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Comic Book / Young Justice

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In 1996, riding high on the Grant Morrison relaunch of the Justice League, DC Comics attempted to relaunch Teen Titans yet again. It failed miserably, in large part due to massive amounts of Executive Meddling. Most notably, the fact that NO ONE wanted to let the 1996 Teen Titans writer Dan Jurgens use any of the major teen heroes running around DC at the time (particularly Robin III -- Tim Drake, who actually WON a fan contest to select a new member of the team — only for the Batman editors to refuse to honor the contest results, resulting in Captain Marvel Jr. being forced upon Jurgens instead.) The lack of "Teen" in the "Titans" didn't help, either.

Cancelled in 1998, DC decided to launch a new replacement book; but since the Jurgens Titans series was pretty much universally reviled, it was decided to instead come up with a new name for the new teen book. Meanwhile, Robin's popularity was matched by two other teenage superheroes with ties to Justice Leaguers: Impulse and Superboy — and the trio worked as a Power Trio. Hence, "Young Justice" was born.


Launched out of a Fifth Week Event tie-in "Girlfrenzy: Young Justice — The Secret" and a Justice League mini-series "World Without Grown-Ups", the series was written by Peter David and ran for 55 issues before being cancelled. The cancellation (along with cancellation of Titans) was done mainly to launch a new Teen Titans comic to complement the recently debuted Teen Titans cartoon series, placing the remaining members of Young Justice under the wing of veterans from the classic Wolfman Titans team.

An animated series using the Young Justice title was announced by Cartoon Network during their presentation to the network upfronts on April 21st, 2010. Interestingly, the Teen Titans show was originally pitched as Young Justice.

Has a character sheet.

The Young Justice team returned as the flagship title of Brian Michael Bendis' Wonder Comics imprint, with a relaunch in January 2019. The team stars the four most well-known members: Robin, Impulse, Superboy, and Wonder Girl, alongside Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and newcomers Jinny Hex and Teen Lantern. Notably, this marks the team's return after 16 years since their dissolution. See the relevant Young Justice page for details.


Young Justice contains examples of:

