Young Justice, a fan favorite show, was cancelled by Cartoon Network. One of the great things about modern times is that fans get more of a say in what’s happening, and, after several years, the DC Universe platform brought the team back for another season, subtitled Outsiders. And, with the Great Pause, as John Scalzi calls it, slowing everything down, I finally had a chance to start watching.
There is a lot going on in the first episode, Princes All, mixing a few classic comic plots with some new developments on the show. In the comics, in 1983, after an argument with the other heroes about politics limiting their work, Batman quit the League, forming a new team with strong ties to DC fictional country Markovia (created for this series). There are echoes of that, and the storyline that briefly ended Black Lightning’s heroic career, in this episode.
The episode starts with a quick scene of Nightwing resigning to pursue his own mission. Kaldur, formerly Aqualad now Aquaman, isn’t happy to lose a close ally. I have no idea what happened to the original Aquaman. Then, there’s a two year time jump as things kick into high gear. There’s a metahuman trafficking ring kidnapping kids, running experiments, and creating new metas. The League, on a mission to Rann, home of heroes Adam Strange and Alanna, encounters some of these, and there’s a tragic incident. Meanwhile, Nightwing, with the advice of Oracle, is going after the traffickers, wherever they happen to be.
After the mess on Rann and frustrated with the political issues tying their hands, Batman brings up some concerns, gets overruled, and resigns. He doesn’t leave alone, and some of the younger heroes leave the Young Justice team, following their mentors. It’s a development that takes a lot of people by surprise, and makes some serious complications for at least one long-term couple. We also learn a lot about the state of affairs in Markovia, including meeting Prince Brion (familiar to comic book readers) and hearing about his missing sister Tara (same). There’s also a different version of Dr. Helga Jace, a character with a long history in the comics, and a very different version of whom has been on the Black Lightning tv show.
All of the plots get complications, as we learn something surprising about this world’s Lynn Stewart, another DC fictional country comes up, Nightwing starts recruiting some help, and both the League and Young Justice teams deal with recent resignations. Events in Markovia take an ugly turn, which starts leading to an origin story. The League have some of their own concerns, and a very familiar villain proves to be a behind the scenes complication.
We check in on several familiar faces from the prior seasons, and get updates on the states of their various lives. There’s a major domestic development for one couple, and Nightwing gets his team together, taking off for their new target. They’ve launched a lot of balls in the air to start the season, and I can’t wait to see how they all spin out.
What I liked: I’m thrilled the show came back, and that I finally get a chance to see it. Nightwing has long been my favorite character, and I’m glad he’s getting so much screen time, at least so far. It was interesting to me, as a really long-term comic reader, to see several familiar stories reworked in new ways. I liked the scenes we got of Jefferson’s home life and the surprises there.
What I didn’t: I’m glad Kal;Dur has grown so much, but I’d really like to find out what happened to Aquaman. I still miss Wally. I’m a little concerned that with so many characters, a lot of them will get short-changed on screen time. And I’ve always been a fan of the couple that’s having problems, so I hated to see that.
I thought this was a great start to what could be an amazing season. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5.