Young Justice was a way for DC Comics to move past the Teen Titans and create something bigger and more mature for the young heroes. While still teenagers, they closed in on adulthood in the comic book timeline. The Teen Titans was more about sidekicks of top-line superheroes, making a name for themselves away from their mentors; Young Justice was all about being a legit team in their own right.
The origins of the team centered around Tim Drake, Kon-El, and Bart West, but soon developed into a lineup of some of the best young superheroes in DC Comics. The animated series on Cartoon Network shared the name but was only a loose adaptation of the comic book stories, although better in many ways. Here is a look at the most important Young Justice members and the ones that meant the least to the team.
10 IMPORTANT - SUPERBOY
It is incredible how great Conner Kent ended up on the Young Justice animated series. He was always an interesting character in the comics and he was one of the Big 3 when the team formed in the pages of the series. However, his introduction to the cartoon was brilliant, with the team meeting and rescuing him from his creators to start the story.
Over the series, Conner had a lot of growing to do. He had to overcome all the anger simmering inside him. Superboy had to learn not only who he was but what he was so he could control his powers more effectively. He then had to learn how to become a leader, becoming one of the most important members of the cartoon and comic book series.
9 USELESS - LAGOON BOY
Lagoon Boy might be the most useless member of the entire Young Justice team. L'gaan is a teammate that no one likes and is mostly a complete jerk, but someone whom they realize they need to work with on occasion. He was there mostly in Season 2 of Young Justice and wasn't a fan favorite either.
Honestly, he turned most fans off of the cartoon when he tried to move in on Miss Martian when she started to have relationship problems with Superboy. Other than that, he serves no purpose and is better left forgotten.
8 IMPORTANT - BLUE BEETLE
One of the best things DC Comics did was retire Ted Kord's Blue Beetle and replace him with Jaime Reyes. Other than having one of the best comics in the New 52 launch, Blue Beetle was one of the best representations of a young Latino hero in DC Comics. As a member of both Teen Titans and Young Justice in the DC animated universe, he is pitch-perfect as well.
He joined Young Justice in Season 2 and proved to be a great member, even if he and his scarab are not always on the same page. Blue Beetle became one of the most important in the entire Young Justice team.
7 USELESS - Bumblebee
Bumblebee has a tough time when it comes to proving her worth for either the Teen Titans or Young Justice. It hurts immediately to know that she is basically DC Comics' version of The Wasp and never rose above that in the years since her introduction.
One thing that the cartoon adds that was not in the comics was that Ray Palmer, the Atom, helped train her, which is smart thinking for the show. She is intelligent and a dedicated team member, but her most significant character trait is that she is the girlfriend of Guardian, which spells doom for most superheroes.
6 IMPORTANT - ROBIN
While Dick Grayson was the leader of the Teen Titans in DC Comics, it was Tim Drake who formed Young Justice in the pages of the books. The comic book series often saw the cocky Superboy trying to take control of the team. However, it was almost always Tim Drake who was the leader of Young Justice in those stories.
When Young Justice came to television, Robin was once again Dick Grayson. Instead of the adult Nightwing, Dick was 13-year old Robin, more of his Teen Titans persona. As a result, he often found himself as a leader but was smart enough to pass it off to Aqualad. Whether it is Dick or Tim, both Robins are essential to the team.
5 USELESS - RED ARROW
When the Young Justice cartoon started, Roy Harper refused to be part of the team. He became Red Arrow, was antagonistic to his old friends and just a plain jerk. Of course, as the first season proved, he was a clone who had no idea and was always causing problems anyway.
He was sure that Artemis was a mole and was more of a hindrance than an aid in most Young Justice missions. The real Roy Harper finally shows up in Season 2. Honestly, when it comes to Young Justice members, Red Arrow was the least useful when it came to the team dynamic.
4 IMPORTANT - ARTEMIS
While Red Arrow was next to worthless in helping his Young Justice teammates do anything but quarrel and fight, Artemis was the key new member that stood tall above all others. Much like the cartoon focused on characters who were, at best, B-listers in the comics, Artemis is one that went from obscurity to one of the most important members of the team.
Artemis has a complicated history. She's the daughter of a supervillain and the Huntress, her sister a member of the League of Assassins. She is chosen to be part of the team by Batman and Green Arrow, and it took a long time to gain their trust. She ended up one of the best characters in the cartoon.
3 USELESS - GUARDIAN
Much like Bumblebee is hindered by the fact that her biggest storyline was being Guardian's girlfriend, Mal Duncan's only reason for existence is the fact that he is Bumblebee's boyfriend. It also doesn't help that Guardian is not even an essential member of the team.
When it comes to Young Justice, Mal runs things at Mount Justice before he steals Guardian's costume to help out when Despero attacked the Hall of Justice. This allowed him to become a superhero and not just a behind-the-scenes guy, but it did nothing to make him important to the Young Justice team at all.
2 IMPORTANT - AQUALAD
In the world of the Young Justice television cartoon, there is not a more important member to the team than Aqualad. The great thing is that they used the Kaldur'ahm version of Aqualad and not the original version from the classic Teen Titans. This Aqualad is the superior character in DC Comics as well as the DC animated universe.
Aqualad is the leader of Young Justice, a role he earned and one that Robin backed completely. He is quiet and strong, steadfast in his decisions, but smart enough to listen to his teammates. He is the perfect leader and is the most important member of Young Justice.
1 USELESS - IMPULSE
When it comes to Impulse, we will go back to the comics. In the cartoon, he showed up in Season 2 and became Kid Flash at the end of that season when Wally West died. Honestly, Wally West was a thousand times better Flash than Bart West, so that loss was disappointing.
In the comics, it was worse. He was sloppy and seemed mostly whimsical, causing more problems than creating solutions. After Our Worlds at War, Impulse actually quit the team when he realized he could die saving the world.