The Confusing History and Mistaken Identities of Captain Marvel

Art by Ed McGuinness

Art by Ed McGuinness

As the final credits of Avengers Infinity War finally rolled, [*year old spoiler ahead] I sat tight hoping it's post-credits scene would at least give a hint as to how we'd get closure on half the Marvel Cinematic Universe dissipating into confetti. As it turned out, Nick Fury also dissipated into said confetti in that scene, but not before he could send a distress signal on a beeper-esque device that seemed to respond back with a gold, red, and blue star logo.
At that moment, the middle-aged stranger sitting to my right leaned over and asked "are we supposed to know what that was?". I said "Yeah, that's a nod to Captain Marvel, the other Marvel movie that'll tie-in before the next Avengers.".
He paused, looked back at me and although what his mouth said next was "Naw... that's an old DC character." the look on his face said "you don't know what you're talking about, jackass".
Then he got up and left.

Smash cut to a year later, Brie Larson has brought in over a billion dollars at the box office, starring in MARVEL Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL - so who's the jackass now, Mitch?! (everyone I've ever met named Mitch has been an A-hole, so I just assume his name was Mitch.)

As Marvel's Captain Marvel twiddles her thumbs waiting to help take on Thanos in “Avengers: Endgame” toward the end of this month, today, DC’s Shazam (aka "The Hero Formerly Known as Captain Marvel")'s movie releases in theaters for a shot at his own Silver Screen glory.

However wrong Mitch was in April of 2018, there was a point in time where his response would've been a far more valid one, and that's exactly what I aim to clarify for you today.

This is the original Captain Marvel (Fawcett Publications, later DC Comics):

Art by C.C. Beck

Art by C.C. Beck

He was born in the pages of Fawcett Publications’ Whiz Comics in 1939, created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. A Wizard named Shazam gave orphan Billy Batson the ability to change into a super-powered adult possessing the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and speed of Mercury all just by invoking the Wizard’s name- "S.H.A.Z.A.M. !".

This is Superman (DC Comics):

Art by Wayne Boring

Art by Wayne Boring

I don't need to explain big blue... though Captain Marvel’s beefy, raven-haired, squinty-eyed resemblance to the Man of Steel (who debuted earlier the same year and was the very basis for the word “Superhero”) would go on to play a big part in shaping the future of The Captain.

This is (Marvel Comics' first incarnation of) Captain Marvel:

Art by Gene Colan

Art by Gene Colan

After DC instigated a decade long legal battle claiming the original Captain Marvel was but a shameless rip-off of Superman, an eventual settlement guaranteed there would be no new adventures published for the original Captain Marvel (though his previously existing adventures were reprinted in the UK).
Fawcett Publications moved on to non-comic pursuits and in the process failed to keep an active US trademark on the name. This left room for Marvel to debut their own Captain Marvel in 1967 in an effort to capitalize on the availability and existing brand associated with the name. Though with Marvel’s version, the character name was where the similarities ended. This hero was an alien named “Mar-vell”, with a completely different origin from Fawcett's original.

This is Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics):

Art by Frank Cho

Art by Frank Cho

Originally a secondary character in Marvel's first Captain Marvel title, Ms. Marvel’s civilian identity was that of the very same Carol Danvers who would go on to become the more famous of Marvel’s Marvels and eventually take the new and improved mantle of Captain Marvel in present day continuity. The Ms. Marvel mantle was eventually adopted by others, the heroine’s current secret identity being teenager Kamala Khan.

This is (Marvel's current) Captain Marvel:

Art by Ed McGuinness

Art by Ed McGuinness

This lady may look familiar - since 2011, Carol Danvers has been THE Captain Marvel; joining the Avengers in comics and now on the big screen, her origins and powers tie-in to Marvel’s male Captain Marvel of the 60’s; these days she is often cited as the most powerful woman in the Marvel Universe.

