The New Gods have indeed answered our prayers! Warner Bros. Animation finally listened to the online chatter and granted fans’ wishes with a third season of “Young Justice” announced. The critically-acclaimed cartoon last aired over three a half years ago, after running on Cartoon Network from 2011 to 2013, quickly becoming a fan-favorite. The second season being uploaded on Netlfix earlier this year was enough to spark as a rally cry once more.
The finer details of the resurgence are still to be announced, including when and where, but geeks are already chomping at the bit at see the likes of Aqualad, Nightwing and Miss Martian defend the planet yet again alongside the Justice League. We know that feel, and it’s what prompted us to explore what we want to see unleashed in Season 3.
15. Apokolips Now
After the unofficial incorporation of the Young Justice roster into the Justice League in last season’s finale, fans got the shock of their lives when they saw The Light’s Vandal Savage travel to Apokolips to meet fellow mastermind and partner in the shadows, Darkseid. This was arguably what really left folks clamoring for a new season as it teased the biggest threat to date that the team would have to face.
After so many battles depicting senior superheroes like Batman and Superman leading the charge against Apokolips’ best, it would kick ass to see Aqualad’s team get to that big-boss level and kick it into Omega gear. Darkseid has always proven to be the ultimate litmus test for elite heroes, and he brings a swath of destruction with him. So, to see the team officially graduate by having to stave off this threat is beyond enticing. It’s Justice League-level stuff, and basically the top of the despot pool!
Fans who demanded a third season can indeed call this a rebirth, as it was more or less brought back from the dead. Even the cast, as unrelenting as they were, thought so. There’s an even bigger opportunity currently to incorporate some relevant “DC Rebirth” threads here that have massive potential. The fact that Darkseid has a vested interest in Earth could make room for his daughter, Grail, which ties into the Amazons, New Gods and other riveting source material.
While producers could well be eyeing this for an animated movie, it would heap an extra pinch of importance to the show, flavoring it with an anti-life spice. Not only could it drive comic fans to the cartoon, it may also work conversely in a symbiotic marketing push. It’s time we started syncing cartoons up more to comics while still leaving enough legroom for originality and creativity. What better place to plant that seed than here?
13. Lessen the JLA
Many members of the Justice League were quite prominent in grooming the team and helping them blossom as superheroes. Batman and Black Canary were two of the most instrumental in the first couple seasons that helped oversee this transition, growth and development from rough-edged individuals into actually being a full-fledged cohesive field team.
However, with both squads now sharing the Watchtower space, it needs to be said that the JLA-influence has to be toned down. It’d be regressive to distinguish the youngsters so well over the course of two years only to now put them in the spotlight with DC’s heroes, who have already been there for so many years. Don’t make them the Justice League-lite or the bench-warmers; instead, place them in the starting lineup. They’ve already shown their mettle and surpassed all benchmarks against The Light and The Reach, so we’re confident they can handle more invasions, Deathstroke or even the Injustice League. Trust us, the kids are alright.
12. Dance of Death
If anything, one of the biggest positives of the show is that it highlights just how grave the stakes are. Wally West’s death at the end of last season reiterates this in spades. Let’s hope it’s not an apparent death or one that’ll be copped out with a Speed Force retcon, because we’re getting enough of that with CW’s “The Flash.” There’s a sense of urgency and more so, of gravity, that few cartoons have ever captured like “Young Justice,” and this is the kind of essence that keeps things flowing so well.
Anyone can go at anytime, as seen with easter eggs featuring Jason Todd and Tula in holograms of remembrance. This alone is reason to tune in, because it helps eliminate that comic trope where the door of death is revolving and impermanent. If anyone else passes on, it would be a dramatic move; but again, one that differentiates DC’s animation in a way that we’ve only seen in “The Flashpoint Paradox.” This cartoon needs bold, collateral damage so let’s keep death as permanent as we can.
One of the show’s major assets was its fresh incarnation of Aqualad. It was a bold move to place the character, also known by his Atlantean name Kaldur’ahm, at the forefront as a brilliant tactician and military strategist, alongside the dynamo Dick Grayson. The character was introduced in DC Comics by writer Geoff Johns in “Brightest Day” before popping up once more in the “DC Universe: Rebirth” one-shot.
