DC Comics is trying something new. In the wake of their Rebirth initiative, the publisher has rapidly expanded its content to include diverse new imprints such as Young Animal, Wildstorm, Jinxworld, Wonder Comics, Black Label, Ink, and Zoom. As their lineup expands, it can be hard to figure out what to pick up each week. That’s what our team is here to help with, every Wednesday, with the DC Round-Up!
THIS WEEK: Pages 2-3 of Young Justice are a slice of pure comics goodness. And a guest appearance by the Zoo Crew never hurts!
Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Young Justice #7
Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: John Timms, Dan Hipp, & David Lafuente
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb & Dan Hipp
Letters: Wes Abbott
So, it’s a long story. It all started when Robin, Impulse, and Superboy showed up at the scene of a suspicious military convoy…but we don’t have time for all that. Just know that they formed a teenage superteam and started calling themselves Young Justice. And then they moved into a secret cave headquarters and got a bunch of new members such as Wonder Girl, and had lots of zany adventures together for years…aaannd now they’ve been banished from the alternate-dimension gemworld.
Why were they in the gemworld? Again, long story. Basically, someone messed with Robin’s head to make him forget about Young Justice altogether, or that Superboy even existed. But Zatanna helped him recall by doing her magic whammy on his memory (she has some history with this sort of thing) and then Robin briefly reunited with Wonder Girl and Impulse in Metropolis, where they were accidentally blasted into the gemworld.
Look, I warned you this was pretty involved. But it all ends well — they find Superboy and save gemworld and they cheer “Young Justice is back!” and the whole thing has a happy ending. I mean, until they get banished. There’s still that.
The thing is, none of these stories ever really end. Just when you think everything’s been wrapped up with a nice pretty bow and all’s been said and done: BAM! There’s another crisis or a hero comes back from the dead or a naked blue guy wanders into the universe and starts shuffling things around. It’s what we love about these things, honestly. There’s always more to be told. We never fully put the toys back in the toybox, we just set them aside for a minute. Young Justice was a comics creation of the late 90’s but that doesn’t mean they have to forever remain there. They’re just too much damn fun.
This time around there are a few new players. We’ve got Jinny Hex, the great-great-granddaughter of gunslinger Jonah Hex whom you might recognize from DC’s 1970’s tales of the Old West. Jinny is a fightin’, cussin’ chip off the old block and has a trunk full of mysterious artifacts she inherited before leaving Texas. She hasn’t really gotten a chance to shine so far in the first few issues, with all the reunions and banishings and whatnot, but her potty mouth and grounded attitude are a really nice addition to the team dynamic. Even less is known about “Teen Lantern”, a young girl from Bolivia who has apparently hacked into a Green Lantern power battery and is secretly siphoning off the energy into her own homemade ring. The comic isn’t very clear about whose power battery exactly she’s draining. Let’s hope for her sake it’s Jessica Cruz’s and not Guy Gardner’s.
And finally there’s Amethyst, the local princess who helped get them banished from gemworld. Being young and idealistic, she made the assumption that the politicians would want to help their people to live better lives, and the council quickly decided that she and her friends had to go. It’s been a pretty hectic first few issues. They got the band back together, folded in some new friends, tussled with a despot from a magical dimension, hugged a lot, and landed in a fresh pot of proverbial hot water. Now the team is bouncing throughout the multiverse trying to find a way home before something worse happens.
And you know what? It’s really fun! back in the day, Young Justice was a book that was beloved for good reason. It had a lighter tone and a faster pace than other team books, and didn’t take itself so seriously at a time when plenty of other books felt heavy. The dialogue specifically stood out as a strong point, with a kind of rolling banter that you’d find in a group of longtime friends who finish each other’s thoughts. This new series captures that original book’s tone quite well. The speedster Impulse will zip off mid-sentence to gin up some mischief and Superboy will offer the verbal equivalent of an eyeroll when things around them get too kooky. It feels like home and I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
Cranking the nostalgia factor up to eleven, the setting of this latest issue bounces between several alternate versions of Earth that longtime DC readers will recognize and welcome. Doctor Fate and the Justice League of Kingdom Come try to help the teens out, as do Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew. It’s a tragic shame that only two pages are devoted to Dan Hipp’s cute little Justice League of Earth-42! Surely we could have spent just a dozen or so quick issues there before moving on? But there’s probably something just as quirky and heartwarming right around the corner.