This is Kara Danvers/ Supergirl (DC Comics):

Art by Emanuela Lupacchino

Art by Emanuela Lupacchino

Other than the similarity of their aliases, this powerful blonde superheroine has nothing to do with Captain Marvel, but “Kara Danvers” further proves that cross-brand naming gymnastics are not uncommon in an industry where many writers and artists have worked for both Marvel and DC in their careers.
Just ask another pair of blatant “name dopplegangers” DC's Deathstroke (Slade Wilson) or Marvel's Deadpool (Wade Wilson).

This is Shazam (DC Comics):

Art by Gary Frank

Art by Gary Frank

In 2011, when DC rebooted their universe newly dubbed "The New 52", DC's Captain Marvel was officially reborn as Shazam. Ever since DC had first acquired the original Captain Marvel in 1972 (ironic given that they'd attempted to sue him out of existence 30 years prior), the comics he’d starred in had always been titled “Shazam”. As it turned out, most people just thought that was his name anyway.

Art by C.C. Beck

Art by C.C. Beck

Given that the character also flaunted the name of their rival company, the change admittedly made sense on many levels.
Not too much changed along with the name, though in The New 52's slight reworking of his origin, The Wizard previously know as Shazam simply became known as "The Wizard", and the same magic word Billy Batson had always used to spark his transformation was now also the name of his hero form. In a nice nod to the original Captain Marvel’s origins, until the “New 52“ reboot, Shazam/Cap's homebase in DC Universe had always been Fawcett City, named after the publishing company that first created him.

This is Kazaam:

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Kazaam is a Genie portrayed by Shaq in a 1996 family movie. He should also have nothing to do with this, but his name frequently comes up alongside Shazam simply because they sound the same; and if comic book nerdery is not top of mind for you, your brain will lie to you.
He was NOT based on a comicbook character.
Buuuuuuut........

This is Steel (DC Comics):

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Also portrayed by Shaq in a 1997 family movie, Steel definitely has nothing to do with any of this except that I’m a smartass and he is based on a DC comics character. Also, at some point DC’s (at the time) Captain Marvel and Steel have appeared in the same storyline and I didn't want to be the only one burdened with not being able to un-know that odd piece of "six degrees of Shaq" trivia.

So there you have it, I hope that clears some things up; Shaq Faqts free of charge. The waters have been a little less muddy after DC's namechange to Shazam, but I honestly miss the days I could tell someone's comic nerd street cred by if they mistakenly thought DC's Captain Marvel was actually named Shazam.
Nowadays those people are technically right… though I'd be willing to bet Mitch is not up to date on the subject.

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Go see “Earth’s Mightiest Mortal” this weekend, and if you haven’t already, “Earth’s Mightiest HERO“‘s movie was not bad either.

Posted on April 5, 2019 .

Homer Odyssey

The word "Geek" is in the very title of our organization, and among the main tenets of being a Geek is, in it's varying forms, THE CHECKLIST. Whether your list is going back to watch every movie of a great director you just discovered or getting your hands on all the coveted collectibles that Santa forgot to bring during your youth- no element of Geekdom is more cathartic than checking items off those lists.
As the Pokemon crowd might say, "Gotta Catch 'Em All!".

I have several Geek Checklists that would best be whittled down by digging through bins and boxes at comic conventions, but one that doesn't involve adding treasures to my nerd cave is my goal to eventually see a game at every stadium in Major League Baseball.
Now there's a fair chance you just thought "Hold up, what's with the sports talky business? That ain't Geeky!", but that's where you'd be wrong. At the end of the day, rattling off fun-facts memorized from the back of baseball cards as a kid and naming everything Superman keeps in the Fortress of Solitude are flexing the same Geek muscles. Once you've sat next to someone listening to play-by-play of the very game they’re at while filling out a scorecard with the seriousness of a tax accountant, you’ve seen firsthand that Geekiness has many forms.

