REVIEW: ‘Young Justice: Outsiders’ Brings The Sidekicks Back Front & Center

Young Justice Outsiders

Today is the day and before you read this review you need to fully understand the story behind the return of Young Justice. The lengths us fans had to go to bring back this series were drastic. Through viewing the series many times on Netflix and petitioning to have it brought back, it’s been a very long road to getting a new season of Young Justice. The revival of Young Justice is the animated version of the story of Lazarus. The once dead series was brought back to life for a third season called Young Justice: Outsiders on the new streaming service DC Universe due to fan outcry. The original series was cancelled because of dampening toy sales, but was watched and adored by many.

Young Justice focuses on DC Comics’ most notable sidekicks — Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Speedy, Superboy, Miss Martian, Artemis and many more. The series is arguably the best representation of the DC Universe as it handles all of these characters ever so perfectly. So when it was cancelled, it left a big hole in the hearts of fans around the world. Now that the series is back the excitement surrounding the return is incremental and the wait is almost over as it returns in January 2019. 

As I watched a few episodes of the new season, I started to realize that it was like getting back together with your best friends after years of being away. The animation is a bit updated and the storyline is fresh, but the sense of nostalgia and familiarity set up a satisfactory viewing experience. I stopped watching cartoons a long time ago, and I believe Young Justice was my only exception of that. Since it’s been off air, I have avoided animated series entirely. Now that it’s back I can honestly say I will continue to watch because it’s just that good. Young Justice is one of the most adult cartoons out there and it’s animation style and plot rivals most anime series that are tailored for adults. The new storyline Outsiders explores is very dark as it deals with the very tender subject of child trafficking, but as this is a show with superheroes, the people behind it have to add that flare to a very saddening real world occurrence. 

When I heard the series was adding some new characters I was worried that the fan favorites would have less screentime, but I was dead wrong. The old characters mixed with the new get equal time to shine. It’s revealed early on that Kaldur’ahm has been promoted to Aquaman as Arthur Curry heads back to Atlantis to be King full time. This allows a change in dynamic, with Miss Martian leading the team and the new Aquaman leading the Justice League alongside Wonder Woman. After the second season’s alien invasion, the government creates a bevy of new sanctions for the league to follow, à la the Sovokia accords from Captain America: Civil War, forcing the Justice League to limit their actions. This causes Batman and a bunch of other heroes to form a surprising coup which leads them to resign and secretly form a team of Outsiders.

Executive producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman return and they totally up the stakes, animation and plot. Our heroes have one problem: Metahuman trafficking. Dick Grayson’s Nightwing sets out to tackle this head on and recruits an elite team to do so. Oddly enough his team is pretty much the damaged goods of the series. He teams up with Superboy, Artemis and Black Lightning and as he recruits them you can see each of their individual struggles, something that adds a humanizing depth to this cartoon about superbeings. And as the heroes find out more on the Metahuman trafficking ring, they realize that it is a much larger organization than they initially expected, and the ones behind the criminal undertaking may or may not shock you. The plot of the episodes I’ve watched surrounds the fictional nation of Markovia and their ties to the trafficking ring, and the outcome of Nightwing’s operation forces the team to take on a few new members, including a girl with some pretty cool powers and even a Markovian Prince.

The new members create more problems than they solve for the team and essentially screw up Nightwing’s plan, but in the end, they become valuable assets to the team. The series’ villainous plot of trafficking will continue to unfold throughout the season and I look forward to getting to the bottom of what the antagonists’ actual plan is. As things get hectic by the end of the third episode, one thing is apparent: the team is in for a long ride that will ultimately lead them to iconic DC Comics villains Vandal Savage and Darkseid. From what I have already seen, I’m very excited to see where the series creators take the next few episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders.

Overall Thoughts: Young Justice: Outsiders revitalizes and rebirths the series. The show returns and it makes you feel like it never left. You get the same giddy feeling as a young child eating cereal in front of a television watching Saturday morning cartoons. Young Justice: Outsiders is perfect in every way and should satisfy even the most hardcore fans. I, for one, am excited to see where Young Justice goes next on DC Universe.

Rating: 10/10

The Superhero Movies Of 2018, Ranked From Worst To Best

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Superhero Cinema 2018 Black Panther Avengers Thanos The Incredibles Aquaman2018 has gone by too fast. It seems like yesterday when the beginning of the new year was upon us, and the advent of having so many superhero movies hitting theaters seemed like a dream come true for every fanboy and fangirl. It's also funny to look back and remember that although we ended up with a whopping nine major theatrical superhero movies, we almost had eleven. Sadly, Fox delayed both Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants to 2019 instead.

Even with those two films delayed, 2018 was still a massive year not just at the box office, but for the continued advancement of the genre on a number of levels. Whether it was through the cultural significance of a film like Black Panther or the exciting animated adventures of Incredibles 2 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there was no shortage of exciting superhero stories told on the big screen this year.

Here are the theatrical superhero films of 2018, ranked from worst to best. You can start the gallery by clicking "Next."

9. Venom Venom Tom Hardy Eddie Brock Marvel Sony

Yeah, Venom is an interesting film to say the least. Many have doubted Sony and their plans to create their own universe centered on Spider-Man villains that is said to be "adjacent" to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially after what happened with their proposed plans for a shared universe set within the canon of Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man films.

