all things became clear and ultimately the series was better for it. The series dives into espionage, morality, and most recently the understanding that sometimes in order to do the right thing, you have to step into the shadows. That is the most recent theme of this season, titled Young Justice: Outsiders. Now with series returning with the second half of season three, the Team and the rest of the Young Justice world must prepare as it appears that Granny Goodness, Darkseid, and the rest of Apokolips is on its way to destroy Earth.
Young Justice: Outsiders is streaming right now on DC Universe!