As a friend and I were recently going back and forth listing off MLB Stadiums we'd gotten to visit, I surprised even myself when I realized I'd never taken the time to formally list these conquests. Given that the count started way back when I was just a tike (I'm told I was at my first game before I hit 24 months), I had a decent excuse, but it was time to remove the mystery and through process of elimination, have a “Possible Destinations” list prepared for the subsequent time my wife asked me where I thought we should take our next vacation. 

After racking my brain and conferring with the man who brought me to many Cathedrals of the game before I could drive myself (Thanks, Pop), the list of Major League Stadiums I’ve gotten to attend games at are as follows:

American League

Baltimore Orioles - Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Baltimore Orioles - Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Houston Astros - Minute Maid Park (The Astros’ current home, though when it first opened they were in the National League)

Houston Astros - Minute Maid Park (The Astros’ current home, though when it first opened they were in the National League)

Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium

Kansas City Royals - Kauffman Stadium

Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium of Anaheim

Los Angeles Angels - Angels Stadium of Anaheim

New York Yankees - Old Yankee Stadium (*defunct)

New York Yankees - Old Yankee Stadium (*defunct)

New York Yankees - New Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees - New Yankee Stadium

Texas Rangers - Arlington Stadium (*defunct)

Texas Rangers - Arlington Stadium (*defunct)

Texas Rangers - Globe Life Park

Texas Rangers - Globe Life Park

National League

Chicago Cubs - Wrigley Field

Chicago Cubs - Wrigley Field

Cincinnati Reds - Riverfront Stadium (*defunct)

Cincinnati Reds - Riverfront Stadium (*defunct)

Colorado Rockies - Coors Field

Colorado Rockies - Coors Field

Houston Astros - The Astrodome (*defunct, The Astros made it on both lists but were a National League team throughout their tenure at The Astrodome)

Houston Astros - The Astrodome (*defunct, The Astros made it on both lists but were a National League team throughout their tenure at The Astrodome)

Los Angeles Dodgers - Dodger Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers - Dodger Stadium

Milwaukee Brewers - Miller Park

Milwaukee Brewers - Miller Park

New York Mets - Shea Stadium (*defunct)

New York Mets - Shea Stadium (*defunct)

Pittsburgh Pirates - PNC Park

Pittsburgh Pirates - PNC Park

San Francisco Giants - Oracle Park

San Francisco Giants - Oracle Park

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Memorial Stadium (*defunct)

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Memorial Stadium (*defunct)

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Stadium III

St. Louis Cardinals - Busch Stadium III

**Atlanta Braves - Turner Field Stadium (*defunct) ( I toured Turner Field but didn't actually get to see a game there, so while a noteworthy memory, I don’t count this one toward my final tally.)

**Atlanta Braves - Turner Field Stadium (*defunct)
( I toured Turner Field but didn't actually get to see a game there, so while a noteworthy memory, I don’t count this one toward my final tally.)

So for those of you playing at home, that's an official total of 19.
6 Defunct, 13 Current.
Almost half of the 30 active stadiums - not too shabby for someone under 40!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go brainstorm how to convince my wife we should ever use PTO days to go to Cleveland.

Happy Opening Day, Geeks!

Posted on March 27, 2019 .

The Buzzed Buzz: New Main Brewing Co. 1 year later

With a year under their belt, I got a chance to sit down with David and Amanda, owner-operators, of New Main Brewing Co and see how the year went and plans for the future. I'll be honest and say what started as a neat place to grab a beer, has turned into one of my favorite watering holes.

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Last time we checked, they were still waiting on the proper licencing to start selling their own beer. That hurdle has long since been jumped. As a matter of fact, at their 1 year anniversary that just passed, they served nothing but their own beeriful creations and as of this writing, they are brewing on their new production level system! To pay tribute to how it all began, the first beer out of the new system will be their award winning Pantego Porter. The beer that started it all.

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We talked about some of the hurdles they faced throughout the year and they faced many of the same problem other small business owners face. When you have to rely on contractors to get work done, you can throw your timeline down the drain along with all the hair you are losing. You are on their timeline now. But, they bobbed, weaved and adapted to the situation by focusing on the tap room and creating a space for everyone to enjoy.