Anyway, it’s a long story. And it’s just as enjoyable as you remember it.
Detective Comics #1007
Story & Words: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Kyle Hotz
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Rob Leigh
With so many Batman-related titles, it’s not always easy or rewarding to keep close track of all the Dark Knight’s plot threads. The main action (and highest readership) is usually found in the Batman title proper, where DC tends to assign its hottest creative teams — we’re talking the Grant Morrisons and Scott Snyders of the comics world. At the moment Tom King is winding down an impressively long and decompressed run on that book, which I’ve been following with keen interest. After crossing the finish line on his “will-they, won’t-they” Bat/Cat epic, Tom will soon be succeeded by the highly anticipated take by DC’s next hot writer, TBD.
Detective Comics is the second most recognizable title in the Bat family. It’s a series that I’ve floated in and out of over the years, usually skimming it casually until a storyline catches my interest enough to dive in and then eventually jumping back out when my eyes start to glaze over again. With the landmark issue #1,000 earlier this year, my attention (and everyone else’s) tuned back in to see what the world’s greatest detective is up to these days. Huge milestone issues being what they are, it featured work from dozens of big name creators who have worked on the character in the past who contributed encapsulated one-off stories to celebrate the momentous occasion. But readers who stayed until the very end were able to catch a glimpse of Peter Tomasi’s new tenure on the series. He used those few pages to introduce a new villain to the book and it piqued my curiosity just enough to read on for a bit.
These past two issues of Detective have guest-starred Jim Corrigan and his heavenly counterpart The Spectre. It’s a completely self-contained story that pairs up Batman with the unlikely partner that is basically God’s wrath incarnate. The little twist that makes this one notable is that the Spectre has been somehow separated from detective Corrigan and enlists Batman to help find him. So you have a man dressed up as a bat teamed with the divine embodiment of God’s relentless justice. It’s a passably interesting premise.
What we get here is a unique fish out of water story. It’s rare to see Batman in a situation where he feels the need to be the voice of compassion and attempt to ratchet down the violence, but The Spectre is one bloodthirsty dude. Er, ghost? While Batman is no stranger to using intimidation and pain as his go-to methods of bringing criminals to justice, The Spectre takes it to a whole new level. In his holy eyes, anyone who dares to spill innocent blood deserves to have all blood forcibly removed from his body immediately, Old Testament style. The team-up seriously taxes Batman’s no killing rule and it’s genuinely entertaining to see him raise his eyebrows and give his version of “Whoa dude, calm it down a few notches.”
Beyond the basic premise, the story doesn’t deliver anything terribly memorable. Jim Corrigan’s origin story is retold once again for those who aren’t familiar. Batman relies on his gadgets more than any type of detective skills, typically in the form of a disembodied computer voice analyzing fragments of crime scenes and blatantly telling the duo where to go next. Though the emissary of God did repeatedly dunk a criminal’s head in a prison toilet to get some answers out of him, so I guess that counts as a detective skill. There were no real takeaways, no lasting repercussions. It didn’t redefine either character or contain hooks that a future team might build upon. Really, if you skipped these two issues you wouldn’t notice.
I actually found it difficult to follow some of the action sequences, as the art was unclear in places and I’m fairly certain there’s a confusing coloring error during the climactic battle. It didn’t help that there were eight characters dressed as the Spectre (plus the real deal) on-panel at the same time through half of the issue. The end result was a mad jumble of green hoods and white torsos all wrestling in a battle royale until only one was left standing. I assume it was the good one.
With this storyline completed, Tomasi will go on to work with excellent Doug Mahnke on a standalone Joker issue and then a three-part Deadshot arc. I’ll skim it, but I can already tell my attention is wearing kind of thin.
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