Young Justice #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: DC Lettering
Publisher: DC Comics

A review by Cameron Kieffer

The first title from Brian Michael Bendis’ “Wonder Comics” imprint hits the shelves this week.  This series reunites the cast from the original YOUNG JUSTICE book from the ’90s.  Last seen together during Geoff John’s TEEN TITANS run in the early 2000s, the team is comprised of Robin (Tim Drake), Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), Impulse (Bart Allen), and Superboy (Conner Kent), along with new members Jinny Hex and Teen Lantern.

This first issue is a bit of a mixed bag. We ease into the proceedings from the point-of-view of newbie Jinny Hex, descendant of infamously scarred cowboy Jonah. The action really starts once the villains appear, followed by the arrival of our teen heroes. The POV shifts from character to character upon their introduction, which works fine with the smaller cast. However, the script by Brian Michael Bendis is a little all over the place. Bendis is adept at writing great dialogue, particularly with teen characters. His skills are on full display, particularly during an early scene between Robin and Wonder Girl. The villains sadly don’t fare quite as well – some speak in the classical villain vernacular (think Doctor Doom) while others are somewhat quippy (quippie?).

There’s also the lingering continuity issue, something that has plagued many books in the DC Rebirth line.  This series is presented as a re-start, with the characters appearing to ignore all of “The New 52” continuity and even much of “Rebirth.”  Tim Drake is no longer Red Robin and is referred to simply as “Robin,” while Bart is once again Impulse, with only a brief mention of his tenure as Kid Flash.  It seems this is intended to avoid confusing new readers with years of backlog, but long-time readers may be left scratching their heads.  Teen Lantern doesn’t get much to do either. Their brief appearance is amusing, despite only seeing a construct and not the actual character.

Art duties are handled by Patrick Gleason, with colors by Alejandro Sanchez, and they are a team to be reckoned with.  The action scenes are rendered with a kinetic energy that crackles on every page.  Gleason gets to display a full range of his talents, from each hero’s unique and dynamic pose to the sprawling splash pages late in the book.  He uses a lot of unique panel layouts during the fight scenes as well – it’s clear he’s having a blast drawing this, and every page is a joy to look at.  Sanchez does amazing work as well, effectively using different tones to differentiate each character.  Impulse’s bright outfit contrasts nicely against Robin’s shadowy visage or Jinny’s sepia tones.

The Verdict: Buy it!

Despite some inconsistencies in the script, there’s an intriguing story here, especially in the book’s closing pages.  The team dynamic is off to a great start between the intriguing noobs and the original team’s rich history, even without knowing how much of said history is still intact.  Those looking for a fun team book with great characters would do well to give this a shot.

Cameron Kieffer
Cameron Kieffer wears many hats. He is a freelance writer and artist, creator of the webcomic "Geek Theory" and is co-host of the Nerd Dump podcast. He lives in Topeka with his wife and increasingly growing comic book collection.

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