This comic can’t end soon enough. While I can’t claim it continues to get worse, staying the same is certainly bad enough. Seriously, here we are with the penultimate issue and it feels like nothing has happened. Not only in this issue but in the preceding four as well. In most cases, that would cause me to suspect that the final issue will be rushed or overstuffed but here, I can confidently say I expect it to be nothing but a prolonged fight. This series should have been a one-shot and that’s assuming it deserved to be published to begin with.
Issue five has all the same problems we’ve seen for the last four months. In a nutshell, it’s a fight scene with Fitzmartin’s accusations interspersed throughout. I think what makes this series as a whole feel so devoid of content is the lack of finesse in the writing. Everything is forced and disingenuous so there can be no depth to the writing. When the plot has very little forward progress from issue to issue, it’s only thematic depth that can keep a reader invested. In another writer’s hands, I might be able to see a spark of life in the idea of Micky Mxyzptlk. Giving Young Justice a 5th dimensional imp who is dissatisfied with how they have grown as people and left him behind is not inherently bad. Commenting on the way fans decry change in favor of nostalgia is not either. What Fitzmartin is doing with these ideas is, however. Rather than revealing something about human nature to the reader, she accuses them of being a problem and uses strawman arguments to back herself up.
Fitzmartin has claimed in past issues that fans who don’t like the new characters or the treatment of the old ones are bigots. She is, of course, working with the same idea on the above page. Micky is the stand-in for the readers and he claims he doesn’t care about the new characters; he just wants to see the ones he grew up with. Fitzmartin actually harms her own argument when you compare her words to the image behind them. In the background we see the “replacements.” A group of characters who are all minorities in some way. (Ignore the fact that some of them are ten to twenty years old and widely accepted.) Fitzmartin is trying to say that people hate these characters because they are prejudiced but Mickey specifically says he wants to see the character he grew up with. I know that is supposed to be taken as a fan thinly veiling their bigotry but for many (non-bigoted) people it’s entirely valid. They can’t help relating to characters they grew up with and they aren’t obligated to like every new character who is introduced. There’re people out there who hated Tim Drake in the 90s because they grew up with Dick Grayson. I don’t see any bigotry in that. Micky also goes on to claim that his favorite characters have either been removed from the timeline, killed, or forgotten. Somehow this thought is supposed to reflect badly on him. It doesn’t though because it’s objectively true. Bart was relegated to nonexistence for years!
Based on the next page the takeaway is that fans need to value new characters just as much as their childhood favorites. Besides being a bizarre take, I think it’s fair to say a new character is “worse” than an established one. By virtue of having hundreds of stories under his belt, Impulse is “better” than Kid Quick. That doesn’t mean Kid Quick can’t become an even better character than Bart in the future but the development just isn’t there yet. In general, characters aren’t inherently good from their creation. It takes development to turn them into someone worth reading about. You can’t apply real life to this situation. Yes, in reality everyone has equal value. Because we are real. We are not constructed from someone’s imagination. One imaginary character can absolutely be worth less than another. Maybe they won’t be forever and I’m not saying they should be dismissed but that is the reality of writing.
You can also take a good character and reduce their worth, unfortunately. This is what these comics are doing to Young Justice. Once again, we are treated to awful interpretations of these characters. The boys are finally reunited with Wonder Girl and the first thing she does is yell at them for failing to recognize her doppelganger was a fraud. This is just conflict for the sake of it. They had already figured this out before she arrived and they had no reason to suspect it wasn’t her initially. Honestly, the fact that they believed the false Wonder Girl speaks more to their trust in their friend than to their inability to notice an imposter. It’s also just icky how she elevates herself at their expense and then “forgives them.”
As usual, I could go on and on about the problems with this writing but I think this is sufficient to explain my problems with the comic. The disingenuous arguments, hostile accusations aimed at the audience, and a broad case of poor writing have made this one of my least favorite comics.
The art doesn’t help, as has been the trend for a while now. It’s not terrible but it isn’t worth talking about. Mostly, it feels rushed. Braga has essentially stopped drawing backgrounds at this point, instead opting for a few rocks or some swirly psychedelic power effects that leave most of the work to Luis Guerrero.
The facial expressions that I loved so much in earlier issues are no longer refined and often look goofy.
As you can see in the above panel, it’s not just the facial expressions either. From Bart’s awkward pose to the clunky monster claws and wishy washy inks this comic just isn’t very visually appealing anymore.
- I still don’t
This sucks. I can’t be nice about it anymore. I feel like I need to (again) include a statement clarifying the fact that my harsh words are in no way directed at Fitzmartin as a person. I’ve heard she’s super nice, and regardless, I’ve never met her. It doesn’t change the fact that her writing is not good and I strongly recommend against buying this comic.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.