Young Justice: Outsiders Episodes 1-3 Review – by Kaitlyn McCafferty
This review will not be spoiler free!
Young Justice is back with a darker, fast-paced, three-episode bang on DC Universe! Set two years in the future from season two, season three promises the same punchy, thoughtful dialogue, charming characters, and energetic fight scenes that made the first two seasons so entertaining. I’m excited to talk in particular about how Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti are handling new and old characters, a smart, interesting plot, and their new freedom from Cartoon Network to spice things up a little.
But first, I would like to preface this little review/discussion by talking about how much Young Justice means to me. Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about it, because I’m about to gush. I started watching Young Justice right when it came out in 2010. I was twelve years old. Young Justice was my everything. My first cosplay ever was of season one Robin, my first online fandom was Young Justice, the first ever web comics that I posted online were Young Justice fan comics. I made Young Justice plushies by hand and scoured the aisles of Wal-Mart toy sections to find Young Justice action figures. I was absolutely devastated when it got cancelled, and the announcement of its renewal this year was very unexpected and exciting.
The first three episodes have not disappointed. I watched them back-to-back, sweating in the dark and gasping loudly at my laptop whenever something unexpected happened. One of my favorite things about Young Justice is how Weisman and Vietti handle the characters. Season one made me fall in love with Dick Grayson, Artemis Crock, and Kaldur’Ahm. I’m ecstatic with how all three of these characters have fared in season three. There’s a lot of thoughtful development, as well as respectful or comical nods to their pasts. I enjoyed the jokes about Conner Kent getting trapped in another pod, in addition to the fact that he already ended up shirtless in the second episode.
I love that Kaldur’Ahm has taken the helm as co-head of the Justice League. I rarely like the level-headed leader characters (they’re often boring to me), but Kaldur is just so cool and multi-faceted. I’m also glad he doesn’t have to pose as the bad guy anymore under Black Manta, which was a very exciting, but stressful part of season two.
I was originally disappointed with the time skip of season two, mourning the loss of the immature, cocky Dick Grayson Robin I came to know and love. Now that I’m a bit older, however, I feel like I can relate more to Nightwing and Oracle. I like that Dick and Barbara have detached from the “Bat” brand to follow their own paths. Their dynamic is fun, lovable, and flirtatious in all the right ways. I’m absolutely living for it. It’s played out with extreme ease and comfort, with innovative new gear, and is clear without explanation that they’ve been working together for a long time.
Then Artemis… I have so much to say about my badass, half-Asian sister. Her dialogue was incredible. I love how she interacted with Halo–decisive, concerned, gentle, and heroic. Her fight scenes were wonderful. Her pairing with Roy’s clone caught me by surprise, but I delight in the fact that they have a daughter now. The post-episode nod to Wally West, in which Brucely is sleeping with a Kid Flash plushy, dug up the grief I felt at the end of season two. That being said, his death was handled very well. I feel the decisions to give Artemis a family and have her smile fondly at a photograph of her and Wally confirm that Wally West is dead and there is no intention of bringing him back, which I can respect from a storytelling perspective. Death is much stronger in stories where characters stay dead, and it’s realistic for Artemis, as a woman of action, to have moved on.
I didn’t expect the show to open up centering on a squad comprised primarily of season one characters and a grief-ridden Black Lightning, but I couldn’t be happier that that’s how it happened. I think this was a great decision for contextualizing the story–lay down where the Justice League is at and introduce the Light’s new ploy to kidnap and experiment on meta-gene positive youths–in an interesting and “whelming” fashion. At this point, I’m really hoping to see more of Jaime Reyes and Bart Allen, my favorite sons. I also wonder if Weisman and Vietti are going to have a couple of LGBT pairings like they’d discussed, unshackled from the regulations of Cartoon Network. There’s already some more blood and gore in season three that wouldn’t fly on Cartoon Network, so I can see they’re taking advantage of their freedoms. The fact that I brought this up directly after mentioning Jaime and Bart is not a coincidence; they’d be a very cute couple in my opinion.
I’m excited to see where the series is going! Perhaps I will revisit some Young Justice fanart while I’m waiting for next Friday.