Young Justice: Phantoms comes to a close but introduces several plot threads that could be picked up in a potential Season 5 on HBO Max.
The following contains spoilers for Young Justice: Phantoms’ finale, “Death and Rebirth,” now streaming on HBO Max.
The finale of Young Justice: Phantoms saw a number of plot threads come to a close. Lor-Zod’s time-traveling machinations were foiled by the efforts of the Team; the Legion of Super-Heroes were able to return to their future with the timeline mostly intact; and, after so many delays, Conner Kent and M’Gann M’orzz finally got married. However, series co-creator Greg Weisman is adamant in his assertion that the series, like life, has no ending, meaning that while the heroes of Earth-16 have their well-earned reprieve, there are still threats on Earth and in the far reaches of space that they’ll need to confront sometime soon.
The first is General Dru-Zod and his cult of Kryptonian followers, who are still imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. While they represent a tremendous danger to the galaxy if freed, Aquaman points out that it would be inhumane to leave them locked away long after their original prison sentences have expired. Superman suggests releasing them on Trombus, an uninhabited world orbiting a red sun that will keep them from using their powers. However, it’s soon revealed that the Light has already invaded the Phantom Zone and put the remaining Kryptonians in stasis aboard Warworld, the planet-sized weapon that serves as Vandal Savage’s home base.
Only two of the Kryptonian prisoners were spared capture by the Light. The first is the General’s wife, Ursa-Zod, who previously escaped the Zone with her husband and gained the loyalty of the Emerald Eye of Ekron, making her the new iteration of the classic DC villain the Emerald Empress. “Death and Rebirth” sees Ursa and the Eye flee Earth, with Ursa knowing she’s pregnant with Lor and swearing to raise him to wreak vengeance for the House of Zod. She is last seen arriving on Daxam, a planet whose people have similar powers to Kryptonians and who, in the 31st Century, were loyal followers of Zod in his campaign of galactic dominance.
The other Kryptonian to avoid capture was handed off to Darkseid by the Light as tribute. In a “Death and Rebirth” post-credits scene, it’s revealed that it’s none other than Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, who stands alongside Black Mary, aka the former superhero Sergeant Marvel, as the first in a new generation of Female Furies, fighting for the planet Apokolips.
However, not all the news is foreboding. At Conner and M’Gann’s wedding, Black Canary opines to the Justice League that they need to do more to address mental health issues in the superhero community, citing Beast Boy’s struggle with depression as a prime example. She suggests building a place where heroes can take a break from saving the day to receive necessary treatment, referring to the proposed site as a “Sanctuary.” This seems to be setting up Young Justice‘s version of Heroes in Crisis, a 2018 miniseries that revolved around such a Sanctuary. While the original story was met with a mixed reception — particularly its ending — Young Justice has already proved that it can tell strong stories about mental illness rooted in genuine character drama.
Whatever the future holds, a fifth season of Young Justice has still not been officially commissioned, and Weisman has stated the best way to keep the series going is to keep binging the show. However, given the dedication and love that fans have shown for this series, we may not have seen the last of Earth-16.
Young Justice: Phantoms is available to stream on HBO Max.