Young Justice: Outsiders premiere review: Life, death, and change


Young Justice is finally back and available exclusively on a new streaming platform, DC Universe. As Young Justice: Outsiders sets up a new narrative and a new overarching threat, the first three episodes could set up the overall theme of season 3.

It’s been literal years since we last saw new content for our favorite animated heroes on Young Justice, and we’re still thankful that DC Universe revived the series with a new season and new characters. The Young Justice: Outsiders three-episode premiere relies on a lot of new changes: new hosting platform, new characters, new villains, and a new weekly episode format (seeing as we get three episodes each Friday, save for the four-episode mid-season finale). Along with the new structural differences in Young Justice: Outsiders, the third season also focuses on a cycle of destruction and the restoration that immediately follows.

Young Justice: Outsiders seamlessly forges the ending of season 2, Young Justice: Invasion, with the beginning of season 3. As “Princes All” shows, season 3 isn’t shy about showing tension within the Young Justice cohort as Batman organizes a premeditated walk out, signifying the end of the unity in the team that we grew accustomed to in the first two seasons.

Despite the five-year-long gap between the second season and the current one, Outsiders adheres to previous Young Justice lore without turbulence to give viewers actual sustenance for our nostalgia. The new season begins by acknowledging Wally West’s death in the final episode of Young Justice: Invasion. As the team is still grieving his death, Batman and his miniature alliance choose to disassociate from the team of heroes. However, they aren’t the only outlying group to break away from the Young Justice team.

Jeff Pierce, Black Lightning, departs from the team after he unintentionally kills a 14-year-old meta-human. The accident obviously wasn’t his fault, as her kidnappers forced her meta-human gene to activate, and unbeknownst to the team of heroes (and the trafficking syndicate), her transformation into Plasmus was her permanent downfall.

While the girl’s deaths reopened some of Jeff’s PTSD, especially given his perpetual fear about keeping his two young daughters safe, it also foreshadows the recurring themes of death and rebirth in the second episode, “Royal We,” and episode 3, “Eminent Threat.”

It’s beyond just convenient that the first three episodes play so heavily into the themes of life and death, as well as endings correlated to new beginnings. The cyclical pattern of ending and beginning could be an ever-present theme of the third season, which could inevitably lead to more heartbreak (as if losing Wally wasn’t enough).

While these initial episodes in the season complement each other, they also foreshadow some tragic plot twists later in the Outsiders seasons, where one of our beloved heroes might make the ultimate sacrifice. Given Halo’s multiple deaths and regenerations in the second and third episode, Outsiders could hint that not every misfortune will be permanent during this season.

Some deaths are permanent or at least apparently permeant for the time being, such as the death of both Plasmuses (the sisters). Along with the cycle of life and death, the former Young Justice members distance themselves from the team, the team also excommunicates them, and some of the older members align themselves with a new team entirely.

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Because of the shifting dynamics and the duality of beginning and ending, we might also expect to see certain members of the Young Justice team return. It might be too hopeful to see any fallen Young Justice heroes in the following episodes of the season, but it’s clear the third season uses these themes as prominent storytelling devices in the first three episodes, and it could linger into the rest of the season. Granted, the more immediate threat of meta-human trafficking will obviously take precedence in the season.