Young Justice's long-awaited third season, subtitled Outsiders, debuted on DC Universe on January 4. Just six episodes in, the season is already worth the wait for the hardcore fans who campaigned to bring it back, as the episodes are steeped in DC lore. This season, just like the first two, is littered with Easter eggs.
SYFY WIRE has put together a list of our top 10 hidden gems spotted throughout the first six episodes.
Just to quickly bring you up to speed: The Young Justice universe features a covert ops team (simply referred to as “The Team” within the show) made up of protégés of main members of the Justice League, such as Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Superboy, and Miss Martian. The Team's mission is to go where the big Leaguers can’t. The first three seasons chronicle the first seven years of The Team’s existence (featuring a five-year time jump between Seasons 1 and 2 and a two-year jump between Seasons 2 and 3). Season 3 currently finds a splintered Team and Justice League taking on a sprawling Meta-human trafficking ring.
SPOILER WARNING: Before we proceed, it goes without saying there will be at least minor spoilers ahead for the first six episodes.
Outsiders for a reason
Young Justice is subtitled Outsiders this season, which carries a double meaning.
On the surface, it speaks to the fact that many members of The League and The Team this season will be breaking off into smaller groups, each with its own ideas on how to address the Meta-human trafficking crisis. But the name also harkens back to the comic Batman and the Outsiders, a team of characters led, of course, by the Dark Knight, which debuted as a unit back in DC comics in 1984.
In the first six episodes, we’ve been introduced to Young Justice versions of three of that teams' original roster: Prince Brion Markov/Geo-Force, Halo, and Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, here led by Nightwing instead of Batman. The first episodes actually feature a scene that pays homage to the first issue of the comic: Batman quitting the Justice League over feeling hamstrung by League rules and obligations to sanctioning bodies like the United Nations.
Many characters from that first issue of Batman and the Outsiders, including Helga Jace and Baron Bedlam, also have prominent roles in the first two episodes.
Milestone Media connection
Outside of the popular Static Shock animated series that ran from 2000 to 2004, fans of the Milestone comic book imprint have not enjoyed many opportunities to see their favorite characters on TV.
Young Justice made many fans happy during its first season when it brought mainstays Icon and Rocket into the mix as members of the Justice League and The Team, respectively. Season 2 saw the debut of this show’s version of Static. Season 3 adds the hero Hardware into the mix.
Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor.
Season 3, Episode 1 introduces us to the villainous Dr. Simon Ecks, who's responsible for activating the powers of and trafficking the kidnapped Meta-human.
The comic roots for Dr. Ecks trace all the way back to Detective Comics #261 back in 1958, as Dr. Double X, a Batman villain capable of creating super-strong energy duplicates of himself, a power that carries over into the show.
“The floor recognizes the delegate from...”
Young Justice has always owed no small debt thematically to the Teen Titans comics. And the latest of many nods to those roots is made during a scene at the United Nations, during which U.N delegates Garth from Atlantis and Troia from Themyscira speak on behalf of their respective countries.
Eagle-eyed Titans fans will recognize Garth as the original Aqualad from the comics and Troia as the original Wonder Girl, two founding members of the Teen Titans.
Beast Boy, idol to millions
Beast Boy (Garfield Logan), who was a member of The Team in Season 2, has graduated to a small-screen TV star in Season 3. He’s given up life on The Team for a starring role on a Star Trek-ish sci-fi series, Space Trek 3016.
This is a call back to the 1970s and '80s run of the Teen Titans comics in which Gar did the very same thing prior to joining the Titans.
Courtney Whitmore makes her animated debut in advance of her own live-action show debuting on DC Universe later this year. Courtney is the also known as the legacy heroine Stargirl (a character created by former DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns as a homage to his sister), best known for her time as a member of the Justice Society of America (JSA).
In a blink and you’ll miss it moment from the third episode a partygoer attempts to take a video of an undercover Superboy in action, only to have his face obscured in the video by a swirling daisy wheel effect.
This is a callback to the “Identity Protection Implants” Nightwing used during his time as a super spy chronicled in the 2014 series Grayson.
The security firm run by the retired Will Harper (clone of Roy Harper, former Red Arrow in the series, and protégé of Oliver Queen) is named Bowhunter Security, which is a not-too-subtle allusion to the seminal Mike Grell mini-series Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunter from 1987.
Greg Weisman, co-showrunner and producer of Young Justice, also served a similar role on 2008's The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series.
In a bit of sly tongue-in-cheek casting, Josh Keaton, Weisman’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man on that show, also lends his voice to the equally quippy, spider-themed assassin named Black Spider in the Season 3's sixth episode (as well as in previous seasons).
Who's under that red hood?
Also during the sixth episode, an ill-intentioned attack on Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul by Halo and Geo-Force puts The Outsiders in direct opposition with Ra's' forces. One of them is a red-hooded, goggle-wearing ninja who apparently knows (or at least recognizes) Dick Grayson.
Needless to say, this probably bodes well for the eventual introduction of Jason Todd/Red Hood, aka the resurrected second Robin, in Young Justice.
(Oh, and let's not forget the cameo from baby Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul's eventually-demonic, emotionally repressed son.)