Reinstating him to duty fully as leader would be doing the diehards great fan-service as he has proven to be one of the franchise’s most beloved heroes. Also, given the current diversity charge in modern comics and television, such a strong black voice is needed more than ever. It’s one that’s needed in more than just a double-agent role, too, which painted him as quite a cerebral villain working with his father, Black Manta. In 2013 when we thought he went off the rails with Tula’s death, playing the tortured and traitorous role well, but we know where we want him swimming: towards justice!
10. Titan-ic Tension
We’ve seen Aqualad already split the roster up into sub-teams, but something that stands out is that the main squad boasts members that we’d associate with “Teen Titans.” They include Tim Drake as Robin, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl and Bart Allen, who’s preparing to carry on the Kid Flash legacy with his Impulse persona. This series has shown that personalities can clash and these two teams in particular have already had a pretty odd encounter, albeit out of main continuity.
When it comes to the main series, if a splinter or break-off team forms, it could add tension and an unexpected, complicated twist for the heroes. Fighting villains is more than enough, so how would they handle true infighting? If anything, another young heroic team wouldn’t be so bad, would it? Rivals can get along, especially if the fate of the world rests in their hands. Usually, we steer clear of drama, but surely heroic philosophies could bounce and potentially fracture this team into a civil war.
9. Multiverse Mixer
If Brandon Vietti and his production team don’t think this specific universe needs internal turmoil for its heroes, then maybe this request can be offset by enlisting other opponents from the multiverse. It would be quite a trip having Aqualad’s team meet alternate versions of themselves or maybe butt heads with Bruce Timm’s universe, or the “Teen Titans” or “Justice League: Unlimited” — which ended on an intriguing Darkseid/Lex note that could tie in here too.
Speculation aside, the YJ posse have fought extraterrestrial threats from the galaxy and universe they know; so why not test them with the ones they don’t? The multiverse has always and will always be a huge part of DC’s universe, so to see Warner Bros. Animation throw that into the mainstream once more would be daring, but a gamble that’ll pay out big time. “Young Justice” has always been about broadening horizons, so it’s time to go big or go home, even if it’s in a motherbox.
8. Mount Justice 2.0
A team’s base is just as important as the team itself. The Bat-cave, Watchtower and of course, the Fortress of Solitude are some shining examples. So when Mount Justice was blown to smithereens by Aqualad as part of his undercover ruse to hit The Light where it hurt, a lot of loyalists dropped their heads. The cave was home-sweet-home, and felt like an extra attribute that truly separated this bunch from everything and everyone.
Being the first headquarters used by the JLA made it even more sentimental. While the squad’s currently sharing space with their big-hitting seniors, a revamped Mount Justice could be a step towards normalcy again. Wally’s dead and the team’s more seasoned in terms of war, but this place holds much in the way of nostalgia and training, which means it could add a dimension of warmth and comfort that the hardening heroes may not have felt in a while.
7. Destructive Arsenal
With Roy Harper and his clone in the mix, things could get sticky. While the family factor of wife, Cheshire, and daughter, Lian, weighs heavily, fans would recall how unstable things got for Arsenal in the comics. He’s just as much a live-wire as Jason Todd and we’ve seen this stubbornness already on the show with Green Arrow. A great arc could be the potential descent of Arsenal and a downward spiral that results in his own team — Roy included — having to help quell his demons and whatever trauma he endured during or after being cloned by The Light. While Speedy evolved into Red Arrow, Arsenal’s path could well be directed into a downward trajectory to really build that dynamic and duality of the light and dark that comes with fighting evil. What’ll make things more intriguing is that he’ll be a hard person to disarm, given how well he knows his teammates.
6. Trial of Black Manta
This would be a visceral and emotional ride for Aqualad, but it’s a necessary one. Given the utter chaos that Black Manta has caused, it’s quite fitting that he be sentenced swiftly. Having Aqualad go through this with his father would also offer a huge path to re-integrate Ocean Master, mysteriously cast out by The Light, and Aquaman.
The Atlantis dynamic has shown immense possibility in arcs past and even if Atlantis came knocking to host the trial and started a conflict with the surface-dwellers, well, let’s just say that it’ll have Namor fans up in arms. It’s all about getting there first, after all. “Young Justice” should be poaching this ahead of Marvel because Manta has affected two worlds that often clash in terms of doctrines and codes. Even in chains, he has that ability to cause confusion and ruin a kingdom without lifting a single speargun. He’s definitely a menace that needs to be washed away, ASAP!