  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Superboy refuses to go out on patrol with Impulse because he'd rather watch the televised national Cheerleading finals. Sucks to be him as that's where Impulse ends up to stop a robbery and saves the day!
  • And I Must Scream: The final fate of poor Slo-Bo, frozen as a statue but still alive and aware in the headquarters of Young Justice One-Million.
  • Ascended Extra: Cissie "Arrowette" King-Jones, who Took a Level in Badass after an appearance in Impulse.
  • Artistic License – Sports: The Olympics storyarc, which centered around the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sidney, featured contestants from the rogue nation Zandia, virtually all of whom were supervillains. While the Olympics are supposed to be apolitical, that does not extend to allowing convicted criminals to compete, and at best this would have resulted in a massive boycott by every other nation on the planet.
  • Badass Normal: Robin and eventually Arrowette.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: Robin, Impulse and Superboy are considered as this, mirrowing their mentors in Justice League.
  • Blessed With Suck: Mighty Endowed is most certainly blessed. She's so blessed in fact that their weight means she can't stand upright under her own power.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Young Justice team including Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Arrowette fall victim to this at one point. Supergirl helps snap them out of it.
    • Secret as well, and by Darkseid at that!
  • Breast Expansion: Mighty Endowed.
    • Joked about with Arrowette. When she feels she is destined to become a villain, she bemoans having to get a black costume that shows off her cleavage. Particularly since she doesn't have much in the way of cleavage to show off. Later on we see an alternate universe evil version of her. Guess what?
  • Brick Joke / Chekhov's Gun: For saving his kingdom, Ali Ben Stein offered the boys ANYTHING they wanted. Impulse asked for... well, we never find out, until about 30-odd issues later when the team gets a SPACE SHIP, which just HAPPENS to coincide with a friend of theirs needing a lift into space.
    • A cross-title one that could be an accident...if it weren't for Grant Morrison's involvement. In the first Young Justice story, a kid gets hold of an all-powerful genie and wreaks havoc. When the team save the world and the League are congratulating them, someone says "So cool!" among the chatter. A year or so later, in a JLA story, a former superhero gets hold of an all-powerful genie and wreaks havoc. The genie here is a revealed to be a 5th-dimensional being like Mxyzptlk, and can be summoned or dismissed by saying his name backwards. His name is Lkz, making his control phrase zkl...pronounced in the comics as "so cool".
  • Captain Obvious: The series dabbed into this at times when exposition was needed to point out something not clear in comic format. Of course, whenever Young Justice did something the author thought was stupid, it got mocked.
    Robin: The kids... They've turned old! And those other kids are dancing out of control!
    Superboy: Wow. I can tell you were trained by the world's greatest detective.
  • Cat Fight: Between the mothers of Wonder Girl and Arrowette, much to the amusement of Impulse's normally stoic guardian, Max Mercury.
    • Secret and Spoiler were prone to these as well, when the latter guest-starred, due to a Secret having a crush on Spoiler's boyfriend Robin. It becomes a lot more serious in the final arc when Secret eats Spoiler (she got better).
  • The Chains of Commanding: Robin's role as the team leader began making him uncomfortable and strained his friendships with some of the members to the breaking point, which is when he stepped down. He was much more happy as Cassie's tactician and stealthy assistant.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The team founders; Superboy (blue), Robin (green) and Impulse (red). The first four girls also fit with Secret (a dusty dull tan), Wonder Girl (black), Arrowette (red) and Empress (purple).
  • Cloning Blues: Repeatedly defied by Superboy, but played straight by Slo-Bo.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Impulse.
    • The Cuckoolander Was Right: He gets a few of these, particularly during the issue wrapping up Sins of Youth, when he accidentally figures out Robin's real name by reading lips incorrectly. Played for Laughs of course.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The "core four" were each connected to a color they wore and sometimes filled the background of their narration boxes; Impulse was red, Superboy was blue, Robin was green, and Wonder Girl was black/yellow. In addition Secret was associated with a dusty grey color and Empress was associated with purple and gold.
  • Comforting Comforter: Arrowette requires one after she has a mini breakdown when she realizes she just gave the Justice League an awesome "The Reason You Suck" Speech while Superboy and Wonder Girl worriedly watch over her.
  • Continuity Snarl: Mocked in an aside: Red Tornado says he has files on every superhero, with "nineteen on Hawkman alone".
  • Convection Schmonvection: Lampshaded when Robin and Empress don't burn up in the lava fields of Apokolips.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers generally have little to nothing to do with the story (the Halloween issue, for example, has Robin, Superboy, and Impulse trick-or-treating as their mentors, and the issue where the girls join up has them trying to get into a boarded up Young Justice HQ), but they are usually unrelated enough that one can get the idea that the images are simply sight-gags.
