Young Justice – Apokolips: We Want You! by Jerry Whitworth
In the time since the publication of our article “What Could Have Been – Young Justice: Apokolips,” something rather remarkable happened. In February, Netflix added Young Justice: Invasion to its streaming service and reportedly it became a popular program for the company. Roughly a week later, Khary Payton (the voice actor for Aqualad/Kaldur’ahm, arguably the star of Young Justice) tweeted that while nothing official has been confirmed, the possibility of a third season for the show seems to have improved. This revelation led to the hashtag #RenewYoungJustice on Twitter as stars and showrunners for YJ have urged fans to watch the series on Netflix to boost its presence on the service. Certainly at this point, there’s no guarantees but for the first time in the three years since its cancellation, there seems to be hope of bringing the show back exclusively for Netflix. It’s in this spirit that we delve more specifically into what a third season for the show could mean.
When the Teen Titans premiered, there were three sidekicks of the Justice League that notably did not emerge. While Superman had Supergirl and Green Lantern, to a degree, would get Air Wave, the Martian Manhunter wouldn’t get a younger counterpart until 2006 with Miss Martian (who, of course, went on to be a featured character on Young Justice). However, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the concept of a younger Martian emerged in the early 1980s resulting in Jemm, Son of Mars. Therein, J’Em/Jemm was the cousin of the Martian Manhunter forced to escape to Earth from Mars II (a Martian settlement following the destruction of the original world by General Blanx and the White Martians) in the wake of a White Martian coup d’etat. Unfortunately, the story ran into problems when the Justice League of America title was going to feature a war between Earth and Mars II around the same time so Jemm’s story had to be changed. Instead, Jemm would be a Red Saturnian and member of the royal family of his world whose planet was conquered by their white-skinned counterparts forcing Jemm to flee to Earth (where cousin J’onn became instead cousin Jogarr). Becoming Jemm, Son of Saturn, the character was largely abandoned until years later as being forced to join Injustice Gang against his will in order to combat Martian Manhunter. Since that time, Jemm made infrequent appearances such as teaming with Martian Manhunter and interacting with New Krypton on behalf of his world (and recently premiered in live action for Supergirl, though as a villain). For Young Justice, the series specifically chose to retain three Martian skin colors on its world but replaced Yellow with Red. While not a guarantee, the producers of the series rarely do anything without a purpose so chances are Jemm may very well emerge. Further, while a White Martian, Miss Martian in nonetheless the biological niece of the Martian Manhunter so there’s already a precedent for the character possibly having a Red cousin.
At a time when it became popular to replace established characters of yesteryear with new, younger substitutes, Green Arrow would be killed off and replaced with a newly revealed son. Connor Hawke is the son of Oliver Queen and Sandra “Moonday” Hawke back when the former was in college and a notorious playboy. Told he was the son of the Green Arrow, the rambunctious Connor was handed over to the Ashram Monastery in the Napa Valley when he was thirteen because he learned his father stayed there at some point in the past. After five years studying under the monks, Oliver would return to the Ashram where he discovered his son and the pair would eventually partner together in crimefighting. Sadly, Oliver died shortly afterward and Connor would take up his mantle. He would later carry on a relationship with Mia Dearden, a former child prostitute trained by Oliver to be the new Speedy. Only eclipsed by Batman, Young Justice seems to have an affinity for Green Arrow’s supporters having Red Arrow, Artemis/Tigress, and Arsenal. It wouldn’t then be far-fetched to imagine another Emerald Archer emerge (though the likes of Arrowette and Speedy II are also possible albeit Artemis seems to be something of an amalgamation of these characters). Connor recently made the transition to live action in Legends of Tomorrow.
Batman has one of the largest casts of supporting characters in comics. He even has a Batmen of All Nations which feature Batman-inspired heroes from all around the world. For Young Justice, the series has already featured three Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake) and a Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) with Bette Kane and Stephanie Brown even appearing (the former being Bat-Girl and Flamebird and latter Spoiler, Robin, and Batgirl in the comics). It wouldn’t then be surprising for even more such characters appearing in the third season. Two likely candidates would be the Huntress and Cassandra Cain. The former a crossbow-wielding crime boss’ daughter turned vigilante (originally the daughter of Batman and Catwoman in the comics), her choice of weapon may draw too many comparisons to Artemis. So, then, it maybe safer to assume Cassandra Cain could emerge as a new Batgirl. The daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva (two of the deadliest assassins on Earth), Cassandra was trained to be the perfect killer able to defeat the best warriors of the League of Assassins as a child (including Bronze Tiger, one of the best fighters in the world) and even carried out a contract at age eight. Horrified at having taken someone’s life, Cassandra ran away and lived as a nomad for nine years before ending up in Gotham where she was taken in by Batman and Oracle (Barbara Gordon following the loss of the use of her lower body at the hands of the Joker). Becoming Batgirl, Batman raised her like a daughter and trained her as his protege eventually providing her the means to operate independently of him (she would pass down the mantle of Batgirl to her best friend Stephanie Brown and became instead Black Bat based out of Hong Kong). Arguably, Cassandra Cain is one of the best characters to emerge from DC Comics in the past fifteen or so years which would make her viable for adaptation with her relation to Batman considered for Young Justice (where her story shares traits with Tigress which could mean having her as a mentor). There’s also the complexity of her difficulty in speaking which can be reminiscent of Dick Grayson’s habit of acting without talking in the show’s first season and the speech barrier of Asami Koizumi from the second season which add intrigue to her portrayal.
