The “Streaming Wars” has been a major shift for the television landscape. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have led the charge, competing for viewers by bringing out major original series. Netflix has the Marvel shows while Hulu has Runaways and Amazon is about to debut The Boys. DC Universe is the latest to get into the action and their direct access to a wide range of characters means they can bring many unique faces to the screen. So far, two major series have made their mark. First is Titans, a live-action show based on the comic series focusing on what is effectively a teenage spin on the Justice League. The second is Young Justice Outsiders, a continuation of the beloved Cartoon Network series featuring former “teen sidekicks” becoming a team of heroes on their own.
Each show presents a very different view of the DC heroes. Titans is live-action and, while hampered by a low budget, does its best with a rather gritty edge. Outsiders can cut loose via animation for much more spectacle and a wider range of characters. Each show has its fans, defenders, and even some argument as to which is better. Sure, Young Justice has better numbers and is more faithful to the comic, but the edge of Titans and its realistic approach to super-heroes is winning folks over. In a head-to-head conflict, each show and the teams on it have some strengths and weaknesses to mix it up. Here are 10 reasons why Young Justice are the stronger team and 10 why the Titans are better.
20 TITANS: THEY FIGHT DIRTY
Young Justice are heroes. They can be pushed about, but they still believe in truth, justice, and fair play. They’ve been taught not to go too far and understand how their powers come with responsibility. In a fight, they don’t cut loose as much as they can since they don’t want to majorly hurt their opponents. The Titans aren’t held back like that. Robin is truly brutal in fights as he knows that, as a normal person, he has to fight harder to get thugs to be afraid of him. Starfire has street experience which means she too can unleash attacks, especially since she barely knows her own strength.
Beast Boy claims to be a nice guy but, in a fight, he can literally take a bite out of an opponent while in tiger form. Even Raven can break out a brutal edge with her own powers. The Titans are more “street level” and understand that getting dirty is sometimes the only way to win a fight.
19 YOUNG JUSTICE: THEY’VE GOT BETTER BAD GUYS
With hundreds of DC characters to draw on, it should be no shock that Young Justice has stronger villains than Titans. The Light are a major threat as an organization of powerful foes. But there are scores more like Branchwater, a “security firm” run by Mad Hatter, the Shade, Mist, and others. Despero, Mongul, and Starro have all tried to launch attacks on Earth the team has had to stop. There was also the Reach, an alien race who played a long game to conquer Earth. Rather than just invade, they reached out to Earth as an “alliance” posing as a kind alien race. The team needed to expose and stop their plots.
Vandal Savage is a threat, but season 3 has the biggest of them all in Darkseid. He and Savage are working together to conquer the galaxy before fighting for control of Earth. If a hero is only as strong as their villains, Young Justice is one of the strongest teams in all of animation.
18 TITANS: IT’S BETTER THAN THE CARTOON
The older Teen Titans cartoon is still remembered for some solid story-lines, yet the show was lacking in serious adult impact. But that was miles away better than Teen Titans Go! While a hit with kids, comic purists are not happy with a show that reduces the team to literal cartoon characters in childish antics, turning these characters into jokes. That this got a big-screen movie is amazing and that it didn’t become a huge box office hit shows how mainstream fans dislike the cartoon.
Titans may go a bit far in the “gritty” attitude, but it at least tries to show the characters as major fighters with dark issues. It can integrate elements of the DCU with Wonder Woman and Batman mentioned, showcasing how being a young hero can be a very rough experience. To be blunt, it does more justice to the Titans characters than either animated adaptation ever did.
17 YOUNG JUSTICE: MISS MARTIAN IS BETTER THAN BEAST BOY
A major problem in Titans is that it has to keep to a live-action TV budget. As a result, Beast Boy isn’t able to be the great shapeshifter he is in the comics. Right now, all he can do is transform into a tiger, losing his clothes in the process. It is stated that it’s a mental block that keeps him from unleashing his true potential and reports are he’ll able to do more in the second season. But it pales next to what Miss Martian can do on Young Justice.
As a Martian, she is capable of changing shape constantly and can look like almost anyone. That also includes transforming into alien creatures and shifting her body about to slide between door cracks. The animation allows it to be done smoothly and in a believable manner. The fact is, between the two shapeshifters, Martian has it all over Beast Boy to be a one-woman super-team.
