Conner’s lost in the multiverse again, and it’s up to the remaining Young Justice team to save him! With Naomi added to their ranks, and the mystery of Star Labs to figure out, they’ve got a lot to deal with. So what better way to handle things than going to the Justice League for help? 

This issue is very much the set up to a crossover of epic proportions in Young Justice. Bendis is bringing in a number of characters from across the Wonder line to partner with the team in taking down Star Labs and saving Conner. As a set up, it’s main drive is getting various characters together and interacting before they set out. In general, I’m not a fan of crossovers. They’re often too busy and rarely live up to their potential. While this issue feels like it had a rocky start to the crossover, I’m interested to see where it goes from here.

Up until this point the team has done a good job taking care of themselves and finding a way home. Now that they are home, and Conner’s missing again, they’ve decided to bring in the big guns and tell the Justice League what’s been going on. I found this to be a refreshing mindset. Often in books featuring younger characters adults are rarely present, even if they could be of help to the characters. So it’s nice to see them reaching out to mentors and more experienced heroes for help. I think it would have been even more interesting if there had been any veteran heroes there to help. Instead the Wonder Twins step in to help and our crossover begins. 

As the book progresses it’s made clear that maybe they really didn’t need the Justice League at all, and anyone coming to help them will work just fine. The Wonder Twins bring some technology to try and determine what made the rift and how to fix it, but in the end their efforts do little to help answer any questions or progress the story. It makes me wonder if the book could have skipped this issue totally and sent the team as they were after Star Labs. Why introduce characters and not have them help with the plot in some way? It’s possible they’ll impact the plot over the next few issues, but making this issue only about bringing people together seems like a bit of a waste. 

The introduction of the Wonder Twins and another team– that I’ll get to later — added a number of characters to the book that takes an already large team and makes it even bigger, totaling out the number of teens at 11 if you don’t count Conner. That’s a lot of characters to write and give voice to. Unfortunately, almost all of them speak the same way. They’re excitable, repeat the same thing someone just said, and almost every time a character meets someone new to them, one of them inevitably freaks out about it. It makes everyone start to blend together, and even unique or strong voices like Jinny’s or Tim’s are drowned out in all the mess.  I don’t want to lose the charm of them being young, but with so many characters there needs to be some streamlining both for clarity’s sake, and to give readers a break. 

Another problem with having so many characters in a book is the fact that it can make things feel overcrowded, especially when a lot of characters are featured in one panel, or if there’s a lot of talking going on. Jonh Timms does a good job trying to balance characters in scenes, but I’m afraid that the sheer number of characters and how some panels were drawn made things feel a little claustrophobic and tight from time to time. Often times these panels are ones that have a lot of speech bubbles in them as well, further cluttering things up. Wes Abbott does a good job finding just the right places in the art to place the dialogue. You can almost always tell who’s speaking, and it’s easy to follow. Still, even with his excellent placement, there are some spots where who’s saying what can get a little confusing, or where panels end up being more text than image. The first few pages with the Wonder Twins are an example of this. Where they should be the feature, as new characters, they instead are swamped by text, leaving little room for the characters speaking to shine.

Enough on what I didn’t enjoy, let’s look at the parts I liked. I still really enjoy how Bendis writes humor, especially in Young Justice and the issue has a lot of funny moments in it. There’s a little of everything from a humorous T-rex attack with Conner to the somewhat dubious use of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet.  

The humor isn’t the only thing the book has going for it, there’s a number of character moments I found really enjoyable. The few pages we are treated to with Conner are some of my favorite in the issue. Even with how short his inclusion is, we get to see some really good character development. Conner is legitimately frustrated by his predicament, upset he’s been pulled away from his friends again, and you can feel just how tired he is of having his life thrown into disarray. Timms draws him slumped, not even bothering to stand after he fell into Skartaris, and tearful. His body language and expressions are enough to tell you how upset he is by all this, even without the dialogue to confirm it. Then, his reaction after taking out an attacking dino is equal parts funny, and provides further insight into his kindness. While Warlord is shocked and happy to let Conner continue to cry, Conner is upset because he doesn’t like violence for violence’s sake. It’s a great moment of character work in between humor and action, and I’d love to see more moments like this spread through the title.

Another scene I really loved was Tim’s spirited defense that Conner had not just left them to return to Gemworld. I know a lot of readers picked this series up for the promise of the old team getting back together, so it’s great to see moments where we see that old team dynamic come back to life, even if every member isn’t there right now. Tim cares a lot for his friend, and squelches the idea of him having abandoned them quickly and convincingly. This is another one of those little character moments I enjoy seeing. Much like Conner’s it doesn’t take much here to show how important the two are to each other and their history. 

At the end of this issue yet another team is introduced to help Young Justice and The Wonder Twins on their quest to stop star labs. 

Spoiler

The Dial H for Hero kids show up! Having been in a pickle themselves they tried to dial their phone and instead of working like it normally does they found themselves warped to Oregon and landed right in the middle of The Wonder Twins and Young Justice. 

Bendis uses this as a moment to explain that there’s an over abundance of power here, and that the kids got hijacked by the same power source that sent Conner away. While it’s interesting, the information generally feels similar to what we were told last issue and aimed instead at being an excuse to bring more people into the book. I’m really not sure what their inclusion will do to help, since they really only seem to be there to add more firepower to the team. It’s a bit frustrating having so many new characters added into this book almost for the sake of just doing it. 

I don’t mind the idea of a crossover happening in this book, but I’d like there to be a reason for the characters introduced to be there and right now those reasons are tenuous at best. I’ve found myself wanting to say over and over “maybe in the next issue we’ll find out” but there is a problem with that line of thinking. I don’t want to be told every issue I need to wait to figure out why something was done when there was time in this issue to explain things. And if more time was needed, why did Bendis introduce so many characters at once? Why not tell this story with Naomi and the Wonder Twins and save the other characters for a different story? I think it would have been better to see them spread out through various arcs simply because we’d get more time with them individually. As it stands, things felt rushed, and I’m still not sure why everyone who’s included needed to be there. 

Recommended If

  • You love team ups!
  • Tim defending Conner is your thing
  • You don’t mind a little chaos with a big group of characters

Overall

There’s a lot going on in Young Justice this month. The issue isn’t bad, in fact it’s often funny and has some great character moments. It’s simply bogged down by too many characters who sound the same and don’t have strong reasons for being there. I understand the desire to have a crossover and the fun of bringing various characters together to tell a story, but this feels less like a story and more a showcase of Wonder Comics designed to draw in readers. While I’m excited to see everyone move into action next month, I’m hesitant as well. This arc has had a little trouble finding it’s footing, but hopefully it will settle in next month.

Rating: 5/10


DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.