It’s official: DC and WB are bringing the fan-favourite animated series Young Justice to life. The long awaited third season, called Young Justice: Outsiders, will air on the brand-new DC streaming service, whose name has not been announced yet, in 2018.
There is something quite delightful about DC’s recent expansion across media. The cinematic universe is rich, solid (for the most part), and reached new heights with the record-smashing Wonder Woman. On TV, DC titles have conquered both die hard comics fans and TV buffs alike with the live-action adventures of the (Green) Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. Their comic titles have been steadily good and complex, and foster talents like Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo (Batman), Marguerite Bennett (Bombshells) or Babs Tarr (Batgirl).
One medium tends to be overlooked by critics and the public, and this is the one where, in my opinion, DC excels: the animated genre. And Young Justice is among DC’s best work.
Running for two seasons on Cartoon Network from 2010 to 2013, Young Justice (created by Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman) focuses on a group of young DC sidekicks and their attempts at saving the world while their adult counterparts are busy with Justice League duties. Loosely based on the Teen Titans and Young Justice comics, and staying true to its roots, the show introduces the original members of the squad, Speedy, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin, which are joined by Superboy and later in the first season, Artemis and Miss Martian, all eager to prove themselves as superheroes despite their age. The show successfully explores issues revolving around family, identity, belonging, and first love through fully written and very engaging characters. Artemis’ storyline reveals a lonely but fierce and loyal archer, torn between the good (the Young Justice league) and the bad (her family – Sportsman and Cheshire – ally with the main antagonist, The Light), while Miss Martian deals with fear of revealing her true nature, and Superboy struggles to find his place in the world (having been artificially created by Cadmus / the members of The Light). The two later embark in a complicated romance in the first season.
Young Justice is also ambitious enough to surprise viewers with flash forwards. Season 2 opened five years after the events in the season 1 finale, introducing a whole lot of new team members (Beast Boy, Wonder Girl) and allowing its main characters to grow and become young adults. Dick Grayson gave up the Robin alter ego for the Nightwing mantra, while Artemis and Aqualad join forces on a life-changing undercover mission. The season had a much darker tone and style, and a much tighter writing, resulting in a strong fanbase –the show was often praised for its mature angle and complex yet resonating storylines. Young Justice could appeal to anyone, regardless of their age, gender, and brought the best of the comics world on screen, on a weekly basis, when the superhero shows weren’t the norm but rather the exception.
With such critical acclaim and high ratings (the series finale, “Endgame”, was the top-rated show on Cartoon Network on the week of its airing), the announcement of Young Justice’ s cancellation in January 2013, after 46 episodes, came as a shock. Despite great fan mobilisation around the world, a potential revival was only discussed in early 2016, with rumours of Netflix being involved in a third season.
With DC now venturing in the streaming market, it’s the perfect time for a Young Justice revival. The audience is here and ready for more, and this is a great opportunity to explore unfinished storylines and to give a glimpse of what normal life means to young superhero adults…2018 cannot come soon enough.