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Young Justice was a reckless superhero team founded by Robin, Superboy and Impulse.


Robin, Superboy and Impulse, while investigating news about an evacuation, are surrounded by personnel from the Department of Extranormal Operations (D.E.O.) and are reluctantly asked for aid in containing a toxic entity. The trio manage to capture it, only to learn that it is a young girl who had escaped from captivity. To ensure her freedom, they falsify her death, claiming that she had been caught in an explosion.[1] The three later encounter each other once again when a magical being, commanded by new child villain, Bedlam, moves all adults to an alternate world. They track the villain to the former Justice League headquarters in Happy Harbor. After managing to thwart Bedlam's adolescent paradise, the three boys agree that they were effective as a team and should officially band together as their own group.[2]

The three heroes choose to form a clubhouse in the Cave. However, their antics awaken android superhero Red Tornado from a self-imposed dormancy; Red Tornado would remain as an acting mentor and chaperone to the foundling team, feeling that his interaction with the boisterous teens would help salvage what he felt was left of his humanity.[3] The four would later be joined by three teen super-heroines: the second Wonder Girl, Cassandra Sandsmark, struggling to make her mark as a serious crime-fighter; the ethereal and mysterious Secret; and Arrowette, Cissie King-Jones, attempting to humiliate her estranged domineering mother, the retired Miss Arrowette, by outshining her own brief super-heroic career.[4]

The stern and calculating Robin and the cocky and brazen Superboy occasionally compete for leadership; Robin is the one most commonly deferred to, though routinely teased by the others for what they consider his overly-pragmatic nature, initially refusing to share his face or his true identity with any of them; a slightly jealous Wonder Girl overcomes her initial distaste for Arrowette and the two quickly become close friends; Wonder Girl's schoolgirl crush on Superboy slowly begins to develop into genuine feelings shared between the two of them for one another; the team as a whole usually find the ability to trust in Impulse in spite of his whimsical character, yielding mixed results in various adventures. Secret, amnesiac of her true identity and past history, is accepted for her innocent nature and forms a kinship with Wonder Girl and Arrowette, and later on in the series she develops a crush on Robin. Though certain tensions initially exist within the group due to their different attitudes, personalities, and various petty rivalries, the kids maintain a predominantly congenial and bantering air among themselves in spite of their periodic squabbling, and the six quickly come to like one another and become fast friends.

In their earliest adventures, the team mostly faced threats of varying severity; from the Mighty Endowed, an archaeologist named Nina Dowd ("N. Dowd") who was transformed into a top-heavy feline figure too well endowed to support her own weight, to the deadly Harm, an aspiring super-villain bent on battling and killing young metahumans for "practice," later revealed to be Secret's adopted brother in her previous life who was responsible for her death and subsequent transfiguration. YJ discovers and "adopts" the Super-Cycle, a sentient vehicle capable of flight from New Genesis which they come to rely as their primary means of transportation. They are also persistently badgered by A.P.E.S. (All Purpose Enforcement Squad) Agents Donald Fite and Ishido Maad (loosely coined as "Fite n' Maad" {writer Peter David, in a column about jokes he wasn't allowed to do, revealed that he had considered naming the two "Nuck" and "Futz", but had been overruled by DC editors who didn't like the combination "Nuck'n'Futz"}), acting on behalf of the DEO, still seeking to recapture Secret. At the behest of Secret, the team also takes it upon themselves to break free dozens of other adolescent meta-humans being detained against their will by the DEO.

When Red Tornado faces losing custody of his adopted daughter, Traya, to the state government after his wife, Kathy Sutton, is left in a coma, based on the state court's refusal to acknowledge the android as a legal parent, the Tornado defies the state's edict, running away with his daughter. This places Young Justice in an awkward predicament when they aid in their escape. Traya is eventually returned to her mother after she is awakened from her coma by Secret, while Red Tornado is temporarily impounded. The team faces further complications that place them at odds with the US Government when Arrowette, in a fit of vengeful rage, attacks and nearly murders a man who had shot and killed a close confidant of Cissie's at her school. This act helps stir an already-ensuing media blitz aimed at all young super-heroes turning public sway towards the opinion that all teenage heroes are too reckless and more an endangerment to society than a protection.