5. New Members
The roster greatly expanded last season, but what’s a few more good superheroes? DC has a comprehensive stable of hungry hotshots and up-and-comers who would do well with some airtime, even if in cameos or supporting roles. Static Shock was one pick that delighted fans, as was Batgirl. But imagine seeing the likes of Cassandra Cain, Spoiler, a young Raven and so on. One thing missing is a young Green Lantern, so maybe a retcon for Jessica Cruz?
YJ has never backed away from bucking trends and shaking up the established order, so if they decide to open their doors, we can’t wait to see who signs up. Another salivating pick could be Vibe, given that some doorways and rifts are going to be needed when Apokolips comes knocking. If done right, his inclusion could be a major win! Either way, freshening up the lineup is never a bad thing, as long as the old-schoolers are present to keep the momentum going. Never out with the old, but always in with the new!
4. Upping The Fight Quality
First off, the quality of the fight choreography and action sequences were always spot on in “Young Justice.” We’ve got no issue with that. But it’s been awhile and animation’s been stepping up all over the world. The anime “Naruto” has shown this, not to mention the likes of Netflix’s “Voltron: Legendary Defender” and “Knights of Sidonia.”
“Young Justice,” then, has some catching up to do, but we’re certain the show pull it off in its usual distinct style. DC’s animated movies have always pushed the envelope on a consistent basis, so we’d love for “YJ” to leapfrog it, thus raising the bar for those movies whose style may have gotten a tad stale and stagnant recently. There’s a clever balance with plot that this series has always pulled off that has never made it too saturated with violence, so maybe now, as it’s gotten more adult, cynical and dare we say, dark and gritty, the action quality should evolve also.
3. Big League Call-Up
Moving from the minors to the major league is a hell of a thing. Vietti and company probably realized that when the show caught fire, even in its aftermath, and that’s what pushed them to fan the flames once more. When it’s all said and done, what’s the main ambition for a member? One would assume it’s to head over to the big boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, right? What would be more epic than watching a YJ member or two called up to the Justice League? We could even see one turn down the acceptance letter.
Here at CBR, we could well see it being Aqualad, but no matter which way it swings, it would justify the assembly of the team in their younger days and also prove to be THE training programme to bulk up the pool that the JLA selects new folks from. A great team needs depth, after all, and “YJ” could quickly become the initiative to suss out who gets promoted. As much as it could end up being a symbol or precursor to the big-named pantheon of heroes, however, it’ll forever be its own entity to us.
2. Retire Artemis
Sure, her skills and experience are needed, now that LexCorp is exploiting the remnants of chaos left by The Reach. But this particular character could make a mark in terms of a PTSD arc. As the daughter of Sportsmaster and sister of Cheshire, she’s been through so much, all of which has been compounded by the death of Wally. So why have her out in the field once more in the wake of this?
Not only would a PTSD arc reflect the real-world issue and be a landmark for the cartoon, it also adds a layer of empathy for Artemis, who’s struggled a lot with the entire duplicity and undercover angle last season, which saw her go into the belly of the beast in disguise as Tigress. Adopting this new moniker can also be spun as a coping mechanism that fails. With threads connected to so many heroes and villains, Greg Weisman and the rest of the production team do have a lot of room to fiddle around with how to shape her. After all, “Arrow’s” already doing their take.
1. Go Galactic
Cosmic threats keep coming to Earth. The Martians, The Reach and Kroloteans: these are a few prime examples of mounting threats, so let’s get more star treks. Aqualad deployed a unit to Mars last season, so it’s about time we see more of these interactions off-planet. This not only takes the team to new frontiers, we alsoqqq get more relationships forged.
New landscapes mean new characters and of course, space arcs that can be drawn from the books. There’s also the Source Wall, Metron, Oa and New Genesis to explore, so let’s take the squad out of their element. We’ve got Miss Martian, Superboy, the Forever People and Adam Strange in the mix so get cracking! Travel is a great way to grow and policing the galaxy nurtures a series that most people thought would be limited in scope. This could lead to more toys and a video-game push again, right? Diversification’s the name of the game, in more ways than one.
Thoughts on our choices? What do you want to see when Season 3 rolls out? Let us know in the comments!
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