Things are really starting to come together in Young Justice. Last month Bart revealed that the universe forgot about Conner, as a result of a reboot. Now it’s Conner’s turn to be there for Bart as he asks his friend just exactly how he knows all of this information. 

As someone who still reads mostly Batman titles, I know very little about Bart Allen. Most of that knowledge comes from the Young Justice animated series. So an issue focused on him was a welcome one for me. It is also a great chance to clear up what his background really is in Rebirth era comics, especially compared to who he was in New 52. The story does confirm Bart to be his old self and not his New 52 incarnation. This isn’t really a surprise, since Bendis seems to be very interested in exploring the team as it was, and reintroducing elements that have been lost over the years. 

The first portion of this issue features Bart giving Conner the run around –quite literally– as his friend tries to probe him for answers. Conner chases him in circles around Star Labs and even has a run in with a loose monster, leftover from the attack that happened a few issues ago. Eventually, Conner and Bart sit down to talk, and Bart begins to tell his story.

It seems like Bart’s history is the same. What caused him to jump universes and end up in this one, where Young Justice didn’t seem to exist, was a face off against Mirrormaster. One of his attacks actually sent Bart between dimensions, instead of to a different one. Bart does what speedsters do, and runs fast enough to pop back out into a real dimension, though it turns out it’s not his universe. What he finds there is a world where the Young Justice team is dead, and has been for many years. Because it’s breaking the rules to just universe hop with the speed force, Bart passes out and finds himself in a terrifying situation. Thought to be crazy, he has to escape with no help or friends. So Bart breaks the rules again and begins universe jumping, with his only goal being to find Conner and his friends. The whole story is enough to make me want someone to give Bart a big hug soon.  

Godlewski does a great job with both expressions and body language through Bart’s story showcasing Bart’s fear, confidence, and confusion as we get to visually watch the events. When Bart is between realities his face is wide open and afraid as he looks at his hand starting to come apart, then the next moment when he’s returned to a normal Earth you can see the confidence come back as he notices his hands are fine, and he smirks. It’s all descriptive enough you could tell what’s happening even without Bart’s narration. 

One of the effects of all his universe hopping, including things like passing out, which happens in his flash back and when he was trying to shake Conner. Scott Godlewski creates some really cool panels in particular when Bart falls unconscious, by giving us four panels, each one feeling more and more unsteady as they’re drawn to lean in one direction, and the other, until the lines disappear and the reader is left with Bart having collapsed into Conner’s arms. The moment is made even more effective by Gabe Eltaeb as his colors go from bright and vibrant and slowly lose their color in each panel until the last is just black and white. 

This, the talk of rule breaking, and the idea of universes being all mixed up points to the idea that Bendis and Walker are actually exploring the mystery of what happened to the team, and possibly getting ready to reveal bigger truths here. I like the way it feels like them investigating a mystery. With last issue’s information, and now what was given in this it feels like pieces of the puzzle are at last coming together, and I’ll be excited to see where the story goes. 

I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy it when the story focuses in on characters, and that’s no different here. Bendis and Walker do a great job of showcasing Bart’s personal struggles, and making those feel real, even if you’ve never run so fast you accidentally switched universes. It’s easy to empathize with the feeling of wanting to move and keep moving so you don’t think about what’s happened. And from there it’s easy to continue feeling for him as he talks about how he was sent away for being “hyperactive”, and even as things get weirder with him unsure what age he even is, and so terrified of being lost he ran and ran until he could find Conner again. 

I also loved seeing Conner and Bart talk through this. They’re good friends, and as Bart points out the two do have a lot in common. Both were displaced, both have weird things about their ages, and both have always felt a little set apart from everyone else –as a clone, or kid from the future– so not only do we have a Bart who’s relatable to the readers, he’s also got someone to lean on in Conner. This kind of relationship, where two characters can lean on each other, and feel confident enough to share unnerving secrets, is something I’d love to see more of in comics. 

The story wraps up with Tim showing up, having been called by Conner, and all three promising to take a trip to the Hall of Justice the next day in search of answers. Hopefully the next issue will continue this trend of giving readers answers, and soon we’ll know just what happened to Young Justice, and what that means going forward. 

Recommended If

  • The mystery of Bart’s history has been plaguing you 
  • You enjoy stories that show strong bonds of friendship
  • More answers to what’s going on with the team are revealed

Overall

I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. It slows the pace down again to focus in on answers and the characters relationships with one another. Bart’s origin story is clarified and we’re given clear answers about how he arrived on the current Earth and universe. His relationship with Conner is also highlighted, with the promise that Tim also will be joining them as they continue to search for answers. If you’ve been waiting for Bart to be highlighted in Young Justice this is the book to pick up. 

Rating: 6/10


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