16 TITANS: THEY OVERCOME THEIR ISSUES
The Titans are, to say the least, a troubled group. Robin has a major attitude and chip on his shoulder, and can be brutal in fights. Starfire has no memory of her past and is barely able to contain her powers. Raven likewise doesn’t understand her own abilities and inner darkness. Beast Boy seems put together with his joking, but it’s really a cover for dealing with not being fully human. Yet somehow, this quartet is able to bond together as a group of friends. They recognize their issues and how working together is better than being apart.
While still learning from each other, the team are working through their various issues from Robin learning to trust to Kory discovering who she is. There's also newbie heroes Hawk and Dove learning to trust one another as a team. The first season ends with the team having a new understanding of themselves and season 2 can build on how friendship aids in overcoming your personal issues.
15 YOUNG JUSTICE: THEY STOPPED THE LEGION OF DOOM
The first season of Young Justice is dominated by the behind the scenes manipulations of the Light, a mysterious organization. For all intents and purposes, the Light are the Legion of Doom, an alliance of the darkest villains in the DCU. Vandal Savage, Lex Luthor, Ra’s al Guhl, Deathstroke, Queen Bee, Klarion, the Ultra-Humanite, and more make up the Light (which is a truly ironic name given all their darkness).
As you’d expect, an alliance of evil masterminds has undergone shifts thanks to back-stabbing and grabs for power, but they’re determined to control the world. It builds up to an alien alliance that turns the Justice League into their slaves. The YJ team were able to stop them, although the Light would make a return. Even then, being able to defeat a Legion even the JLA couldn’t stop was a major feather in YJ’s cap.
14 TITANS: THEY FACED DOWN A DEMON
Trigon the Terrible is a force feared throughout the dimensional planes. A monstrous demon, he has laid waste to countless worlds and the very mention of his name terrifies the most powerful sorcerers. In the first season of Titans, Trigon is spreading his evil behind the scenes, appearing as a human avatar with the boast that the sight of his true form would be too much for a mortal mind to take. The team have to handle Trigon trying to breach a way to Earth by using his daughter Raven.
This includes putting Robin through a nightmarish future where he becomes a villain to tempt him into darkness. While the team faced him down, Trigon is ready to continue his evil work. Yet the fact the team were able to slow him down is an achievement in itself given how few have been able to stop this creature.
13 YOUNG JUSTICE: STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Young Justice started off as just a small band of sidekicks. As the series has gone on, the team has expanded majorly to add numerous members. At first, it was just Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Artemis. They’ve since added Speedy, Aquagirl, Blue Beetle, Beast Boy/Changeling, Bumblebee, Guardian, Wonder Girl, Impulse, Tempest, Static, and more. The team is almost like an academy where teen heroes can learn from each other and welcome new members easily.
The creation of the Outsiders just adds to that power as we now have the experienced team members being the mentors to the rookies. Indeed, YJ’s membership is soon threatening the JLA’s with so many joining up. Which means that a full-scale YJ team has the numbers to take down almost any threat.
12 TITANS: THEY CAN HANDLE THINGS ON THEIR OWN
It’s been noted that while Titans exists in a version of the DC Universe, there haven’t been any of the big-name heroes seen. Batman is mentioned, but not shown (except in a shadowy form in a nightmarish future,) and Wonder Woman and Superman get passing mentions. This leads to a key part of the show where, while things get more dangerous, the team wonders if they’re in over their heads.
However, rather than putting in a call to some more experienced heroes, the Titans decide to handle matters on their own. They want to prove they can do it while also thinking other heroes can make the situation even worse. That they end up winning proves their instincts right. The Titans are ready to stand on their own and show they don’t need the aid of the “big guns” to save the day.
11 YOUNG JUSTICE: THEY’VE GOT A FLASH
The first season of Young Justice had Wally West as Kid Flash. He was a classic sidekick who loved his mentoring by Barry Allen and his super-speed was quite the asset. When the show did its five year time jump, Wally had surprisingly retired to live a college student’s life. A new Flash came in the form of Bart Allen, Barry’s grandson from the future. He had a much wilder attitude than Wally with a sharp mouth and bad jokes. He also had a tendency of moving faster than he could think which got him in trouble.