    • Some issues do fall under this, though; one issue has the team jumping out of the A.P.E.S. headquarters (which is located in Mount Rushmore, up Abraham Lincoln's nose), with Robin shouting "It's gonna blow!" and carrying a detonator, connected to various bombs that are stuffed in Lincoln's nose. Within the comic, however, it's Superboy who defaces Mount Rushmore, and he does it to George Washington, rather than Lincoln. He also does it out of necessity ( well, sort of), and does not use dynamite. Furthermore, the line about blowing Lincoln's nose is said when entering the nose, not exiting, and is just an offhand remark made in reply to Impulse's pun about them running up the nose, instead of the nose running.
  • Cover-up Purchase: In one issue, Robin mentions he was able to bury the expense of producing and shipping a Batmobile across the country in "the Batarang budget".
  • Crazy-Prepared: Robin. When the crew went camping, a game of Truth or Dare came up. He was dared to pull his mask off... and so he did, revealing that he had a SECOND mask on underneath! Yup, you can tell he was "trained by the world's greatest detective!"
  • Crisis Crossover: In addition to relatively minor contributions to most Crisis Crossovers that went on during the series' run, Young Justice was also the center of one crossover of their own: Sins Of Youth, featuring Fountain of Youth and Overnight Age-Up applied to most of the DCU.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Red Tornado, primarily, although other characters get their spot in the limelight on occasion.
  • Deal with the Devil: The source of Harm's powers involved the sacrifice of his younger sister resulting in the creation of Secret.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In one issue, numerous supervillains participate in the Olympics, during which former Young Justice member Cissie Jones is competing as part of the U.S. Archery Team. After successfully breaking the arm of one of the U.S. Team Members (who happens to be an Alpha Bitch) and pinning the blame on Cissie's mom, they try the stunt again when Cissie is up to shoot, only for her mom to throw her lighter at the would-be perpetrator, throwing off their attempt and disqualifying the villains from the Olympics.
  • The Ditz: Impulse, and until the last few issues, Secret. The others agree that Secret only becomes ditzy after spending too much time with Impulse.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Secret was originally killed by this method.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted with Slo-Bo, the degenerated clone of Lobo who contained all of the Last Czarnian's "repressed" traits: he was intelligent, good-natured, responsible, monogamous, self-sacrificing...oh, and slowly dying from not receiving any of Lobo's superpowers.
    • Played straight with Match, who secretly replaced Superboy for several issues in order to destabilize the team from within and make sure they got bad press.
  • Fanservice: Surprisingly averted for a 90's comic. Helped by the fact that artist Todd Nauck drew the characters with the proportions of ACTUAL teenagers (as opposed to other artists working on "teen" books where they drew everyone looking like 20-something underwear models). However, played a bit more straight straight whenever a guest-artist showed up, and later on in the series as Wonder Girl ditched the terrible wig and grew a cup size. Not to mention Empress showing up naked a couple times...
  • For Want of a Nail: The almost-obligatory "World Without Young Justice" arc.
  • Friendship Favoritism: Tim has to field some accusations of favoritism and deal with Kon and Bart fighting over his time on occasion. Evidently that's just the deal if your two best friends are Younger Than They Look failed attempts to create Tyke Bombs one of which was raised by virtual reality and the other by implanted memories as they're both still trying to sort out some social norms.
  • Freudian Trio: The original 3 (Impulse=Id, Superboy=ego, Robin=super-ego), explicitly lampshaded by Red Tornado when he agrees to mentor them.
    Superboy: Hey, how come HE gets to be "Super-Ego"? I mean, Super IS in my name, after all!
  • Fun with Acronyms: All Purpose Enforcement Squad.
  • Gag Boobs: Mighty Endowed.
    • In this case, quite literally Gag Boobs. Everyone makes fun of them, and very often they don't fit in the panel.
  • Genre Throwback: The series, with it's younger cast, emphasis on wacky villains and character based comedy, can be seen as a return to the tone of the original Silver Age Teen Titans, occasionally balanced out with the serialized drama of the Wolfman/Perez run.
  • Heroic BSoD: Arrowette goes into one after the death of her therapist, leading her to quit being a superhero.
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Pretty much sums up the Wonder Girl/Superboy relationship. Though it really came to this in an issue of Wonder Woman.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Mighty Endowed's superpower, besides the obvious.
  • I Lied: Spoiler says this to Secret after suggesting that Robin has talked about her a lot. (Secret, having a crush on Robin, found the idea pleasing.)
  • Iwo Jima Pose: The tie-in to the "Our Worlds at War" event featured on its cover a few members of the team (and infamous criminal The Persuader) raising The Persuader's atomic axe in victory.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The series practically RAN on these.
