Young Justice: Outsiders made its triumphant return to the small screen in late 2018, and fans everywhere collectively cheered as their favourite heroes were thrusted into a more mature, and gritty narrative. As the mid-season rolls around, the title team’s heroes are in a sort of transitional state in their lives, both personally and in their careers as superheroes. Episodes 14-16 firmly establishes the growing divide between the world and its resident supers, while also showcasing a terrifying threat that constantly looms in the background. With all the foreshadowing that came before it, the mid-season of Outsiders finally shows where the real fight for this team will be, and it makes for some truly terrific storytelling.
The latest three episodes continue the meta-human trafficking that has plagued our heroes since the season premiere. While it was already known that the trafficking of children and teens was on a galactic scale, Outsiders has now given a face to who is at the forefront of the nefarious plot, Granny Goodness. As she attempts to kidnap more and more people for her vicious ruler Darkseid, and his brutal forces, the Outsiders and their latest recruits must stand together with the Justice League to face their greatest threat yet.
Outsiders thrusts viewers right back into the action upon its premiere. The pacing for the series remains its strongest aspect, as it knows exactly when to move at a break-neck stride, but also when it should slow down and allow for the story to properly flesh itself out. Episode 14, titled “Influence,” was particularly strong in this regard. The episode balances the Justice League’s galactic mission of mending fences with other worlds while investigating boom tube activity, the Outsiders and their new recruits, and the rising threat of Granny Goodness. Each string of the overarching narrative is never shunned in favour of another, allowing its characters to age, grow and evolve with time.
In comparison to the first half of season three, the humour in the series has greatly improved. While it is tough to include the humour that was present in earlier episodes in a much darker storyline, they manage to sneak in wisecracks and gags at times when the story slows down a bit. In episode 16, “Illusion of Control,” Static reappears with the show’s much younger heroes on a team-building exercise to a fun fair. As scene-stealer in the episode, Static walks the line of determined hero and self-aware teenager wonderfully, constantly saying to himself that he needs to get a girlfriend. It is moments like this that add levity to the darker story, harkening back to the days of season 1 and their “whelmed” jokes.”
One hero who takes on a much bigger role at this point in the story is Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, who is smackdab in the middle of the metahuman trafficking conflict between Earth and Apokolips. The animal-based hero has quickly become of the series’ strongest characters, as he longs for something more in terms of being a hero. He’s one of the few people to see who Granny Goodness really is, and would rather take her head on than operate in the shadows. At the same time, he knows the benefit in how the team functions, creating an enticing conflict within the character. The same can be said for Violet/Halo. In addition to a pretty powerful moment she has in episode 14 (no spoilers of course), she continues to experience past memories from, what we’ll call her past life. She is constantly struggling with the past, and how it will impact her team in the future. As a brand new character for this season, Violet has grown into one of the series’ brightest spots.
The action sequences for the show are once again enthralling and imaginative. The animation shines as the colours in each set-piece are bold and vibrant, even during fight scenes in dark fields or underground laboratories. Our heroes with an established rapport fight dangerous, ambitious villains in new settings within the DC universe, never missing a step in providing exciting television for its dedicated fan base.
Episodes 14-16 of Young Justice: Outsiders continues the series’ remarkable return from cancellation. The action is superb, the characters are expertly written, and the story continues to move towards an all-out war between Earth and Apokolips. Even in its slow moments, Outsiders never fails to move the plot forward, excellently fleshing out the massive world that is DC Comics, while also focusing on the characters fans fell in love within upon the series’ debut. With no restrictions thanks to its new home on DC Universe, Young Justice: Outsiders manages to improve on its already great first half of season three, while still introducing new and exciting story threads that never feel unfinished.