Young Justice: Phantoms by Jerry Whitworth
Announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Young Justice was renewed for a fourth season. With the majority of scripts completed and the show well into production, the season’s subtitle in Phantoms was announced during the second day of DC Fandome. Few details have been released about the season save that it would focus more closely on the show’s founding cast. Speculation has begun on what the season could entail with the latest nugget of news. With the tease of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the final moments of the previous season Outsiders, some have suggested Phantoms could allude to Legionnaire Phantom Girl. However, it’s challenging to fathom what role Phantom Girl could play to warrant the entire season being based around her. It makes about as much sense as focusing around the Freedom Fighters’ Phantom Lady. Instead, it may make more sense to consider the Phantom Stranger.
A longtime Justice League ally, the mysterious Phantom Stranger combated the forces of darkness such as Tannarak, Tala, and the Dark Circle as an agent for the Lords of Order. For Young Justice, the Lords of Order and Chaos have played significant roles since early on in the series. With Klarion the Witch Boy a prominent member of the Light, the series’ primary antagonists, and Nabu’s agent Dr. Fate arose to combat Klarion, magic has often featured in to the course of the show. However, while Zatanna and the Marvel Family have emerged to combat the program’s villains, the likes of Wotan, Felix Faust, Wizard, Blackbriar Thorn, and Black Adam fought the heroes. Traditionally, the Spectre and Phantom Stranger appear in the source material along with Dr. Fate as the most common opponents to evil magic users so the absence of the former two has been noticeable. Nearly a decade ago, the Phantom Stranger was re-imagined as a member of the Trinity of Sin with Pandora and the Question. Another, perhaps more likely, possibility is that the coming season will incorporate the Phantom Zone.
A pocket dimension where its occupants can see and hear the material universe but are generally incapable of interacting with it, the Phantom Zone was discovered by Kryptonian scientist Jor-El and became the prison of Krypton’s greatest criminals. Becoming its warden, Jor-El imprisoned the likes of General Dru-Zod, Faora Hu-Ul, Jax-Ur, Quex-Ul, Professor Va-Kox, Nam-Ek, Nadira Va-Dim, Az-Rel, and his own cousin Kru-El. When the Phantom Zone Projector, the means by which to enter or exit the Zone, landed on Earth, it became the source of some of Superman’s greatest threats. Over the course of the events of Young Justice, the Light formed alliances with numerous alien beings including the New Gods of Apokolips and the Reach. The addition to the ranks of the Light of the Phantom Zoners could have monumental consequences. However, the most likely meaning behind Phantoms could be the ghosts of the past.
When Outsiders was announced, many assumed the season would feature a storyline involving the return of Wally West who disappeared in the previous season Invasion‘s finale. However, it appears the development has likely been pushed to the fourth season. Fans have speculated the introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes could mean an adaptation of “The Lightning Saga” which returned Wally West to Earth following a long absence and set-up Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds that saw the resurrection of Bart Allen and Conner Kent. Over its three seasons, numerous characters seemingly died in Young Justice. Robin/Jason Todd, Aquagirl/Tula, Blue Beetle/Ted Kord, Secret/Greta Hayes, Kid Flash/Wally West, Doom Patrol, Gabrielle Daou, Ocean-Master, and Baron Bedlam/Frederick DeLamb all fell at certain points and already one of these characters has seemingly returned in Todd. In the third season episode “Rescue Op,” a character appeared hinted to be a resurrected Jason Todd under the control of Ra’s al Ghul. Phantoms could represent the return of several characters to the land of the living through some manner or another. While unlikely, it could even adapt something like Blackest Night where the corpses of fallen characters are restored to form the Black Lantern Corps.