Young Justice Season Four Tease by Jerry Whitworth
Young Justice: Outsiders, the third season of Young Justice available exclusively on the DC Universe streaming service, finished its run toward the end of August with a significant tease toward whats to come in the upcoming season (which was confirmed to be in development in July at San Diego Comic-Con). For those who haven’t seen the season finale yet, major SPOILERS are ahead. In the final moments of “Nevermore,” which featured Darkseid’s failed bid to conquer the universe, some of Earth’s heroes were celebrating their victory at Bibbo’s Diner when a blonde-haired waitress is shown pouring coffee while wearing a Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring. As the name implies, the ring is given to every member of the 30th/31st-century superhero organization allowing them a number of capabilities including flight, travel through outer space and underwater, and communication with each other. Undoubtedly, the scene was included to get people talking about what could be coming in the fourth season so by all means, lets talk.
When Wally West disappeared in the show’s second season Invasion, fans began to speculate immediately about his return. When the third season came and went with Wally still missing, it seemed as though the character maybe truly gone forever. Fan theories regarding how the character could have returned often revolved around the storyline of “The Lightning Saga” from the pages of Justice League of America and Justice Society of America. Therein, a mind-controlled Karate Kid of the Legion of Super-Heroes is discovered in the present day where it’s learned members of the 31st-century group traveled back in time for a secret mission. Starman, another Legionnaire who had joined the Justice Society of America, is revealed to be part of that team prompting an alliance between the Justice League and Society to find the remaining Legionnaires. Discovered across the globe suffering memory loss and confusion, as their memories returned and group assembled, the Legionnaires slipped away and executed their mission. It wouldn’t be until the subsequent storyline Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds that the purpose of this mission was revealed. The glimpse of the waitress in Bibbo’s Diner immediately brought to mind the “Lightning Saga” and its amnesiac Legionnaires as it’s speculated the blonde-hair woman hinted at Legion founder and often times team leader Saturn Girl. If this is a sign that the show’s fourth season could adapt “Lightning Saga,” we could discover toward what end by examining its companion story Legion of 3 Worlds.
Following the events of Countdown to Final Crisis, Superman-Prime was adrift in time where he was plucked by the Legion’s nemesis Time Trapper and dropped into the 31st-century. A parallel version of Superman from another universe (Earth-Prime) prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths when the multiverse existed, Superman-Prime survived destruction and judged the surviving universe to be lacking from what came before. Alongside Alexander Luthor, Jr. of Earth-Three, Superman-Prime sought to create a better universe by recreating and deconstructing the multiverse. Several heroes including Kid Flash (Bart Allen), Superboy (Conner Kent), Superman, Superman of Earth-Two, and the Green Lantern Corps aligned to combat and defeat Superman-Prime with Superboy giving his life in this conflict. When Superman-Prime arrived in the 31st-century, he was angered to learn history viewed him as a minor foe of Superman prompting him to free the hundreds of criminals housed on the prison planet Takron-Galtos. Amassing an army of Legion foes including the Fatal Five, Legion of Super-Villains, Mordru, Justice League of Earth, League of Super-Assassins, Universo, Dr. Regulus, and more, the villains descended on Earth. Brainiac 5 summoned Superman from the past and the other two Legion of Super-Heroes from across the multiverse for aid but even this was not enough.
Reflecting on Superman-Prime’s earlier defeat, Brainiac 5 sent a team of Legionnaires to the past for the purpose of resurrecting Superboy (Conner Kent) and Bart Allen (who died not long after Conner passed) and recruited the final Green Lantern Sodam Yat of Daxam. Despite all of this, Superman-Prime largely defeated himself when he learned he became the latest version of the Time Trapper and chose to execute his future self (hurtling himself across time and the multiverse as a consequence). Now, Superman-Prime has not appeared on Young Justice although the character Match has drawn parallels to him (as well as Bizarro and Doomsday). Instead, Young Justice may decide to adapt likely the greatest Legion of Super-Heroes storyline of all time.
With little doubt, Paul Levitz’s run on Legion of Super-Heroes (which often included Keith Giffen) is considered the group’s best stories. “Earthwar,” “The Curse,” “An Eye For An Eye,” “The More Things Change,” and “Who Is Sensor Girl?” represent some of the finest tales in the team’s history but are all eclipsed by “The Great Darkness Saga.” In that tale, the long believed dead New God Darkseid is restored via a force of shadow clone servants, dark doubles of Superman, Orion, Kalibak, Lydea Mallor (Shadow Lass’ ancestor), and a Guardian of the Universe. Enslaving the planet Daxam (cousin world of Krypton), twisting its inhabitants to his will, Darkseid empowered the Daxamites and sent them to conquer the universe. The Legion of Super-Heroes along with Superboy (Clark Kent), Supergirl, Legion of Substitute Heroes, Heroes of Lallor, Wanderers, and Dev-Em confronted the some three billion super powered Daxamites but were hopelessly outmatched. Fortunately, a resurrected Highfather (nemesis of Darkseid) turned the battle by transforming the Orion shadow servant into Orion (who is destined to destroy Darkseid) that then fought Darkseid along with Superboy and Supergirl. Able to break his hold on the Daxamites during that confrontation, Darkseid was defeated when the Kryptonian cousins turned their attention instead to him. As Darkseid and Vandal Savage represent the primary antagonists of Young Justice, the idea of the Team journeying to the future to combat the former would not be a far fetched one (though considering the Legion fought a version of Savage in Vandar the Stone, both could be applicable). As we entertain the possibility of Young Justice adapting aspects of “Lightning Saga,” Legion of 3 Worlds, and “Great Darkness Saga,” there remains one more storyline that could easily find its way into the season.
Following the events of Zero Hour, the Legion of Super-Heroes was rebooted and with it a new version of the “Great Darkness Saga” was told in the storyline “Legion: Foundations.” As part of this tale, Darkseid ordered the kidnapping of a teenage Superman such that he could be turned into his slave but his agents accidentally grabbed Conner Kent on their initial attempt. The second time around, they succeeded but young Clark Kent broke his Apokoliptian programming. The Legion and two Superboys defeated Darkseid with Clark returning to his time and Conner remaining with the Legion for five months leading into “Teen Titans: Superboy and the Legion.” In this storyline, the Fatal Five assembled one hundred versions of themselves across the multiverse resulting in the Fatal Five-Hundred. Conner returned to his time to recruit the Titans to combat the threat with success. The story that followed became one of the group’s most popular arcs.
At the conclusion of their battle against the Fatal Five-Hundred, the Teen Titans were hurled through time arriving ten years ahead of their present. For “Titans Tomorrow,” the Titans met their older selves and discover they became villains ruling over the Western United States. The future Titans sought to erase their young selves’ memories and return them to their proper time to ensure their future. However, Flash (future Bart Allen) worked as a spy within the Titans and helped the past Titans escape. With help from Cyborg 2.0 and Titans East who opposed the future Titans, the past Titans were sent back to their time with their memories intact. This subsequently prompted the future Titans to go back in time to try and save their timeline from being wiped out. Drawing parallels to the Justice Lords from Justice League‘s “A Better World,” we’ve already seen dark aspects of Kaldur’ahm and Artemis during their time undercover but Dick Grayson, Wally West, Connor Kent, and M’gann M’orzz as evil Batman, Flash, Superman, and Martian Manhunter would be interesting. Further, Beast Boy’s Outsiders could be aged up to be the force opposing the evil Team (Beast Boy being Animal Man and Wonder Girl as Wonder Woman in the source material). What do you think? E-mail, comment, or tweet us!