The second season of Young Justice did more than just continue a great story, it made a statement on the world of superheroes.
A New World
Young Justice: Invasion is daring from its opening moments.
Familiar faces in new roles. New faces in old ones. The five year jump isn’t something you see often in television animation, but there is a big reason behind it.
Young Justice: Invasion does a lot with the world that was presented in the first season. While other planets were utilized since the show’s early days, Invasion reminds the viewer just how vulnerable the Earth would be in such a universe. The grim consequences of the original episodes are magnified by this.
On the surface, this is what the show is about.
Multiple intrusions on Earth, while six of the seven most well known Leaguers are standing trial for their own “invasion”. This serves to build the base drama of the show. How can The Team protect Earth with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman occupied? Will the now adult former side-kicks be able to stop the greatest threat the world has even known?
It’s a great concept, but there’s something else going on.
“They aren’t the Justice League, and for good reason.”
Children of the Bat
It is made clear that in the five years since we last saw our heroes, things have not gone as planned. Both Aquagirl and the second Robin are dead. Aqualad seems to have turned. Artemis and Kid Flash have retired. Within the show, we’re never quite sure how this all happened, but it has left a mark on The Team. They aren’t the Justice League, and for good reason.
The Justice League is always beholden to the ethos of Superman. An army of heroes who cannot utilize deception as they must remain pillars of virtue to the public. These ideas extend and are exaggerated further in The Legion of Super-Heroes. Even Batman, when under the banner of the League, had to bow to this. His methods on the streets of Gotham simply don’t work when you’re protecting the world from aliens and magic. Too much can go wrong and everyone would know.
When he organized The Team, he started something different. The Team exists not as a B-Squad, but as a logical balance to the Justice League. With all of the terrors running around, the world needs an example like The League to guide them. What the world also needs is someone to go further than The League can, to act without public scrutiny. As made clear in the first few episodes, most of the younger heroes agree with this and do not join The League. Additionally, many new heroes lend their skills to The Team’s dangerous mission. Not long into Young Justice: Invasion, we also learn that two members of the team are in deep cover with The Light.
These aren’t the methods of Superman or Wonder Woman.
Young Justice: Invasion poses a theory –
When the methods of Superman can’t get the job done, turn to The Bat. The original crew, who have seen their friends and family die at the hands of The Light, agree and are joined by their contemporaries. By the start of Invasion, Batman has three direct proteges in play. It is no coincidence that the familiar Justice League from a previous show is locked up during this season. Young Justice: Invasion, and maybe the show on the whole, is about a logical, generational evolution. Superheroes continue to change the world, and so the heroes need to change themselves.
A new justice with a new leader at the helm.
The Batman Generation.
I won’t get into Young Justice: Outsiders quite yet, but boy is this theme still strong.