This situation is further exacerbated when Young Justice, in an attempt to free Secret who had been taken captive by the DEO, inadvertently defaces Mount Rushmore. These events quickly give rise to building tensions between Young Justice and their adult counterparts in the Justice League, and a rising amount of petitioning in Washington against "underage" crime-fighters, spurred by the newly formed team of Golden Age sidekicks, Old Justice. Remorseful over her lack of restraint, and feeling burnt-out on a life that was mostly forced on her by her mother in the first place, Cissie retires as Arrowette and quits the team in the midst of these events, much to the dismay of her best friend Wonder Girl (who would go on to continually pester Cissie for some time later about rejoining the team). In the midst of these events, unbeknownst to the team, Superboy is taken captive and detained by the villainous Agenda, while his villainous counterpart, Match, is implanted within the team. Shortly after, they meet and are aided by a mysterious new heroine, the enigmatic Empress, later revealed to be Anita Fite, daughter of Donald Fite, one of the agents that had previously plagued the team up unto this point. The team soon becomes targeted by a federally-operated group of meta-humans known as the Pointmen, and is forced to flee their headquarters in Happy Harbor, now officially wanted by the government.

The team's troubles come to a head when all members of Young Justice, the Justice League, the Justice Society, the Titans, and several other costumed heroes gather to open a dialogue between the adults and teen heroes. In a catastrophic chain of events involving Klarion the Witch-Boy, several heroes and sidekicks are either aged to adulthood or de-aged to adolescence, due to the machinations of the Agenda, headed by former wife of Lex Luthor, Contessa Erica Alexandra Del Portenza, who had been manipulating events from the beginning in an attempt to discredit all costumed super-heroes, young and old alike, by targeting Young Justice and the teen heroes as the weakest link in the chain.[5][6]

During this crisis, as the heroes scatter to find a reversal to Klarion's magics, Superboy's girlfriend Tana Moon is brutally murdered by an agent of the Agenda, marking a turning point in the Kid of Steel's life, and Wonder Girl began to bloom into her role as a hero, even abandoning her wig. Jack Knight (Starman), impressed with the competence and intelligence he witnessed in the then-adult Courtney Whitmore, the second Star-Spangled Kid, would later pass his Cosmic Rod and the Starman mantle on to Courtney, spurring the precocious heroine to later become Stargirl. The crisis also marked the entrance of future teammates, Empress, and a newly de-aged Lobo, or Li'l Lobo.

In the aftermath of these events, negative public opinion against the young crime-fighters subsides, and the team reconciles with their friends and mentors in the Justice League and with the government. Superboy temporarily loses his powers but regains his ability to age normally. The team relocates its headquarters to an abandoned hotel in the Catskills and takes a temporary leave of absence to recuperate, allowing for a substitute team consisting of Beast Boy, Flamebird, Batgirl, Captain Marvel, Jr. and Lagoon Boy to fill in briefly, as they intervene in a battle royale between Klarion and Li'l Lobo.

When Cissie is selected to represent the United States in the archery games for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the encouragement of her mother, the team accompanies her to Australia and thwarts an effort to sabotage the games by the criminal nation of Zandia. Cissie, a natural-born marksman, wins the gold medal for the US, effectively gaining her celebrity status without the need of her heroic identity. They team up once again with Empress, finally learning her true identity, much to Anita's chagrin. Young Justice quickly warms up to the young mystic and welcomes her within their ranks, though Cissie initially rejects Anita out of resentment towards feeling replaced.

The team later make an expedition to outer space at the behest of Doiby Dickles, former sidekick to Green Lantern Alan Scott, and former member of Old Justice, to free his previous home-world Myrg from invading forces. In this adventure they encounter Li'l Lobo once again, who agrees to join them for the expectation of violence. Robin begrudgingly allows the team to accept Lobo's help in this instance, primarily out of a desire for any chance of evening their odds for success. After liberating Myrg and returning home (after yet another brief excursion to New Genesis, in which Secret meets and unwittingly strikes up a rapport with the despotic Darkseid), Lobo continues to exercise his presence with Young Justice and participating in their adventures for no real reason that anyone within the group can discern, though he is never officially accepted as a member. He develops an attraction for Empress; a mildly interested but mostly apathetic Anita obliges to go on a date with him at one point.

Later, the universe is faced with the dual threat of impending annihilation at the hands of Imperiex and conquest/enslavement at the hands of Brainiac 13. Many tenuous alliances are formed, particularly between US President Lex Luthor and the Justice League, as well as Earth and the dark world, Apokolips. In the midst of intergalactic war, Young Justice is drafted into the combat strictly for search and rescue purposes.[7] After Batman is revealed to have been keeping extensive and invasive dossiers on his teammates in the Justice League for purposes of neutralizing and subduing them in the event of any of them going rogue,[8] similar suspicions of Robin had begun to circulate among his teammates in Young Justice.

