WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "Evolution," Episode 7 of Young Justice: Outsiders, streaming now on DC Universe.
While the first season of Young Justice focused on the teenage superheroes in their formative first few months, training, going on missions and, ultimately, becoming a crimefighting family, Season 2 dealt with the threat to metahumans on a wider scale. The Light and the Reach were mining Earth, with loftier ambitions than simple personal enrichment - they were looking to harvest these individuals for a mysterious cosmic war.
Young Justice: Outsiders is now detailing this metahuman arms race, with Vandal Savage and Darkseid revealed as the men behind this trafficking ring, all as a means to empower Apokolips' galactic army. It's pretty clear at this point that metahumans are seen by the public as weapons of mass destruction. In "Evolution," the series doesn't just give us backstory on the evolution of this super-species, it actually makes a shocking revelation as to who the most powerful one is: Vandal Savage.
Vandal's history is revealed when his daughter Cassandra reads the legend of her father as told by her older sister, Olympia. Through this, we learn about the meteorite that imbued him with powers, not just enabling him to fight off monstrous creatures in the prehistoric era, but aggressive, mindless neanderthals as well. At this point, we're left thinking Vandal just got super-strength, a degree of invulnerability (his face is scarred after barely escaping a mauling by a huge bear just before discovering the meteorite), and of course, immortality. But as we come to learn, Vandal is much more than a man destined to live forever.
Apart from being the very first metahuman, Vandal stamps his authority down by leading the charge against Darkseid's first invasion during the 13th century as the Mongol warlord, Genghis Khan. We'd also see his powers carrying through his bloodline, as the two unknown sons he sired were seen fighting alongside him, one harnessing lightning, the other, fire.
But it's Vandal that Darkseid has respect, for as the immortal slaughtered everyone the New God threw at him, even showing resilience against the Apokiliptian leader himself before being submitted. It takes the whole Justice League to tussle with Darkseid, and apart from Superman, no one has ever held their own against him in a fight. This show of strength and fortitude by the immortal would lead to the bargain being struck where Vandal and Darkseid would begin working together to conquer the galaxy.
Vandal (as the ruler Marduk) was later seen with his kids Nabu and Ishtar in the Babylonian era, harnessing the power of magic to stop warriors who were controlled by Starro's ancestors in another invasion of the planet. Nabu is seen wielding the helmet of Fate, indicating he was the first Lord of Order in the Young Justice universe, as he takes orders from his father. Ishtar and Vandal, in the wake of Nabu's death, would form the Light right after, as she recognized he was truly the alpha of metahumans.
He wasn't blessed with flight or energy-blasting abilities like modern superheroes, but the fact that Vandal has lived so long and repelled so many worthy enemies shows no one's quite as powerful as him. Survival is one thing, but to continually place himself at the forefront of history, and more, thrive in that position, is something no mere man, immortal or otherwise, could achieve.
Invasion after invasion failed, and as Cassandra dives into his legacy and her birthright, it's obvious Vandal was the first superhero in Earth's history. His intentions may have changed along the way, but he spent most of his life as a defender of the less powerful, protecting the planet for centuries. Cassandra is left wondering about the thousands of kids he left all over the world during these reigns, because as the precursor to the modern metahuman, it could mean that one or more of them may have Vandal's power, and could even be eyeing their empire, the one Cassandra is desperate to inherit, someday.