The revival of Young Justice in 2018 comes with not only new characters for the show but also some new costumes for the longer-serving members. Some of these new designs were unveiled for eager fans at SDCC in 2017, revealing that Artemis, Nightwing, Superboy and Aqualad will be wearing stealthy, black numbers more befitting of the revamped third Season — Young Justice: Outsiders. Young Justice is a fantastic looking show, from its explosive action sequences to its creative and fun updates to the iconic costumes of the young DC sidekicks. Phil Bourassa, one of the original character concept artists, shared some of his work in 2011 along with insights into the art direction for characters like Robin from showrunners Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman.
“Having just finished drawing all the iconic DC characters for Crisis on Two Earths, I was excited to be working on the younger heroes, particularly Robin because he tends to bring some much-needed color and levity to the typically grim and bleak world of the Batman mythos. I drew a couple of concept sketches before arriving at [the final] design, which […] incorporates Mr. Vietti’s main overall direction — to avoid the briefs on top of the tights and to add visible seams and padding to the outfit to suggest more realism.” Though there’s little to critique about how these official designs turned out, some talented fans have still found some room to innovate and improve.
This futuristic take on Nightwing by Eric Guzman adds some snazzy glow-in-the-dark features to a costume that’s already one of the snazziest in the DCU. Young Justice chose to use Dick Grayson’s classic blue on black color scheme for its version of the Teen Titans co-founder. Though not quite as skin tight as his comic counterpart’s often is, the official redesign for the show’s second Season was faithful but with greater touches of realism like the armor and belt.
Eric’s redesign here is also armored but with more liberal use of the character’s recognizable blue hue for some extra flair. The luminescence of his mask and logo suggests there might even be some Iron Man-style tech going on under the suit, too. It might not be better for stealth but it sure is for aesthetics.
14. BLUE BEETLE
This illustrative fan redesign of the Blue Beetle suit comes from Young Justice super-fan, dou-hong. For this piece, the artist was inspired by Season Two’s “Before The Dawn,” which is unsurprising considering how Blue Beetle-heavy the episode is. Not only does the episode flashback to his origin story but we also discover from Impulse that there’s a possible future in which The Reach weaponize the Scarab against humanity.
The artist said they imagined an alternate history for the Beetle. “How cool would it be if Khaji Da was originally a Reach warrior who got stranded on Earth in 5,000 BC and was the ultimate influence of the Egyptian aesthetic?” They also posited that their redesign could serve as a “Stage Two” transformation for Jamie’s Beetle, a la Iron Man’s different “Marks” for his suit.
13. KID FATE
Episode Seven of Young Justice‘s first Season saw the team looking into the strange disappearance of the former Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson. Wally, being a kid of science, has his faith in logic and reason severely tested when he ends up nearly being forced to take on the Fate mantle. As a five-minute Fate, Kid Flash just assumed the same costume as Kent’s.
The concept, however, proved alluring enough for artistic fans like croaky to imagine what a Kid Flash/Doctor Fate shared identity might look like had Wally kept the helmet and his super speed. This pencil sketch stylishly merges the Flash family lightning bolt and streamline suit with Fate’s helmet and cape perfectly. The cape’s tattered edges and hood also work as youthful updates to the classic costume.
12. BLACK MANTA
One of the (many) interesting things that Young Justice did was reintroduce DCAU fans to a classic Aquaman villain. Black Manta often gives off Darth Vader vibes in the DCU — a dark, vengeful presence who is rarely seen without his iconic helmet. Young Justice fleshed him out as a distant father consumed by work — his “work” being professional evil-doer. (No parent is perfect.)
It’s hard to improve on a uniform as cool as Manta’s but this redesign by Eric Guzman is a great new spin. The pointed ears on the helmet are evocative of Batman (which is never a bad reference point) while the dramatic spikes coming out of the shoulders, arms and legs enhance the character’s gothic marine aura. Also, how awesome is that glowing trident? Arthur Curry better watch his back.
11. KID FLASH
It’s hard to fault the classic red and gold suits of the speediest DC family. Free from accessories like capes, belts and outer underwear, once Jay Garrick’s tin hat was replaced by full head mask, the Flash lineage has always preferred simple all-in-one numbers with few bells and whistles. That, of course, makes sense for aerodynamics. Still keeping things simple, this fan redesign by croaky is a nice palette cleanser from what we’re used to seeing.
The shirt and trousers combination has the casual, modern superhero feel of Conner Kent’s preference for a t-shirt and jeans — a typically teenage rejection of traditionalism. The monochrome color scheme also screams of rebellion, washing out the family colors in favor of something more individual. Looks like Wally must have been a real rush though as he’s left his mask at home…
10. RED TORNADO
The scarlet android usually looks very humanoid in the comics — he’s essentially DC’s answer to Marvel’s Vision. Young Justice chose to give him much more of a classic, robotic design more akin to Iron Man, and his role was that of a mentor/babysitter to the teen heroes in Season One. This redesign from accomplished comic book artist Stjpan Sejic may just be a quick doodle but the detail is still really impressive.
The slimmer frame and mechanical parts decorating the exterior body feel a little less Iron Man and a little more Ultron in inspiration (if we’re sticking to the Marvel comparisons.) The narrowed eyes and chin strap make the character look more ominous but also much more expressive than the simple three slots in place of eyes and a mouth that he sported in the show.
This cute little sketch by The Babman of Superman’s angsty teen counterpart is a fun amalgamation of Conner Kent/Kon-El’s original ’90s design from the comics with his Young Justice redesign — blending the old with the new pretty seamlessly. The funky quiff with the short sides along with the gloves and boots are a nice tribute to his debut look, while the vest emblazoned with his Super family logo and trousers modernizes the whole thing.
