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Young Justice: Lex Luthor Calls for a Metahuman Registration Act

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

The Justice League and the Team have worked throughout Young Justic: Outsiders to gain the upper hand against the Light in terms of public opinion. The Light has managed to discredit DC's heroes in the media, with Lex Luthor's membership in the United Nations helping to further their agenda.

With the help of G. Gordon Godfrey's Galaxy Broadcast System, the Light can run whatever smear campaign they like against the Justice League and the heroes of Young Justice, which now includes the Outsiders (Beast Boy, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Blue Beetle, Geo-Force, Static and El Dorado). This new team has raced out in front of the Light by outing themselves as public heroes, earning a positive response on social media. If the public supports the Outsiders, how can the Light turn the tables to make them appear as a national threat?

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Luthor's answer is by presenting the Outsiders as an unpredictable menace, thereby resulting in the creation of a superhero registration act.

"Elder Wisdom" kicks off with the Outsiders foiling an attack in the nation of Bwundasa. Kid Flash is injured during the battle, which Luthor twists into another example of how the Outsiders are untrained, reckless youths exploiting their special abilities, and breaking the law. His appearance on Godfrey's television show turns into another opportunity to bash the Outsiders, while raising the idea of a "new hero registry to catalog, unmask and regulate all vigilantes." Luthor's proposal goes so far as to hold adult heroes responsible for the actions of their proteges.

"Something like what we had in the U.S., back in the 1950s," Luthor says, possibly referring DC comics continuity, in which the Justice Society of America disbanded rather than appear before the Joint Un-American Activities Committee and unmask. Luthor is understandably proud of himself for coming up with this registry idea, but Godfrey quickly shuts him down with screenshots of Jay Garrick's newly created social media account, which shows public support of the Outsiders. Other images of the trending #WeAreAllOutsiders hashtag also appear on the screen. Apparently, Luthor orchestrated the Bwundasa attack to smear the Outsiders, but with the plan backfiring, Godfrey thinks Luthor is allowing his personal vendetta to cloud his judgment.

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However, the idea of a metahuman registry isn't that crazy. For example, a superhero registration act was at the center of one of Marvel's most successful crossover events, Civil War, with the theme adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. Just the idea of DC vigilantes like Batman being forced to unmask or become wanted criminals could lead to a wide array of compelling storylines.

Which heroes would voluntarily register, and which would choose to go on the run? And what would the trickle-down effect look like for the Outsiders and the rest of Young Justice? An entire season could be based on this idea. Even with Luthor's scheme all but squashed, it's something to keep in mind, especially with Young Justice Season 4 already announced to be in production.

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

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