Young Justice: Outsiders episode 18, "Early Warning", sees the newly named Outsiders becoming more popular than the Justice League, trending on social media as their stardom soars. Fame and making waves is a secondary concern, however, as the Outsiders are tapped by the Justice League to take on a mission that is outside of their jurisdiction, yet too public to risk involving their covert agents.
Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Static, and Geo-Force are dispatched to Cuba, where Klarion the Witch Boy is using his magic powers to trigger the metagene transformation of teenagers kidnapped by The Light. As competent as the Outsiders are, the fight still seems somewhat one-sided, given that their group has no magicians and Klarion is a full-fledged Lord of Chaos. Thankfully, they are not entirely alone in this battle, as Zatanna breaks the law to invisibly join the Outsiders in this fight, due to her long-standing grudge with Klarion.
Meanwhile, Halo is given some stunning news regarding her powers and how they are taxing her system, which leads to her starting to rebel against her mentors. A similar conflict can be found in the mind of Terra, who bonds with Tigress during a training session, though she is meant to be a spy for The Light and Deathstroke. Here are the biggest questions remaining following the end of "Early Warning."
6. Who Is Dr. Jace's Mentor?
"Early Warning" opens with a major shock, as Dr. Jace reveals that the secret project she has been working on over the past few episodes involved examining how Halo's body was processing the Motherbox energies that created her. Dr. Jace privately pulls Halo aside to talk to her and, having no easy way to break the news, just speaks the truth plainly. Dr. Jace discovered that the same energy which Halo manipulates to manifest her auras is slowly burning out the cells of her body.
Halo protests that this can't be possible, given that one of her powers is regenerating damage (as revealed in the Young Justice: Outsiders part 1 finale) and that she's resurrected herself after sustaining fatal damage before. Dr. Jace explains that while her violet aura can be used to heal wounds, it does so at the expense of Halo's overall health. However, she is quick to tell Halo not to lose hope. While all the available evidence suggests Halo has only a few months left to live, Dr. Jace has been consulting with her mentor and they are confident they can find a cure for Halo's degeneration.
While this does explain Dr. Jace's secretive behavior over the past few episodes, it also heightens the mystery behind her true origins and raises the question as to who her mentor is. We know that the Young Justice version of Dr. Jace used to work for the metahuman trafficking group Bedlam and while she claimed she was forced to aid the evil organization, the comic book version of Dr. Jace eventually betrayed her team of Outsiders. Is Dr. Jace's mentor another agent of Bedlam? Or perhaps one of Apokolips' more medically minded New Gods, like Darkseid's chief torturer Desaad?
5. What Is Project Rutabaga?
Project Rutabaga was first mentioned during a meeting between Vandal Savage and Lex Luthor in Young Justice: Outsiders episode 7, "Evolution." The two villains discussed various concerns of their supervillain team, The Light, including why fellow Light leader Klarion the Witch Boy couldn't handle a newly arisen problem. Savage reminded Luthor that Klarion was currently devoting all of his energies to something called Project Rutabaga and could not be disturbed.
"Early Warning" reveals exactly what Project Rutabaga is and why Klarion was so invested in it. Project Rutabaga is an initiative by The Light that attempts to awaken the metagene in abducted teenagers through exposure to chaos magic. The teens who develop useful superpowers are set aside for sale into slavery as super-soldiers on alien worlds. Those that don't - like the unfortunate girl who grows gills and a complete inability to breathe on land after Klarion works his spell on her - are fused into a giant chaos beast, for no other reason than Klarion was bored and had to do something with the washouts.
4. Why Are Kid Flash And Blue Beetle Absent?
When the Outsiders storm Klarion's base of operations, they do so without Kid Flash and Blue Beetle. While brief mentions of a funeral are made early on in the episode, it isn't made clear until later that they are attending the funeral of Joan Garrick, the wife of the original Flash, Jay Garrick. Joan's illness was briefly hinted at in the previous episode, "First Impression," in a quick jump-cut which showed Jay watching the news of the Outsiders' first public battle from Joan's hospital room.
3. Is The Show Intentionally Courting Controversy?
The news of her impending death has a negative effect on Halo, who skips a team training session so that she can hang out with her wild friend Harper Row. This leads to the two girls going to the beach in Happy Harbor, drinking some liquor, shooting bottles with a handgun belonging to Harper's father, and briefly making out until the police come to investigate the sounds of gun shots. While Halo is quick to note that she is not a Muslim before being pressured into drinking, after Harper asks if she has some religious objection to alcohol, the image of a girl in a hijab chugging from a brown bottle could upset some viewers, as could two teenage girls kissing or a complete disregard for basic gun safety. While this sort of thing is often approached in Western animation as a means of teaching a lesson, this scene seems intended to attract controversy rather than educate viewers.
2. Why Doesn't Zatanna Just Make The Justice League Undetectable All The Time?
The Outsiders receive some unexpected help in fighting Klarion and freeing the captive metahuman teens from Zatanna, who has a long history with Klarion and isn't about to stand on the sidelines when she has a chance to stop him. The problem is that as a Justice League member, Zatanna isn't legally allowed to act internationally without the permission of the United Nations, and Klarion's base is in Cuba, which does not allow American superheroes to just cross their borders whenever they feel like it. Zatanna gets around this by casting a spell that makes her invisible to cameras and the eyes of anyone who isn't one of her allies. This begs the question - why doesn't she ever do this for the Justice League during other equally urgent missions?
1. Will Klarion Ever Escape The Tower of Fate?
Zatanna eventually bests Klarion by working a spell that drains most of her energy, teleporting herself and the Witch Boy inside the Tower of Fate. Klarion panics when he realizes where he is, as the Tower of Fate is the seat of power for the Lord of Order Nabu, whose spirit resides inside the magic helm that empowers Doctor Fate. Given that Klarion is a Lord of Chaos, this makes the Tower of Fate an incredibly bad place for him to be and he immediately tries to teleport away, only to find himself jumping through a succession of rooms inside the tower, which is said to be near infinite in scope. As the closing credits for the episode run, the camera focuses on the Tower of Fate, and Klarion can still be heard in the distance trying to teleport away and shouting "Dangit!" every time it fails, leaving it uncertain if he will manage to escape before Nabu returns home.