WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.
If it's one thing Young Justice hasn't shied away from, it's making changes to its source material to produce something fresh for TV audiences. Pretty much every change made to DC Comics lore has all worked remarkably well as the series details the coming-of-age adventures of young superheroes aspiring to be members of the Justice League.
What's most surprising is the pillars they've chosen for the series who stand outside the normal, safer picks, with Kal'durham, aka the new Aquaman, perhaps being the most unusual, and impressive. But while there are plenty of popular heroes like Superboy, Miss Martian and, of course, Nightwing at the core of the series, Young Justice: Outsiders has positioned someone totally new and unexpected as the most importance face in the franchise: Halo.
When Season 3 was announced, most fans assumed Halo would have be a black-ops operative similar to her comic book inspiration. But that isn't the case at all; she's been given agency like never before, something not even her comic version has ever truly achieved. In DC Comics canon, her background was that an alien light being called Aurakle possessed a dead girl's body, and then adopted the moniker of Violet Harper en route to becoming an Outsider. Sure, we got moments of depth, with her and Katanna forming a motherly bond as the standout, but ultimately, she was just a weapon to use, which is why Batman hired Halo for the Outsiders and why she later dipped in and out of Batman Incorporated. But, honestly, the character's never been a big deal.
At first, that seemed to be the case in this show, with Halo once more being the result of a mysterious alien entity inhabiting the body of a dead girl. No longer Gabrielle Daou, this entity undergoes its own rebirth, emerging as a highly-powered individual with no memory of who or what she was before. But rather than follow the same road as the comic version, Young Justice reshapes Halo as a godlike entity, who we now know has the soul of a Mother Box. It's a drastic step-up, and similar to what previous DC comics and cartoons did by making Cyborg a Mother Box-hybrid. Here, though, Halo is literally a walking, talking Mother Box, and not just made from its tech. She has several powers - flight, energy manipulation, hologram projection, but most importantly, she can heal from any injury, even fatal ones, rendering her more or less immortal.
This is ground the comics never came close to touching on, and combined with her other abilities, Halo is now the most important figure in the war to come against Darkseid. She knows Apokolips inside out, which makes her arc of working against it all the more intriguing. Even Nightwing recognizes he bit off more than he could chew when he took her on, a realization that washed over him when he saw Halo purge the brand-new Cyborg of his Father Box corruption.
But Halo's true importance transcends her powers and role on the team; she also represents a huge message in terms of diversity. It's always been one of Young Justice's trump cards, but seeing her retconned into a Quraci refugee feels like the show's biggest sociopolitical statement to date. She was taken in by a predominantly white European country only to be murdered there, but now she stands as the epitome of female person of color power, striking back against the very system that killed her.
A Middle Eastern girl tossed into a grave like a dead animal is a hard sight to take in, even in animated form, which makes seeing Halo re-emerge empowered, resilient and strong such a strong statement. Witnessing her existence and overall presence shifting from being a caucasian girl with powers to a person of color who basically survived a holocaust is something we've never seen on a superhero series before, a moment in history made all the more sweeter by Halo clearly being the superhero who holds the key to saving the universe in her very hands.
Young Justice: Outsiders is now available to stream on DC Universe. The series will return for the second part of Season 3 in June.