Pitch: Wally West is dead. Metahuman trafficking is on the rise in Markovia. Black Lightning has lost his juice, and his nerve, as if one were not a metaphor for the other. A schism is imminent among the cabal of Atlanteans, aliens, Amazons, demigods, mutated Secret Sauce people, princes, and… whatever Batman is (I know: Rich). There are sidekicks without mentors, mentors without sidekicks, a couple of assassinations, and a looming multi-world crisis. And Magma-teens. Animated. Hijinks. Ensue.
Young Justice has come back from the dead like one of its own curiously inextinguishable characters, reincarnated as an animated fishhook to lure fans to the DC Universe platform. So, if you are already a fan of the show, good news: The odds are excellent you’ll like where they’ve taken it. For those of you just joining us, you might be OK if you are a thoroughly immersed DC Comics nut. If you’re new to these characters? Well… Netflix just released a nice reality program about finding yourself by cleaning out your closets. You might enjoy it.
In all seriousness, the first two seasons of Young Justice, which aired back to back on the The CW, thrilled many a teen and a fair few grownups with snazzy action sequences and a way to finally visualize romance between Kid Flash and Miss Martian. (I know! Le throb.) Those episodes are fairly key to understanding the entirety of what’s going on in Young Justice: Outsiders, and those episodes, in addition to being available to DC Universe subscribers, are yours on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime Video, provided you’re willing to shell out $1-$3 per episode (times 40, give or take). This arithmetic works perfectly if you are, for example, my Flash-loving teenager. Less so if you’re, like, a content provider. Be ye warned. But, let’s say you are caught up, quick on the draw or well-versed enough in the characters that you can kind of parachute in. What will you find? Honestly, some kind of stilted, Holy Exposition Batman dialogue and not a megaton of character development. But you know what, it’s an animated program about aliens and superheroes, so I guess that’s OK. Meanwhile, it’s sometimes ponderous but routinely delves into “surprisingly wise” or “unexpectedly clever” territory (and no, my expectations were not unduly low; this has been my daughter’s favorite show for ages, and she’s got sophisticated taste). There are a couple of voice cast surprises, my favorite being the oily pundit G. Gordon Godfrey, played by the redoubtable Tim Curry. There are moments of humor (was that a Hair Club for Men joke?). There are very well-rendered action sequences, with a bunch of animated characters knocking the stuffing out of the live-ass humans on Marvel’s Runawayswhere ensemble chemistry is concerned.
Much of the DC renaissance has been awkward, honestly, with Wonder Woman being a relative (and conspicuous) exception. Young Justice: Outsiders won’t be purchase-worthy to everyone, but if you’re game and you go for it, it’s got more to offer than a lot of its big screen, live-action counterparts. Also, there’s magma.
Young Justice: Outsiders is now streaming on DC Universe.
Amy Glynn is a poet, essayist and fiction writer who really likes that you can multi-task by reviewing television and glasses of Cabernet simultaneously. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.