With the obligatory spoiler warning/Stephanie Brown reference out of the way, the much anticipated Young Justice: Outsiders has finally arrived on the DC Universe streaming service. There’s a basic formula that Satisfaction= Performance – Expectations and in the case of Young Justice you can bet that fan expectation was extremely high. Based on interviews you can tell not only producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti but everyone involved in Outsiders were determined to up their game. Judging by the strong fan reactions on social media and Rotten Tomatoes 100% score, they knocked it out of the park. Let’s take a look at some of the standout moments from the first three episodes.
10. Space Trek 3016
In a very meta instance of art imitating life, Outsiders introduces a fictional Goode World Studios entertainment streaming service platform within the world of Young Justice. Following in the footsteps of his former child star mother, Garfield Logan a.k.a. Beast Boy (voiced now by Greg Cipes who has solidified himself as the quintessential performer of the character) appears to have given up the life of superheroics and joined the cast of a Star Trek show pastiche entitled “Space Trek 3016.” This is actually taken directly from the original Teen Titans comic in the 70’s that saw Beast Boy play the alien crew member Tork in the same show, albeit entitled “Space Trek: 2020” in the comic.
9. Good World Studios Streaming
Furthering the meta-narrative of Young Justice‘s current streaming service home, Goode World Studios features an entertainment news program along the lines of DC Universe’s own DC Daily. The beginning of episode 3 “Eminent Threat” sees an interview with Garfield Logan conducted by host Courtney Whitmore, a role that’s a departure from the comics yet keeping with the spirit of the character. Plus it’s a fun twist on her Stargirl moniker. Fittingly, DC Universe host Whitney Moore voices Stargirl/Courtney Whitmore.
8. Batman Incorporated
In the first episode “Princes All,” citing the continued roadblocks and restrictions placed on the Justice League’s humanitarian efforts thanks its U.N. charter under Secretary General Lex Luthor, founding member Batman tenders his resignation. Given the Dark Knight’s history of quitting the League both in the comics and other media, it’s not an unprecedented move. This time however he’s not alone bringing a contingent of heroes from both the JL and Young Justice teams with him including Robin/Tim Drake, Arrowette, Spoiler, and Batwoman. Although resigning from the League as well, Black Lightning refuses Batman’s invitation to join his alternative saying he wants nothing to do with “Batman Incorporated.” The concept of Batman Inc., a global superhero organization and corporation, was conceived by writer Grant Morrison as part of his epic Batman run. Bringing in members throughout the world (and in the case of Bat-Cow, species) Batman Inc. saw Batman take his sacred mission on a larger scale than ever before. Let’s see if Batman in Outsiders follows suit as in the comics.
7. Milestone Forever
Preview images released last month seemed to indicate that Milestone Comics character Hardware would be appearing in the show and sure enough we get confirmation that the armored figure pictured above was indeed the late/great Dwayne McDuffie creation, and a member of the Justice League no less. Unfortunately, almost immediately after making his animation debut Hardware was among the heroes who quit the League along with Batman. Whether or not we’ll see Hardware again in a more prominent speaking role by the end of Outsiders remains to be seen.
During Courtney Whitmore’s aforementioned interview with Gar, she inquires about his romantic relationship with Perdita, Queen of Vlatava. With their own supercouple portmanteau “Gardita,” Gar reveals that they met at a funeral of a mutual “fast friend,” an obvious reference to Kid Flash/Wally West who saw his apparent demise in the Season 2 finale “Endgame.” Perdita had her own run-in with the young speedster when he saved her life from the assassination attempt by Count Vertigo and delivered a donor heart to the Vlatava royal. Even in death, Wally West is still connecting hearts.
5. Black Lightning’s Superhero Brother-in-Law
As previously mentioned, after resigning from the League Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce pays a visit to his ex-wife and two daughters in Metropolis. Lightning’s ex-wife Lynn makes mention of being the sister of a Green Lantern. DC aficionados who know that Lynn’s maiden name is Stewart can safely assume that she’s likely referring to GL John Stewart. Despite no familial connection exists between Lynn Stewart and John Stewart in the mainstream comics, the fact that the show creators were able to recognize that John Stewart and Black Lightning’s ex-wife shared the same surname demonstrates the attention to detail in creating the interconnected world of Young Justice.
4. Say Hello to Megan’s New Look
In Season 1, Miss Martian eventually came out to her teammates as a White Martian similar to the character’s introduction in the pages of Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans run. Much like Aqualad, the lack of Miss Martian in the promotion of the show has had fans pondering her Miss Martian’s role in the new season. We didn’t have to wait too long with Miss Martian not only now leading the Young Justice team but also no longer disguising herself as a Green Martian. Though still humanoid, Miss Martian has clearly come to better terms with her White Martian heritage. Bald is indeed beautiful.
