It’s official: Young Justice is back in action after several years off the air. The series, along with Green Lantern: The Animated Series , were sadly axed after flagging toy sales, Young Justice in particular tapped into a unique vein of fan support that kept it in the conversation long after its demise. As recently as last year, producer Greg Weisman and cast members were urging fans to keep binge-watching the show on Netflix in order to get the higher ups to pay attention, and it seems that’s finally paid off. In case you don’t remember: Young Justice was a series featuring the sideki– er proteges of DC heroes with ranks swelling to include Nightwing, Miss Martian, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy, Impulse, Robin, Superboy, and Artemis among other heroes. If you haven’t already seen the show, now would definitely be a good time.
While the show doesn’t have an official release date set yet, it all looks to be happening sooner rather than later. Thankfully, previous series producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti are returning to the series with, in all likelihood, the previous series cast members in tow as well. Now the question is, why resurrect a cartoon that’s been off the air for quite awhile? Well if the fan support wasn’t enough to clue you in, I’m certainly willing to explain. Young Justice was far ahead of the curve as most Greg Weisman series of yore tend to be (i.e Gargoyles or Spectacular Spider-Man), but this one came at a pretty bad time for a show linked to the DC Universe. Not long after the first season premiered, the foundation stone that the series built off: DC’s decades of continuity was swallowed alive by the New 52 reboot. Originally the show tied into, with the introduction of its original character Kaldur’ahm, the Brightest Day maxi-series, but it ended up being rendered a weird outlier at a time when DC was trying to “start fresh”. The notion of built-up continuity tends to be anathema for a series aimed at kids and teenagers, however it gave the show a sense of purpose and history. This was helped by the infusion of legacy characters into the second season’s narrative with the introduction of characters like Blue Beetle, Impulse, and Tim Drake.
In addition, it was also very high stakes in a way that neither cartoons nor superhero comics tend to be: playing the long game with the “Mission Impossible” theme of warring superhero and supervillain espionage teams that let the morally gray results bloom over the several years the show aired. This approach gave Young Justice a very unique hook for DC fans at a time when the comics themselves were rejecting the very foundation their comics were built on: history and legacy, and it’s telling that one of the first things that DC restored with the Rebirth event were those histories. That isn’t to say that an animated show was responsible for a shift in publishing, but the types of stories DC is heading back to telling echo where Young Justice was at the time. While there’s been a similar bout of nostalgia with Teen Titans Go! and the upcoming Justice League Action, those two shows definitely occupy a very welcoming tone for younger kids. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but a diversity of tone in television is as welcome as it is in comics. While all of these series are echoing or following up on past successes, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Young Justice occupies a very unique space, one that straddles the line between child-friendly fare, and something welcoming for teenagers along with adults with it’s focus on drama and high-octane action. It’s definitely a good time for Young Justice to return to complement a more complementary comics univer
Now as to what we could expect from a third season of Young Justice, it’s almost certainly going to follow through with what has to be one of the coolest cliffhangers in cartoon history – Vandal Savage meeting The Light’s partner: Darkseid and giving him a mighty handshake. The first season ended with a time skip forward for season 2, and there’s no reason to suspect why Season 3 would be any different in that regard. While the series has a tight amount of serialization, a time skip would allow the status quo to be shaken a bit, something the show was known for. And for those coming to the who for the first time it’s all on Netflix. If you enjoy a good flavoring of teen drama mixed with high-concept superhero espionage, there’s no reason not to just start from the beginning. Either way, the winners are the viewers, you can take a victory lap: you’ve earned it.