It has often been remarked that the only thing separating Batman and his allies from the villains they fight is their adherence to a strict code against killing. Certainly Batman has taken many actions that would be considered illegal if not actually immoral in the name of saving lives. That idea lies at the core of “Antisocial Pathologies”, the 22nd episode of Young Justice: Season 3, which is all about how treachery threatens to tear apart the teams of both the heroes and the villains.
On the hero side of things, Jefferson”Black Lightning” Pierce puts two and two together on a few things and realizes the great secret behind the Justice League – the team didn’t truly split into multiple groups after Batman and several other heroes left the team en masse to protest the increasing regulation imposed on them by the United Nations. Instead, Batman and a secret society of superheroes made up of Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Nightwing, Oracle and Ms. Martian have been organizing Earth’s heroes into six separate groups in order to divide and conquer in their efforts to tackle the supervillain union known as The Light.
This seriously annoys Pierce, who had quit the League for unrelated reasons and rejected an offer to join Batman’s team because as uncomfortable as he was with how the League was being run, he was even more uncomfortable following Batman’s orders. Finding out he was still in the League by proxy as part of Nightwing’s “independent” team didn’t sit right with the ever-honest Pierce. It also offended Garfield “Beast Boy” Logan, both because he found out that many of the victories his new team of Outsiders had enjoyed had been orchestrated by Batman and because he had been lied to by his adopted older sister, Ms. Martian.
Similar scheming threatens to tear apart The Light, when the Ultra-Humanite and Gretchen Goode fight for control of the captive Halo. Goode believes that Halo’s status as a living fusion of human DNA and a Motherbox soul could act as a key to the Anti-Life Equation, which can eliminate all free-will in anyone who is exposed to it. When she abducts Halo to give her to the New God tyrant Darkseid rather than use this power to benefit The Light, it becomes clear that Vandal Savage knows more about what their New God partners are up to than the rest of his teammates and Deathstroke is hiding secrets from his partners in crime.
Where this is all leading is anybody’s guess. Will Pierce expose the Justice League’s breaking the law and manipulating the public? Will Beast Boy turn the Outsiders into a true team of outsiders, fighting crime outside the law? And will Savage once again join forces with Earth’s heroes to face a greater threat from beyond the stars? Whatever happens, this episode is a gut-punch that will stick with you long after the episode is over.
Antisocial Pathologies will be available to stream on August 13th, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.