Young Justice: Preparing for an Invasion
The upcoming second season of Young Justice is subtitled “Invasion.” While few details have been released about the season, a recent panel at Wondercon revealed a coalition of aliens out to conquer Earth bringing characters like Lobo and Blue Beetle to the series. This revelation brings to mind the DC Comics event also named Invasion! (1988), scripted by the critically-acclaimed Bill Mantlo (ROM: Spaceknight, Micronauts, and Incredible Hulk), which featured nine alien races coming together as the Alien Alliance to destroy Earth, whose emerging metahumans posed a shift in power in the future of the universe. Lets examine some of the possible races that could be set to appear:
by Jerry Whitworth
The appearance of Darkseid and his armies is almost a given. Much of the first season has dealt with New Genesis and Apokolips including an appearance by Desaad, as close to Darkseid’s second-in-command as the despot would permit. Add in the close ties between the Light (the series’ main antagonists that throws back to Darkseid’s backing of the Secret Society of Super-Villains and Lex Luthor’s treaty with Apokolips during Our Worlds at War, which featured an alliance of alien races against Imperiex) with their acquisition of New God technology and it would be a bigger surprise if Darkseid didn’t appear. Further, since the New Gods of Apokolips appeared in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and the onslaught of merchandise as part of the Super Powers Collection, Darkseid has seemingly appeared in almost every television series featuring DC characters including the Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Smallville, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Darkseid largely became the go-to big name super-villain for DC Comics from the event that came directly afterward in Legends to one of the most recent events Final Crisis and was the first villain faced by the Justice League in DC Comics’ latest reboot of that franchise (but even before Crisis, Darkseid was featured in the legendary Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga, still in print 30 years after initial publication). The planet Apokolips also has a connection to the comic book version of Young Justice when the team landed on the planet to save Steel from the Black Racer after the events of Our Worlds at War. Captured and taken to Granny Goodness’ orphanage, they would eventually escape only for one of their members in Secret would become a disciple of Darkseid. For the series finale, her goodness would win out and Darkseid stripped her of her powers, making her an ordinary girl, and killed Lobo’s youthful clone Slo-Bo.
Residents of the planet Mars have a history of conflict with the Earth, be it in pop culture or DC Comics itself. Martian Manhunter’s White Martian nemesis Commander Blanx faced the Justice League on Mars when Blanx tried to slaughter his entire race with the Blue Flame of Mars. The Marshal, leader of the surviving Martians on Mars II, and Martian Manhunter enemy fellow Green Martian Bel Juz, tried to conquer Earth when they felt probes from NASA were part of a plan to invade their planet. The Hyperclan, a group of White Martians posing as heroes, tried to conquer Earth in the initial arc of Grant Morrison’s commercially successful and critically-acclaimed JLA series (a story adapted in part for the initial arc of the Justice League television series) and the White Martians would become a reoccurring threat until being wiped out by Martian Manhunter’s malevolent alter-ego Fernus. Darkseid disciple and Martian Manhunter’s brother, Ma’alefa’ak, nearly killed the Justice League before the timely intervention of his sibling. For Young Justice, Mars is an active world with green, white, and red races (white generally considered an underclass) and Miss Martian, longtime claimed as the Manhunter’s niece, was recently revealed to be a White Martian in the episode “Image” where she is blackmailed by Light council member Queen Bee into guarding her secret for a yet revealed purpose.
Part of the Alien Alliance in Invasion!, the Justice League’s Hawkman and Hawkwoman and Teen Titans’ Golden Eagle were retroactively made to be spies for Thanagar, infiltrating Earth’s heroes to provide intelligence for their people. This idea inspired the finale of the second season of the television series Justice League in “Starcrossed” when it was revealed Hawkgirl was a spy for Thanagar as part of a plan to destroy Earth so that her people could eliminate the intergalactic slave trading Gordanians who they were in a bitter war with. The Thanagarians would frequently appear in an adversarial role afterward such as in Adam Strange: Planet Heist, Rann-Thanagar War, and Rann-Thanagar: Holy War. In Young Justice, Hawkman and Hawkwoman are Thanagarians and part of the Justice League.
