Like many of you reading this, I never thought I’d live to see Young Justice return to television. Last week, I was happily proven wrong with the debut episode of Young Justice: Outsiders—an episode titled "Princes All." This article is the first in a series where I will be diving deep into Young Justice: Outsiders each week, as this long-awaited third season of Young Justice debuts on DC Universe. It’ll be a chance to share my love of all things Young Justice with some fellow fans, everything from what we see on screen to what inspired different aspects of the show.
In case you aren’t familiar with some of my other offerings here on the DC site…well, I’m a diehard Teen Titans and Young Justice fan. So, strap in for a ton of enthusiasm with each new article.
Right off the bat, it’s amazing to see the first generation of Young Justice characters fully blossoming into their adult identities. Nightwing and Oracle?! My 1990s heart is fit to burst at the seams even as one of the superteams I love so much is decimated in the opening minutes of the episode.
AND DID ANY OF MY MILESTONE FANS SPOT HARDWARE?! I’m already screaming. By the by, if you are a fan of the Milestone characters, I’m planning to highlight them in a future column. Keep your eyes peeled!
But to start things off, what I think really needs addressing is Markovia. What the heck is it, exactly? Like the Reach in the second season of Young Justice, Markovia stems from a deep comic book tradition which may hold clues to the direction of Outsiders in the coming weeks and months. Eagle-eyed Titans and Teen Titans fans should recognize this fictional Eastern European kingdom as being the home of Tara Markov (more commonly known as Terra), who is arguably the most iconic villain Wolfman and Perez’s NEW TEEN TITANS faced this side of Deathstroke.
Quick aside, if you need a refresher course on Terra, the animated movie, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, is just the thing you need!
We actually get the briefest mention of Terra—and a lot more Markovia—in the first two episodes, so let’s dive in. In addition to being the home of Tara, Markovia is also the home to the superhero known as “Geo-Force”…who just so happens to be Tara’s brother (okay, half-brother), Prince Brion Markov. He’s got similarly earth-based powers, as the name suggests, and per comic book history, was actually a founding member of the very first superteam to call themselves the Outsiders. While Geo-Force can pretty universally be considered a hero-type, Terra operates in a bit more of a grey area.
In addition to Brion and Tara’s emergence from Markovia, their homeland plays host to Baron Bedlam who is pretty much your run-of-the-mill bad guy.
Baron Bedlam was created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo (legendary creators both), who also happen to be the same creative team behind Geo-Force. Bedlam goes on to become the leader of a super-villain team known of “The Masters of Disaster” who stand as some of the earliest foes of the Outsiders. Needless to say, Markovia has a rich, but complicated history within the world of DC comics.
Not long after Terra left with the Teen Titans, Markovia was absorbed into the Soviet Union. (This storyline was published in the 1980s, remember.) I leave it to you, dear reader, to research the Soviet Union if it is a construct you are unfamiliar with, but suffice it to say that it’s no longer around and since its fall, Markovia has been presented almost exclusively as an authoritarian nation with strict government oversight and a formidable secret police employed to keep the citizens in line.
In many ways, Markovia stands in opposition to the United States as we know it inside the DC Universe. In the premiere episode of Young Justice: Outsiders, we don’t know if the Markovian royal family and the Outsiders are going to stand in similar opposition, or if the inclusion of Prince Brion as a character in the show will present them as allies. Either way, it will make for an interesting development and a socio-politico bent we’re not used to seeing on Young Justice. I do love to be surprised!
The inclusion of Terra—who now seems to be a legitimate, rather than illegitimate, daughter of the crown—also begs the question of whether or not her powers are going to appear and manifest, or whether the classic storyline of betrayal that unfolds in THE JUDAS CONTRACT will fall at the feet of her older brother?
Which do you think is more likely? Head over to Twitter and let us know! And be sure to join me next week as we unpack our second batch of new episodes!
Young Justice: Outsiders airs exclusively on DC Universe. Subscribe now and catch new episodes every Friday!
Ashley V. Robinson writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel.