When DC Universe was first announced, there was a swell of hype surrounding it. All of the DC media collected in a single service that gave you access to a library of old school television shows, animated series, and an encyclopedia. And while Titans has hailed as the flagship of the streaming service, I was personally waiting for the return of season 3 of Young Justice.
By Darkseid, it was worth the wait. By Darkseid, there are gonna be few ways to start 2019. By Darkseid, Young Justice: Outsiders more than justices the entire cost of subscription. And if you haven’t watched the first two seasons, you’re in luck: the first two seasons are right there waiting for you.
Worth the Six Year Wait
The original Young Justice was ahead of its time. A heavily serialized story focused on a newly formed team of sidekicks and young heroes, the show featured an incredible narrative, beautiful animation, and stellar voice acting. In the first season, the core team of Robin (of the “non-#$%@ Batman” Dick Grayson variety), Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Superboy were quickly joined by Ms. Martian, Artemis, and Zatanna in the first season as they faced off against a covert, global chess match against the omnious organization, the Light, as the Justice League did their more overt heroics across the Earth and the Galaxy. The second season featured a 5 year time jump and explosion of the cast to include mainstays like Blue Beatle, Batgril, Bumblebee, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, and Static. It was a rapidly evolving world remniscient of the original DC Animated Universe updated for the modern era.
Young Justice: Outsiders has similarly aged with the times. The season premiere, Princes All, featured a brief recap of the tragic season 2 finale before skipping two years to a drastically different status quo.
As the many previews have revealed, the focus of Young Justice: Outsiders is the team combatting a metahuman trafficking ring. The dynamics have clearly changed. Ms. Martian has taken the mantle of the team and is sporting her White Martian heritage out in public. Aqualad has accepted a double promotion to both Aquaman and leader of the Justice League. Batman and other street level heroes have left the Justice League. And Nightwing is working with Oracle dismantling one particular ring in Markovia, recruiting Black Lightning, Superboy, and Artemis for the mission.
The show fields a progressively darker tone, but unlike its sibling series Titans, the new feels earned and evolves the characters in fascinating ways. The more adult subject matter (loss, trauma, geopolitical tensions) are still complimented by witty dialog and light hearted quips. It feels like a Young Justice updated for a new year, a new era.
Three Episodes Is Enough To Get You Hooked
As alluded to, the three episode introductory arc to Outsiders establishes the new status quo within minutes and sets the stage for new and old characters alike. An intergalactic contingent of the Justice League is working on Rann trying to repair their reputations, when they run into a kidnapped metahuman turned solider. The United Nations, led by politician Lex Luthor, has handcuffed the Justice League leading to the aforementioned schism. Nightwing is on the proverbial outside working on the outskirts of the law.
All of the familiar juxtaposed against the new Markovian dynasty. Markovia provides beautiful set pieces with its castle, coastline, forest, and even its children hospital. Prince Brion Markov is lamenting his country’s lack of a metahuman superhero (particularly with the lingering memory of his kidnapped sister Princess Terra), compared to Americas and even Atlantis, and once he finds out he has a metagene he tries to capitalize on it. Accordingly, he gets a crash course in what it means to be heroic.
The three different hero organizations between the League, the Team, and the Outsiders are all trying to be heroic in their ways, struggling with the weight of their own decisions. It’s a wonderful new status quo that promises to follow through on what Young Justice does best: character driven, mythology heavy plots that gets to the heart of the DC universe.
One Last Thought
If you were wondering whether DC Universe was worth it, I can tell you that starting January 4th, it very much is. Young Justice: Outsiders is the pinnacle of new school DC animation and the 26 episode is gonna bring you a lot of joy. If you enjoyed the season in 2013, I can assure that it has matured to be a standout series in 2019.
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