Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1 review

Dark Crisis: Young Justice is a tie-in miniseries to the current event plaguing the DC universe (Check out Nick’s first Dark Crisis review here). Wile the main event focuses on a range of different characters, this mini puts focus specifically on the Young Justice characters and shows how they deal with the death of their mentors. When Robin, Superboy, and Impulse vanish Wonder Girl is left to find them! Is this a worthwhile tie-in? Let’s find out!

DC Comics essentially has four different generations of heroes. The originals, the sidekicks (Teen Titans), the second generation of sidekicks (Young Justice), and the Future State generation. As the Dark Crisis event focuses heavily on legacy, it seems apt that Young Justice is given a tie-in miniseries. In fact, I can only call this a great idea. Here we have a group of characters who are all very popular in their own right and who have had a great impact on the DC universe, but have not been given the attention they deserve in recent years.

Unfortunately, this issue misses the mark in a few ways. One of the biggest pitfalls of the issue is the first four pages. These pages are dedicated to recounting the team’s history, getting the reader up to speed on their current relationship, and (of course) talking about the death of the Justice League. Regrettably, this is all told through an overabundance of internal monologue. I am a strong believer that this monologuing rarely adds anything of value to the story and more often than not just covers up the art. It doesn’t help that you could retain the meaning of all eighteen of these boxes on page one with a single sentence.

“First Hippolyta, now this.” That’s all you need. This writing is dull and overdone. First impressions are very important and these pages color a reader’s experience with the entire story. All writers should trust their artist rather than overwriting but that is especially true in a case like this. These characters are emotionally distraught and it doesn’t matter how many times they say they’re upset, the art will always be the best tool for portraying emotion.

Take the above page for example. Laura Braga nails these emotional beats. Again, I don’t need the text boxes because I can tell what she’s thinking from her body language and expression.

Speaking of the art, Braga is a great choice for this book! Her work has a 90s feel to it and given the fact that Young Justice is a very 90s team, that works for me. I say her art gives off that 90s feel because of how clean and crisp it all is. The coloring certainly has something to do with that as it features more primary coloring. To me, a hallmark of 90s art this clean look. There is little shadow, all the lines are precise and there is little in the way of computerized effects. Despite that there is still action in the drawing. Her work definitely feels reminiscent of someone like Dan Jurgens. The art isn’t always perfect though . These two panels, for instance, are pretty terrible if I’m being blunt.

From the expressions (That scrunched up pout is very off-putting) to the floating bodies to the odd composition they just don’t work. The panels are very busy without anything to focus on. It leaves your eyes darting around the page looking for a resting spot. Unfortunately there is an awkward cardboard cutout feel to every element of the page and the way all the elements are piled looks like a poor photoshop composite. These are the exception to the rule though. Overall, her work here is pretty slammin’!

In terms of the rest of the story, I think the most unfortunate thing is how little I actually have to say. There is potential here for this to turn out a fun miniseries but as this issue is mostly setup, I’m reserving judgment until I read the second.

Spoiler

All the sequences with Superboy, Robin, and Impulse are fun and that’s where I see the most potential for this series going forward. The main element I’m worried about is Cassie Sandsmark. There is a highly forced piece of drama present here involving her. For some inconceivable reason she wishes (out loud, no less) that some of the Young Justice members who had died in the past hadn’t come back. There is no real reason given for why she says this and by the end of the issue she seems to regret it. All I can think is “the last thing I said to [insert dead person] was mean! I feel so guilty!!!” I think that was the idea. Something in the realm of survivor’s guilt? Tobey Maguire yelling “Stop lecturing me please!” this is not.

Oh and on another note, Mighty Endowed is back… so… do with that as you will.

Recommended if…

  • You’re a Young Justice fan
  • Completionism is your compulsion (same, man)
  • You want to know what the third generation of heroes is up to during Dark Crisis

Overall

I can’t guess how this series will turn out but it is the best comic I’ve read from Meghan Fitzmartin (If you read my review of her work on Tim Drake you know I was not enthused). I think my biggest disappoint here is how uninteresting it was. This is by far the shortest review I’ve written for Batman News as a result. Is it better to provoke a negative response or write a middling story that doesn’t leave much to talk about? I guess that’s up to you. All I can say is that at least with this story I have hope for the next issue.

Score: 4/10

 

One last nitpick: Alfred never called Tim “Master Drake.” It was always “Master Timothy.” Just sayin’.


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