What director Ruben Fleischer brought to audiences is this bizarre, clunky, yet surprisingly entertaining throwback to the early 2000s era of superhero cinema. It has major narrative and technical flaws that keep it from being legitimately a "good" film beyond some moments of ironic brilliance, but Tom Hardy's performance is one of the most entertaining comic book movie performances put on screen in a long time.

8. Ant-Man and the WaspAnt-Man and the Wasp Avengers 4 Marvel

It's pretty hard to follow in the footsteps of such a massive crossover event like Avengers: Infinity War, but the microscopic (yes, pun intended) scale of Ant-Man and the Wasp is a nice lighthearted cleanser after witnessing Thanos' decimation. It falls short of its 2015 predecessor, but director Peyton Reed still brings in some entertaining sequences that are a nice blend of action and comedy.

Both Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly have great chemistry, and the entire climactic chase sequence is pure delight.

7. Deadpool 2Deadpool 2 X-Force Fox

2016's Deadpool was the surprise hit of that year. While many hardcore comic book fans were excited to finally see a proper iteration of the Merc with a Mouth, the industry was particularly surprised by how mainstream audiences embraced Ryan Reynolds as the beloved antihero of the Marvel Universe.

Deadpool 2 continues that trend of self-aware comedy mixed in with the badass action directed by David Leitch. Unfortunately, the film falls into some of the trappings of a "more of the same" type of sequel, but put on a bigger scale. The film certainly could've benefited from a more clever script beyond just making everything bigger than the first. While the film never recaptures that lightning-in-a-bottle that the first film had, it still holds its own with some great character moments and perhaps the best mid-credits scene of all-time.

Plus, the additions of Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) add more to the irresistible tone that Deadpool brings to the big screen. Overall, a decent sequel.

6. Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Teen Titans GO! To The Movies

It's kind of funny that Teen Titans GO! To The Movies is as entertaining as it is. Sure, the film is still targeted towards younger children that tune into the series on Cartoon Network, but the film is a surprisingly clever send-up of both the superhero movie genre as well as a hilarious tribute to the lore of DC Comics seen through the eyes of the Teen Titans themselves.

Also, the fact that the film ends with a stinger that teases the possible return of the original Teen Titans series justifies its existence in more ways than one.

5. Aquaman Aquaman

Aquaman is a much-needed win for the DC Extended Universe. The franchise received its biggest win in 2017 with Wonder Woman but unfortunately hit a massive roadblock with the disappointing Justice League. As it turns out, all the DCEU needed to do to get back in the right direction was to add water and filmmaker James Wan into the mix.

Wan really goes all out with this film. This is a visually stunning adventure film on both land and sea that really leans into the inherently cheesy nature of the character while simultaneously turning Aquaman into perhaps the most badass superhero in the DCEU thus far.

Some may be turned off by how campy Aquaman can get at points, but it's hard not to get swept up into the fun when you have Jason Momoa having the time of his life.

4. Incredibles 2incredibles-2-pixar-disney

It has been 14 years since we were last acquainted with the Incredibles. Thankfully, they haven't missed a beat even after that long, long wait for the most-requested Pixar sequel of all-time.

It's great to see Brad Bird bounce back with this exciting sequel after the earnest, yet disappointing mess that was Tomorrowland. Here, Bird is back on his element as a brilliant storyteller and is adept at further developing these characters.

Seeing the entire family in these hilarious and death-defying circumstances is so enthralling, particularly in the film's climax. Also, everything involving Jack-Jack and Edna Mode are some of the funniest sequences of animation that Pixar has ever done.

3. Avengers: Infinity WarAvengers Infinity War Thanos Marvel Studios

What else is there that needs to be said about this 2018 film? It really is the most ambitious crossover event in cinematic history, and it has sparked an entire year-long conversation about what our surviving heroes will be doing next after all the chaos.

Anthony and Joe Russo accomplished the near-impossible task of balancing out dozens of larger-than-life characters in this kaleidoscope of comic book beauty that leads to some of the most epic battles ever brought to the big screen.

Also, with Avengers: Endgame on the horizon, it's going to be interesting if that film has a moment that tops the pure awesomeness that is the scene in which Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) arrive on the battlefield in Wakanda.

2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseSpider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

Who would've thought that an animated Spider-Man movie that features Spider-Noir and Spider-Ham on the big screen would be the best film centered on the webhead since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2?

Leave it to the minds of Phil Lord and Chris Miller along with the incredible creative team to bring us a true love letter to the character that would make Stan Lee and Steve Ditko proud. Yes, Peter Parker will always be our original Spidey, but this film proves that the best part about being Spider-Man is the fact that he/she can come from anywhere despite their personal background and circumstances.

1. Black PantherBlack Panther Marvel Disney Ryan Coogler

As big as Avengers: Infinity War was, it's harder to find a 2018 movie that has had as big of an impact on the popular culture than Black Panther. But beyond the cultural significance that comes with such a film, Ryan Coogler crafted a powerful, touching story about legacy, family, principles, power and purpose.

It's hard to log onto the internet sometimes because the world is in such a chaotic place. But Black Panther represents the power of storytelling and why seeing more diverse characters and stories on the big screen matters.

Films like Black Panther remind us about the power of cinema. It can unite audiences together despite their differences and can also inspire us to be better people. All those reasons and more are why Black Panther is the best superhero film of 2018.

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Nathaniel Brail

Nathaniel Brail

Running things at HH. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @NateBrail