Quick Thought: Young Justice, Season Three

I’m watching the third season of Young Justice and while I’m not going to blog through the episodes individually, I do have some thoughts.

The show continues to make interesting use of the vast lore of the DC Universe. The show has always had its own continuity, separate from the comics (it’s “Earth-16”) so it’s been free to rewrite and alter anything it likes about the characters and their histories. That leads to a mixture of the familiar and the unexpected. But some characters inevitably bring with them stories from the “canon” of comics

Season Two, “Invasion,” introduced Tim Drake as the new Robin. But Tim is the third Robin, so there’s the implication that Jason Todd, the second Robin, existed during the break between seasons — and likely died (or is assumed dead). Batgirl also showed up, with the assumption that we’d recognize her as Barbara Gordon. In Season Three, “Outsiders,” Barbara is now the disabled hero Oracle, again with no explanation. We are left with guessing that the events of “The Killing Joke” took place between seasons, though it’s always possible that something other than being shot by the Joker happened to her.

When Season Three introduced Brion Markov and mentioned his missing sister Tara, comic readers such as myself thought “Oh, yeah Terra. Which would mean… oh dear…” Terra, as a character, brings with her a whole implied narrative arc. We’ve seen it unfold in comics, in the Teen Titans animated series, and now here. The details are different, but the core of what makes a “Terra Story” are there.

It’s kind of like if, in any version of the King Arthur story, you have Arthur and Guinevere married, and then Lancelot shows up. You have an idea of what’s going to happen, regardless of whether this is a book, movie, animation, etc. The lore of this character is bigger than whatever continuity they happens to be in.

It is an aspect of the strength and depth of the DC Universe as a story realm that you can do this. Young Justice continues to draw on those strengths to tell its unique story.

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