Warning: The following feature contains SPOILERS for Stargirl season 1, episode 7, “Shiv Part One.”
The latest episode of DC Universe’s Stargirl, “Shiv Part One,” dropped several hints as to the identity of Justin, a janitor at Blue Valley High School. The clues suggest that Justin is not only more than a mere sanitation engineer but that he may be one of DC Comics’ oldest heroes in disguise. Previously episodes of Stargirl showed that Justin had been watching Courtney Whitmore in the halls shortly after her assumption of the Stargirl mantle. More recently, Justin had also been seen spying on the other teens whom Courtney recruited to help her restart the Justice Society of America. Justin even went so far as to deliver a warning to the new Dr. Mid-Nite, Beth Chapel, whispering to her that “there are dragons in the water.”
The mentions of dragons were the first clue as to Justin’s true identity. Who would know more about the habits of dragons than a hero used to fighting them? A knight in shining armor, perhaps? One of the oldest heroes in DC Comics’ history was such a knight; Sir Justin of Camelot, aka The Shining Knight. Originally the youngest and poorest of the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Justin undertook a quest to prove himself by slaying the ogre Blunderbore. As he searched for the monster, Sir Justin happened upon the wizard Merlin, who had been trapped by the workings of a rival witch. In gratitude for the young knight’s assistance, Merlin enchanted Sir Justin’s armor and sword and gave his horse, Victory, wings that enabled it to fly.
Despite the power granted to them by Merlin’s magic, Sir Justin and Winged Victory were unable to protect themselves from the avalanche that was triggered when they finally slew Blunderbore atop an icy mountain. Like Captain America, the two were cryogenically frozen until the 1940s, where they were discovered during an archaeological expedition and revived. Learning of the evils posed by the Axis Powers, Sir Justin vowed to defend the strange new world in which he had awoken and joined other costumed heroes of the era, including the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey, to form the Seven Soldiers of Victory. He later disappeared shortly after an adventure that scattered the Seven Soldiers across time and space and it was assumed that he had returned home to Camelot. In truth, he had remained in modern times and tasked himself with tracking down the Dragon King, the villain responsible for killing the heroine Firebrand, who had been Sir Justin’s sweetheart during World War II.
A major subplot of the Stars and STRIPE comics which introduced Courtney Whitmore centered around a janitor named Justin, who was eventually revealed to be an amnesiac Shining Knight. Fans of the comics guessed at the connection when Justin first appeared in Stargirl. However, showrunner Geoff Johns refused to confirm or deny Justin the Janitor’s identity, but teased that he would have a major role to play in the show. “Shiv Part One” seems to confirm that Justin is indeed Shining Knight. A brief scene in his closet shows that Justin has several horse toys and a medieval goblet on one table, along with a horse calendar, which he looks at longingly. He also has a medieval longsword with a cross worked into the pommel tucked away among his brooms and mops.
The most damning evidence comes near the end of the episode, however, when Justin intervenes in the battle between Shiv and Stargirl and saves Courtney Whitmore from an untimely death. He also identifies Pat Dugan as Stripsey, when Courtney’s stepfather discovers her wounded and near death. There may be other explanations why Justin recognizes Pat Dugan, carries a sword, and uses medieval terms such as “milady.” It seems most likely, however, that Justin the Janitor truly is the Shining Knight.