Here we have the primary leader of the Team and the first member of the Team suspected to be a traitor. How in the world could they ever be hooked up romantically? When you look at the facts these two have a lot more in common than most people realize. I’ll be going over their similarities both on and off the Team, family members and issues along with anything else I feel is worthy of note.
Going through some details from both seasons 1 and 2, Artemis and Kaldur may have more similarities with each other than they did with the ones that they loved and lost; Wally and Tula. *NOTE: I haven’t read the entire comic book series that goes along with the show, so there are only one or two bits from the comic book entries that I will use in my evaluation meaning most of my evidence will come from the TV series.*
Both of them have daddy issues; Aqualad’s biological father Black Manta was working as an agent of the Light. In Young Justice: Invasion, he replaced Ocean Master as one of the 7 core members at the Light’s table. Sportsmaster was also an agent of the Light under the title of the Light’s enforcer. In Young Justice: Invasion, instead of being “promoted” like Manta, HE was the one who was replaced by Deathstroke. Ironically enough, it was Aqualad and Artemis’ deception that caused this coup in the Light’s hierarchy considering the animosity between Sportsmaster and the Light (more specifically Black Manta) was due to Manta’s son “killing” his daughter without his permission.
Going even deeper into the psychological impact their fathers had on them; Manta and Sportsmaster wanted nothing more than to “mold” their children into what they wanted them to be. Black Manta was willing to do whatever it took even physical persuasion (beating the crap out of his son) to mold Kaldur into the sinister villain that he turned out to be. He even says in “Summit” that he would beat it into his skull if necessary. Sportsmaster (according to Artemis) made his daughters learn “the hard way” that disobedience would not be tolerated; hinting that he trained them to the extreme even as children to become a part of “the life” that their mother wanted them to avoid at all costs.
One of the most interesting pieces of evidence came in season 2; Black Manta thought that Tigress and his son were romantically involved or at least had strong feelings for each other.
This was mentioned when Tigress volunteered to go to the surface to abduct Miss M. to come and fix the damage she had done to Kaldur’s mind. Manta even goes on to say that he would send Deathstroke along just in case because he felt that his son would never forgive him if something happened to her. I can see how he would get the idea; these two were ALWAYS around each other. Kaldur had handpicked her as his trusted lieutenant and right-hand on missions. Tigress was by his side the entire time Miss M. was fixing his mind (she needed to be in order to help her with the process). Being his father, it is understandable why he feels he could pick up on this kind of thing. Of course it was all for good reason because these two were undercover and had to have each other’s back at all times in order for their mission to succeed but more importantly; for them to survive.
Another piece of evidence of their similar family issues was when the final showdown battling their fathers took place; After Artemis finally beat Sportsmaster (with help from some of the Apocalyptic weaponry) she was seen by Kid Flash to be staring deeply at her defeated father. It seemed like a look of guilt, pity and regret.
This was the same longing look that Kaldur had after he defeated his father in “Summit” except it was Nightwing who noticed him standing over his defeated father. Artemis seemed to perk up holding her father’s mask as a “souvenir” for the Trophy Room and smiling at Kid Flash. However in Kaldur’s case, after his friends told him that their mission was a success crippling the Light’s forces Kaldur finally accepted that this was a victory rather than a botched up assignment, he took one last look at his defeated father that made me think he was really feeling bad for beating him. Remember before these two even engaged in combat, he told Manta that he was conflicted because he had seen Manta’s noble side. There were many moments while working with his father that allowed Kaldur to see that he not only cared for him but he loved his son deeply. One of the biggest moments of deception that let Kaldur see this was when he faked his recovering being a result of seeing his father in danger. Black Manta even goes on to tell the Light that he felt truly blessed for his son to be made whole again. The thing that hurt Manta the most was that he trusted Kaldur with everything he had. It was a real shame because he was one of the few “loving” parents seen in this show. I mean he was one of the most emotionally challenged characters in Season 2, especially thinking that he son had died right in front of his eyes! Sportsmaster seemed to care more about his reputation as an enforcer than his daughters. His only hint of caring was helping his daughter keep her true identity contained by destroying Manta’s submarine security equipment.