An ancient underwater society with ties to magic, Atlantis is also a superstitious union. Aquaman, as a child, was cast out because he had blond hair, a sign of the Curse of Kordax named after a blond-haired conqueror in ancient times with the ability to control sea life. Garth, the original Aqualad, was similarly cast out as a child for having purple eyes, the Idylist Mark of Power said to be a sign of the ancient evil Slizzath. Atlantis would almost go to war with the surface world when they believed someone from above stole the Atlantean Royal Seal, in fact taken by Aquaman’s brother and enemy Ocean Master (Orm Marius). In the Justice League television series, Atlantis would almost threaten to attack the surface as part of a plan by Aquaman’s brother Lord Orm to assassinate the hero and take over the kingdom. In Young Justice, Ocean Master is part of the Light and nearly slew Aquaman but the king was saved by the youth that would become his partner Aqualad. Aquaman’s brother, Prince Orm, is a kind and loyal servant of the king. Aquaman’s nemesis, and Aqualad’s biological father, Black Manta faced the team when he tried to steal the Sea Star from the Science Center in Atlantis’ capitol city (instead blowing it up). A piece of the Sea Star was reclaimed by the Riddler as Klarion the Witch Boy and some associates created a worldwide distraction. The Sea Star bears a resemblance to Starro, an alien creature that looks like a giant purple starfish with a single red eye that creates smaller versions of itself that attach to living creatures and enslaves their minds. Starro is generally an enemy of the Justice League but when it was reduced to only a small segment of itself and regenerated on one occasion, Aquaman faced and defeated the being by himself.
LORDS OF CHAOS
The eons old nemesis to the Lords of Order, the Lords of Chaos represent dark magic and strive for spreading evil across all realms. The opposing Lords have often striven for an uneasy balance, such as each side empowering one of the heroic duo Hawk and Dove. However, even in this the dubious Chaos Lords empowered an agent named Kestrel to sabotage the pair. The Lord of Chaos Mordru drove Hawk mad, leading him to rape his partner Dove and produce a child imbued with the powers of Order and Chaos in an attempt to create an all-powerful body for him to inhabit. The child instead became Doctor Fate (empowered by the Lord of Order Nabu) and Mordru went on to face the Justice Society of America and later the Legion of Super-Heroes before being killed by Darkseid and absorbed as part of his rebirth. In Young Justice, Klarion the Witch Boy is a Lord of Chaos at odds with Nabu, who uses the Helmet of Fate to enslave a human being to be his agent on Earth as the heroic Doctor Fate, and is in the council that operates the Light. The Light has had dealings with Kobra, who in the comics worship Chaos, and Captain Marvel is a mentor to Young Justice, with the wizard Shazam who empowers Captain Marvel being a Lord of Order in the comics.
Ancient race of alien conquerors that waged a war with the Green Lantern Corps before being forced into a treaty with the Guardians of the Universe to halt their conquering ways. The Reach, undaunted, developed a new strategy borrowing from the Green Lantern Corps and bequeathing scarabs to inhabited worlds which can cover a living being in highly-technological armor to become a hero. However, in reality the scarab takes over the mind of its host and sends data on their world to the Reach and use its abilities to conquer. One such scarab fell to Earth and was imbued with magical energies by the Lord of Order Nabu in the 26th century BC, given to Prince Kha-ef-re of Egypt to help him in his fight with Vandal Savage. 4,500 years later, archaeologist Dan Garrett discovered the scarab and employed its mystic properties to become the Blue Beetle. The scarab was passed to the second Blue Beetle Ted Kord, who was unable to use it and passed it on to the wizard, and Lord of Order, Shazam. When Shazam’s home, the Rock of Eternity, was destroyed, the scarab was catapulted to Texas where young Jaime Reyes discovered it. The scarab later fused with Reyes, turning him into the latest Blue Beetle, and we learn Nabu’s tampering cut the scarab off from its masters and gave it sentience (taking the name Khaji Da). Blue Beetle would face off with the Reach, creating a civil war amongst the race as Khaji Da was able to provide sentience to its fellows scarabs. The Reach appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold trying to invade Oa, homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps. Blue Beetle, as mentioned, was seen in a preview clip for Young Justice.