It turns out Bart is from a future that was ruined by a disaster and came back in time to stop it, knowing he could never return to his home. Thus, a lot of his attitude was a cover for his inner angst. This lets him graduate from Impulse to a new Kid Flash. Whoever wears the mask, having someone who can move at the speed of sound gives YJ an advantage that’s hard to beat.
10 TITANS: THEY KNOW THE DOOM PATROL
The weirdest pack of heroes in the DC Universe, the Doom Patrol make an eclectic bunch. Robotman is a race-car driver whose brain is in a super-strong robot body and has a bad attitude because of it. Negative Man is bandaged to cover up the negative energies that can be fatal to others. Elasti-Woman can grow and change in size, but also has to fight not to turn into a blob of goo. The Chief is a genius even if he has a very dark side. Introduced in Titans, the characters have taken off and are ready to get their own TV show. That’ll mean the addition of Crazy Jane with multiple personalities, each of which has its own super-power.
They’re frankly a batch of freaks, but with amazing powers that make them a serious force. Beast Boy was with them before joining the Titans which creates a link between the teams. If the Titans did need help, they can call on the Patrol who are a lot more dangerous than most may believe.
9 YOUNG JUSTICE: THEY HANG WITH THE JLA
The Titans may ignore their other heroes, but Young Justice doesn’t have that problem. From the start, the series played on the idea of the Justice League being mentors to this team of young heroes, offering their advice and guidance. Robin and Nightwing may have issues with Batman at times, but still trust his judgement. Red Arrow and Tigress both lean on Green Arrow for some advice. Zatanna has been a good teacher for the team, using her own magic abilities in battle while also giving them lessons on how to plan things out and not just burst in without thinking.
Black Canary and Martian Manhunter provide guidance and even therapy for the teens. Aquaman has given Aqualad the rub as an honorary member of Atlantis and Batman now leads the Outsiders. Having the world’s greatest superheroes as your mentors and giving aid is a key reason YJ are so strong on their own.
8 TITANS: RAVEN IS INSANELY POWERFUL
Raven has long been a contrast in the comics. An incredibly beautiful woman, she carries a literal dark side in her “shadow shelf” which can be used to attack or heal others. Titans makes her younger, a goth teen runaway who doesn’t understand her own abilities. As the series goes on, it becomes clear Raven is the daughter of Trigon, a monstrous demon who desires to destroy Earth. Raven herself is openly described as “the destroyer of worlds” as her destiny is to allow Trigon to come to Earth. Raven is trying to fight it but worries she can’t.
This knowledge allows her already formidable powers to grow even more and, by the season finale, it’s indicated she truly could wipe out a city with ease. That she’s barely tapped into her power is more frightening. While her teammates are wary, they do recognize that Raven gives them a power to boost them up…as long as it’s on the right side.
7 YOUNG JUSTICE: THE OUTSIDERS BRING A NEW EDGE
After a years-long delay, fans were ecstatic when Young Justice returned with the “Outsiders” label. As it happened, this actually speaks to a second team within the show. It’s made up of folks who don’t feel they fit in with the more “mainstream” heroes. Black Lightning is overcome with guilt over eliminating a child who had been turned into a monster. Halo is fighting to recover her lost memories and understand her powers. Forager is a literal alien bug who would never fit in on Earth. Cyborg is dealing with how much of a man he is under all his tech. Geo-Force takes "hot headed" to new levels. Even Oracle has her issues being the former Batgirl now in a wheelchair.
With Nightwing, Tigress, and Superboy aiding, this “covert ops” team can do the dirtier jobs the “daylight” heroes can’t. Despite all their issues, this team has some serious firepower and are learning on the job. They really showcase the idea of YJ, how to become a hero and the Outsiders’ attitude gives a new edge to this wild team.
6 TITANS: DONNA TROY IS A FIGHTING REPORTER
While Dick Grayson has struggled with a “normal” life on Titans, Donna Troy doesn’t have that problem. She pops in as an old friend of Dick’s who’s a reporter and seemingly a normal woman. She proves she’s more than that in the season finale when she breaks out her golden lasso to take down Starfire. Trained by Wonder Woman herself, Donna is a wonderful contrast to Dick. Whereas he was darkened by his relationship with Batman, Donna grew under Diana.
