Teenage superheroes are always an interesting concept, and Young Justice really got it right. The show wasn’t afraid to explore mature themes, one of the many reasons that it garnered a huge fan following. It also gained popularity for its dark reimagining of the superhero team and for writing its own rules and lore, creating something new and original in the process. In fact, the show was so beloved that after its cancellation, fan uproar eventually resulted in a revival on DC’s upcoming streaming service.
This service may very well provide a more open platform of the show to get even more mature and dark. This is to say that, since the show was so popular with an older audience, perhaps season three will be even more mature without the regulations of Cartoon Network’s censors. That said, Young Justice was no stranger to mature themes in its first two seasons, pushing the envelope quite a bit. In fact, you could easily say that Young Justice was incredibly disgusting/disturbing at times, with crazy facts hiding both in plain sight and under seemingly innocent elements. What do we mean by “disgusting” exactly? Well, we’ve got some examples for you!
16. WORKPLACE ROMANCES
You know how when you get a job, the management tends to discourage romantic workplace relationships? The reason is usually something along the lines of work and personal matters not mixing well, and wether or not you agree with that, with super-heroics it’s probably much, much worse. We’ve already seen the downsides to dating within the superhero team in the episode where Superboy gets way to overprotective of Miss Martian on their first mission as a couple.
But the mixing of superhero duties and personal feelings is just the beginning. The thing that makes the romance between superhero team members even more disturbing is that you know the sidekicks’ mentors definitely give them a few “talks” about relationships. Could you imagine Batman giving Robin a lecture about safe sex? Or Barry Allen telling Wally West the dangers of super speed in bed? Makes us shudder just thinking about it!
15. TEENS WITH DARK SECRETS
In the first season of Young Justice, everyone had a secret. Artemis was secretly the daughter of two villains and the sister of a third, Superboy was in contact with Lex Luthor, and most of Miss Martian’s persona was a lie. But, you might be thinking, every teenager has secrets, even dark ones, what makes this so disgusting and/or disturbing? Well, perhaps those terms might be a bit extreme, but think about specifically Superboy and Miss Martian.
Superboy is a clone of the most powerful man on the planet and he was close to being the pawn of the most evil man in the world, and Miss Martian’s obsession with appearances made her susceptible to being controlled by The Light. These very powerful teenagers almost made it easier for the bad guys to win because they were keeping secrets. Seriously, it’s a good thing they came out with the truth.
Young Justice had a ton of sexual innuendo, sexual tension and somewhat graphic romantic scenes at times… well, graphic for a kids’ show, that is. A big part of it came from the romantic relationships of the series. For example, Superboy and Miss Martian’s make out sessions were not only long, but also got pretty messed up, seen in the above image where Miss Martian shape-shifted into Black Canary. Why did she do this? Did she know that Superboy was attracted to an adult woman and wanted to fulfill his fantasies?
Also, let’s not forget that Kid Flash and Artemis lived together while attending college in season 2, implying quite a bit about their relationship. There was plenty of mature innuendo outside of the romance as well, like when Artemis very clearly checks out Superboy while the team is telepathically communicating and of course all of Wally’s flirting with Miss Martian.
13. HELLO MEGAN
The Young Justice version of Miss Martian is an interesting and complex take on the character, and the background of her Earth name, appearance and persona is what brings it all together. That said, it’s also incredibly disturbing. See, Martians love Earth television, and when M’gann M’orzz was lonely on Mars, she loved watching an old sitcom called “Hello Megan,” and it brought her comfort during some dark times.
This comfort lead to obsession and when M’gann came to Earth, she based her entire personality and appearance on “Hello Megan’s” main character. In the end, this ends up being a deep character trait for M’gann, but the obsession is still rather disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is that M’gann had trouble differentiating fiction from reality when she met the actor who played Megan, which is scary when you think about a psychic-powered teenager being disappointed in her role model.
12. INTERSPECIES RELATIONSHIPS
Before we get into this one, let’s just make it clear that we’re not against whatever allegory an interspecies relationship represents and we’re not implying that the characters in the show can’t be with whomever they want. What we are saying is that some of the “finer details” of the relationships shown in Young Justice start to get a little gross when you really think about it, especially in the case of Lagoon Boy and Miss Martian.
