Young Justice Primer
December 10, 2010

We’ve been discussing the Young Justice show for a while here at AFi.  Several threads.  Here is one dedicated to the show  Here is another dedicated to a recent magazine article.

What I find interesting is the preconceptions people have about what this show should be.  A number of them seemed to imply that the poster did not know the history behind Young Justice.  Sometimes I forget that not everyone has read the same comics I have.  This is especially true of a series my son has read, loved and discussed with me over and over.

So I decided to put together a bit of a history piece on the topic of Young Justice.  Sure, you could go look it up in Wikipedia, but what fun is that.


Part 1. The Teen Titans. The first grouping of teen sidekicks was in Brave and Bold, back in the 60’s.  Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad.  The team became the Teen Titans when Wonder Girl was added.  At some point, Speedy joined and replaced Aqualad as a core member.  The team got bigger, added a number of other characters over the years and eventually faded into obscurity.

Part 2. The New Teen Titans. 1980.  DC recognized how popular the X-Men were and asked some people to revitalize their teen heroes as a team. The name was obvious, the members not so much.  Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changling formerly Beast Boy from the Doom Patrol, and 3 brand new characters.  Raven, Cyborg and Starfire.  It is interesting to note that Aqualad and Speedy were ignored.  No mention was made of them for over two years.  As all comics do, the creators moved on, the title changed direction, the members changed, and  eventually it too ended.

Part 3. Who are those guys? DC’s next incarnation of teen heroes made everyone ask why?  None of the better known characters.  The team was made up of 4 heroes no one – OK, hardly anyone – remembers and a de-aged Atom.  Fans pleaded with DC to change the team.  One suggestion that was made repeatedly was to replace the team with a grouping of the three teen stars of the day: Robin. – Impulse – Superboy.

 Part 4. Young Justice.
DC listened. Robin, Impulse and  Superboy became a team.  The team began in a story called, JLA: World Without Grownups. Think of the JLU episode where Mordred sends all the adults away and you get the basic idea. In the end, the group has a something only they know, a secret.  Secret becomes the code came of the girl they are hiding.  The team gets its own comic shortly after this.  A few issues in Wonder Girl, Arrowette, and Secret join the team.  55 issues.  About halfway through, Arrowette leaves and is replaced by Empress.  I think my son has read the entire run more times than I’ve read any single comic.


Now for the show what do you need to know?

1. Well, there is my blog covering the YJ series panel at NYCC.  You could start there…
You could start there…
… Now that you are back …
2. Young Justice is not the Teen Titans.  Young Justice was the result of a fan requested replacement of a group of teens that had no appeal with one that had mass appeal.
3. Don’t be surprised at the character choices.  Only Robin seems to be a given, and not even that always happens.  The 80’s gave us a Titans without Speedy or Aqualad.  The 90’s gave us Superboy who had not been available before.  Sure, Cyborg was a big part of Teen Titans Go.  Cyborg will probably be on YJ at some point, but just not as part of the main cast (Cyborg was on the last season of the Super Friends, too).  Being a member of a prior team does not guarantee reappearing in a starring role.  Just ask Speedy.
4. This is not the same exact universe as any DCU you have seen before.  The writers for the show came right out and said it.  Just like BatmanTAS, The Batman , and Brave and Bold are all different takes on Batman, Young Justice is a new take on the teen heroes of the DCU.  That allows them to play fast and loose with DC history.  Grayson can be Robin and West can be Kid Flash at the time Superboy is created.
5. Where are the Teen Titans in this DC universe?  Simple, they do not exist yet.  Instead, we have this group.

For me, the biggest surprise is the absence of Wonder Girl from the main cast yet again.  I think Wonder Girl is about the only comic Titan that did not appear in the TT Go show.

However, the biggest rush of the show is including the Hall of Justice AND the fact the writers said so many characters will be appearing in just the first season.  Young Justice will start in January 2011 on Cartoon Network.  The show has just started, and I’m strapped in for the whole ride. 


(picture credits: comics – Grand Comics Database , animation: Newsarama ).

Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • Shellhead says:

    I agree. I just don’t get why some fanboys have their undies in a bunch over this show. Yes, it would have been awesome to have a continuation of JLU. And yes, it would have been great to have the original characters/new characters playing the same roles as they did in the comic (I would have liked the original Aqualad/Tempest to be in it, but I have to admit the new guy seems pretty compelling thus far). I do wonder why Cassie or Donna can’t make an appearance, though.
    It’s Earth-16. Old continuality does not apply.
    All I know is if the rest of the series is as good as the sneak peak was, I finally have a DC show I can consider a worthy successor to JLU.

  • Darrell says:

    IT’s probably the same reason that there is a whole slew of people out there enraged at the fact that Ryan Reynolds is playing Green Lantern and not some African-American actor – people don’t know about the source material. For a lot of people out there, John Stewart is Green Lantern because he helped headline the Justice League cartoon. Those people never even heard of Hal Jordan, the original SILVER AGE Green Lantern. Which is laughable to me, but hey, let’s hate without getting our facts straight. That’s par for the course on the ol’ internet.
    Sometimes continuity is a problem for me, and sometimes, like in a cartoon univers, it’s not. Would I have liked to see Arrowette instead of this Artemis character they are touting? Sure. Would I have liked to see Garth Aqualad instead of the new Aqualad? Hmmm, no, I don’t think so. I think the new character has some serious “sea legs” in under him.
    To wrap up this long and winding post, I am already in serious love with this cartoon, and I can’t wait to see more! Hopefully much, much more!

