Young Justice: We Want You!
by Jerry Whitworth
While the Young Justice television series has perhaps the largest cast in a comic book adapted series, at least giving Justice League Unlimited a run for its money, it doesn’t mean it can’t get bigger. With the team sporting around nine members with more on the way and the Justice League as a supporting cast, it has to be a challenge to work with so many pieces on the board. However, with the upcoming second season Invasion where the Earth is attacked by an alien threat (signs putting to a certain stone-faced despot with a penchant for shooting zig-zagging eyebeams), the first season seems more like a set-up for bigger things to come. So, what new recruits could make the roster for Invasion? Lets look at some of DC’s young heroes yet to appear in the series.
Reportedly unavailable to the show when it was in development despite a desire to use her, word has it such is no longer the case so the appearance of Wonder Girl maybe all but inevitable now. Such is especially the case considering Wonder Woman, who thus far has only had cameos, will have a speaking role in the upcoming episode “Agendas” voiced by action film star Maggie Q. As with other characters adapted for the series, this Wonder Girl will likely be an amalgamation of Wonder Girls Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark. Donna Troy, who’s had several origins over the years from being a time-displaced/magically created young Wonder Woman to Wonder Woman’s sister to some Titan of Myth, was Wonder Woman’s protege and partner that joined the Teen Titans making the previously all male group the so-called “Fab Five” (often fawned over by Speedy and Kid Flash). The second Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, was part of Young Justice shortly after the group’s creation as the daughter of Zeus and later wielding a magic lasso able to call down her father’s fabled lightning given to her by her uncle Ares (one of Wonder Woman’s most frequent enemies). For Young Justice, Wonder Girl will likely be Donna Troy but sport Cassie Sandsmark’s costume and lasso (per the trend set with other characters in the series). Also, considering Superboy and Wonder Girl’s ongoing relationship in the comics, one has to wonder if her appearance will create some friction with Superboy’s animated girlfriend Miss Martian (not to mention Kid Flash and Artemis’ burgeoning relationship).
One of DC Comics’ fasting growing recent franchises with appearances in Batman: The Brave and the Bold and a live action clip shot and shopped to networks (which appears will air as part of DC Nation), the only reason Blue Beetle likely hasn’t appeared yet in Young Justice would be the fact he seems to be all over the place at present multimedia wise. Still, Jaime Reyes would make a good fit for the team as being at times serious, other times immature, but mostly for offering an interesting insight as having one of the most powerful armors in the universe only to be one of the most inexperienced heroes among a group of youths who’ve spent years training for what they do. Further, the scarab that grants Jaime Reyes his biomechanical armor has ties to the previous Blue Beetles and derives from the Reach, a retroactive enemy of the Green Lantern Corps, which could make for some interesting business in the series (not to mention the back forth between Jaime and his scarab Khaji Da).
In many ways a precursor to Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, Firestorm was one of the youngest people to join the Justice League and received a large multimedia push appearing in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and an action figure in the accompanying Super Powers toyline. The character was reinvigorated several years ago when youth Jason Rusch became the new Firestorm. With the character’s recent re-imagining at DC Comics with the original Ronnie Raymond and new Jason Rusch as teenage classmates who stumble into the Firestorm matrix, the hero is begging to transcend to another media and Young Justice can certainly offer a prime showcase. Pairing jock Ronnie Raymond and nerd Jason Rusch alone as Firestorm would be amusing, but as part of a group of people their age and in the same business of heroics, the dialogue can write itself.
Introduced as an Earth youth that mysteriously developed the ability to turn into some clone of Hawkman, Charley Parker would blaze a trail as the Golden Eagle eventually joining Titans West. The character was later retconned as the son of a Thanagarian that tried to infiltrate Earth’s heroes as a new Hawkman in hopes of gaining intelligence for an inevitable invasion of Earth by his people. Charley Parker, born Ch’al Andar, was drafted in this plan, becoming Golden Eagle and infiltrating the Titans. While interesting, Golden Eagle is not comics’ only supposed protege of Hawkman as the Golden Age Hawkman had a son that became the hero Silver Scarab (and later Dr. Fate) and adopted the alien Northwind of Feithera (race of humanoid bird people). So, some mixture of these elements could make for a compelling and interesting character for Young Justice.
