Young Justice (comics)

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In 1996, riding high on the Grant Morrison relaunch of the Justice League of America, DC Comics attempted to relaunch Teen Titans yet again. It failed miserably, in large part due to massive amounts of Executive Meddling. Most notably, the fact that NO ONE wanted to let the 1996 Teen Titans writer Dan Jurgens use any of the major teen heroes running around DC at the time (particularly Robin III—Tim Drake, who actually WON a fan contest to select a new member of the team—only for the Batman editors to refuse to honor the contest results, resulting in Captain Marvel Jr. being forced upon Jurgens instead.) The lack of "Teen" in the "Titans" didn't help, either.

Cancelled in 1998, DC decided to launch a new replacement book; but since the Jurgens Titans series was pretty much universally reviled, it was decided to instead come up with a new name for the new teen book. Meanwhile, Robin's popularity was matched by two other teenage Legacy Characters: Impulse and the Post-Crisis Superboy—and the trio worked as a Power Trio. Hence, "Young Justice" was born.

Launched out of a Fifth Week Event tie-in "Girlfrenzy: Young Justice -- The Secret" and a Justice League mini-series "World Without Grown-Ups", the series was written by Peter David and ran for 55 issues before being canceled. The cancellation (along with cancellation of another Titans comic that was launched in 1999) of course was done mainly to launch a new Teen Titans comic to complement the recently debuted Teen Titans cartoon series, placing the remaining members of Young Justice under the wing of veterans from the classic Wolfman Titans team.

An animated series using the Young Justice title was announced by Cartoon Network during their presentation to the network upfronts on April 21, 2010. Interestingly, the Teen Titans show was originally pitched as Young Justice.


Young Justice contains examples of[edit | hide | hide all]

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Superboy refuses to go out on patrol with Impulse because he'd rather watch the televised national Cheerleading finals. Sucks to be him as that's where Impulse ends up to stop a robbery and saves the day!
  • And I Must Scream: The final fate of poor Slo-Bo, frozen as a statue but still alive and aware in the headquarters of Young Justice One-Million.
  • Ascended Extra: Cissie "Arrowette" King-Jones, who Took a Level in Badass after an appearance in Impulse.
  • Badass Normal: Robin and eventually Arrowette.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Young Justice team including Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arrowette fall victim to this at one point. Supergirl helps snap them out of it.
    • Secret as well, and by Darkseid at that!
  • Breast Expansion: Mighty Endowed.
    • Joked about with Arrowette. When she feels she is destined to become a villain, she bemoans having to get a black costume that shows off her cleavage. Particularly since she doesn't have much in the way of cleavage to show off. Later on we see an alternate universe evil version of her. Guess what?.
  • Brick Joke / Chekhov's Gun: For saving his kingdom, Ali Ben Stein offered the boys ANYTHING they wanted. Impulse asked for... well, we never find out, until about 30-odd issues later when the team gets a SPACE SHIP, which just HAPPENS to coincide with a friend of theirs needing a lift into space.
    • A cross-title one that could be an accident...if it weren't for Grant Morrison's involvement. In the first Young Justice story, a kid gets hold of an all-powerful genie and wreaks havoc. When the team save the world and the League are congratulating them, someone says "So cool!" among the chatter. A year or so later, in a JLA story, a former superhero gets hold of an all-powerful genie and wreaks havoc. The genie here is a revealed to be a 5th-dimensional being like Mxyzptlk, and can be summoned or dismissed by saying his name backwards. His name is Lkz, making his control phrase zkl...pronounced in the comics as "so cool".
  • Cat Fight: Between the mothers of Wonder Girl and Arrowette, much to the amusement of Impulse's normally stoic guardian, Max Mercury.
    • Secret and Spoiler were prone to these as well, when the latter guest-starred, due to a rivalry over Robin.
  • Cloning Blues: Purposely avoided and repeatedly lampshaded by Superboy , played much straighter by Slo-Bo.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Impulse.
    • The Cuckoolander Was Right: He gets a few of these, particularly during the issue wrapping up Sins of Youth, when he accidentally figures out Robin's real name by reading lips incorrectly. Played for Laughs of course.
  • Comforting Comforter
  • Continuity Snarl: Mocked in an aside: Red Tornado says he has files on every superhero, with "nineteen on Hawkman alone".
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Lampshaded when Robin and Empress don't burn up in the lava fields of Apokolips.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers generally have little to nothing to do with the story (the Halloween issue, for example, has Robin, Superboy, and Impulse trick-or-treating as their mentors, and the issue where the girls join up has them trying to get into a boarded up Young Justice HQ), but they are usually unrelated enough that one can get the idea that the images are simply sight-gags.
    • Some issues do fall under this, though; one issue has the team jumping out of the A.P.E.S. headquarters (which is located in Mount Rushmore, up Abraham Lincoln's nose), with Robin shouting "It's gonna blow!" and carrying a detonator, connected to various bombs that are stuffed in Lincoln's nose. Within the comic, however, it's Superboy who defaces Mount Rushmore, and he does it to George Washington, rather than Lincoln. He also does it out of necessity ( well, sort of), and does not use dynamite. Furthermore, the line about blowing Lincoln's nose is said when entering the nose, not exiting, and is just an offhand remark made in reply to Impulse's pun about them running up the nose, instead of the nose running.
  • Crazy Prepared: Robin. When the crew went camping, a game of Truth or Dare came up. He was dared to pull his mask off... and so he did, revealing that he had a SECOND mask on underneath! Yup, you can tell he was "trained by the world's greatest detective!"
  • Crisis Crossover: In addition to relatively minor contributions to most Crisis Crossovers that went on during the series' run, Young Justice was also the center of one crossover of their own: Sins Of Youth, featuring Fountain of Youth and Overnight Age-Up applied to most of the DCU.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Red Tornado, primarily, although other characters get their spot in the limelight on occasion.
  • Deal with the Devil: The source of Harm's powers involved the sacrifice of his younger sister resulting in the creation of Secret.
  • The Ditz: Impulse, and until the last few issues, Secret. The others agree that Secret only becomes ditzy after spending too much time with Impulse.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Secret was originally killed by this method.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted with Slo-Bo, the degenerated clone of Lobo who contained all of the Last Czarnian's "repressed" traits: he was intelligent, good-natured, responsible, monogamous, self-sacrificing...oh, and slowly dying from not receiving any of Lobo's Canon Sue superpowers.
    • Played more straight with Match, who secretly replaced Superboy for several issues in order to destabilize the team from within and make sure they got bad press.
  • Executive Meddling: The Bat-Editors constantly threatened to yank Robin from the book unless the writers obeyed their edicts on how he could be featured; most notably, Robin could not be used in any battle that took place in public, according to the "urban legend" policy in the Bat-books.
    • This resulted in a couple of Take That jokes during a reality show story ("Did the all-concealing shadows just say ouch?"), including Robin creating the hero identity of "Mr. Sarcastic," a shaved-head Shout-Out to Spider Jerusalem (and possibly to Paragon, a Robin expy created for 80's Teen Titans PSA comics when licensing contracts prevented the Boy Wonder's use).
    • Recursive Adaptation: The Teen Titans cartoon was initially planned as an adaptation of Young Justice, but the number of Legacy Characters was too much of a problem. The solution: Revision the Wolfman-Perez Titans in the style of Young Justice!
      • It looks like we're now getting a a Revision of Young Justice in the style of Geoff Johns' "Teen Titans". Make of that what you will.
  • Fan Service: Surprisingly averted for a 90's comic. Helped by the fact that artist Todd Nanuck drew the characters with the proportions of ACTUAL teenagers (as opposed to other artists working on "teen" books where they drew everyone looking like 20-something underwear models). However, played a bit more straight straight whenever a guest-artist showed up, and later on in the series as Wonder Girl ditched the terrible wig and grew a cup size. Not to mention Empress showing up naked a couple times...
  • Fog Feet: Secret.
  • For Want of a Nail: The almost-obligatory "World Without Young Justice" arc.
  • Freudian Trio: The original 3 (Impulse=Id, Superboy=ego, Robin=super-ego), explicitly lampshaded by Red Tornado when he agrees to mentor them.