I asked David what was his goal for opening New Main? Why do it? Why put yourself through the stress and hardship hanging your shingle? His answer is what makes this place so special. “We started this business, New Main Brewing Co, to be a community center. And the most fulfilling thing that we see, and we see it every day, is people coming in, seeing the potential, stretching out and making themselves at home, playing games having conversations. We built this place for people to enjoy their life.”

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New Main is a place you can find something going on just about any night of the week. Trivia nights, stand-up comedy and live music are just some of the things you will find happening. Some of their big events of the year were the Pantego Music Festival, a full day of local live music and the Blockbuster Ball, an 80’s movie costume Halloween party. Both of which were a big success and planned to be repeated this year.

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If you happen to find yourself with a pint in your hand and realize you forgot to get your S.O. or in-law a gift of some sort, they have you covered, you can head upstairs and check out some local shops including Jenna-Rosity Gifts selling fun trinkets, gifts and their fresh roasted coffee or Young At Heart selling vintage toys and local art.

Of all the great beers and fun things they offer, the thing thats stands out most to me is the people. David and Amanda do a great job of listening to you and making you feel at home. Behind the bar, you can find Nathan, Bridget and Andy to help you figure out just the right beer for you and regale you with conversation.

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All-in-all, New Main brewing Co. is a special, community forward place, where you can feel at home. 2019 is shaping up to be a great year and I for one, can't wait to see how high they fly.

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Posted on March 5, 2019 .

Reservoir Geeks Ep 17: New Year, New Yous

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Check Out EP17!

CLICK HERE TO HIT THE LINK AND ENJOY!
The boys discuss the new year, how they rang out the old one and what’s in store for the rest of 2019. Besides the usual blather, they discuss trips (or lack there of for Andy), stuff they’ve eaten lately, technology, the future as represented on film and much, much more.

Posted on February 22, 2019 .

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden 1/24/19

My wife and I spent an extended weekend in New York City last week doing all the exact things you should do when you’re in the city that never sleeps. We went to museums, saw stand up comedy, visited Seinfeld-centric locations, and between each of those activities I collectively ate my own weight in a combination of pizza, deli meats, and hot dogs doused in the finest deli mustard man has e’er tasted.

The highlight of our trip was the only thing possibly more New York City then any of those things- we got to see the great Billy Joel play Madison Square Garden, not an empty seat in the house.

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The Piano Man is on the short list of my favorite musicians of all time and though I’d been lucky enough to go to a couple of his shows before, seeing him essentially play a home game in The Big Apple was a whole ‘nother experience- equal parts amazing and unforgettable.

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Our tickets weren’t cheap but we got incredible value for what we paid given that we were just a slight incline and 30 yards starboard of the Baby Grand that Billy belted out all but a few of the night’s tunes from. That wasn’t luck, but meticulous planning with the advantage of having been to MSG for a Knicks game a few years before, knowing the layout of the shows I’d seen years before in Dallas and Oklahoma City, and the extra effort of hunting down section specific concert photos from his other shows at the Garden.

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Given the strength of the Billy Joel catalog, it’s inevitable that any of his shows would be chock-full of hits, but the setlist that night seemed extra great and built perefectly. He dispersed a few deep cuts throughout including a B-side he’d never performed in front of an audience before, paid homage to his influences by covering rock gods and classical masters alike, and had every single person in the arena standing up, dancing on more than one occasion without ever having to coax us. Billy Joel at the Garden was as magical a musical experience as I’ve seen - check out the full set list below all for details.

