Last month the Young Justice team was joined by both the Wonder Twins and Dial H for Hero. Meanwhile, Conner started to get a grasp on where he’d landed in the multiverse this time. With added firepower it’s up to the team to stop Star Labs, and find Conner, will they manage it this issue? And will Conner ever find a way home?
This issue is split almost evenly between Conner’s point of view and that of the rest of the team which I feel like is a bit of a miss structurally. If I could have laid out this arc I would have let this issue be much more heavily focused on Conner than it was. As it stands, this issue and the last feel incredibly similar to one another, which is a bad thing when the pacing feels slow and the writing is confusing. I think if things had been focused more heavily on Conner rather than almost split evenly, it would have given readers a break from the story going on in Oregon and let us feel refreshed when things eventually moved back into it.
I also have a problem with how the larger team is treated this issue. It fells very much like Bendis came into this not knowing what do to with them and having too many pages laid out to feature them in. So instead of trying to move the plot forward, or doing some character work, he basically reset things to halfway through last issue. Everything having to do with the team charging forward from last issue seems to have just stopped as we see them camped out in Oregon still, now trying to come up with a plan. I wouldn’t have really had a problem with this if they’d actually come up with some sort of a plan. Instead they take more readings of the weird krypto-whatever energy that keeps spiking, the H Dial goes wacko again, and the team wastes a lot of time talking about how competent they are. They never even really come up with a plan, just state places they’re going to go and call it good enough. It’s beyond frustrating because all of this could have been cut down to a page or two at most showing the team travelling, and then meeting up with Bart. Bendis isn’t even doing anything interesting with all of the characters he’s gathered together. All Naomi does is remind the team how new she is at all this, the Wonder Twins have turned into the team’s ‘tech support’ and I don’t even know what the H Dial kids are doing there. If you’re going to dedicate a whole arc to a huge mash up of characters, at least do something with them in the issues they show up.
As frustrated as I was with the way the team scenes worked in the book, I still really enjoyed what Bendis does with Conner. His half of the story is focused on his adventure in Skartaris alongside Warlord. And if you’re a fan of Warlord this is probably the issue for you. There’s a number of stunning moments where Mike Grell takes over art in the book and details out his history and adventures leading up to meeting Superboy. The dynamic between Conner and Warlord is an interesting one, with the man going from being slightly exasperated with Conner to ready to dispense some wisdom. While Conner struggles with the fact that he’s again been torn from home and flung somewhere strange Warlord tries hard to give Conner advice on his situation. I liked how it’s very obvious even to readers that he is going to say something contrary to what Conner wants. Warlord’s first attempt at advice kind of goes over Conner’s head, and his second is based around making the best of things, and maybe this was all for a reason. However, the way Warlord puts it, he’s also basically telling Conner “You might be better off here”. It’s not really advice Conner needs, or wants, but I think there are parts of it he’ll be able to take back with him once this part of the adventure is over. It’s scenes and moments like these that I really enjoy reading, and honestly I’d love more moments that are dedicated to smaller parts of the group and single characters.
Something else I found interesting about this issue is the art. There are three different artists on this book. John Timms covers the main team while Michael Deming and Mike Grell are on Conner’s portion. To further split things, Deming takes care of pages focused in Skartaris, while Grell is on art featuring Warlord’s backstory. I will say that it’s a little jarring having three very distinct art styles in one issue, but I also think it’s done really well. Each artist takes a very distinct part of the story instead of trying to blend their styles. This has happened a few times in Young Justice, where a certain artist will focus on backstory or something happening elsewhere while Timms continues to cover the main story. I think it’s a really fun way to feature artists and a great way to distinctly mark out different stories going on. I also really love the fact that Grell was brought in, this issue really celebrates Warlord, and what better way to do that than bring back his creator?
While I enjoyed Conner’s story and a chance to spend some time with him this issue, I’m really ready for the story to start to move again. Since the team landed back on their Earth I feel like very little has happened. They’ve spent the majority of three issues in Oregon doing a lot of standing around and talking and I want to see some of the story we’ve been promised, like Conner’s connection to Star Labs, what they’re really doing, and why characters forgot about the Young Justice team in the first place. All of these are plot points that the story and solicits have promised, and yet we haven’t seen any traction on them even three issues into this arc. If things don’t start moving soon I’ll be tempted to call this arc nothing more than an overly complicated advertisement for Wonder Comics.
- You’re a Warlord fan (or just want to learn more about him)
- You’re always here for a story featuring Conner
- Art styles used in fun and creative ways is your jam
The time spent focusing on Conner and Warlord this issue was time well spent. Their interactions were a lot of fun, and really highlighted some of the struggles Conner’s been going through in this series. Unfortunately, the other half of the issue was less successful and felt bogged down by a lack of forward momentum and too many characters with not enough to do. It does seem like the stage might finally be set for things to move forward, so hopefully we’ll see that traction next issue.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.