Superboy: Hey, how come HE gets to be "Super-Ego"? I mean, Super IS in my name, after all!

  • Fun with Acronyms: All Purpose Enforcement Squad.
  • Gag Boobs: Mighty Endowed.
  • Heroes Unlimited: The team manages to recruit every hero under ~23 to help invade an island of supervillains.
  • Heroic BSOD: Arrowette goes into one after the death of her therapist, leading her to quit being a superhero.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Lampshaded by Empress.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Pretty much sums up the Wonder Girl/Superboy relationship. Though it really came to this in an issue of Wonder Woman.
  • I Have Boobs - You Must Obey!: Mighty Endowed's superpower, besides the obvious.
  • I Lied: Spoiler says this to Secret after suggesting that Robin has talked about her a lot. (Secret, having a crush on Robin, found the idea pleasing.)
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Arrowette was assumed to be just another Badass Normal with a bow. Turns out that ever since she was a toddler, she could throw three darts at a time and hit a bullseye, and see things at a distance that her mother needed binoculars to see.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The series practically RAN on these.
  • Iwo Jima Pose: The tie-in to the "Our Worlds at War" event featured on its cover a few members of the team (and infamous criminal The Persuader) raising The Persuader's atomic axe in victory.
  • Kid Appeal Character: Impulse.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Harm is introduced impaling Arrowette with one of her own arrows, with she herself stating "But that's n-not funny."
  • Known Only By Their Nickname: Secret's real-name, Greta Hayes, isn't revealed until late in the series' run. Prior to the revelation, she goes by Suzie, a nickname picked out for her by Cissie.
  • Land Down Under: Ask an Aussie how many things are wrong with the Sydney Olympics issues.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several times, including the time some characters talk about their comic books being canceled. In-story, they're each talking about their favorite comic books being cancelled (this is the only mention ever of them being comic book fans, and the comic books in question are never named or described, but so what), but to the reader it's clear that they're talking about the characters' solo titles. Two of which were recently cancelled, a third was cancelled years before, and one was still going strong.
    • Another example: when Arrowette and Wonder Girl were attempting to connect to the Internet using AOL, Cassie started complaining about the unreliability and slowness of the service...only to be quickly hushed by Cissie who hurriedly whispered something in her ear, prompting Cassie to smile falsely at the reader and start talking about how wonderful AOL was. Guess who'd just entered into a corporate partnership with Warner Bros. at the time..?
  • Legacy Character: Robin and Cassie "Wonder Girl" Sandsmark are legacy characters for legacy characters.
  • Lens Flare Censor: Used to hide Mighty Endowed's Gag Boobs.
  • Lighter and Softer: The book took itself less seriously than Teen Titans was at the time.
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Especially at the beginning of the series, Superboy explained his powers all the time. Almost always lampshaded.

Impulse: "See?! There he goes again! Talking about his stupid powers like we don't know how they work!"
And also....
Superboy: "Don't worry ladies, you're safe now, thanks to my-"
Girl: "Tactile Telekinesis!"
Superboy: "...Oh. So, you've, uh, heard of it, huh?"

"I'll have to get a tight, skimpy black leather outfit that shows off my cleavage. Oh god. I'll have to get cleavage."