We are all Outsiders! The Light’s anti-hero campaign took a major hit on this week’s episode of DC Universe’s ‘Young Justice: Outsiders,’ as Beast Boy’s social media campaign began to turn the tide of public opinion. This week’s adventure pitted the team against their parents, and brought them to the country of Bwunda where they ran into some familiar faces. Each week we’ve been looking at how the series utilizes the rich mythology of its comic book source material, so let’s break down all the Easter eggs we found in the episode “Elder Wisdom.”
This week’s episode opens up with a trip to the fictional country Bwunda, where Lex Luthor is visiting General M’Barra. The African nation was first seen in ‘Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey’ #1 (written by Chuck Dixon and penciled by Dick Giordano), when Oracle sent Dinah Lance there for a covert mission. Although General M’Barra enjoys a life of excess in the nation’s capital, which he named M’Barraville after himself, most of the country’s population lived in poverty. Black Canary was horrified to see the inhuman conditions the population endured, and was enraged when a destroyed dam killed many of its citizens. While the ‘Young Justice’ version of Bwunda appears to be in better economic shape, it’s possible that General M’Barra is still hoarding resources from the rest of his constituents. After all, anyone who pals around with Lex Luthor probably doesn’t have the best moral intentions.
Quite a Looker
This season of the series has borrowed lots of elements from Mike W. Barr’s classic Outsiders stories, and the addition of Lia Briggs is the latest example. Lia was the redheaded metahuman who was brainwashed into fighting Miss Martian this week, before her mind control device was destroyed. Lia Briggs was first introduced in ‘Batman and the Outsiders’ #25 (written by Mike W. Barr and penciled by Alan Davis) as a mousey clerk who befriended Katana. Lia got caught up in the Outsider’s adventures after an underground civilization transformed her into the superhero Looker. As Looker, Lia was given telepathic powers and her appearance changed, making her more attractive than most supermodels. Lia’s new body boosted her confidence, and she enjoyed the attention she began receiving from males – including her Outsiders teammate Geo-Force. While thwarting a vampire invasion in Markovia, Lia became infected and turned into a vampire herself. Despite her thirst for blood, Looker has continued to work on the side of justice, even if it means taking a bite out of a villain or two.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular kid or a Wonder Girl, every teenager has to deal with parental oversight, and this week it was poor Cassie’s turn. While Helena Sandsmark previously appeared in the 2013 ‘Young Justice: Legacy’ tie-in video game, this is her first onscreen appearance. Helena was an archeologist who met Princess Diana in ‘Wonder Woman’ #105 (story and art by John Byrne). Soon afterwards, her daughter Cassandra was thrown into the world of superheroics, much to Helena’s chagrin. While Helena eventually grew to accept Cassie’s role as Wonder Girl, it was a long process filed with many arguments. In fact, the scene from this week’s episode when she demands her daughter leave the Outsiders is similar to a story in ‘Young Justice’ #7 (written by Peter David and penciled by Todd Nauck), in which Helena visited the group’s headquarters to try and remove Cassie from the team. Luckily for Wonder Girl, Helena changes her mind in both cases.
During his interview on the G. Gordon Godfrey Show, Lex Luthor suggests that America should enact a Hero Registry, and compares it to something the nation had in the 1950’s. This upset Jay Garrick, the original Flash and a founding member of the Justice Society, because he remembers exactly how dangerous those are. While no super-villain was ever able to successfully defeat the JSA, ‘Adventure Comics’ #466 (written by Paul Levitz and penciled by Joe Staton) revealed that it was ultimately government oversight which caused the group to break up for five years. A committee of lawmakers suggested a Hero Registry, much like the one Luthor proposed in this week’s episode, and the Justice Society decided they’d rather retire than fight against their own government. It’s unclear if the ‘Young Justice’ version of Jay was talking about this storyline, or referring to the real-world Red Scare of the 1950s, but either way, Lex had the wrong idea. If you’re interested in more stories about the Justice Society fighting against the American government, then check out the limited series ‘America vs. the Justice Society.’
While some viewers might have been surprised to discover Matthew Malone was really Batman in disguise, there were plenty of clues longtime DC fans might have picked up on. For example, “Matches” Malone has been Batman’s underworld disguise across various forms of media for decades, and the storefront that the Malones lived in was called “Match Electronics.” In fact, the social media account Miss Martian used for Moira was @LittleMatchGirl16. Batman has been masquerading as “Matches” Malone for so long, that it’s easy to forget he was once a real person. The Dark Knight recruited the real Malone for a mission back in ‘Batman’ #242 (written by Denny O’Neil and penciled by Irv Novick), where the criminal ultimately lost his life. Afterwards, Batman began using the man’s identity to gather intel from the underworld for deep undercover missions. ‘Batman’ #588-590 (written by Brian K. Vaughn and penciled by Scott McDaniel) presented an alternate take on “Matches” Malone’s origins, as the Dark Knight learned more about his family and the circumstances of his death. While the comics version of Malone was not given a first name, the ‘Batman: Brave and the Bold’ episode “Chill of the Night” established that his first name was Matthew.
Did you know that the number 16 can be found in every episode of ‘Young Justice?’ This week we spotted it on Troia’s hotel door (1616), Halo’s messaging app (“16 hours ago”), and Miss Martian’s fake social media profile (@LittleMatchGirl16). Don’t forget to keep your eyes open, because the 16 scavenger hunt will resume next week. See how many places you can find the number and compare your findings with our list next week. Until then – stay whelmed!