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Young Justice

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Young Just Us

Robin, Superboy and Impulse interceded on behalf of a D.E.O. “cleaner” team transporting a gaseous entity known as Secret to the Wabe Facility for disposal. Working together, the teens were able to “Secret” from her D.E.O. captors.

The teens later found themselves at the epicenter of the conflict in which all adults were banished from the Earth. When an ancient artifact came into the possession of Matt Stuart, the son of an oft-absent archeologist father, he discovered that it possessed a genie, and used its power to remove all grown-ups from the planet. With only children left behind, chaos ensued and it was up to the junior heroes Robin, Superboy, and Impulse to restore order.

Following this adventure, the threesome decided to remain together as a team. Adopting the JLA’s “Secret Sanctuary” in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island as their de facto headquarters, the team soon found themselves on their first adventure unearthing an ancient vehicle appearing to be a so-called “Super-Cycle” of New Genesis origin. Meanwhile, former Justice League member Red Tornado awoke from stasis and became the mentor to the fledgling team, who had accidentally  acquired the name “Young Justice.”

ABOVE: Young Justice forms in JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #2 [1998].
BELOW: Young Justice gels in YOUNG JUSTICE #1 [1998].

New Members

Soon after, some girl-power was added when Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret joined the team. Arrowette left the group after a traumatic encounter that almost caused her to take a human life. Their roster soon expanded to include the mysterious Empress, the incorrigible Slobo and the novice hero known as The Ray.

When Secret was turned to the dark side by the demonic Darkseid, Young Justice was faced with perhaps their greatest challenge. Robin was eventually able to bring Secret to her senses, but the victory was both bitter and sweet; Secret reverted to human form, which was her fondest wish –  but poor Slobo sacrificed himself to save her from Darkseid.

ABOVE: Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret join the team in YOUNG JUSTICE #4 [1998].
BELOW:  The team rides the Super-Cycle in YOUNG JUSTICE #5 [1998].

Graduation Day

Shortly afterward, a conglomerate known as Optitron offered to sponsor the Titans and Young Justice after summoning them to San Francisco. Before any decisions could be made, a mysterious cybernetic girl known as Indigo emerged from the future. Unwittingly, she somehow activated a rogue Superman android, resulting in the apparent deaths of Troia and Omen. At Troia’s funeral, Nightwing disbanded the Titans.

At Troia’s funeral, Nightwing declared to Arsenal that he is tired as seeing friends die and the Titans are officially over. Meanwhile, members of Young Justice, especially Wonder Girl, felt responsible for the tragic deaths. This led Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and Superboy to form a new group of Teen Titans under the guidance of the more experienced Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy.

Greta gets a happy ending in YOUNG JUSTICE #55 [2003].

 Roll Call

Robin: Tim Drake learned the secret identity of Batman and petitioned to become the new Robin. At first reluctant, Batman eventually conceded and trained Tim to become the newest Boy Wonder. Robin quickly became the de-facto leader of Young Justice, but later relinquished that role to Wonder Girl.  (see separate entry)

Superboy: In an attempt to clone Superman, Cadmus Labs combined the Kryptonian DNA of Superman with a strand of human DNA. The impetuous clone escaped the lab and later became known as the hero, Superboy. The Teen of Steel was later bestowed with the Kryptonian name of Kon-El and adopted a secret identity as Conner Kent. (see separate entry)

Impulse: Bart Allen – grandson of the Flash – was born with hyper-velocity and was raised in a virtual reality environment in the far future. Traveling to the past, Bart became the act-before-thinking speedster who was quickly dubbed Impulse.  (see separate entry)

Wonder Girl: Upon meeting Wonder Woman, teenaged Cassie Sandsmark petitioned Zeus for powers of her own. Little did Cassie know that her true father was Zeus himself! Blessed with powers from the gods, Cassie became Wonder Girl, despite her mother’s objections. As Wonder Girl, Cassie has matured from gawky adventurer to self-assured heroine. (see separate entry)

Secret: Young Greta was murdered by her brother, a sacrifice which in turn granted the boy demonic powers. To balance the cosmic forces, Greta was transformed into a benelovent spirit guide who became known as Secret. In Young Justice’s last adventure, Greta received her fondest wish and reverted to human form.