Okay, maybe this is overthinking things, but putting together the elements of shapeshifting and Lagoon Boy’s fish-like biology makes for some shudder-worthy thoughts, and M’gann and Superboy’s relationship isn’t much better. Oh, and let’s not forget the budding romance between Adam Strange, a human, and Alanna, an alien from Rann. They could barely figure out each others’ languages, think of how awkward the rest of the relationship would be.
11. ATTACKING CHILDREN
The concept of teenage superheroes is already messed up when you think about it. Minors fighting supervillains with crazy abilities and weapons, some facing these foes without superpowers. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that the Justice League puts The Team in charge of black ops missions, an arguably more dangerous line of work than regular crime-fighting.
The disturbing cherry on top is the fact that none of the supervillains in this world seem to care that they are fighting children. Sure, they comment on how it is beneath them to fight kids, but they still do it anyway, actively trying to hurt The Team, knowing full well that most of them are too young to drive or vote. The most disgusting part of Young Justice, and superhero universes in general, is that the villains seem to have no reservations about mercilessly attacking children.
10. MISS MARTIAN’S MIND MELD
In the second season of Young Justice, Miss Martian and Superboy have broken up. It was Superboy’s choice to end the relationship, but as he put it, M’gann really didn’t give him much of a choice at all. Conner broke up with her after she started getting a little too liberal with her telepathic abilities. Miss Martian is a powerful telepath, and when she needs to get information out of a bad guy, she doesn’t hesitate to take it.
This isn’t so bad until you learn that when she forcibly takes information from someone, it leaves them completely catatonic, and M’gann seems to have no reservations about this. This abuse of her power led Superboy to break up with her, but even that didn’t stop her, and it took hurting Aqualad to truly come to her senses. Even then, it’s disturbing that she went that far in the first place.
9. SUPERMAN AND SUPERBOY
Look, we get it, finding out you have a teenage clone/son can be a bit jarring, even for someone as good-hearted as Superman. We get why Superman was dismissive of Superboy the first time he saw him, but every interaction afterwards made no sense. Superboy’s difficult relationship with Superman serves to make Superboy a grumpy troubled bad boy, but that aside, the way that Superman treats him is pretty deplorable.
He’s dismissive and strict with him at every turn, always finding a reason to run away from the problem that is his clone son. Heck, he won’t even admit that he’s his son when Batman calls him out on it. Even if it’s true that Conner’s not his son, he still needed guidance from someone similar to him, and Superman refused to give it for no apparent reason.
8. WALLY’S EATING HABITS
When you can travel at super speed, your body burns a lot of calories, something that has been established about all the speedsters of the DC universe. However, in Young Justice, we saw just how crazy Wally West’s metabolism is to a disgusting extent. There are points where Wally is casually snacking and we see that his gloves have snack compartments, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.
Young Justice makes it a point to show how ravenous and messy an eater Wally is at times, having him stuff his face with little to no regard for manners. We also see just how MUCH he eats — shown when he makes a multi-layer sandwich — and how much his metabolism controls his life, like when he can’t help eating very burnt cookies. It may seem like a joke, but it also looks like a huge burden.
7. SUPERBOY’S AGING
Superboy does not age, he was meant to be a teenager and a teenager he will stay forever. This has its ups and downs; he retains his looks, but his internal physicality ages normally — well, normally for a Kryptonian, that is. This aging hasn’t really proven to be a problem as of the second season, since Conner is still in college, but eventually people will notice.
This is where things get somewhat sad. M’gann, being a shapeshifter, was one of the few people who understood Superboy, and since the two broke up, Superboy could very well be doomed to a life of loneliness as he hides his never-aging body from the world. Okay, maybe the show wouldn’t go that dark, but while we’re on the subject, isn’t it also pretty disturbing that Cadmus genetically engineered a 16-year-old to stay young forever?
6. NEW YEAR’S KISS
There’s a New Year tradition where you kiss someone at midnight. The finale of Young Justice‘s first season explored this tradition to a pretty intimate extent. After The Team managed to save the Justice League from being mind controlled, the Watchtower’s computer alerted them that it was New Years day. In response to this, the heroes paired up and followed tradition.
