People often forget that Brian Michael Bendis is actually really good at writing young characters, especially compared to most writers. This first issue of Young Justice really proves that Bendis still hasn’t lost his touch with young characters that he first displayed in Ultimate Spider-Man. It’s enhanced even more by the incredible talents of Patrick Gleason who is a master storyteller and it really shows.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Superboy! Wonder Girl! Robin! Impulse! Amethyst! They’re all united in YOUNG JUSTICE #1, the debut issue of a brand-new series that also introduces new heroes Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex!
When the nightmare dimension known as Gemworld invades Metropolis, these teen heroes reunite to deal with the situation — but they’re shocked to discover the battle may be the key to the return of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy! This mix of fan favorites and new legacy heroes will be the center point for some of the biggest goings-on at DC! As if that weren’t enough, Bendis reunites with all-star artist Patrick Gleason (SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) to bring the new heroes of DC’s Wonder Comics to life!
Tell me about it!
No character in this issue feels like an older person trying to replicate a much younger person talking. Every character feels the age they’re meant to be in-universe and the banter between each of the characters comes fluidly and naturally. Bendis is often accused of having stilted dialogue that doesn’t feel natural and this issue has none of that.
The art by Patrick Gleason is fantastic. Every character looks unique and recognizable; it’s very clear who each character is. The fact it’s set in Metropolis is doubly confirmed in the first panel as the city is shown with Superman zipping around the sky. Each introduction to a character gets a full moment dedicated to them by Gleason showing them in a full body shot to show off each of their brilliant designs.
The number of characters in the book doesn’t feel crowded or overstuffed, as the issue smoothly transitions who the protagonist is in a natural way that leads from character to character as they each get introduced. No character feels unnecessary, however some don’t get the spotlight that the others get in this issue. The three characters with the biggest spotlight within the issue are Ginny Hex, Tim Drake (now going by just Robin again) and Bart Allen (now back as Impulse after the events of The Flash #50) who also help introduce in Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl), Teen Lantern and Conner Kent (Superboy). Unfortunately, these three take the backseat within the issue, however, that’s to be expected with an issue of a new series that has to reintroduce characters that basically haven’t been in continuity since 2011 as well as bring in new characters and Tim Drake.
The biggest question in this issue for me is the title “Seven Crises” and what they are. They’re described as Earth-changing events, however it’s hard to know which events are considered one of these crises.
There are the obvious ones of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. However, there are quite a few that could fill out the other three. Counting only the big, Earth-shattering ones, there’s also Flashpoint (which reset Earth but was just a highjacked Flash story) and there’s Dark Nights: Metal (originally titled Dark Crisis) which are the two big ones I could see counting, however, there’s still one slot and that can be taken by one of three or one we don’t know about.
There’s Identity Crisis and Heroes in Crisis (both have smaller hero-based stakes but shake the heroes themselves) and Convergence (which was very quickly retconned after it started since it was trying to say Crisis on Infinite Earths never happened but Geoff Johns’ Justice League showed that it still happened not long after that retcon was shown.)
There is also Multiversity which had multiversal stakes to the highs of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis but didn’t involve Earth-0. So that leaves us with what I think are the seven crises: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, Multiversity and Dark Nights: Metal. All of them fit the large stakes that the beginning of the issue mentions while also being basically still part of canon.