When the team crash lands and is left stranded on Apokolips, tensions explode between Superboy and Robin and those suspicions are brought to light as Superboy, Wonder Girl, Impulse, and Cissie all express concerns regarding trust, effectively leaving the team divided. The group agree to put the matter aside for the time being as they attempt to get off of Apokolips. The team quickly begins drawing enemy fire; Impulse is left shaken and temporarily traumatized when one of his super-speed "scouts" (vibrational "clones" Impulse learned to make of himself that could function independently for short time periods) is killed in the line of fire, giving the lackadaisical hero a harsh confrontation with his own mortality; Li'l Lobo is all but annihilated by Parademons, ultimately finished off by the Black Racer. The rest of the team is taken captive and put into the care of Granny Goodness, where she and her Female Furies subject them to various cruel forms of mental torture. Secret is taken to confer with Darkseid, who had taken an interest in the powerful, yet naive young heroine the last time they had met. Secret, who had recently began to learn more about her powers and her connections with the afterlife and who had consequently began to ponder her true nature, is informed by Darkseid that she is "evil." Young Justice eventually breaks free from Granny's captivity and lashes out at their tormentors before making another desperate attempt at escape. Due to Li'l Lobo's ability to replicate clones of himself for every drop of his blood spilled, the team is aided by an army of Lobo clones who are unleashed on the Apokoliptian forces. They lash out against everyone and everything around them before turning on each other and killing one another off to the last surviving Lobo. The team finally makes good on their escape from Apokolips in the midst of the chaos, with the help of one additional genetically inferior teenage Lobo that had remained hidden from the fight in their spaceship. Ashamed of his perceived inferiority and cowardice, this less imposing, less threatening Lobo re-names himself "Slo-Bo." The team, who had been listed as missing in action for some time finally return to Earth safely a few days after the Imperiex War had finally ended, collectively and individually jarred by their wartime experience.

In the aftermath of this adventure, for the first time frightened for his life, Impulse decides to quit the team, retiring from his super-hero life altogether. He is joined by Robin, who decides to sever ties with the team out of hurt feelings inflicted by teammates that he feels no longer trust him. After the loss of two founding members, they are joined by former Justice League mascot Snapper Carr, who agrees to assume Red Tornado's mentoring position; with his own unique form of counsel, Snapper attempts to help the remaining members get their feet back on the ground. To re-bolster their ranks, the team soon recruits the older Ray as its newest member. Meanwhile, in an effort to help Secret come to terms with her tragic past and assuage her concerns over what she considers her "true nature," Snapper arranges for Suzie to be taken in by the Spectre Hal Jordan in a mentoring capacity. The full details of her life and death are brought to light, as well as her role as a "gatekeeper" between the realm of the dead and the living. She is never shown divulging the information of her origin to her teammates, though she does supply them with her true name, Greta Hayes.

Impulse and Robin later return in their civilian identities when Bedlam once again recreates the world to suit his will. In this new reality, Young Justice consists of distorted, and in some cases amoral, parodies of their actual selves. Reunited with Bart Allen and Tim Drake, Young Justice manages to defeat Bedlam once again and restore reality to its rightful state.[9][10]

With YJ once again in full force, the team decides to take a vote on who should become team leader; following Robin's return, they question whether or not he deserves the position of leader, particularly in light of having quit the team so abruptly. In the end, Wonder Girl, having blossomed into a competent, level-headed heroine since her more awkward days hiding under her wig and goggles, and also having stuck with the team through thick and thin since close to its beginning, wins the election, and is given full blessings from former leader, Robin. Though Robin loses his leadership position, he continues to act as the team's chief tactical mind, similar to Batman's role with the JLA.

Wonder Girl assumes responsibility just in time to lead Young Justice to its next challenge. When Empress's father is kidnapped and murdered by her super-villain grandfather, Agua Sin Gaaz, a prominent and powerful resident of the nation of Zandia, populated primarily with criminals, Young Justice assembles a legion of young heroes to assist in Sin Gaaz's apprehension, including Stargirl, Jakeem Thunder, Lagoon Boy, Kid Devil and dozens of others. The assault on Zandia is met with an equally staggering assemblage of villains, resulting in an all-out battle royal. Empress confronts Sin Gaaz, but the villain is defeated and murdered by Bonnie King-Jones, passing off as her own daughter. After Sin Gaaz's demise, Empress is left in the care of two newborn infants suddenly created in his lab - the reincarnations of Anita's own deceased parents.

