Young Justice #4 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Patrick Gleason, John Timms, Artists; Alejandro Sanchez, Alex Sinclair, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Still Good But Pacing Is Slowing
Ray: Four issues in, Young Justice is starting to feel like the longest, most-leisurely high school reunion, and it’s a testament to Bendis’ writing and the enduring interest in the characters that it remains a compelling book despite a pace that seems to slow down by the issue. As the “Core Four” has been reintroduced, the story drops big plot developments for them and then pushes them to the background for the next few issues as other twists and turns happen. The twists and turns don’t get much bigger than last issue’s reveal that Superboy is now a married father (we think?). But Conner and Bart only appear in a few pages this issue, as Bart badgers Conner into more details (which he’s not forthcoming with) and Conner is more focused on protecting his family from the forces of Gemworld. The scene where he introduces the powerhouse soldiers of Dark Opal to his signature power is one of the best of the issue, but attempting to split the narrative between so many characters has left a lot of them scrapping for page time.
The page time issue is even more pronounced when you consider that every issue has an extended flashback segment establishing one of the characters, but those segments have consistently been among the best. This issue the focus shifts to Amethyst, as John Timms illustrates her story and introduces us to the struggles of an American teenager trying to adjust to being a mystic guardian of a warring kingdom of gem warriors. Bendis infuses this segment with elements of Game of Thrones, She-Ra, and other fantasy epics but never lets us forget that Amy is a fish-out-of-water who doesn’t quite fit in among the other warriors. She’s even on the verge of being exiled if it wasn’t for the support of one royal. The segment does a good job of getting us invested in her story – which is good, because she’s a much more significant part of this title than a lot of the headliners are. The things that work in this title really work, but I think everyone’s looking forward to seeing the core four get more attention.
Corrina: I’ve enjoyed the beginning of this book but it’s this issue in which the narrative finally starts to show serious signs of Bendis’ signature decompressed style. That style draws out plot reveals well past the time when they should happen. I understand cliffhangers can be effective, but, so far, in four issues, this comic has raised far more questions than it has answered.
That’s a pacing problem.
The first example of delaying plot revelations that should happen naturally is Conner’s marriage and fatherhood,. There are no new details about it this issue and likely won’t be next issue either even though there’s the space for it. Instead, all we have is Impulse badgering Conner. There’s also the mystery of the new Green Lantern, the situation in Gemworld, and clearing up the mess of how these characters exist again in the first place.
I’m not the biggest fan of continuity but if you have a series that relies on the appeal of beloved characters that have been sidelined for a long time, I’m going to want some story answers as a reader.
At this rate, it will be ten issues before the situation in Gemworld is resolved and we even begin to answer any questions. (I hope I’m wrong about the ten issues.)
Right now, though, Young Justice is getting by on charm, reader love of the characters, the fantastic art of Gleason, and taunting us with questions it refuses to answers. That won’t be enough soon.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.