Young Justice: Invasion: From Page to Screen by Jerry Whitworth
At San Diego Comic-Con 2012, new footage was aired of the second half of Young Justice: Invasion set to return in September. Among the various breakneck sped images in the montage, we’re treated to what appears to be Artemis’ turn into Tigress and the reveal of the Reach‘s appearance in the series. Further, it would appear several of the youths kidnapped in the episode “Beneath” will be revealed to be metahuman pastiches of the Super Friends as we’re treated to a notable Teen Titan rogue making the jump to the series. Lets look at some of the characters the preview unveiled.
DEATHSTROKE THE TERMINATOR
This Fall and beyond may very well be the year of Deathstroke as the villain is set to appear in the upcoming CW series Arrow and, being the main antagonist of the Teen Titans animated series, there’s a strong possibility he could appear in its sequel Teen Titans Go! In the brief shot we’re given of Deathstroke, he’s shown standing with Tigress likely about to drop down on top of the Team with his broadsword. In the comics, Slade Wilson was a highly-trained soldier in the United States military exposed to an experimental treatment that turned him into a superhuman with enhanced strength, speed, durability, and intelligence as well as a hyperactive healing factor. After saving the life of his closest friend Wintergreen from a suicide mission, Wilson became a mercenary and assassin in time becoming the most sought after professional in that field. Now going by Deathstroke the Terminator, Wilson was offered a contract to kill or capture the Teen Titans which he turned down. Unfortunately, his son Grant eagerly took up the mission and was treated to a more extreme version of the process that transformed his father into a super soldier becoming the Ravager. In fact, this treatment was at the expense of Grant’s life after he battled the Titans and Deathstroke decided to fulfill the arrangement his son made. This started a longstanding war between the mercenary and team of heroes, seeing the group grow from teenagers into adults, with Slade arguably becoming their most enduring enemy (though, at times, he would act as their ally) that included him helping a teenage psychopath named Terra infiltrate the group and assemble of team of anti-Teen Titans called Titans East. Prior to the reboot recently enacted by DC Comics, Deathstroke had assembled a team of super-villains called the Titans that acted as mercenaries for hire.
Ruler of the planet Kalanor, Despero came into conflict with the Justice League of America when residents of his world sought their help in deposing him. Defeated, Despero would return repeatedly with hopes of conquest over various worlds including Earth before becoming even more dangerous after bathing in the fire of the Flame of Py’tar, becoming a hulking behemoth that also vastly empowered his mental powers. His repeated defeats by the JLA motivated him to almost exclusively focus on destroying its members and loved ones, culminating in the murder of Leaguer Gypsy’s parents before her eyes. Despero would battle Young Justice as a disembodied spirit who took control of Martian Manhunter’s body in one of their earliest battles that convinced the League to allow the teens use of the Secret Sanctuary. In one of Despero’s more recent schemes, he employed the Blackrock of the titular series of super-villains to influence alien heroes to target Earth taking advantage of lingering feelings of isolation from interacting with foreign worlds. Despero would also re-assemble an iteration of the Secret Society of Super-Villains (a group which the Light is loosely based upon) who uncovered the civilian identities of the Justice League but whose minds were wiped by Zatanna which Despero used to wear the group down and enslave their minds (the timely intervention of Zatanna trumped his plans).
Likely the greatest success of Milestone Media, Virgil Hawkins was doused in a chemical that gave him the power to manipulate electromagnetism becoming the hero Static and star of the animated television series Static Shock. A teenager juggling real life and the life of a superhero, Static’s popularity would bring him into the Teen Titans (after the Milestone Media characters were folded into the greater DCU) where he’s been a notably member until the recent reboot by DC Comics. A short lived series Static Shock appeared as part of this reboot. Static joins other Milestone characters Icon and Rocket who are members of the Justice League in Young Justice. Static has been compared to the hero Black Lightning, who was adapted as Black Vulcan in the All-New Super Friends Hour, in turn adapted as Mohammed Ibn Bornu of the Cadre of the Immortal in comics and Juice of the Ultimen in Justice League Unlimited.
First appearing in the Young Justice episode “Beneath,” Tye Longshadow is a friend of Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle) and next in line to be chief of the local Apache tribe who decided to run away from home because of altercations with his stepfather. However, he is instead kidnapped by the Light. In the preview, he is shown surrounded in a giant energy construct tearing the roof off a bus depot. Longshadow’s appearance bears a striking resemblance to Apache Chief, a member of the Super Friends first appearing in the All-New Super Friends Hour and could grow to a great height after being sprinkled with a magic powder as a young man by his tribe’s then chief with saying the phrase “Inyuk-chuk.” Apache Chief has been adapted in part in the comics as Seneca of the Cadre of the Immortal and Manitou Raven of the League of Ancients and in the animated series Justice League Unlimited as Long Shadow of the Ultimen.
Seen briefly in the preview teleporting crouched beside someone in a lab coat, an unnamed teen with a long yellow scarf appears to be one of the youths kidnapped by the Light. This sparkly teleportation sequence and scarf color seem to indicate a nod to the Super Friend El Dorado, first appearing as part of a series of seven-minute Super Friends animated shorts, who generally employed the ability to teleport but displayed various other powers such as holograms (sometimes illusions, other times constructs), flight, telepathy, super strength, and optic blasts. He was adapted in part in the comics as Xiuhtecutli of the Cadre of the Immortal.
Seen briefly in the preview pressing his hands together, a young man with green headband is shown enveloped in a field of energy. Considering pastiches for Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, and El Dorado, I’m assuming this youth is that of Samurai, a Super Friend premiering in the All-New Super Friends Hour and was adapted in part for the comics in Musashi of the Cadre of the Immortal and in animation as Wind Dragon of the Ultimen in Justice League Unlimited. Samurai would also appear in Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #1 driven insane by Alan Scott. His primary ability is controlling wind but has also occasionally displayed the power to turn invisible, envelope himself in flame, and generate illusions.