I was a fan of the old 90s comic series Young Justice from writer Peter David. An often humorous superhero team book consisting of various Justice League sidekicks and their friends, it ran for a while but hasn’t been seen much since it ended, partially because New 52 continuity shake-ups made the team’s core line-up a but up-in-the-air if they even existed or not.
I’ve probably done a “Misplaced Hero” column for most of the core team at one point in time or another, but for now, there’s a new series from Brian Michael Bendis. Sure, I believe the relaunch has been canceled since then, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read and review the new series’s first trade, subtitled Gemworld.
There’s a problem in Gemworld as the place, a magical side dimension ruled by various houses associated with various gems, most notably the Earth-born Princess Amethyst. That dimension’s Big Bad, Dark Opal, takes it upon himself to blame the human world because they keep having various Crises that always seem to have catastrophic effects on Gemworld. Figuring the human world is responsible, Dark Opal dispatches an attack force to Metropolis to challenge Superman to a fight. Superman is out of town, but there are other heroes nearby, namely Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Impulse, and two new ones, namely gunslinger Texas girl Jinny Hex (Jonah’s granddaughter), and Teen Lantern (who’s actually eleven years old but somehow got a Green Lantern ring from the looks of things). The group gets zapped to Gemworld where Connor “Superboy” Kent already is, so will this mean the Young Justice team will reform with Amethyst as the final new member?
Well, obviously they do or there isn’t a series.
Now, here’s the thing: as noted, many of these characters, most notably Impulse and Superboy, may or may not have been erased by the New 52 or Rebirth reboots. That’s actually a plot point as Tim Drake remembers the team and its full line-up as if they were somehow blocked, but Impulse, Wonder Girl, and Superboy all seem to remember the team existed.
Oh, and I don’t recall them ever calling themselves “Young Justice,” but they do here frequently…kinda like when the Rebirth Birds of Prey series kept calling the team “Birds of Prey” despite the fact the team never actually went by that name. It’s moments like that that make me wonder how much new creators actually read of the old book. I thought that as well as Bendis seemed to want to write Impulse as an idiot, and Bart was never so much stupid as he had a chronically short attention span.
Now, Bendis is a writer whose work has a distinct style, and his work on Ultimate Spider-Man showed a gift for younger superheroes, and quite frankly, I have liked what little I’ve read of his Superman work. But this series just didn’t seem to work for me. Bendis can write good comedy, but this isn’t all that funny. Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex are set up as good mysteries for now, with Jinny’s old trunk full of dangerous mystery items and Teen Lantern’s exact origin are somewhat unknown by the end of this volume. But for a series that was supposedly about finding out why these people were forgotten, they sure do seem to be remembered. It’s not very well defined.
Yeah, a nice try, but I probably won’t go any further than this one. 7 out of 10 fake marriages.