    • Erik superfriend says:

      While Artemis may not be Arrowette, the creators said she was an existing DCU character. I am firmly convinced that she is in fact a member of the Arrow family, Mia Derden, the current Speedy. In a way, that kind of fits with the pickign and choosing of teens from various eras.

  • erik says:

    right before the show aired, the producers said ALOT of characters they didn’t have the rights for were given to them (especially Wonder Girl), and that she would eventually show up.

    they’ve also said that Garth will show up.

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Yes, they said their were a handful they could not use but had been cleared. I don’t remember Wonder Girl specifically being mentioned. As for Garth, he will be appearing and is Aqualad’s best friend.

  • zach says:

    I missed the premier of this show, and can’t wait for it to start in January. I am a bit confused though…so, Robin is Dick and Kid Flash is Wally? With Conner? Why not just use Tim and Bart?

    • Erik superfriend says:

      According to the writers at NYCC, everything is based around wanting this to be an early DC universe. Near the beginning. So they are going with the first Robin, the first Kid Flash.

  • red Ricky says:

    Basically, that’s the weird thing about the show. It’s a good show, don’t get me wrong; the pilot was a blast. But I know so much about the DC Universe and its continuity, that I have to PURPOSELY remember to turn my brain off before watching, and while watching! It’s just weird watching a “johnny come lately” team all of a sudden “precede” the Titans.

    Plus, their personalities can also throw me for a loop. When I used to watch the Teen Titans, they made a point of not having a big secret identity reveal. Robin was Robin. Speedy was Speedy, and Kid Flash was Kid Flash. But their personalities and character voices were unequivocally those of Dick Grayson, Roy Harper and Wally West.

    With Young Justice, I had to remind myself that I was watching Wally West even though the character walked, talked and acted like Impulse. Robin was off, too. He reminded me more of Damian.

    So it’s weird, because at times, it all takes me “out of the story”.

    I had the same problem with the New Batman Adventures(TNBA). The character was called “Tim Drake”, but for all itends and purposes, I felt like I was watching JASON TODD. Their origins were “too similar”, their tragic nature and how it all ended was “too similar”.

    Honestly, it was all too distracting.

    I often wondered “why not just call him Jason Todd?”, and be done with it. It’s just a name, what’s the big deal?

    • Erik superfriend says:

      Good Points. At the same time, we had to throw out DCU comic history for Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Teen Titans Go.
      JL – Aquaman not a founding member. They forgot to offer Metamorpho membership. Green Arrow should have joined the team within their first year.
      JLU – Some of these characters never existed on the same Earth or at the same time. Shining Knight, Question, and Stargirl certainly were never members of any incarnation of the comic Justice League.
      TTG – Starfire’s successful arrival on Earth depends on Kid Flash, who did not appear until much later in the series, and Wonder Girl, who was never on the show. Titans Tower is on the wrong side of the United States.
      Then again, DC Comics themselves revises history every so often. From Crisis on Infinite Earths merging separate Earths to Man of Steel revising Lex Luthor from a scientist to a corporate industrialist. More recently, Maxwell Lord was changed from an opportunist with a flair for publicity into someone trying to destroy the entire super-powered community.

  • stonehd says:

    Regarding Teen Titans Go, Wonder Girl did make two “blink-and-you-miss-em” cameos, both on viewscreens near the end of the series (see ). She was featured a bit more in the TTG comics ( see for some images.)

  • Bat Lantern says:

    I liked the pilot. I can’t think of DC animated show that hasn’t had to bend comic continuity to work.. With 50-75 years of complex and contradictory story lines, I would say this is a great cast. I am hoping for a Hal Jordan cameo. 🙂

  • Brainlock says:

    I finally got to watch the pilot, and I see no reason why they couldn’t have included this in the 20 years of BTAS/JLU continuity or even 5 year long The Batman continuity.
    (B&B has already established itself as separate from both, early on.)
    A few minor tweaks to characters like making them Tim and Bart esp when “Barry” is wearing WALLY’s suit, J’onn is wearing his pre-death/Co2E look, and Arthur is sporting a beard, not to mention including more recent additions like Conner (in t-shirt), Megan, and Jackson(?/Aqualad II), who already has more development as a cartoon than he has in Brightest Day.
    The only standout would be having Roy on the series, esp after the Titans appearances and JLU cameo. With having established his brash personality, we can’t fall back to making him Conner Hawk without totally changing the character. But hey, when Robin and Kid Flash don’t even act like Dick and Wally, but Tim/Damian and Bart, who cares, right?
    I do like the fact they’re going to push the fact this show has BOTH teams by frequently including the JL, when TT could only make a few veiled references to Robin’s “father” at the time. Bonus points for Mattel planning the mentor/sidekick sets.
    I’m going to give it a chance, but in my mind, it will be THE Young Justice members under those masks, NOT the TITANS they insist on calling them.

  • alcinde4 says:

    I think once everyone that views the show grasps the fact that this is a COMPLETELY different DCU, the show becomes infinitely more enjoyable. I didn’t have any problems disassociating these incarnations of the characters on the show, from the ones I grew up reading/watching. I’m kind of confused why others are having this difficulty. I think this show is fantastic, and I hope it lasts many, many seasons.

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