Greetings to all Young Justice fans on the interwebs! Before we break down the implications of this week’s episode, we have to discuss the recent news from San Diego Comic-Con. During Saturday night’s DC Universe panel, Young Justice showrunners Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti announced that the series will be returning for a fourth season. I was in the audience and I won’t lie, I jumped up and cheered. After the panel was over, I hung out with a few of the voice actors as we celebrated the good news. Don’t forget, many of the people who work on the series are fans of the show themselves, and why wouldn’t they be? The series is one of the best animated superhero shows that’s ever been produced, which leads me to this week’s talking point.
One of the things that sets Young Justice apart from other shows is the complexity of their villains. The bad guys are not one-dimensional bruisers with plots of the week that get easily thwarted. The villains of Young Justice are multi-faceted personalities who are sometimes smarter than the heroes, and yes—sometimes they even win. Do you remember the episode “Home Fires”? Lady Shiva revealed that the Light knows the secret identities of all the heroes and has for years! The Justice League is still unaware of this piece of intel and truly has no idea how much danger it’s in.
The Light has been twelve steps ahead of the Justice League for most of the series, and they haven’t wavered from their plan. Most animated villains bicker with one another and find their alliances falling apart because of infighting, but for some reason, the Light has been able to successfully coexist despite the massive egos on their roster. Can you say that about our heroes?
This year, we’ve seen the Justice League fall apart as Batman led a massive walkout and Wonder Woman questioning the leadership decisions their secret cabal has made. I hate to say it, but the heroes can probably learn something from the Light because they’ve successfully stayed on message. Or rather, they did until Beast Boy threw a monkey wrench (no pun intended) into their plan.
At the end of this week’s episode “Elder Wisdom,” Lex Luthor finds himself at a loss for words when he realizes the Outsiders’ social media campaign has successfully shifted public opinion. He and G. Gordon Godfrey found themselves at odds for the first time, after years of working together with perfect coordination. The scene where Godfrey ambushes Luthor on live television was important because it’s our first major sign of dissent within the Light’s leadership. And it wasn’t because of anything Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman did, it was Beast Boy’s Outsiders.
While it’s true that Batman’s “Matthew Malone” deception played a role in Luthor’s televised embarrassment, Gar Logan was the one who changed the game and turned public tide in the heroes’ favor. Can we stop for a moment to think about how amazing that is? Batman has spent years trying to unravel Luthor’s machinations, and Beast Boy was able to gain more ground in mere weeks. He’s done a lot of growing up since we met him as a preteen in season one.
Perhaps it’s because Luthor and Godfrey are using the media as a weapon. Let’s face it, when it comes to social media, teens and young adults are king. If I was kidnapped by terrorists, I’d want Batman to be the one sent to rescue me, but If I needed somebody to help me with a social media marketing campaign, Gar Logan would be the smarter choice. Let’s face it, the kid is the son of a former actress, the adopted son of another, and stars in his own television series. He knows how to win public sentiment, and he’s using those skills to dismantle the Light’s anti-hero media campaign.
I still have some concerns about the Outsiders imploding, and things didn’t look good for them this week as Halo continued to unravel. Beast Boy’s group has given the Light their first major defeat, and has caused them to change their strategy, but if Gar isn’t careful, his team could fall apart at any moment. Let’s not forget Megan’s insistence on keeping her kid brother in the dark about the League’s secret cabal. Hello, Megan? Don’t you think Gar deserves to know this information? After all, he’s made more progress in destroying the Light than any of you have!
What do you all think? Will Beast Boy be the one to finally turn off the Light? Or will the Outsiders fall apart before he gets his chance? Are you excited about season four news? Tweet your thoughts at me, because if there’s anything Beast Boy has taught, it’s we can’t underestimate the power of social media.
Young Justice: Outsiders airs exclusively on DC Universe. Subscribe now and catch new episodes every Tuesday!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.