The son of Aquaman and Kako, the former was on a journey trying to discover himself eventually washing up in Northern Canada where he stayed with an Inuit tribe. Falling in love with Kako from the tribe, Aquaman was forced to leave her following a confrontation with the goddess Nuliajuk, the Mother of Monsters. Unbeknownst to him, Kako was with child and would bear a son named Koryak. When a mission brings Aquaman back to the tribe’s village, he learns of his son (now a teenager) who’s angry at his absent father. After combating threats to the village together, Koryak returns with his father to Atlantis but his anger becomes a consistent liability. For Young Justice, Aquaman and wife Mera would have a son in Artur who would likely be ten years of age by the start of the third season. It’s unlikely for Artur to join the Team considering not only his age but his role as the sole heir of Atlantis. Koryak would be an excellent alternative to emerge in the series especially considering in the comics the jealousy he had of his father and sidekick Garth/Tempest. This could be translated as Koryak is jealous of the relationship of Aquaman and Artur whereas Artur is jealous of Koryak’s adventures as the new Aqualad. It could also mean a bond between Koryak and Connor Hawke as both grew up without fathers and the latter studied to channel his anger rather than allow it to consume him.
The twin son and daughter of the Flash Barry Allen, Don and Dawn Allen are the Tornado Twins, speedster superheroes in the 30th century (the generation just prior to the rise of the Legion of Super-Heroes). It would be revealed that Iris West-Allen (wife of Barry and aunt of Wally West, Kid Flash) was actually from the 30th century who, as an infant, was sent to the 20th century to escape a planetary war. Years later, after marrying Barry, Iris would be killed by the hero’s nemesis Reverse-Flash but her essence would be transferred to the future to live with her biological parents. Coming to join her in the future, Barry and Iris would have two children only for the former to fall in battle saving all time and space from the Anti-Monitor. In Young Justice, it’s revealed in its second season Iris is pregnant with the twins by a time-displaced Bart Allen (Don’s son from the future). That would mean it’s likely in a third season, the twins would be five years of age but, of course, the Flash has a long history with time travel (notably, the Cosmic Treadmill). It wouldn’t then be too hard to imagine a scenario where a situation emerges that could see an older version of the Tornado Twins make their appearance. Also, it would create an interesting dynamic that Bart Allen would have to be a mentor to his own father and aunt.
The cousin of Superman rocketed likewise to Earth to escape the destruction of Krypton, Kara Zor-El was a teenager who was suppose to protect her infant family member Kal-El upon arrival at their new home only for her rocket to go off course. While her cousin grew into an adult, Kara was in stasis eventually emerging on Earth years later where she became Supergirl. Something of a secret weapon used by Superman against his enemies, Supergirl would develop her own adventures and enemies separate from him. Giving her life in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a new Supergirl would emerge as a creation of an alternate Earth’s Lex Luthor in order to combat Kryptonian prisoners that had escaped the Phantom Zone. Failing, this Supergirl sought Superman from his universe for help however the prisoners proved too powerful, destroying Supergirl’s world leading her to be adopted by Superman and returned with him to his Earth. Several more Supergirls would later emerge including Cir-El, a human/Kryptonian hybrid created by Brainiac, and a new version of Kara Zor-El that Batman suspected of being a hoax created by the Man of Steel’s enemies to gain his trust and do him in. Thus far in Young Justice, only Superboy has emerged as a younger counterpart to Superman whereas Batman has had four, Aquaman four, Green Arrow three, Flash two, and Wonder Woman two which means Superman could do for another addition. But beyond that, by the second season Superman and Superboy have transitioned into a good place emotionally with each other and the appearance of Supergirl, perhaps as Superman’s long-lost cousin, could shake up the story. It could also find some roots in the stranger in a strange land element Miss Martian experienced in the initial season (making her a good possible mentor). Supergirl, of course, is currently starring in her own live action series.
DC has covered a lot of ground with its animated films of late with Damian Wayne as a featured character (appearing in four of them, including the recent Batman: Bad Blood and upcoming Justice League vs. Teen Titans). Having already explored Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake (with a cameo by Stephanie Brown) as Robin in Young Justice, it would make sense for a third season to transition into the next Robin in Batman’s son Damian (especially considering his recent notoriety). The son of Batman and Talia (daughter of Ra’s al Ghul), Damian was raised in secret by the League of Assassins to be a mighty tool in their service. At age ten, Talia would reveal her son’s existence to Batman and offered their child to him (albeit in order to disrupt his work). Damian is a trained killer of the highest degree, an assassin with few parallel regardless of his youth, but as the grandson of Ra’s, he is also arrogant and spoiled. Admiring his father, Damian wishes to develop a bond with him and replace Robin (often by trying to demonstrate his superiority to him). Eventually, Tim would move on to become Red Robin as Dick Grayson became Batman and Damian his Robin (where Damian doesn’t hold his elder comrade in the same regard as his father). Considering the character’s popularity in the comics and animated films, chances are Damian would thrive in YJ as perhaps the ultimate challenge facing the team in developing cohesion. Likely the most valuable member of the Team in his remarkable capability of infiltration and analyzing threats, he would also be the greatest liability trying to work alone and devaluing human life (in the comics on his first unauthorized adventure, he violently murders one of Batman’s foes).