  • Heroes Unlimited: The team manages to recruit every hero under ~23 to help invade an island of supervillains.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Lampshaded by Empress.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Impulse.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Harm is introduced impaling Arrowette with one of her own arrows, with she herself stating "But that's n-not funny."
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Secret's real-name, Greta Hayes, isn't revealed until late in the series' run. Prior to the revelation, she goes by Suzie, a nickname picked out for her by Cissie.
  • Land Down Under: Ask an Aussie how many things are wrong with the Sydney Olympics issues.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: A.P.E.'s headquarters is inside Mount Rushmore.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several times, including the time some characters talk about their comic books being canceled. In-story, they're each talking about their favorite comic books being cancelled (this is the only mention ever of them being comic book fans, and the comic books in question are never named or described, but so what), but to the reader it's clear that they're talking about the characters' solo titles. Two of which were recently cancelled, a third was cancelled years before, and one was still going strong.
    • Another example: when Arrowette and Wonder Girl were attempting to connect to the Internet apparently using AOL, Cassie started complaining about the unreliability and slowness of the service...only to be quickly hushed by Cissie who hurriedly whispered something in her ear, prompting Cassie to smile falsely at the reader and start talking about how wonderful AOL was. Guess who'd just entered into a corporate partnership with Warner Bros. and parent company Time Warner at the time..? America Online!
  • Legacy Character: A fair number of them on the team. Robin and Cassie "Wonder Girl" Sandsmark are legacy characters for legacy characters.
  • Lens Flare Censor: Used to hide Mighty Endowed's Gag Boobs.
  • Lighter and Softer: The book took itself less seriously than Teen Titans was at the time.
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Especially at the beginning of the series, Superboy explained his powers all the time. Almost always lampshaded.
    Impulse: "See?! There he goes again! Talking about his stupid powers like we don't know how they work!"
    And also....
    Superboy: "Don't worry ladies, you're safe now, thanks to my-"
    Girl: "Tactile Telekinesis!"
    Superboy: "...Oh. So, you've, uh, heard of it, huh?"
  • Meaningful Name: Attempted by Superboy when he suggested "Victoria" as a possible name for Laser-Guided Amnesia sufferer Secret; thwarted by Wonder Girl.
  • More Diverse Sequel: The team was originally formed with Robin, Superboy and Impulse, who were all white and male; there was even an issue which parodied the "boys club" nature of the team when they were later joined by three girls: Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret. Again, all white. Later member Empress was African-American and the only non-white. In 2019, the book was relaunched with most of the original members and many new faces. The cast was still mostly white, but now also joined by Teen Lantern and Naomi (both African-American), Miguel of Dial H for Hero (Hispanic), as well as the extra-terrestrial Wonder Twins. The male-to-female ratio also remained roughly equal, similar to the original series.
  • Most Common Superpower: Parodied with Mighty Endowed.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Rip Roar.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya You Killed My Father Prepare to Die: Issue 49, poor Empress.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Between Superboy and Wonder Girl when a Darkseid-trained Secret comes roaring back to earth with revenge on her mind.
  • One Steve Limit: Wonder Girl and Arrowette's names are "Cassie" and "Cissie" respectively.
    • Not to mention the appearance of another Cassandra in an issue of the series. She's usually called "Cass" though.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: World Without Grownups.
  • Only Sane Man: Robin. But sometimes Not So Above It All.
  • Peter Pan Parody: Invoked where Superboy compares himself to "Peter flippin' Pan" because the genetic engineering that made him prevents him from aging past puberty.
  • Power of Friendship: They are all over this trope. They aren't the equals to the JLA or JSA in sheer power. It's their ability to work as a team and the fact that you mess with one, and expect any and all past and present members to show up looking to kick your butt that makes them frightening.
  • Power Perversion Potential: When Secret manages to partially solidify to catch Superboy from being flung around, he remarks that he didn't know she could do that. Her response? "Oh, I can do all sorts of things you don't know about". Not that Secret normally made such innuendos, but the look on her face sold it as such.
  • Power Trio: Specifically pointed out by team chaperone Red Tornado in the first issue to convince Robin the three boys ARE a good team together.
  • Punny Name: A.P.E.S. agents Donald Fite and Ishido Maad, Those Two Bad Guys. Originally they were to be named Nuck and Futz, but Executive Meddling squashed that joke...
    • Also, Empress' name is Anita Fite.