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Billy Joel, Madison Square Garden 1.24.19

Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)

Pressure

Everybody Loves You Now

Vienna

The Entertainer

Sleeping with the Television On

**Derek & The Dominos cover - “Layla” (instrumental portion of the song used as interlude)

Moving Out (Anthony’s Song)

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

Allentown

The Ballad of Billy the Kid

Don’t Ask Me Why

New York State of Mind

House of Blue Lights (**Never previously performed B-side to WDSTF)

My Life (**with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as intro)

She’s Always a Woman

Only the Good Die Young

River of Dreams

**Eagles cover - “Take it Easy”

**Puccini cover - “Nessun Dorma” featuring a guest Opera Singer

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

Piano Man

- ENCORE -

We Didn’t Start The Fire

Uptown Girl

It’s Still Rock N Roll to Me

Big Shot 

You May Be Right (**including a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”)

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PS: My only complaint about the evening’s show is that having seen Billy Joel 3 times now, a live performance of my favorite song “The Longest Time” still eludes me.
For good measure and your listening pleasure…



Posted on February 6, 2019 .

Glass REVIEW

"What a twist!" I can't get through any M. Night Shyamalan movie without hearing that infamous quote from Robot Chicken in my mind, which is a spoof on his storytelling style (I think its a meme now). I had the opportunity to watch an advanced screening of Glass and can safely say that the quote continues to apply, but perhaps for different reasons.

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Let me preface by saying I missed the first 10 minutes of the film because I was unfortunately off doing "doctor things". You see, that is my alter ego when I am not busy geeking out about music and movie related things on the Internet. But seriously, shout out to the girl running the screening who gave up her seat so I could sit next to my wife despite being late.

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I remember when Shyamalan's Unbreakable, the first film in the trilogy, was released in 2000. I was stoked to watch a superhero origin film told from a different perspective. I admit I was a little weirded out Shyamalan decided to cast Bruce Willis as lead in yet another one of his feature films after his blockbuster thriller The Sixth Sense (I just couldn't picture Willis playing a superhero and was dreading the thought of seeing him in spandex). Willis plays boring security guard, David Dunn, who slowly pieces together he is not like other people after being sole survivor of a train accident. He gets help recognizing his superhero potential from comic book nerd, Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson). Price turns out to be the antagonist as well as the reason behind Dunn's brush initial brush with death. "What a twist!" The acting and storyline were great, and what I think made things more believable was the absence of CGI or silly superpowers like flying or talking to fish.

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Fast-forward through many Shyamalan flops (except Signs of course) to 2016, which saw the arrival of the random psychological thriller, Split. He introduces us to Kevin Wendall Crumb and his 20+ distinct personalities that come along with him. Crumb (played by James McAvoy) suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID), otherwise known as multiple personality disorder, and every time a personality "steps into the light", they take over Crumb. The personalities all appear to serve and worship a god-like personality they call "The Beast".  Although it may be somewhat hilarious to watch McAvoy step into character for some of his personalities, my favorite is 9-year-old Hedwig who loves hip-hop; the film still carries some serious undertones. For example, Crumb and the protagonist, Casey (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), both have traumatic histories of child abuse, which may be why they possess a deeper connection.  It seemed like Shyamalan got his groove back with this one. The end of the film is where we figure out that Unbreakable takes place in the same universe as Split when we catch a glimpse of Bruce Willis as David Dunn in a diner. "What a twist!"

Now for the scoop about Glass: it was bit of a let down. Before its release, I was pretty excited for this film given my thorough enjoyment of the previous installments. We get introduced to each character's superhero/villain persona rather quickly. Dunn is now "the Overseer". Crumb and his many personalities are collectively referred to as "the Horde". Price is the title character, "Mr. Glass" (named so because of his Osteogenesis imperfecta ). The opening scenes have vigilante Dunn pursuing Crumb who has once again managed to capture another group of young girls. Dunn has now teamed up with his son Joseph (played once again by Spencer Treat Clark) who it seems spends more of his time serving as his sidekick instead of actually attending high school. Both Dunn and Crumb face off early and find themselves evenly matched. The also find themselves captured by psychiatrist, Dr. Ellie Staple (played by newcomer Sarah Paulson), who puts them both in a psychiatric hospital. This is where the movie gets boring and we find ourselves watching over an hour of mainly dialogue taking place in a mental institution as Dr. Staple repeatedly tries to convince them they do not have superpowers. It all leads to the inevitable teaming up of Price and Crumb, which was a bit awkward. I am not going to spoil the eventual outcome of their collaboration or how Shyamalan eventually pulls a fast one on the audience. Unfortunately, I would have to say the biggest twist of this film in the end was that it was a bad movie.