3. United Nations Meta-Human Summit
Episode 2 “Royal We” begins at a United Nations Meta-Human Summit (which I’m sure will perturb the vocal minority who constantly complain about politics in superhero entertainment) and features quite a few notable ambassadors in attendance. Following a heated exchange between the ambassadors from Atlantis and Bialya, Garth and Sumaan Harjavti respectively, we are immediately introduced to the ambassador from Themyscira—Troia whom some probably know better as Donna Troy a.k.a Wonder Girl. Between Donna Troy’s live-action debut in the DC Universe original Titans show and now this, there’s no better time to be a Donna Troy fan. Here she is voiced by veteran voice actress Grey DeLisle-Griffin who is no stranger to the world of the Amazons having portrayed both Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl in previous animated projects.
— Grey DeLisle-Griffin (@GreyDeLisle) January 5, 2019
Interestingly according to producer Greg Weisman, during a Q&A,Donna Troy was intended to appear in the first two seasons of Young Justice but those plans were derailed for various reasons.
EARLY, early on, Donna was one of our leading candidates for Season One. This was before we had even narrowed things down very much. And BEFORE any true decisions were made, we were informed by our DC Liasons that both Wonder Girls were off-limits for legal reasons that were never explained to us. (So don’t ask me.) So neither Wonder Girl was seriously considered. Then Geoff Johns came aboard and made both Wonder Girls available. Unfortunately, by that time, it was flat out too late to include Donna. So we decided we’d put Cassie in Season Two. And have Donna be one of the characters who joined and left the Team during the timeskip, and cameo her in Season Two. Unfortunately, for reasons reported fairly accurately from ASK GREG LIVE, we were unable to cameo either Troia or Mary at Rocket’s bridal shower because there just wasn’t time for Phil Bourassa to design FOUR new characters, i.e. the two girls in both their civilian and super-hero costumes. Had they appeared in “Satisfaction”, then they would have also had cameos in “Endgame”, since their designs would already have been completed. But since they didn’t appear in the earlier episode, we weren’t able to get them at all. This is a sadness to me. But there are realities of production that we’re all subject to.
If you’re a fan of the WildStorm Universe then you probably recognize Kaizen Gamorra, the terrorist dictator from the pages of StormWatch and The Authority, depicted in Outsiders as the U.N. ambassador from Rhelasia.
2. Nice Time for a White Martian Wedding
Just before embarking with Nightwing/Dick Grayson on an undercover mission in Markovia, Superboy/Conner Kent finds the perfect moment to prove his commitment to Miss Martian by asking for her hand (or maybe hands is more apt nomenclature since she can grow multiple limbs) in marriage. After on-again/off-again romances during and between seasons, Superboy/MM shippers can finally rejoice. Of course, superhero weddings don’t have a great track record particularly at DC Comics (I’m sure I don’t have to remind readers of the recent Batman/Catwoman wedding anytime soon). Let’s see if either the bride or groom will be left standing alone at the alter by the end of the season.
1. End Credit Vignettes
Not satisfied with standard end credits, Outsiders does something different than the previous two seasons by adding short vignettes as part of the end credit sequences. According to an Instagram post from the show’s Art Director and Character Designer Phil Bourassa, “It’s a fun way to punch up the end credits giving them more room to breathe and giving our audience a little more eye candy.” Expect the vignette at the end of the first episode featuring Artemis Crock’s dog (based on voice actress Stephanie Lemelin’s own dog Brucely) cuddling with a Kid Flash doll to pull at your heartstrings.
The show creators clearly took inspiration from Dick Grayson’s stint as Agent 37 for the Spyral spy organization (another Grant Morrison creation) in the Grayson book written by Tim Seeley and Tom King. There’s even a direct homage to the Identity Protection Implants that prevent faces from being captured on camera, something King never expected to see used in other media.
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) January 6, 2019
For those wondering, the mysterious speedster in the first episode that attacks the Markovian palace is Jaculi, according to Greg Weisman, an obscure character introduced in Suicide Squad #1 only to be killed of in the subsequent issue. A new version of Jaculi would later be introduced during the New 52 initiative once more in the pages of Suicide Squad #12 by Rob Williams and John Romita Jr. Talk about a deep cut.
— Greg Weisman (@Greg_Weisman) January 5, 2019
No longer bound to the rules and regulations of network television back when it aired on Cartoon Network, the show creators take full advantage of this liberty and do not mess around in these premiere episodes. Within the first 5 minutes, we get Black Lightning accidentally cause the death of a 14-year old metahuman girl. Fair warning, that’s just the tip of the iceberg seeing as how a good portion involves a children’s hospital serving as a front for metahuman trafficking. There are moments where the series borders on a full-on horror story, particularly the rather morbid take on Halo (voiced by relatively new voice actress Zehra Fazal) in case the image below wasn’t enough of a clue.