The Danny Zuko leather jacket he used to fly around in is definitely better left in the ’90s. While the casual t-shirt and jeans he’s donned throughout most of the cartoon are refreshingly simple for a superhero, it would still be fun to see the Superman clone fully embrace his heritage more in his modern-day animated appearances.
The devil is in the details for this Impulse fan redesign. While artist dou-hong has been pretty reverential to the time-traveling speedster’s official costume in the show, this piece has some subtle changes that make all the difference. The most obvious alternation is swapping Bart Allen’s widescreen lenses for a pair of round goggles instead for a more retro-future feel.
The additional padding around the shoulders, elbow and lower legs offer a bit more practical protection, too — as well as more personalized flair that seems to suit Bart’s character. Little touches like the zip at the uniform’s neckline also give the idea of a tracksuit rather than a traditional super suit. Even the longer, messier hair expresses Bart’s endless energy more. As for the fingerless gloves? Totally “crash.”
7. THE REACH AMBASSADOR
Known as “The Ambassador” (which kind of sounds more like a name for a rejected Arnold Schwarzenegger movie than an alien diplomat), this slimy antagonist was based off of The Negotiator (equally Schwarzenegger sounding) from the Blue Beetle comics who plays a similar role. As a fan of both the show and comics, dou-hong created this series of alternate designs before the villain even appeared on-screen.
“I’m just a huge fan of the black/sea foam green combo, [so] it was just vert fun to draw this guy,” the artist captions the piece with. “I wouldn’t say that he looks totally different from his comic counterpart but I definitely covered him up a little more. He still has the lights on his arms but you can’t see them until he takes off his cloak. My theory to justify this is just to add more normalcy to his appearance.”
There have been so many different Robin costumes — both official and unofficial — by now that it’s amazing that artists are still finding new ways to take the Boy Wonder’s look. The Young Justice-style redesign by Bobby Katzen imagines an older Tim Drake than we saw in the first two Seasons of the show and draws heavily from his Red Robin costumes from the comics.
The shape of the mask is a near-exact replica of Nightwing’s but the rest is all Tim — from the predominantly red color scheme to the golden bird insignia on his chest. Notable changes — the missing random belts across his chest and black head covering — give it a generally sleeker feel. All together, it looks completely on-brand enough to be an official uniform for the character in the series.
This wonderfully stylized artwork by croaky of Artemis Crock in her Tigress guise doesn’t do too much different in terms of costume design but it’s so much more expressive than the art style of the show it’s hard not to find it preferable. The most eye-catching feature is obviously the way Artemis’ distinctive blonde locks billow out behind her like a flame in the dark.
The orange tint of her costume looks like it’s a good few shades brighter than the show’s palette — possibly not advantageous for covert operations but it certainly is for style. The body suit also has a slinkier shape to it as well, which evokes a more suitably feline feel. Obviously, animation has its restraints where time and budgets are concerned but seeing the series drawn in this looser way would be amazing.
Though Shazam has gone through a few reinventions over the years — including a change of name — his classic look is just, well, classic. The Young Justice team did little to deviate from his signature uniform, leaving the door wide open for some radical and creative redesigns from fans, like this fun one from Shamserg. The digital artist remixes the old with the new with surprising success here.
The basic form and color scheme of the magical superhero’s costume are still clearly visible but jazzed up with some pretty cool accessories. The gloves, gauntlets and armoured shoulder pad evoke a warrior or even godly feel, while the headphones hint at the more grounded preteen persona hidden underneath. What do you think he’s listening to? “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC? Justin Bieber?
Though Aqualad became Aquaman’s official sidekick, his Atlantean BFF Garth — a powerful sorcerer — could have easily taken that role in his place. As Tempest, his blue and gray uniform is simple but effective. It could definitely do with a bit more superhero flair worthy of his hydrokinetic skills though. Luckily, artist Phil Cho did exactly that for his “Earth-27” revamp of the character.
“Earth-27” is an ambitious collaborative project that combines bits of DC comics, movies and TV shows into one fan-made reinterpretation of the DCU. Here, Phil has aged Garth up a little — and perhaps boosted his confidence too, judging by the expression. True to the “Earth-27” brief, the Atlantean tattoos and scaled texture of the suit amalgamate Jason Mamoa’s radical Aquaman redesign for the Justice League movie into the YJ world.
Zatanna’s costume rarely ever changes, and to be honest, it rarely needs to. Following on from her father, Zatara, her uniform tells you exactly what she is — a classic magician. (Except that she can actually do real tricks.) Her design in Young Justice doesn’t really deviate from this norm either, with the exception of modestly covering up her legs. Doubling up as a superheroine as well as a professional conjurer, the Mistress of Magic could always do with looking a little more like the former.
That’s exactly what professional digital artist YamaOrce has done in this piece. The smart black and white suit elements of her usual uniform are still a strong presence — the top hat and wand are even included — but the artist has managed craft them into something that more closely resembles an all-in-one suit more representative of the powerful superherione she is.
Before Young Justice‘s release, the reveal that the team’s leader would not only be an original character but also part of the Aquaman family seemed like a strange — and even risky — move. Of course, Kaldur turned out to be a stellar choice when the show actually aired. Though his blonde buzzcut is distinctive, the rest of his uniform is quite basic, making it ripe for some awesome fan redesigns.
Phil Cho created this version of the Young Justice leader for the fan-made, alternate DC universe, “Earth-27.” Here, Kaldur has quite literally let his hair down and sports a costume that looks a little more worthy of Aquaman’s superhero sidekick — especially the prominent redesign of the Aquaman logo on his belt. The asymmetrical shoulder strap gives off more of a noble warrior feel, too.
Which Young Justice uniforms do you think could do with a redesign? Let us know in the comments!
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