The Outsiders: Young Justice Goes Digital by Jerry Whitworth
Since learning in November of last year that Young Justice would return for a third season, fans have eagerly awaited further news. Earlier this month, the series’ voice cast revealed they had begun recording the new season only to recently have DC Comics announce more details about season three. Titled Young Justice: Outsiders, the show will be streamed digitally on a new DC online platform service (alongside the revived live action Titans series) in 2018 and features metahuman trafficking in an intergalactic conflict. Just as the show’s second season Invasion invoked elements of the DC Comics event Invasion!: The Alien Alliance (with the Reach in place of the Dominators), it’s likely the season will borrow elements from DC Comics’ Outsiders.
At DC Comics, a handful of superhero teams hold top spots of notoriety. The Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Outsiders are undoubtedly the highest of the high. The Outsiders came about when a conflict in the country of Markovia caught Wayne executive Lucius Fox between the country’s ruling monarchy and rebel forces seeking to takeover the European nation. Desperate to save his close friend and mentor, Batman sought the aid of the Justice League only to be turned away as the group has a policy against becoming involved in political struggles. Renouncing his League membership, Batman enlisted the aid of fellow costumed crimefighter Black Lightning to save Fox only to align with a group of individuals each independently involved in the Markovian struggle. Following Fox’s rescue, Batman invited Lightning, Metamorpho, Katana, Geo-Force, and Halo to Gotham City to form a new superhero team in the Outsiders. Batman would lead the team for some time before washing his hands of the group leading Geo-Force to assume the mantle of leadership (as Batman took over the reins of the Justice League). However, the Outsiders wouldn’t last long under Geo-Force and would disband. Another group would take on the name under Geo-Force for a while only to again dissolve.
Noted earlier, the Teen Titans represents another marquee group of heroes at DC Comics (and is the model of the Team in Young Justice). When the teens grew up, they changed their name to simply the Titans while the next generation of heroes unofficially became the Young Justice League. After a tragedy brought both of these teams together, some of the Titans formed a new Teen Titans acting as mentors for the former Young Justice League while the other adult Titans created a new iteration of the Outsiders. Arsenal (formerly Speedy) formed the new Outsiders with Nightwing (formerly Robin), Green Lantern Alan Scott’s daughter Jade, a version of Metamorpho, Black Lightning’s daughter Thunder, Indigo (Brainiac 8), and Bana Amazon Grace Choi. For a while, Arsenal believed he was being aided by Batman in the group’s direction only to discover he had been manipulated by the Teen Titans’ nemesis Deathstroke the Terminator (who himself was being controlled by his mentally unstable son Jericho, a former Teen Titan). The group would later save Black Lightning from prison after he was falsely accused of murder and faked their deaths as Nightwing assumed leadership where the group transitioned into an underground, black ops team. This, however, would not last long as Nightwing handed the Outsiders back to Batman to lead. But not long after, Batman was believed dead as Geo-Force again lead the group until it became folded into Batman, Incorporated.
Part of the problem posed by a third season of Young Justice and another likely time skip is where the Team begins and Justice League ends as the finale of Invasion largely merges the two groups. The story elements of the Outsiders maybe the solution. It was rumored for a third season of Young Justice, there may have been an intention to form a spin-off series with the Team’s founders adventures in the Justice League while new young heroes form the basis of season three’s Team. Short of this, a compromise could see the Team’s founders form a rift with the League that leads to an Outsiders-inspired group. It also opens the door for adopting some of the Outsiders’ rogues in the season with the likes of Baron Bedlam, Masters of Disaster, Bad Samaritan, Duke of Oil, Nuclear Family, and the People’s Heroes as possible foes. In regards to elements of metahuman trafficking, Invasion established a capability to activate the metagene in humans that carry it but did not naturally initiate it. While the Super Friends inspired youths of the season emerged, something wider in the vein of the Blasters that came out of Invasion! (not to mention the seeds of the Legion of Super-Heroes planted by Mon-El) could come about (perhaps even elements like the New Guardians that came out of the events of Millennium). Around this time period, Russia used its science to produce a number of enhanced humans such as Stalnoivolk, Red Trinity, Blue Trinity, and the People’s Heroes. As it’s likely the New Gods will be closely involved in the season, the metahuman trafficking could perhaps be linked with people who carry pieces of the Anti-Life Equation such as Sonny Sumo.