Young Justice: The Outsiders Have Become Batman and Lex Luthor's Pawns

Young Justice Outsiders Batman and Lex Luthor

Young Justice: Outsiders has seen the titular team turned into the pawns of both Lex Luthor and Batman. Episode 19, "Elder Wisdom", highlights how similar both Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are in how they operate, though both billionaires would surely object to the comparison.

The central plot of Young Justice season 3 has centered around the Justice League's efforts to work around a series of regulations imposed upon them by Lex Luthor, in his capacity as Secretary-General of the United Nations. By limiting the Justice League's ability to act independently, Luthor has been able to stop them from interfering in the affairs of The Light, the supervillain union responsible for running most of the world's metahuman trafficking. Luthor's actions led to Batman and several other heroes publicly resigning from the Justice League and Beast Boy's formation of The Outsiders, a team of teen superheroes who worked outside the rules the Justice League was forced to follow. Unbeknownst to the Outsiders and most of the Justice League membership, Batman has not truly resigned but instead broken up the League into more compact teams, so that they can divide and conquer while attacking The Light's operations in secret.

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Young Justice: Outsiders episode 19 sees Lex taking the fight to the Outsiders, arranging an assassination attempt for a prominent dictator at a United Nations' climate conference. Lex leaks false information regarding the details of the operation to the Dark Web, where the Outsiders can't help but find it. This leaves the team looking inept, while allowing Lex to play the hero as he calls in the Justice League officially to stop the attack and play up how well the system appears to work without a bunch of teenagers getting in the way.

Later in the episode, the Outsiders are manipulated again, albeit in a way that gives them a public victory. Blue Beetle, Static and Beast Boy travel to Ireland in response to a plea for help online that leads them to Matches Malone, an electronic shop owner in Dublin whose store keeps getting robbed by robot monkeys, who have now abducted his daughter. Unbeknownst to The Outsiders, Matches Malone is Batman in disguise and his kidnapped daughter is a shape-shifted Ms. Martian.

Batman later reveals the reasons for his deception during a meeting of the leaders of the Justice League's six sub-teams and Oracle. The factory where the Outsiders discovered the missing girl was a front for one of Lex Luthor's illegal operations. The robots they fought, including a robotic duplicate of the criminal mad scientist Professor Ivo, were reprogrammed and remote-controlled by Robin. By setting things up as planned, Batman was able to destroy Luthor's factory without any suspicion falling upon any of the Justice League's covert groups and give the Outsiders a much needed public victory.

Unsurprisingly, Wonder Woman immediately decries Batman's actions, asking how this deception makes them any better than Lex Luthor and The Light. It is one thing to hide things from their teammates, Wonder Woman argues. It is quite another for them to be "staging false events" and "creating fake news" merely to make their enemies look bad or themselves look good. The rest of the League's leadership don't have an easy answer and it seems more than likely that Batman's deception will come back to hurt them all if the truth is revealed in an upcoming episode of Young Justice: Outsiders.

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