True, it wasn’t the hugs and verbal compliments that Manta gave his son but Crusher isn’t exactly what most would call the “caring type.”
One could argue that the only reason Sportsmaster helped was because Artemis (as Tigress) and Kaldur were making “chumps” out of Manta and the Light; basically doing his dirty work for him. Another similarity boils down to Artemis and Kaldur’s knowledge of their bloodlines; Artemis knew about her father and sister still living as criminals while her mother was an ex-con but decided to keep it that information a secret from the rest of the Team. Batman, Robin (unknown to Artemis until Usual Suspects) and Green Arrow (and likely Black Canary) knew her true lineage and decided to pass her off as Green Arrow’s niece. In Kaldur’s case, he did not know that Black Manta was his biological father. From what he had been told, his father was one of Manta’s men who came to love a native of Atlantis and from that romance he was born. It wasn’t until later that he discovered that Aquaman had kept his true heritage a secret. We are never informed as to how and when he learned that Manta was his father but it was the perfect façade that would get him in on the Light’s side (along with the love of his life dying). Having him being angry at his mentor for keeping his true lineage a secret and his heart being broken from his love being taken away from him on one of the Team’s mission served as the PERFECT coverup as to why he decided to go rogue. This was never seen (maybe it will be in the video game), but I want to see Kaldur when he first approached his father and how he even convinced him to let him join his side. So, they both came from “bad blood” but were able to break the family chain by joining the side of justice rather than criminal activity.
Another thing to point out is that at some point during their stay on the Team they doubted their abilities, dedication or drive to stay on the Team.
For Aqualad, it was when he felt torn between being leader and going back to Atlantis to be with Tula.
For Artemis, it was constantly feeling like she was a traitor (especially due to Red Arrow’s accusations). At the end of “Insecurities” she was confronted by her father and that was when her final choice had to be made.
Alright, so now that we’ve gotten the family similarities taken care of; let’s discuss their interaction and thoughts about each other.
It is interesting to note that aside from being by his side and taking care of him during his catatonic state in Season 2, she was by his side in Season 1 “Bereft” due to Psimon’s mental powers he had the past 6 months erased from his memory.
Not to mention Miss M was too preoccupied thinking about Superboy to restore Aqualad’s memories so Artemis was there by his side.
Artemis saved Kaldur from the molten lava in Dr. Fate’s castle, but didn’t miss a beat in scolding Wally for flirting with Miss M despite being seconds away from falling to their deaths by the lava.
It was also interesting to think about when Artemis first joined the team she had an attraction to Superboy.
This kind of caused bad blood between her and Miss M (still not open with her feelings about Conner).
However, they eventually got over that little squabble and became like sisters.
Then in the next episode, it was kind of like they were trying to pair off with members of the team.
Artemis was trying to get Miss M to hook up with Aqualad only for her to comment that he was like a big brother to her. That is true since he kind of took a similar role that Robin did for Starfire in Teen Titans; he was teaching the alien about Earth customs.
He did the same for Superboy and in the process “knew that they were going to become a couple before they did.”
Miss M then mentions that Artemis and Wally would be the perfect couple because she is so full of passion and Wally is full of…it.
Of course in “Revelation” there was no way that I was going to pass up this moment;
Only for Aqualad to comment that they shall make their own “fun”
…by using Maneuver 7!! (I’ve always wondered what the first 6 were….)
At one point, Aqualad was suspicious of Artemis in fact being a traitor but as time went on he got over it.
He told Red Arrow, Red Tornado, Robin and Batman that fighting alongside his Team for so long that he didn’t think ANY of the members would betray them.
Of course with all of that being said, I don’t think that Artemis would have gotten together with Kaldur BEFORE dating Wally or in Season 2 while they were undercover together for weeks (possibly even months).
Now, I can’t say that they possibly won’t start dating after the events of the finale with Wally’s passing and Artemis’ hanging up her quiver to begin crime fighting as Tigress in order to give herself space between her life as Wally’s partner.
If there are any other moments in the series/comics that you feel are worthy of note, please feel free to mention them in the comment section below.
Also, your thoughts on this subject are welcome because I’d like to know how you feel about these two if they did start dating.