Some fans love this scene since it was the “finally!” moment for Wally and Artemis’ relationship, but there’s one part in particular that it kind of gross. Young Justice was already a fan of extensive kissing scenes with rather realistic sound effects, but this scene took the cake. What made it so disturbing is that the longest and deepest lip-locking of them all seemed to be between Robin and Zatanna, both of whom were only 13 at the time.
5. BLUE BEETLE’S SCARAB
This isn’t exclusive to the world of Young Justice, but it’s still worth pointing out just how gross the Blue Beetle Scarab is. There’s no doubt that the armor is cool, and the fact that it’s stuck to Jaime makes for good storytelling, but bio-technology like the scarab will always be just a bit gross.
No matter how cool the power Jaime gets from the scarab is, the thing is still attached to his spine, pinching and integrating into his skin. Even weirder is the fact that the Scarab talks to Jaime telepathically, meaning it has somehow gotten into his head via his spine, which is just plain gross when you think about it. No wonder he wanted to get rid of it at first.
4. BEAST BOY’S BLOOD
Speaking of gross power origins, Young Justice’s version of Beast Boy has kind of a weird, interesting origin. When Garfield Logan was hurt on his mom’s wildlife preservation, he needed a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, no one present had the same blood type as him. But, Miss Martian’s shapeshifting powers allow her to change at a molecular level, meaning she could turn her blood into Gar’s type.
The transfusion was a success, but ended up resulting in shapeshifting powers, allowing Beast Boy to turn into any type of animal, though they would always be green in color. This was a cool way to integrate Beast Boy into Young Justice and it resulted in a brother/sister relationship between Gar and M’gann. However, the biology of it all is definitely kind of freaky.
3. SUPERBOY’S DADS
So here’s a disturbing fact about Young Justice‘s Superboy: he’s partially Lex Luthor’s son. See, when cloning a Kryptonian, the DNA is somewhat unstable under the limitations of Earth’s technology. A pure-Kryptonian clone is angry and violent and unable to control its powers. Thus, when creating Superboy, Cadmus needed human DNA to balance things out. Enter Lex Luthor, who used his DNA to make Superboy.
The fact that Superboy is half Lex Luthor is already pretty disturbing, but think about the conversation that led to this. After Cadmus realized that a Kryptonian clone was unstable, they said human DNA was needed, and the fact that Lex Luthor volunteered his own DNA (probably without being prompted) is very, VERY creepy. It’s almost like Lex wanted to make a lovechild with Supes.
2. CLONE ROY
Speaking of clones, the big twist in season one of Young Justice revealed that Red Arrow was a clone of the original Roy Harper (who was cryogenically frozen) made specifically to infiltrate the Justice League. In season two, we find Roy attempting to cope with this realization by trying to find the real Roy, which he eventually does.
What makes this whole clone thing kind of gross is, 1.) The real Roy’s entire right arm was used as genetic material, and 2.) The clone Roy went on to have a kid with Cheshire. Seriously, what did they do with Roy’s arm? Throw it in a blender and use the goo to make a new Roy? And another thing, if Clone Roy’s whole purpose was to infiltrate the Justice League, why did they give him the potential to procreate? Did Cadmus want him to have a child that’s half-clone?
1. SUPERBOY AND MISS MARTIAN’S FIRST KISS
This is for sure one of the most messed up scenes in all of Young Justice. When Miss Martian and Superboy share their first kiss, it is during an infiltration mission in Belle Reve prison. The two are disguised as the Terror Twins, a brother/sister villain team with super strength; Superboy’s hair was died while Miss Martian used her shape-shifting.
Eventually, Miss Martian is found out and frozen by Killer Frost. When Superboy sees this, he is overcome with grief and reaches out to M’gann telepathically. This apparently works as M’gann breaks free of the ice and, in a moment of passion, the two kiss… while Miss Martian is still in the form of Tuppence Terror. What exactly was the reason that the couple’s first kiss had to be when they were disguised as brother and sister?
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