Last time we caught up with the Young Justice crew Teen Lantern’s origin was revealed. In between her story the team was still trapped on Earth-3, battling evil versions of themselves. They also finally found a complete multiverse map thanks to Batwoman! Will they finally get home this issue or will they be foiled by their evil selves?
Much like last issue, a good deal of this one is dedicated to a character’s backstory. This time we get to learn the origins of Jinny Hex and, before you ask: yes, we do get to see inside that mysterious box she’s been dragging around for ten issues now. Its reveal is something I cheered for, since I’ve been dying to know what’s inside.
Jinny’s origin is very much a series of reasons for her to set off for somewhere else, and less the traditional call to greatness we see in many superhero origins. She doesn’t come from much; it’s just her and her mom in a small town that seems plagued with issues both personal and in general. The problems pile up right from the start: her mom has a strange request, she finds her girlfriend cheating on her, and then she walks right into a robbery! It’s one thing after another, all building to show readers exactly why she left. It’s a day in the life that not only gives and origin story, but shows core facts about her: she has a strong bond with her mom, she cares deeply for people, she’s brave, and she’s highly competent.
What I liked best about the inclusion of her backstory in this issue is that it was tied into the current plot. Hex (aka evil Jinny) has been gunning for the box the whole time they’ve been on this Earth, stating that Jinny has no idea what she’s got while pointing out how powerful the contents are. And she’s right! The box is filled to the brim with things Jonah Hex collected during his adventures, with little answers as to what they are or do. Still, it’s this stuff that helps turn the tide of the fight, and move things towards their conclusion.
The portions of the story focused on the team fighting their evil counterparts weren’t my favorite. There are a lot of characters, there’s a lot of action, and a lot of chaos. It’s been that way for three issues now and it feels repetitive at this point. I do think it was a really smart move to place Jinny’s backstory between these portions. The two have distinctly different tones, in both art and story. Jinny’s is quieter, and while a lot happens in her backstory, the action is contained to smaller groups. Earth-3 is the opposite, each page is filled with characters and movement, yet the story is pushed forward slowly with little happening until the end.
Having two different artists on the book helps with this too. Nick Derington’s style fits well with the small town feel of Jinny’s back story. His art feels very open, bright, and carry a quiet tone. His panels are also usually broken up into clean boxes, with little overlay from other things. These two aspects make a really nice contrast to the constant night and battle in Earth-3.
Jinny’s backstory and the contents of her trunk aren’t the only reveal this time. A few issues ago Impulse told Tim he should change his name, and now he has! No longer Robin, Tim Drake is now Drake, complete with a new uniform. After seeing quite a few teases for the uniform online, it’s nice to see it in action in this issue. John Timms does a good job of showing it off during the fight from various angles that help us get a good view of Tim moving in it. I personally think it could do without the red accents, which feel random, but overall it’s a good design. I’ll miss the dramatics of him having a cape, but its good to see Tim move into something new. His name, however, I’m not the biggest fan of, as it just seems odd to use his last name as his code name, but I’m sure opinions on it will differ for each fan.
I have a few problems with the execution of the reveal. Beyond Impulse’s suggestion he change his name we have no other indication that Tim has actually decided to change everything before he shows up in his new uniform. I went back to the last issue to make sure I hadn’t missed something because it felt so sudden. Turns out I hadn’t missed anything: he only appears in the last two pages and is still very much in his Robin uniform. I know there is a lot going on, but if Bendis was planning this change from the start, it would have been easy to build in the foundation for it, showing us that Tim wanted to change his whole identity instead of doing it after one nudge from Impulse. I was also disappointed that no one commented on the change. With all the banter these teens do, you’d think at least one person would point out that Tim’s changed his look, especially since they’ve been split often during this arc. It’s possible Bendis will address this later, but a delay like that seems to be more confusing to readers than anything.
The issue begins its wrap up with the team finally back together, and the day saved. There’s some funny and sweet moments between Young Justice, Batwoman, and the now safe townspeople— with my favorite being Tim having to remind them that, no, they should not kill the evil Young Justice team— before it’s finally time for the team to make another attempt at getting home. Their goodbye is nice and somewhat bittersweet as they leave Batwoman. I wish we’d gotten to see more of this Stephanie; her design was really cool, and I’d loved to have seen more of her in action. Still, the ending felt right, and I’m eager to move on to more adventures with the team.
- You’ve been waiting on Jinny’s backstory
- The contents of the mysterious box were eating at you
- Tim’s new code name and uniform are here at last!
This issue had a lot packed into it, and some of it was done really well, while other parts felt like they’d worn out their welcome. Jinny’s backstory was an interesting and clear look at her character, reasons for leaving home, and just where her mysterious trunk came from. The continued battle on Earth-3 was fun, but too busy, and after three issues of so much fighting it’s end was welcome. All in all, boxes were opened, hero identities changed, and after a long journey it seems like the team is home at last, ready to dive straight into their next adventure.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.