Arrowette: Cissie Jones-King was pushed into the hero game by her stage mother, the original Arrowette. But things got serious when young Arrowette almost claimed a human life in the name a vengeance. Shaken by these events, Cissie retired from super-heroics. Although she’s no longer a crime-fighter, Cissie still keeps close contact with her Young Justice teammates.

Empress: The daughter of government agent Donald Fite, Anita was notorious for being bossy – earning her the nickname ‘Empress.’ Athletic and agile Anita later used her grandmother’s voudoun magic to give herself mental and teleportation powers. With that, Empress began a crimefighting career that eventually led her to Young Justice.

Slobo: A clone of the de-aged Lil’ Lobo, self-named “Slobo” was the runt of the litter. Upon travelling back to Earth, the fraggin’ fledgling became a member of Young Justice, where he displayed an altruistic side despite his outward bravado. With his molecular structure breaking down, Slobo sacrificed himself to save Secret from the clutches of Darkseid.

The Ray: Upon discovering his true father was the golden age super-hero The Ray, young Raymond Terrill faced sunlight for the first time and unleashed his dormant light powers. With that, he continued his father’s heroic legacy as the all-new Ray. The Ray met Young Justice at a rock concert, and became a member of the team shortly before they disbanded.

Red Tornado: The Red Tornado is an android created by the mad scientist T.O. Morrow as a weapon against the Justice League of America. But the elemental android broke his programming and became a committed team member. The inactive Red Tornado was awakened when Young Justice took residence in the JLA’s “Secret Sanctuary” in Happy Harbor, prompting the elder hero to act as the team’s mentor.

Snapper Carr: Lucas “Snapper” Carr began a long association with the JLA as their teen mascot, providing timely assistance and much-needed comic relief. When Red Tornado stepped down as the group’s advisor to take care of some personal problems, he offered the role to Snapper Carr, who readily accepted.




 Essential Reading

Young Justice: The Secret #1 [1998]: First Young Justice team-up of Impulse, Robin & Superboy. First apperance of Secret.
Young Justice #1-2 [1998]: Young Justice officially forms with Robin, Superboy and Impulse.
Young Justice #4 [1998]: Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret join the team.
Young Justice #7 [1998]: The mentors and parents meet with Red Tornado for a parent-teacher discussion.
Young Justice #15-16 [1999]: When Arrowette’s school counselor is murdered, she seeks vengeance. Arrowette resigns from crimefighting.
Young Justice #19 [2000]: First appearance of Empress.
Young Justice #20–21 [2000]: Batgirl, Beast Boy, Flamebird, and Lagoon Boy form and all-new Young Justice. L’il Lobo arrives on Earth.
Young Justice #25-27 [2000]: Empress revealed as Anita Fite.  L’il Lobo joins Young Justice in an adventure in space.
Young Justice #32: [2001]: Empress’ origin is revealed here.
Young Justice #38-39 [2001]: Snapper is invited by Red Tornado to serve as advisor to Young Justice.
Young Justice #41 [2002]: The Ray joins Young Justice.
Young Justice #42 [2002]: The origin of Secret.
Young Justice #46 [2002]: Wonder Girl is elected leader of the team.
Young Justice #47-51 [2002]: Young Justice and a cadre of young heroes assault Zandia when Empress’ father is killed.
Young Justice #53-55 [2003]: Secret is corrupted by Darkseid and turns against the team. As punishment for failing, Darkseid turns her human.


The Young Justice members emerge as Teen Titans, by Phil Jimenez.


 Peter David of the End of Young Justice

“Childhood’s End”
by Alex Segura Jr., posted November 22, 2002 02:53 PM
courtesy of

“Young Justice wraps with #55,” David said. “In a way, it suits the ‘novel’ style in which I often write because, knowing the ‘novel’ was coming to an end, I could write it without concern as to what the next issue would be about. The main subplot that’s been percolating for several years is Secret’s wrestling with her fundamental nature, and her emotional seduction by Darkseid. That’s what’s coming to a head with the next few issues. By the time #55 is over, all plotlines are wrapped up…except one. It’s not major, but it’s there in the background if you think about it. Might as well leave myself something to play with, just in case.

