Spoilers: Mention of events up to Teen Titans #16, full run of Young Justice
Personal Website: Gildy Clobber
It's established right from the first issue of Young Justice that it takes all three of the founding members to create one normal person. (Bearing in mind that 'normal' is a very flexible term, especially for characters in the DC Comics universe.)
Red Tornado gives only a very brief overview of the characters, so I'm going to go into a bit more detail for a moment.
Bart Allen, aka Kid Flash, previously Impulse
Bart was born in the 30th century with a hyper-accelerated metabolism that meant, by the time he was two, he looked twelve. He was raised in a VR environment to keep pace with his development, with the result that he never interacted with human beings or learned the concepts of, among other things, 'danger' and 'death'. To save him from an unscrupulous government, his family sent Bart and his grandmother, Iris, back to the late 20th century, to be trained by Iris' nephew, Wally West, the third and current Flash. (Just nod and smile about the time stuff. It's too complicated to explain in more detail.) In the process, Bart aged to the point where he appears fifteen.
In the past year, Bart has had his knee shot off; endured several hours of an excruciating operation without anaesthetic, read the entire San Francisco Public Library and changed his codename to Kid Flash.
Bart can move at speeds approaching that of light. He's also able to vibrate at a frequency that lets him pass through solid objects. (La, la, don't look at the science.) He can also just vibrate generally, which is one of those superpowers that's pretty much designed for porn.
Personality-wise, Bart is still a toddler in a lot of ways. He speaks and acts without thinking, he rushes in where even the most angelic angel would fear to tread, he has a terrifying amount of theoretical knowledge and he's totally, mindblowingly adorable.
Kon-El, aka Superboy, aka Conner Kent
Back when Superman was dead (he got better), Cadmus Labs attempted to clone a replacement. Unable to replicate pure Kryptonian DNA, they grafted it on to a human donor - Lex Luthor. (That's right, Smallville fen. Lex and Clark have a son!) Because he isn't pure Kryptonian, when Kon was decanted, physically fifteen or so, he didn't have Superman's powers.
Instead, he had a form of tactile telekinesis, which allowed him to fly, have super-strength and be close to invulnerable while he was conscious. He's also able to use his aura to manipulate objects. It's yet another porn-tastic superpower. He's now beginning to grow into his full Kryptonian powers, having developed heat-vision, x-ray vision, strength and super-hearing.
Kon spent the first couple of years of his life bouncing around Hawaii, Cadmus Labs and Metropolis with no identity other than 'Superboy'. It's only recently that Superman moved him to Smallville to live with Martha and Jonathan Kent, complete with a secret identity as Conner Kent, Clark's cousin.
Kon has never had to deal with permanent adult supervision before, let alone going to high school, and he's definitely getting frustrated with the whole thing. It isn't helped by his discovery of just who his human donor is. Originally cocky, somewhat dorky and full of delight at being a superhero, he's now much more withdrawn and moody.
Tim Drake, aka Robin
Tim is a normal human, although his sheer, astounding competence seems to approach metahuman levels on occasion. He's the third Robin, having stalked his way into the position by fanboying Dick Grayson, the first Robin. (It's one of the life lessons of the DC Universe - fannish obsessiveness will get you everywhere. It applies to the writers as much as the characters.)
It's only in comparison to Bart and Kon that Tim could be considered to have had a normal boyhood. His family was ridiculously wealthy and his parents frequently absent, leaving Tim with an abnormal amount of independence. He was nine when he deduced the identities of Batman and Robin and thirteen when he became Robin himself. He managed to keep that secret from his father for more than three years.
Tim is reserved, obsessive and nearly as scary as Batman himself.
The OT3 and Me
My journey into comics fandom started off in Smallville and followed Michael Rosenbaum into the animated Justice League. From there, I followed Flash into comics and discovered that toon!Flash had very little to do with comics!Flash. However, there was this character called Impulse... I read all eighty-nine issues of Impulse in one night, all fifty-five issues of Young Justice in another night and then the current version of Teen Titans.
That's who they are - why ship them?
It's actually hard to come up with reasons. For me, they're the ultimate One True Threesome, in that I find it hard to envisage any two of them actually working as a relationship without the third. For as long as I've known them (and been able to get over my squick of reading/writing about characters so young) I've seen them as an indivisible threesome.
It all comes back to the Freudian theory right at the beginning, even if Red Tornado was speaking about it from a crime-fighting point of view. Each of them is absolutely essential, contributing something unique. If any one is removed from the mix, what's left is unbalanced.
Still, most people manage to get through life while being fairly unbalanced, so why are these three different?
To quote zeelee_penguin: "They find a reprieve from their lives in their friendship, and when you're a superhero? That's one of the most important things possible."
When you're juggling a superhero identity and a secret identity, it must be very difficult to relax. You're constantly monitoring what's coming out your mouth in case you give the game away.
To have two friends who know your codename and your civilian name; who you can be totally honest with; who have saved your life on pretty much every job you've been on - that's special.
Bart, Kon and Tim have been together throughout Young Justice and for some time before that. They need each other - just look at their reasons for joining Teen Titans, the successor team to Young Justice.
Kon: "A good day? At Smallville High? For Conner Kent? I wish. You know what? School sucks. I'm taking the day off - again."
Superman: "Is that 'S' for Superboy - or skipping class?"
Kon: "Uh, how about sanity, Superman? Because how you didn't lose yours growing up in this cow town, I'll never know. There's nothing to do in Smallville. No one cool to hang with."
Tim: "I haven't talked about it for one reason. I don't want to. [...] I'm guessing you think it's a good idea. You think I need more training? Need to be mentored some more?"
Batman: "No, Robin. I just think you need to see your friends."
Bart: "I need these weekends. We all do. Goin' to school, pretending we aren't what we are. Watching the clock tick and tick and tick."
Kon: "None of us came to this Tower because our mentors told us to. We came here because we're friends, right?"
And that's essentially what it boils down to - friendship.
Getting into comics fandom involved a radical mindshift for me. I've always needed to know canon inside-out and back-to-front before writing in a fandom. With more than sixty years of accumulated canon in the DC Universe, that's simply not possible. Instead, it's a case of reading the important storylines and reading about the others.
With the growth of filesharing over the internet, it's become possible to read back issues that, at one time, would have been pretty much unobtainable. The best places to look are Zcult and Suprnova, both of which use Bittorrents. There are also trade paperbacks available of some of the storylines, which can often be picked up from regular bookstores. And then, of course, there is the comics shop itself. Most comics shop employees are fans and happy to help newcomers find what they're looking for.
So, which storylines to look for?
JLA/World Without Grownups: The first real team-up of Bart, Kon and Tim, when all the adults get zapped to another world.
Young Justice: Sins of Youth: Age-swapping high jinks, with pretty much every character in the DCU. One of those stories that earned DC the sobriquet 'Delicious Crack'.
Teen Titans: A Kid's Game: The first seven issues of Teen Titans. This is a really good place to start picking up on current continuity.
And then there's the fanfiction... Although DC Comics is a fairly small fandom, it inspires an awful lot of porn. Most of these stories are towards the NC-17 end of the rating scale.
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