Posted on January 17, 2019 and filed under Movie Reviews.

Eating at Bobby’s Burger Palace!!!

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After getting off the plane in Las Vegas to celebrate my lifelong friend, Erik’s, 40th birthday, I was feeling hangry. I wanted something with substance. I wanted a burger.  A quick check on Yelp led me to Bobby’s Burger Palace. The Bobby referenced is Bobby Flay so it better be good.   

While looking at the menu, the Green Chili Cheeseburger caught my eye. I’m a sucker for green chili’s. It consists of a cooked to order, all beef patty on a house made bun with white queso, green chili’s and pickled red onions. I couldn’t decide on what side to get and should’t you know it, the have something called the undecided. You get to choose 2 of there sides which are fresh cut fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings. I opted for the onion rings and fries.  

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Lets talk about the star of the show, the burger. I quite enjoyed it. The beef was cooked to a perfect medium and the bun, while thin and squished looking, was the perfect density to hold the burger together. The queso was great and the picked red onions gave it a nice texture and some acid to cut through the rich beef and queso. To be honest, the green chili’s got lost in the mix. They just didn’t pack the flavor I am use to. Not bad by any means, just overly muted. 

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The fries and onion rings were on point. Fresh cut fries can be hard to do and these guys nailed it. Very crispy and well seasoned. My only complaint about the onion rings, is how they are cut. While the thick cut rings look great, they are damn hard to eat! It’s ok, I’ll live. They were delicious! The subtle sweetness of the onion with the buttermilk batter are flavors made for each other.  

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All in all, this was the meal this tired traveler needed. Would I eat here again? You bet! Would I recommend it to others? Affirmative. 

If you happen to see a Bobby’s Burger Palace on your travels, stop on in. Tell them Doug sent ya. They don’t know who I am so it will be really awkward.

Posted on January 17, 2019 and filed under Reservoir Trips.

Young Justice Will Return in OUTSIDERS

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Today subscribers to the DC Universe video and comicbook app will get new episodes of Young Justice for the first time in six years. The cult hit was cancelled after a shortened 2nd season aired it’s finale episode in March of 2013 with Cartoon Network citing poor sales of the toy line based on the show as the primary reason.

Having seen other shows resurrected by exuberant fanbases Young Justice’s fans never gave up rallying behind the show,  forming Facebook groups dedicated solely to the show’s return, Twitter Campaigns, and organizing mass rewatchings of the show on Netflix in lieu of showing in the traditional ratings.

Their efforts were rewarded with the announcement in late 2016 that the show would return, though it wasn’t until early 2018 that its new home was revealed to be the brand new DC Universe App.

The fan-led #RenewYoungJustice campaign had given Warner Brothers concrete evidence of the show’s following and shown strong enough for it’s third season “Young Justice: Outsiders” to anchor the new app.

Subscribers to the DCU app have already been rewarded with exclusive Young Justice content before the show’s return by way of Season 1 & 2 episodes enhanced with added commentary from cast, creators, and fans plus a new comic to bridge the gap between seasons. 

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With the second part of the comic releasing today in advance of the show’s new season becoming available tomorrow, fans are primed and ready for the six year wait to come to an end.

As a middleground between Netflix spoiling us with full season drops and the week-by-week release of DC Universe’s only previously released original show “Titans”, Young Justice’s 13 episode “Outsiders” season looks to be dropping in four blocks with episodes 1-3 tomorrow January 4th, episodes 4-6 January 11th, episodes 7-9 January 18th, and a supersized finale of episodes 10-13 on January 25th. I for one will be waiting up at midnight for the first installment.

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Posted on January 4, 2019 .