“In essence, what brings everything to a boil is Secret’s learning that her father is going to be executed by the state for his killing of his adoptive son,” David explains, “who Secret knows to have been the villainous Harm. She goes to her Young Justice teammates in hopes that one of them will aid her in busting her father out of jail. They all say no, because they’re not about to contravene the judicial system. It’s unique teen logic. Invading a country, that they’ll do. But saving a guilty and convicted man from the electric chair, that’s not a line they want to cross. So they all turn her down…except Slo-Bo, who aids her in springing her father. Hilarity then ensues when Young Justice learns of this and insists he has to go back.”


Young Justice, though always presented as not a Teen Titans book, was often cited by fans as being the closest to what made the older series great. Now, with the regular Titans series ending, the shift will take place, but with a new creative team. This leaves the question, is Peter David bitter? The scribe says no.

“I’m not bitter because it’s a business,” David explains. “It was a business decision. It’s not one I agree with, and it impacts on me and the fans directly. But it’s not as if Paul Levitz, Mike Carlin and Dan Didio got together and said, ‘You know…Peter David’s getting too popular. We must find a way to bitch slap him into shape. Hey! Let’s cancel Young Justice!’

“I think ultimately the book itself never got a ton of respect from people who never even bothered to sample it. I also did my best to try and vary the tone, and that attracted some people while being off-putting to others. I’d do the series light for a while, then go dark. I’d do a series of one-off issues, followed by a lengthy story arc. For a while I even experimented with concluding storylines in mid-issue and then launching into a new one. Anything to keep the book fresh creatively…at least, to me. I suppose I’m vain enough to think that if I keep it interesting to me, it’ll be interesting to others.”

And while he was keeping it interesting to himself, some readers expected the teen team to announce a purpose or missions statement, which wasn’t needed, David said. “A lot of people never really “got” the team. They’d say, ‘Well, why do these young heroes hang out together?’ And I stubbornly refused to give them a mission statement, because to me, it was an absurd question. Why do any group of teens hang out together? Because they like each other. To me, it’s no more complicated than that. But, just for shits and giggles, in #55 I have Robin address that question directly in a fairly cool speech to a totally gone-bad Secret. It’s one of the more dramatic moments, I think.”

With both Superboy and Impulse getting cancelled prior to the axe falling on Young Justice, David was looking forward to having the chance to have exclusive control over the characters. With the cancellation of Young Justice, that won’t be possible. Still, David is hesitant to reveal what his plans were.

“I don’t generally like to go into detail with ‘here’s what I was going to do,'” David said. “Because then if the writers, two years down the line, go in that direction, fans immediately shout, ‘Hey! They’re ripping Peter David off!’ I saw that happen with Aquaman, when I discussed that I was going to kill him off, keep him dead, and then return him as a water elemental. So DC killed off Aquaman, kept him dead, and the instant fans saw the big watery version of Aquaman, the ‘Rip-off!’ charges started, justified or no. So I think I’m going to steer clear of such things from now on.”

The title’s final issues will focus on the Secret storyline that started in issue #51 when the vaporous Secret was shot and began going through some serious changes.

“The storyline is combined with a storyline in which the DC equivalent of MTV talks Young Justice into being the centerpiece of a new reality series. They’d be the superhero equivalent of the Osbournes. I just try to give the series a real-world sensibility, and it seemed a logical storyline to explore, given the cult of celebrity in this country. I wound up having to truncate it a bit, considering the end of the series, but I think it still works.”

One slight monkey wrench in the final storyline though, concerns Robin. Hey – when your mentor is supposed to be an urban legend, showing up on television isn’t a good idea.

“The biggest problem was always Robin,” David said. “Considering the whole ‘urban legend’ thing. Given the reality series storyline, ‘Robin’ couldn’t be part of such an endeavor. But having just returned to the group, he has no desire to bolt on them again. So he creates a new identity for himself, which should be kind of fun. Part of it stems from when I was a fan, getting a huge kick out of Matt Murdock creating his swinging twin brother, Mike. I decided to do something like that with Robin as well.”

Looking back over the five-plus years on the series, David notes he has plenty to be proud of. “Personally. I liked when Cissie told off the JLA and then hyperventilated,” David recalls. “I liked the camping out issue. I liked the sequence from Arrowette-turns-bowhunter through ‘Sins of Youth,’ which became a much larger story than I’d ever anticipated, but people seemed to like it. I liked the ‘playing baseball to save a planet’ story and the stuff on New Genesis. I liked the Secret vs. Spoiler story, and the story with Red Tornado’s daughter being the victim of racism. And most importantly, I loved working with Todd Nauck.”


Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by

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