"Independence Day"
Young Justice episode
Promotional image from the episode.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Jay Oliva
Written by Greg Weisman
Production code 101
Original air date November 26, 2010
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
List of Young Justice episodes

"Independence Day" is the first episode of the animated television series Young Justice, which first aired on November 26, 2010 alongside the episode "Fireworks" as part of an hour-long special. The episode features Young Justice team members Robin, Aqualad, Superboy, and Kid Flash, while Miss Martian and Artemis joined later in the series. References to the cartoons Super Friends and Teen Titans appear in the episode. "Independence Day" won an Emmy Award for Individual Achievement in Animation.[1]


A peaceful day at Gotham City Park is interrupted by Mr. Freeze, who begins freezing civilians. He is stopped by Batman and Robin, the latter of whom was in a hurry. At Star City, Icicle Jr. is wreaking havoc on a suspension bridge only to be knocked out by Green Arrow and Speedy, who dismisses the villain because "today's the day". Meanwhile, Pearl Harbor is under attack by Killer Frost, who is also defeated Aquaman and Aqualad. Aquaman ask if Aqualad he is excited, to which he says yes because "today's the day". At Central City, The Flash and Kid Flash stop a robbery by Captain Cold. Flash tries to calm his nephew, who's excited because "today's the day". At Washington, the heroes arrive at the Hall of Justice, on the day the sidekicks finally are fully inducted into the Justice League and granted complete access to the Hall. Martian Manhunter and [[W:C:DC:Red Tornado| pull the mentors aside to debrief them on today's events, but Speedy is furious, claiming he and the other sidekicks are still not fully inducted into the Justice League or their real headquarters. He explains to the other sidekicks that the hall of justice is a front for the league's real headquarters, the Watchtower. He throws his hat on the ground and leaves. Superman contacts the mentors about a fire at Project Cadmus, and Zatara subsequently contacts the League to help stop Wotan from blotting out the sun. The mentors decide to let the fire department handle the fire and leave to stop Wotan. The sidekicks are ordered to stay put, but are disappointed that their mentors didn't trust them with the Watchtower. Robin suggests they investigate Project Cadmus and solve the case before the League does. They all agree and the trio sets off.

The trio arrives at Project Cadmus. Robin and Kid Flash rush into the building while Aqualad uses his powers to save two scientists and make it inside. Once they're inside, Aqualad spots a horned figure behind the closing doors of the nearby elevator. Kid Flash asks why the elevators aren't locked down, and Robin discovers the elevator is a high speed express elevator that leads to many floors below the surface. Robin uses a grappling hook to lower him and the others down the elevator shaft. When they reach the end of the rope, they are forced to get off at Sub-Level 26. There, they spot creatures known as G-Trolls marching through the halls. They continue through Cadmus and discover that G-Sprites are being used to power Cadmus which explains why they aren't on the electrical grid. Robin discovers that the creatures are called genomorphs. The trio then run into Guardian, chief of security at Cadmus. Guardian begins to question them when his G-Gnome mind controls him into sending a squad of G-Elves after them. Robin throws gas pellets on the ground to give him and the others time to escape. Robin hacks the elevator system and the trio escape in the elevator, which takes them to the center of Cadmus. They run into Dubbilex, but manage to escape him and find Cadmus' secret weapon, Project Kr, a teenage clone of Superman. They decide to release him, but G-Gnome uses its telepathy to make him knock them out. Dr. Mark Desmond walks in and congratulates him.

Afterwards, Desmond contacts the Cadmus board of directors to ask what to do with the sidekicks. They order him to clone them and kill the originals. Meanwhile, the sidekicks are awoken by a disembodied voice to find themselves strapped in pods and the clone in a trance. The clone suddenly regains consciousness from the G-Gnomes' mind control. He explains that he is Superboy, a clone of Superman, created to either replace him if he were killed, or to kill him if he went rouge. Upon hearing this, they offer him a chance of freedom from Cadmus and to meet Superman himself. Before he could make his decision, he is mind controlled again into going back into his pod while the heroes are subjected to the painful cloning process. Superboy overhears Aqualad telling him that he has the right to make his own choices and asks him: "What would Superman do?". Superboy decides to rescue them. As they make their escape, Dubbilex reveals that he started the fire to attract the heroes and free him and the other genomorphs as well. After the G-gnomes free Guardian of their telepathy, Desmond arrives to stop the heroes, drinking a serum known as project: Blockbuster, turning him into a powerful beast. After he knocks out Guardian, the ensuring fight between blockbuster and the young heroes reaches the surface, where they finally defeat him by causing the entire building to collapse on top of him.

The Justice League then arrives and meet Superboy. Superman feels uneasy around his clone, much to Superboy's disappointment, but assures him that the League will help him as they leave to bring blockbuster to Belle Reve. The Mentors express disappointment in the young heroes, firmly stating that they will not disobey them again. They respond by asserting that they have done was something important and convince the league to let them form a team. Three days later, Batman decides to have them work as a Covert Ops. team with Mount Justice as their headquarters. Batman will assigned them on missions, Red Tornado would be their supervisor, and Black Canary would train them. Miss Martian, Martian Manhunter's niece, also joins them. Meanwhile, as Guardian is appointed the new head of Project Cadmus, the Cadmus board of directors, known as The Light, contemplates on the heroes destroying Cadmus and freeing Superboy.


Young Justice is not based on the comic book series of the same name created by Todd Dezago and Todd Nauck,[2] and differs from it in some key ways. Wally West is featured as Kid Flash, rather than Bart Allen as Impulse. Dick Grayson, not Tim Drake, is also featured as Robin. The series features new versions of Aqualad and Superboy.[3] The episode was the start of a new "young universe", in which Superman has only been around for about 10 years, the Justice League has existed for only 3–4 years, and Robin has been a sidekick the longest of the Young Justice team members. Executive producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti said that their aim was to keep the show "young" "fresh", "contemporary", and "from scratch" from the first episode.[4] Like other shows, the first episode does not show the character's origin story, which Brett Singer of A.V. Club said was alright except in cases that involve updated versions of characters.[5]


Matt of Comics Online said that the episode "easily lives up to the high expectations and standards that we would hope to see with any DC animated project".[3] An IGN review gave the episode 7 out of 10 stars while complimenting the fights, visuals, and character interaction.[6] R. J. Carter of The Trades said that the episode "sets a lot up in terms of character relationships that will provide a ton of fodder to explore in the upcoming series".[7] A review on entertainment website ComicsAlliance, however, delivered a mixed verdict that highlighted large amounts of exposition and unoriginal characters as a drawback to the fledgling series, opining that "There was nothing in here that (isn't) done better elsewhere."[8]

For his work on the episode, character designer Phil Bourassa won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 2011.[citation needed]


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.