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Young Justice: The Justice League Just Weaponized Fake News

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Elder Wisdom," Episode 19 of Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.

The Justice League is fighting insurmountable odds in the war on metahuman trafficking on Young Justice: Outsiders. Lex Luthor's new role as secretary of the United Nations has stymied the heroes' plans, so much so that the Dark Knight as formed his own covert Batman Inc. squad, while Aqualad and Wonder Woman try to maintain the flagship team on- and off-world.

Add in the Outsiders, Beast Boy's public team, and you can see how everything is being tried to combat the ring run by Vandal Savage and Darkseid's Orphanage. In the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders, however, the League unleashes its latest secret weapon, which doesn't sit well with all members: fake news.

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In "Elder Wisdom," the Outsiders use the #WeAreAllOutsiders to crowdsource leads online. The team is so popular that fans are send them tips from all over the world, which leads to the Outsiders traveling to Ireland. However, the team's ranks have diminished, as Ed Dorado, Bart Allen and Wonder Girl have been grounded. Beast Boy, Blue Beetle and Static jet out to meet Matthew Malone in Dublin, and gather hints on how to track his kidnapped daughter, Moira.

They eventually trace her to Professor Ivo at an abandoned factory, where they battle his army of Spider-Bots. The youngsters emerge victorious and, as expected, the media lap it up, making Lex look bad because of his past dealings with Ivo and the Light. Even Gordon Godfrey lambasts Lex, not just for ratings but to remind him the League has come down to their level, playing as dirty as they are. Just how dirty is revealed in the final sequence.

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We see Batman Inc. in the cave with the other League members, as Wonder Woman chimes in by hologram. She suspects there's more to this victory than meets the eye, and Batman admits it was a six-man setup, designed to make Lex look bad and discredit his role in global policy-making. Tim Drake stole the Spider-Bots from Lex's strongholds, reprogammed and controlled them, while Oracle seeded out clues online after discovering Lex's hidden factories and companies. Batman posed as Malone (a throwback to his Matches Malone character) while Nightwing and Aqualad secured the compound and kept the operation covert.

The final piece of the puzzle came courtesy of Miss Martian, who morphed into Moira to keep up the ruse and create a spectacle for the world to sympathize with. Diana is furious, as she doesn't buy this as a tactic in war. She doesn't want to lie to her comrades, and to the public, and insists they're crossing a line. She chastises Batman for the deceit, but comes off as the lone voice of reason. No one else seems upset by her stance, and it shows how compromised the League is, as it members slowly become what they have: manipulative individuals seeking a means to an end.

Miss Martian's lies won't sit well with Beast Boy, who considers her a sister, and undoubtedly, these kids are being used as pawns. Batman contends that even though Lex will know they're using fake news against him, "knowing and proving are two different things" -- which is ironically a line Lex used with his own villains when asked if anyone can trace his shady dealings back to his U.N. position. Batman justifies his vision and insists they have to think outside the box but as his speech mirrors Lex, one has to wonder just what else they'll do to win.

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These lies almost killed Aqualad when he infiltrated the Light in Season 2 under his father, Black Manta, so it's clear the members of the League -- especially the likes of Nightwing and Miss Martian -- have learned nothing from the past. It remains to be seen whether Wonder Woman will reveal the news to Superman and others, who may disapprove because, as it stands, this kind of strategy will come at a heavy price once the world figures out it's being duped by the heroes who are trusted by humanity to safeguard it.

New episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders premiere Tuesdays throughout the summer on DC Universe.

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