Season 3 | Episode 1 | ‘Princes All’ | Aired January 4, 2019 

Young Justice: Outsiders is a good show, but I feel uncomfortable calling it a third season of the original Young Justice. The first episode begins with a quick flashback to how Invasion ended, with Nightwing telling Kaldur that he needs a break and that Batgirl will be taking his place on the team. But that predictable beginning immediately gives way to something much more alien.

The show jumps forward two years, and the Justice League is fighting off a Parademon attack on the planet Rann as an effort to rebuild trust after the missing 16 hours. Up until this point, the show was just about what I had expected it to be. Then, Black Lighting accidentally kills a mutated metahuman who we learn was a 15-year-old child who had been abducted and transformed into a weapon. Young Justice had shown one death in the combined first two seasons. The premire of Outsiders takes on a much more serious and darker tone.

The Inside vs. The Outsiders

Hard cut back to the Watchtower. Kaldur is now the acting Aquaman and leader of the Justice League. He hosts a meeting with the other League members and invites the head of the young hero team, Miss Martian, to join the discussion.

It seems a lot has happened in the two-year jump and the new UN Secretary-General, Lex Luthor, has implemented some restrictions to when and where the Justice League is legally allowed to operate. Frustrated with the inability to act, Batman convinces several members of the Justice League to resign and continue to work outside of UN approval. Black Lightning also quits, deciding to leave hero work altogether.

Batman attempts to recruit Black Lightning to his new team but is harshly refuted by him. Batman puts calls out to Tim Drake and Green Arrow’s new sidekick, Arrowette. Robin, abandons his team to follow Batman without saying a word, leaving his girl friend Wonder Girl, and the rest of the young heroes confused about what happened.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Nightwing effortlessly takes down three thugs operating a metahuman trafficking lab with Oracle acting as his gal in the chair. The pair analyzes a tar-like substance in the lab used to turn ordinary children into superhumans and can track the source to the country of Markovia.

At this point, a TV interview introduces us to Brion Markov, the prince of Markovia, whose sister was abducted by metahuman traffickers. The King and Queen or Markovia also make a statement welcoming refugees from the hostile nation of Belia and condemning metahuman trafficking. Brion has a private conversation with one of the family’s doctors to determine if he has the gene that allows for superpowers when activated and also inquiring if Markovia has the technology to activate it in him.

Building a Team

Now off to recruit members for his own mission in Markovia, Nightwing arrives at the home of Artemis. Still mourning Wally West’s death, Artemis is staying with her sister. While we don’t see Cheshire at the house, we do see Roy and his daughter, and after a very brief interaction between Nightwing and Roy, Artemis joins the team.

Back to Markovia, a young woman is abducted when an assassin breaks into the palace and murders the king and queen before he is shot and killed by the queen’s brother, Baron DeLamb. This pushes up Grayson’s time table, leading him to recruit Superboy, who is living with Miss Martian. Superboy accepts the offer but, before he leaves, M’gann expresses concerns due to the diminishing number of team members she has since Batman’s split with the league. Superboy promises to always be there for her and proposes, which she happily accepts.

Back to another TV broadcast, this time with good old G. Gordon from Season 2. Baron Delamb will now be acting as King Regent until Brion’s older brother, Prince Gregor, comes of age the next year. Delamb goes on to say he is declaring martial law, and no metahumans will be allowed to enter the country.

Black Lightning is the last to be recruited by Nightwing. He initially refuses, and he tells Nightwing that his powers have not been working since the accidental death on Rann. But he eventually relents, and Superboy, Artemis, Black Lightning and Nightwing all board the supercycle and start their journey to Markovia.

Growing Up

There’s a lot to unpack with only the first episode, and two more have been released on DC Universe. Young Justice is unique in that the characters grow and change over time throughout the seasons, but this season seems different. The art style is different, but not so much that its distracting. There’s almost a Civil War-style rift between the Justice League and Batman, which I look forward to seeing play out. The most significant difference between this new season and the previous two, however, is that Outsiders realizes its no longer on Cartoon Network.

The deaths of the king and queen of Markovia are grisly, and their assassin is covered in blood. ‘Princes All’ opens with the death of a teenager. The show, much like its characters has grown up. The new tone isn’t wrong, but the show is taking itself much more severly and taking on much more serious subjects, including human trafficking and the treatment of refugees. The relationships between the characters was a huge part of the previous two seasons and seem like it will be here as well. It’s a strong rebirth to the series, and it seems like the creators know what made the show great. We’ll see if the story can age up to keep pace with the content.

New episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders stream on DC Universe every Friday.