The cousin of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Harold “Hal” Jordan is the son of the Golden Age hero Air Wave and carries on his father’s name. Able to transform into any form of energy at a young age, Harold teamed with his cousin for some time learning how to control his powers and to be a hero. Air Wave would fit in well with the team as Young Justice is largely a junior Justice League where, of the main seven members, only Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are unrepresented (though, as I said, Wonder Girl is likely to appear in time). Adding Air Wave can fill this gap without introducing yet another Earth-based Green Lantern and he would fill a gap in the group being able to generate long range attacks (of course, Aqualad can generate electric shocks and Artemis shoots arrows, Harold can shoot energy blasts).
When many of the more established founders of the Justice Society went on to be re-imagined in the Justice League, I always thought it was a shame Sandman, Hourman, and Starman didn’t make the transition. This is especially true of Starman because of the possibilities he represented as a brilliant scientist inventing such devices as the Gravity Rod and Cosmic Rod (which was used to create the Cosmic Converter Belt). However, there were several heroes to appear with the title Starman such as alien Mikaal Tomas (based on Marvel’s Captain Marvel), Prince Gavyn (also similar to Captain Mar-Vell), and Will Payton (who inherited Gavyn’s powers), as well as the original Starman’s sons. Interestingly enough, Grant Morrison added a Starman and Hourman to his Justice Legion A in the far future which is based on the Justice League. In any event, Geoff Johns honored the Starman tradition with his creation of the Star-Spangled Kid, based on his sister who died on TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Carrying on the name of the Star-Spangled Kid from the Golden Age (who was the first Starman’s intended successor and grew up to become Skyman) and stepdaughter of the Kid’s partner Stripesy, Courtney Whitmore is a bubbly, smart girl that became a hero to rebel against her stepfather but ended up becoming one of the best of a new crop of heroes her age. Armed with the Cosmic Converter Belt and Cosmic Rod of the original Star-Spangled Kid and Starman, respectively, she would change her name to Stargirl to honor both legacies. Also, her burgeoning romance with Billy Batson, secretly the alter ego of Captain Marvel, made for an intriguing story as their teammates in the JSA were confused by what appeared to be a relationship between an adult and teenager.
POWER BOY and LITTLE BARDA
Should the teens have a war with Apokolips, it would be interesting to meet rebels their age. While the group has already met the Forever People of New Genesis, Power Boy and Little Barda are Young Gods that were students under Granny Goodness in the Orphanage on Apokolips that defected to Earth like Mister Miracle and Big Barda before them. What is intriguing about the pair is they’re fans of certain heroes, Power Boy (who’s a male analogy of Power Girl) of Supergirl and Little Barda of Big Barda. While thus far Young Justice has largely dealt with young heroes acting as proteges of older mentors, Power Boy and Little Barda would instead be trained soldiers that idolized those heroes, only knowing them from afar and observing them in their most ideal state. In seeing the struggles the team go through via their duality as heroes and as teens interacting in the world, the experience could prove interesting as Power Boy and Little Barda have to deal with their allies being more like them than the idea they developed observing them on a pedestal.
Granddaughter of the Golden Age Red Tornado (and by extension, niece of the Cyclone Kids), Maxine Hunkel was kidnapped as a young girl and exposed to nanobots by the android Red Tornado’s creator T. O. Morrow that offer the young girl the ability to generate artificial tornadoes years afterward. While Cyclone was a member of the Justice Society of America, the android Red Tornado has an adopted daughter named Traya in his civilian identity of John Smith that he raises with his wife Kathy Sutton. As with other characters in the series, an amalgamation of the pair could fit the character with the show’s themes.
Little is known about the hero Molecule save that he’s patterned after the Atom and he was a Teen Titan. His appearance is similar to the third Atom Adam Cray or the Atom when he was de-aged after Zero Hour. However, the Atom did have a protege in Ryan Choi who inherited his mantle when he went missing. Choi, a brilliant physicist from China who idolized Ray Palmer, followed his work, corresponded with him through letters, and later came to America to help fill his role at Ivy University when his mentor vanished. What’s intriguing about Choi was that he had little interest in becoming the Atom, it was just something he was forced into when the world needed the Atom and he seemed best suited for the job (though, he was unwittingly pushed this way by the Atom’s nemesis Chronos). Combining elements from both should make for an interesting character because in some fashion he wants to be a hero but rather be a scientist.