WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Triptych," Episode 8 of Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.
Thanks to Vandal Savage and Darkseid's metahuman trafficking plan, the fate of the universe has become an uncertain thing in Young Justice: Outsiders. These metahumans are being plucked from Earth and weaponized by Apokolips to strengthen Darkseid's horde, which is busy enslaving various pockets of the galaxy.
However, the biggest weapon in the Young Justice universe has finally been discovered, and ironically enough, not only does it spell doom for the coalition between these two villains, it could also mark the end of the line for all these innocent metahumans.
In "Triptych," Nightwing takes his squad to a Detroit airfield to stop a shipment that's been made to Simon Stagg. The shady businessman has been receiving stolen technology from Cheshire and her goons, who raided STAR Labs for valuable items to sell. Eventually, Nightwing, Black Lightning, Geoforce, Forager and Halo track the shipment to Stagg's premises and take down the operation.
But this is all part of a joint effort orchestrated by Batman after he resigned from the Justice League. He meets with all the teams in the Batcave and we find out he's still working with members such as Wonder Woman and Kaldur'ahm, the new Aquaman, in secret so they can operate off the books and away from the gaze of Lex Luthor and the United Nations, thus giving the League plausible deniability. Tim Drake's team regales Batman with tales about their ordeal against the likes of Clayface, and then it's time for Nightwing to offer his mission report. Well, let's just say the situation gets dire.
Dick, Miss Martian and Barbara (now running point as Oracle) reveal one of the pieces of equipment Stagg received was a chamber with alien writing on it. With Blue Beetle's help, they deciphered it and realized it reads "Metahuman Fail-Safe," which Stagg wanted to keep as protection for himself. Seeing as he was using metahumans as soldiers, brainwashing them to do his bidding, Barbara believes he needed this in case they turned on him. It turns out this was salvaged from a downed Reach warship during the battle against the Warworld at the end of Season 2.
The team's yet to crack exactly what the device is, but seeing as the Reach was neck deep in researching metahumans, the going speculation is that it is a virus to render the species extinct. Making the metagene inactive fits the '80s DC Comics Invasion! storyline, where the Dominators created a Gene Bomb that was meant to destroy metahumans by making them lose control of their powers and, later on, driving them to kill themselves.
This new revelation even has fans thinking it's a Doomsday-like creature the Reach created, as they were able to speed up dormant metagenes as well, which could have resulted in them engineering their own anti-metas. As it's being transported back for study at STAR Labs, we do see electricity being generated by the container, fueling the mystery even more.
Right now, no one knows exactly what activates this fail-safe, how many exist and where else they're scattered. The Reach could have been offering it to buyers across the galaxy, or left it hidden on Earth. Either way, this Chekhov's Gun will be highly sought after, not by these superheroes alone, but by Vandal himself, as he needs to protect his interests. You can't sell metahumans if they don't exist, so he'll need to solve this issue to preserve his pact with Darkseid.
Hopefully they figure out what's going on soon, because if something's unleashed to kill metahumans, not only will Vandal will be at risk, but also numerous innocents across the universe, folks whose metagenes are latent and, of course, hundreds of superheroes. In short, this could lead to a massive genocide that'll reshape the very fate of the cosmos.
Young Justice: Outsiders is now available to stream on DC Universe, with new episodes debuting every Friday.