Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the highly anticipated Young Justice comic debut.
There were reveals of the team members, complete with redesigned costumes. There was the announcement that Brian Bendis would not only helm this book, but also be part of his Wonder Comics imprint. There was also the fact that Young Justice season 3 would be released several weeks before the book.
Now it’s finally here, and what do we think? The first issue is a mixed bag for certain, but there are far more good points than bad.
This is a book that can really allow Bendis to shine – his pitter-patter quick dialogue works well here, especially with beloved Flash family member Bart Allen. This book seems like a continuation of his work from Marvel’s tremendous Ultimate line, where youthful heroes can act impetuously and ferociously. He does a great job with other legacy characters, especially how Cassie (Wonder Girl) and Tim (Robin) react with each other.
Patrick Gleason takes on the yeoman’s work for art, covering pencils and inks. While I’m admittedly partial to Gleason’s work when inked by Mick Gray (they have this wonderful symbiotic relationship that brings out the best of each other), Gleason’s work is fantastic here. His Robin costume is hands-down one of the best the character has ever seen, with fun small details and a simplified design. Alejandro Sanchez does an admirable job with color art, allowing the Gemworld villains to pop off the page with otherworldly powers. He works with such a fun palate, bright and vibrant.
What’s a bit much is the way (almost) all the protagonists are coincidentally in the right place. This is a bit cartoony, having all the escalation explode onto the scene and introduce all the characters all at once. It feels forced here, bereft of an organic development that allows the characters to fall together in a tempered fashion.
I’m also a bit put off by the new characters introduced in this book. I want to like Ginny Hex – the distant relative of DC’s Western legend Jonah Hex? YES – but she comes off as overly abrasive to the point of being obnoxious. It’s jarring when likable characters that have long histories surround her. Teen Lantern, who is just shoved into the book midway through, also feels a bit rushed. I anticipate getting some background on the character, but for now her intro has all the subtlety of an exploded ketchup packet.
However, seeing both Connor (Superboy) and Amethyst show up was worth the price of admission alone. Amethyst is an interesting character who only had a small return in the New 52, and could really be an asset to the book. And for crying out loud, who doesn’t love Connor Kent? Losing the Superboy we all came to love Pre-Flashpoint was a gut-punch, and having him return in the capable hands of star creators is almost too good to be true.
This is a fun first issue: the action is frenetic, the nostalgia is addictive, and by god Bart Allen is the greatest. This lays the groundwork for a really enjoyable run, and is clearly worth picking up.