Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3 review

While I haven’t been loving the main Dark Crisis event, I’ve certainly had a better experience with it than Nick (check out his latest review) and I think many of the tie-ins have actually been great! Dark Crisis: Young Justice, however, has stood out as easily the worst part of the event thus far. It has also felt completely out of touch with the main event’s message. Has anything changed with its third outing? Let’s see!

Well, the good news is this issue isn’t quite as infuriating as the last one. The bad news is, no one’s opinion is going to be changed by this month’s content. Anyone who still likes this comic is never going to stop and vice versa. The problem is, I can’t imagine who this is for.

I figure one of the main reasons people read a comic is because they like or are interested in the characters. Unless I’m horribly wrong, this book should have some major diminishing sales returns by this point.

 

I love these characters. This book makes me hate these characters.

 

They are being written so poorly that I don’t even care what happens to them. This comic’s plot is also so inorganic that the characters have to act in bizarre ways in order for it to develop. I’ll explain what I mean by way of a tangent.

Essentially, the first half of this comic is just fighting, both verbally and physically. It’s not just heroes vs villains. The heroes fight each other just as much as their enemies. These characters are not friends. They act more like allies by proximity who hate each other. We don’t even see them show mutual respect. They ignore each other, they belittle each other, and come to blows with each other. Making matters worse, the conflict isn’t even driven by a legitimate disagreement. Bart thinks there is something wrong with their world. The other two do not and in order to stop him from investigating, Superboy punches him. I don’t care if Superboy likes this world and doesn’t want it to go away, this is insane behavior. On the other hand, his anger was brought on, in part, because Bart doesn’t want to help Wonder Girl, whose life is in imminent danger. Apparently, his friend’s life is worth less to him than getting a jump start on an investigation. Based on how well these versions of the characters get along, that’s not a stretch.

All this ties into the plot because these ludicrous interactions are what drive it. For most of the comic, it is these disagreements that lead each character to the next plot point. For example, when they have to be separated, they fight and one by one storm away in anger.

So, obviously, I still think this is a very poor comic, but earlier I mentioned that it isn’t as bad as the last issue. Why is that? Well, to put it bluntly, it just doesn’t have quite as many instances of invented conflict. The pacing is also decent enough this time around, with everything moving along at a reasonable speed. This makes it less of a slog to get through compared to the last issue at least.

Despite my general positivity about Laura Braga’s art in the previous installments, I can’t give the same praise this time around. I think the art up until now has been strong for two reasons. It is stylistically a good match for Young Justice and it has maintained a general level of consistency and competency. The quality of the writing may be beginning to color my view of that art slightly, but the biggest change with this issue is the loss of consistency (and to a lesser extent competency). I mentioned isolated panels that didn’t work in the previous issues. In this one, those types of problems become far more pronounced. I think this decline may be the result of rushed art but, in the end, weak art is weak art and I can’t explain it away. On the very first page, we are treated to a very wonky Lex Luthor.

As you can see, there are a few notable problems. His eyes don’t line up properly. The shadows don’t make sense either. They seem to imply a far darker scene than the rest of the panel. It also looks as if there is a strong light source above his head, but the shadow on his left cheek contradicts this as it rises too high on the cheekbone. The pupilless eyes are also a stylistic clash with the rest of the art. It doesn’t fit in to such a clean style. This is just one example, but this kind of slightly off, uncanny valley effect, is frustratingly prevalent throughout this issue. Hopefully, next time around Braga can iron out these kinds of things.

Recommended if…

  • You’re the type who has to read every tie-in to an event
  • You still haven’t dropped this book
  • Someone else is paying for it

Overall

Last month, I recommended against reading on and that still holds true. This isn’t a good comic and I don’t see that changing. Despite the writing being slightly less offensive this time out, the suffering artwork takes away the primary thing Dark Crisis: Young Justice had going for it. If you are just reading this to complete the event, let me just remind you: events are expensive. Don’t spend more than you have to. This tie-in is wholly inessential. It does nothing to support the event and, in fact, actively works against it. I’ve honestly been loving all the other tie-ins so do yourself a favor, skip this one, and put your money toward the rest.

Score: 2/10


Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this issue for the purpose of this review.