Afterwards, as Young Justice prepares to boost its image and expand by agreeing to star in a new reality show, Secret learns that her father is to soon be sentenced to death for the murder of her brother, Harm.[11] She pleas for her teammates help in breaking him out of jail. When they refuse and later condemn her after freeing her father anyway, a betrayed Secret erupts in a fit of anger, violently attacks her friends, and agrees to leave Earth for Apokolips with Darkseid, at last giving in to his offer of tutelage.[12] With Secret now in service to one of humanity's greatest adversaries, and now totally in control of her vast power linking her to the abyss, the team apprehensively prepares to face their former friend. Impulse confesses his fear over his own lack of regard for his own life; Empress, now left to care for two newborn infants faces the possibility that her career as a superhero may be over; Slo-Bo, with his physically inferior body, is slowly beginning to degrade; Cissie at last establishes peace with her mother; and Superboy and Wonder Girl finally confess their feelings for one another. When Secret finally attacks in a final confrontation condemning her friends for failing her, Robin admits their failings and appeals to Secret's reason and inner goodness. Upon breaking down in tears and giving up the people she had previously consumed, Secret is confronted and scorned by an angered Darkseid. Slo-Bo attempts to attack the New God but is seemingly obliterated by a shot of Darkseid's Omega Effect. Darkseid then uses his Omega Effect to strip Secret of her immortality and her power as punishment for her betrayal; ironically, this was all Secret really yearned for all along. Slo-Bo, rather than being killed by Darkseid, was instead flung into the far future, where he is (consciously) imprisoned as a statue in the Young Justice of the 853rd Century's cave headquarters.

Later, a casual business meeting with a potential money source and the Titans goes awry when the two teams are attacked by an android (see Indigo) from the future, leaving Empress, Argent, Cyborg and Jesse Quick hospitalized. Upon further pursuance of the situation, the unwitting android activates a dormant Superman replicate android that had been left in the care of S.T.A.R. Labs. The Superman android turns out to be hostile, and the resulting clash leads to the deaths of long-time Titans Lilith and Donna Troy, leaving both teams devastated. Wonder Girl, enraged at being unable to save either of them and particularly saddened by the loss of her friend and predecessor, comes to see herself and Young Justice ineffective as heroes, and turns away from her teammates. Young Justice finally dissolves. The kids, choosing to shoulder the weight of responsibility for the fiasco, drop out of communication with one another until Wonder Girl, Robin, Superboy, and Impulse are brought back together by Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy to form the new Teen Titans.[13]

Meanwhile, Ray joins the new Freedom Fighters, while Snapper Car joins Checkmate. Secret, without powers, retires from the superhero world to attend school with Cissie and Wonder Girl. Empress also goes into semi-retirement but occasionally re-dons her costume and briefly teams-up with Supergirl. Red Tornado later rejoins the Justice League. The Super-Cycle has disappeared without a trace.



  • JLA monitor in the Cave



  • It's unclear when the three founding members first gathered together. Robin and Impulse met in Robin Plus Impulse #1 in 1996, Kon-El (New Earth) and Robin met in WF3: World's Finest Three (Superboy/Robin) #1 in 1996, and Kon-El (New Earth) and Bart Allen (New Earth) met in Superboy and the Ravers #7 in 1997, but when they assembled as a trio is unknown at this point. They are all shown together (with a cadre of other heroes) in The Final Night #1 (1996).
  • A short Young Justice story is added into Teen Titans (Volume 3) #50, where Wonder Girl and Robin remember their old YJ days, in particular, the newly deceased Bart Allen. The pair share stories about how Bart would impulsively make mistakes, such as causing an international incident in Gorilla City, failing to realize his fellow teammates were badly-made robots, and publishing the team's secret identities in a Young Justice comic book.
  • In the Wonder Girl (Volume 1), the then living members of Young Justice, consisting of Wonder Girl, Robin, Empress, and Arrowette (Secret was absent due to her powers being gone and Superboy and Kid Flash had not yet been resurrected), along with Hercules, teamed up to defeat Granny Goodness and her Female Furies.

See Also

Links and References