The following contains spoilers for Young Justice: Phantoms, Episode 22, “Rescue and Search,” now streaming on HBO Max.
Many Young Justice fans wondered what Dick Grayson was up to following Superboy’s apparent death in Young Justice: Phantoms. Nightwing was briefly seen mourning with the old guard, realizing how much colleagues such as Beast Boy were struggling with their mental health. Kaldur even relinquished his mantle as Aquaman to work through his depression. However. little was revealed about how Nightwing was deaing with the loss.
Nightwing finally returned to action in the season’s last story arc after Dick realized that he had a responsibility after leading the first iteration of the team. However, while fans expected him to work with Oracle/Barbara Gordon to investigate Superboy’s death, Dick instead teamed up with Zatanna. In a surprising twist, the way the duo interacted together was pretty solid proof that she, not Barbara, is Dick’s true soulmate.
Dick and Barbara have been star-crossed lovers in many comics, video games, animated movies and other cartoons. However, their romance has been downplayed in Young Justice, with Zatanna getting more of Dick’s attention. Bruce Wayne brought Zatanna in as a teen and Dick — then still Robin — took to her. They shared a whirlwind romance that felt quite organic and she was the one who understood Dick more than any other character. Unfortunately, duty got in the way of their relationship.
Their chemistry resurfaced in Phantoms when Zatanna realized Superboy’s soul was alive. Zee, as he affectionately called her, approached Dick to help her find a detective to locate Conner. Gathering data required Dick to do some computer hacking, which also proved that he had moved past any feelings he may have had for Barbara. He admitted he could have used Oracle for the job, but said he knew the two of them had it covered. That seemed to be proof his romantic feelings were only for Zatanna.
The duo’s investigation led them to finding out Superman had a secret mission of his own involving time travel. They eventually got information from Rocket about her brief experience with a Phantom Zone portal on New Genesis, which had involved battling Lor-Zod and Tomar-Re’s tragic death. Zatanna was able to penetrate thick emotional layers in Rocket’s mind to find evidence that Conner was trapped in the Zone.
This reveal was a major bombshell, since it proved to the heroes what Young Justice fans were already aware of. It also proved how good Zatanna and Nightwing are as a team — and a couple. “Rescue and Search” proved that the two characters make each other better in and out of the field. Hopefully, they can rescue Conner and get a happy ending, because if they’ve learned one thing from Superboy going missing, it’s that life is short and they need to make the most of it.
New episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms debut every Thursday on HBO Max.
Young Justice: Phantoms’ Promethean Took a Page From Eternals