Young Justice: Aqualad’s Biggest Victory Revealed His Most Shocking Secret

The following contains spoilers for Young Justice: Phantoms Episode 17, "Leviathan Wakes," now available on HBO Max.

On Young Justice, Kaldur has been one of the most prominent faces and elite heroes. Since joining the team as the teenage Aqualad, he's proven quite adept at strategy, although some of his tactics in black-ops missions grew sketchier as time went on. Still, King Orin of Atlantis saw fit to make him Aquaman, passing on the mantle while Kaldur was promoted to one of the leaders of the Justice League.

It felt like years of hard work, mental acuity and a willingness to sacrifice himself for his teammates finally paid off. However, despite being a rock on the surface, Kaldur isn't as mentally strong as many would think. The bombshell came in the latest episode of Phantoms, which, while it granted him his biggest victory, also revealed a shocking secret.


Kaldur was begged by his boyfriend, Wyynde, to take time off and tend to his mind. He's been through a lot, losing teammates like Superboy, but also, having to deal with the past with his dad. He struggled to live down Black Manta's evil legacy, which took a toll when he went undercover with the villain and the Light, pretending to be a loyal son.

Even though he and Wyynde started their romance years later, Wyynde could tell Kaldur wasn't healed from all that trauma. Sure, the parents that raised him may be alive and well under the sea, helping Orin maintain peace across the kingdoms, but the fact Black Manta's blood sired him and ran through his veins left him second-guessing his decisions.

The levees finally broke in the post-credits scene, with Kaldur languishing in acrimony despite taking a vacation. When they got the crown of Arion back to Atlantis and this new king was revealed to be an impostor, Mera opted to take over. Orin didn't want the throne again, so she was voted in, which Kaldur knew would bring a true era of peace as everyone loved her. He kissed Wyynde, making it clear they needed to spend quality time together, continuing another LGBTQ arc along with La'gaan's marriage and Halo exploring more of her overall identity. But this stinger painted a tragic picture when Kaldur went to confession, crying with Black Canary on the Watchtower.

aqualad kisses wyynde in young justice

Kaldur wanted a break from the Aquaman duties because he feels responsible for the friends and loved ones he's lost over the years. Wally's death struck him hard because Kaldur thought he should have led them against the Light better in Season 2, but there's also the off-screen death of Jason Todd, as well as his fellow Atlantean, Tula, that silently wrecked him. Now, Superboy's perceived death on Mars has further damaged Kaldur, culminating in him admitting he can't return to duty.

Canary didn't get to reply, soaking in another arc of depression, surely rocked by this revelation that Kaldur regrets forming the team. He believes his hubris killed them all. Thankfully, Kaldur has no qualms addressing his fraying mental health, which is in stark contrast to Beast Boy, who's lashing out at loved ones and bottling his emotions after Superboy's death. Now, fans are eager to see what further methods Kaldur will use to heal and if he can become whole again for future duty, because ultimately, he's being unfair, blaming himself for losses beyond his control.

See how Kaldur recovers with new episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms debuting Thursdays on HBO Max.

Nightwing aplogizes to Aquaman in Young Justice: Phantoms.
Read Next
About The Author