She gave up being Wonder Girl because she wanted to do more for the world, but still keeps to these teachings of peace and aiding others. Her reporter job has her fighting for truth and justice in her own way like an Amazon Lois Lane. The second season will have Donna in costume and prove herself as a young goddess to push the Titans up more.
5 YOUNG JUSTICE: WONDER GIRL HAS DIANA’S APPROVAL
Good as the Titans’ Donna Troy can be, YJ’s Wonder Girl has a special advantage. She was personally trained by Wonder Woman which makes sense given she’s the daughter of Zeus. A tough gal, Cassie loves to mix it up and can often go looking for a fight. That can lead to some issues with teamwork and sometimes rubbing others the wrong way. However, Cassie has Diana’s stamp of approval as a warrior and Wonder Woman has been teaching her the ropes.
Cassie proved herself fighting her mind-controlled mentor in a huge battle and more than holding her own. Diana has hinted Cassie would be a fine replacement for her one day once she matures her attitude. Not only does Cassie have the power and skill to be a heroine, but the rub from the greatest heroine in the DC Universe to back her standing with the team.
4 TITANS: STARFIRE IS AN ALIEN WARRIOR
When we first see Kory Anders in Titans, she’s a lady wandering the streets with no idea who she really is. The series showcases her growing powers of super-strength and alien blasts which she herself doesn’t understand. It’s stated she can be far more powerful than she appears to be, she just doesn’t know how to use it all yet. The series does reveal Kory is an alien whose duty is to destroy Raven before she can summon Trigon to Earth. Given the two have now become friends, that’s a major complication.
The character is rougher than her comic book version but her energy blasts provide serious firepower. She’s working on her powers more which may include flight and remembering her past unlocks her warrior training. It looks like the character is going to grow both in powers and smarts as the series goes on as an alien fighter gives the Titans a special edge.
3 YOUNG JUSTICE: THEY’VE GOT SUPERBOY
The Superboy of Young Justice isn’t technically an alien. He’s a clone created by Cadmus for two reasons. To take the place of Superman if he should fall… or take him down if Superman ever goes bad. At first, Superboy has a big chip on his shoulder, often wrestling with the idea of how he’s not a real person. His hotheaded attitude gets him in trouble as he leaps into things without thinking. Yet the character deepened as the show went along.
The five year time jump shows Connor calmer as he’s accepted Superman’s influence and is now using his powers with tactical means rather than just brute strength. He does seem open to the idea of taking Superman’s place while wanting to make his own mark. His strength gives YJ and the Outsiders a major push. There’s also the inspiration of that iconic crest on his chest and how he’s living up to its legacy. He may not be Superman yet, but having Superboy on their side gives YJ a major edge in strength.
2 TITANS: A TOUGHER ROBIN
The infamous first promo for Titans shows Robin beating down a batch of thugs and his infamous shot at Batman. While that may have been over the top, it does showcase how this live-action Robin is a far cry from Burt Ward’s version. This Dick is angry with Batman, seeing him as too brutal and wrapped up in his quest for justice to push aside others. That he still sticks to the Robin identity says a lot as Dick wants to prove he can do it better than current Robin Jason Todd.
Some fans have cited his attitude as amazingly realistic and what would happen if a troubled adolescent was made into a sidekick by a harsh vigilante. In a fight, Dick is a major force with too many thugs underestimating him as “the sidekick” which they pay for. The irony, of course, is that Dick is far more like Batman than he’ll admit with his brutal attitude. Yet it shows this Robin isn’t playing a kid’s game anymore.
1 YOUNG JUSTICE: NIGHTWING HAS THE EDGE
Most Dick Grayson fans agree he was a great Robin, but he was far better when he became Nightwing. In season one of Young Justice, Dick was shown as Robin, a capable team leader and doing great with it. However, a major moment was when the team underwent a brutal simulation that seemed to cause several losses. In a therapy session with Black Canary, Dick admitted he wanted to be the leader, but he couldn’t do it like Batman, a cold figure ready to sacrifice everyone if needed to get the job done.
It was shortly afterward that the show made its five year time jump during which Dick became Nightwing. He was smarter and more patient with the team, fitting into the leadership role better. He mentors new Robin Tim Drake and gives the rest of the team something to aspire to in order to become true heroes in their own right. Robin is good yet Nightwing gives YJ more of a punch.