  • Put on a Bus: The other kids at The D.E.O.'s Wabe facility Secret escaped from after they were rescued by Young Justice.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Agenda's six man Point Men team.
  • Rotten Robotic Replacement: The team once got replaced by a team of poorly-made robotic duplicates created by Ivo Jr. Impulse lived with them for a week before he noticed that something was wrong.
    Tim: Well... they weren't that bad...
    Cassie: Tim, mine was smoking.
  • Secret Identity: Thanks to Executive Meddling, Robin was under editorial mandate to keep his real identity a secret from his friends, having been ordered to in-universe by Batman. This was because the series came out during the period when Batman was supposed to be an "urban legend" no matter how little sense it made, and this extended to his partners. This went to ridiculous extents since the team was pretty public and they had to write around this by everyone outside the team awkwardly avoding mentioning Robin.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: This trope is set up at the beginning with Secret leading them on an attack to free the others imprisoned in the facility she escaped from and which Robin, Impulse and Superboy had helped her avoid recapture by. Then it is subverted when the metahumans they freed are never seen again even when the team teams up with nearly every metahuman teen and kid in the DCU at the time to attack Zandia.
  • Send in the Clones: Inertia and Match.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Lampshaded when Arrowette fears she's turned evil.
    "I'll have to get a tight, skimpy black leather outfit that shows off my cleavage. Oh god. I'll have to get cleavage."
  • Shoot the Rope: Arrowette does this in the Young Justice 80 Page Giant.
  • Shout-Out: Many, the most blatant when Snapper Carr is all but revealed to be talking on the phone with Rick Jones, who was currently starring in another Peter David written book, Captain Mar-Vell. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
    • One notable Shout-Out goes to DC's main competitor; more specifically, to their poster boy's origin. A cop chases after a crook, shouting for someone to stop him before he gets to the elevator, and Arrowette lets him pass. The cop then chastises her, hoping he doesn't shoot someone's mom...or uncle.
      • In case you're wondering, Arrowette ends up stopping the crook before he gets too far.
    • Possibly unintentional, but Spectre at one point says to Secret, "Dead girls don't eat ice cream". It's farfetched, but this the same phrasing of every title of The Bailey School Kids books, with a similar subject (a monster or supernatural creature) and action that they don't do (something trivial and normal for humans).
    • Regular series artist Todd Nauck tends to cram in tons of references to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fittingly, he was later an artist on MST 3 K's comic miniseries.
  • Show Within a Show: The characters often watched "Wendy the Werewolf Stalker", an expy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Slumber Party: The boys have one in the first issue to get used to their new base. The girls have one themselves a while later.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Averted: the series went from boys only to 50/50 very quickly.
  • Stage Mom: Arrowette's mother.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Secret towards Robin, in her worst moments.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Arrowette.
  • Take That!: Wonder Girl mentions to Captain Marvel Jr./CM3 that "The Marvel" would be a lousy name.
  • Teens Are Short: Superboy was shown as being only as tall as Superman's chest, and half his width. Got a little better by the end of the series' run.
  • Tempting Fate: While on New Genesis, Empress wonders if the gang has any normal adventures, "Something involving some monstrous incarnation of evil, or something?" Who shows up? Darkseid.
  • They Might Be Giants: Wonder Girl is apparently a fan. Too bad the Wonder Twins ate her Flood CD!
  • Trapped in TV Land: The 80-Page Giant where they fight Bedlam, who sends them through different genres of fiction— Film Noir, Spaghetti Western, Giant Mecha Anime, Silent Film Horror, etc.
  • True Companions: Especially the first six members of the team, Cassie even transfers to the same school as Secret Greta, and Cissie after the two of them retire from superheroics and the "core four" (Tim, Kon, Bart, and Cassie) remain each others closest friends and stick together even after joining the Teen Titans.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: This generally humorous miniseries ends on a sudden and bleak note as Donna Troy and Omen die horribly Empress is put in critical condition and never seen again, and Young Justice dissolves, along with the Teen Titans.
  • Very Special Episode: The gun control story is probably supposed to be this. A less dividing example is the episode that indirectly, but very clearly, refers to 9/11.
  • Vignette Episode: The 80-Page Giant, featuring genre-hoping, is half Trapped in TV Land, half this— each genre gets its own story.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Superboy and Wonder Girl. They do (only in the series' last issue, but they still do). Then they do it (years later, when they were already with the Teen Titans). Then he dies. Then he gets better!
  • Witch with a Capital B: Arrowette refers to an Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse as "rhymes with witches."


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