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Young Justice (2019) #1 [Review]

young_justice_(2019)_0001Seven Crises

Script: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Patrick Gleason
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: DC Lettering
Cover: Gleason & Sanchez
Associate Editor: Jessica Chen
Editors: Mike Cotton & Andy Khouri
Group Editors: Brian Cunningham & Mark Doyle

I wasn’t going to get this. I vaguely remember it being announced, as well as seeing SOMETHING about these Wonder Comics and thinking hey…yet ANOTHER new imprint to not get into!

As to the property itself–the title Young Justice–I remember ads for the World Without GrownUps or whatever back in 1998 or so, and the premiere of the original Young Justice ongoing series. I mostly missed out on that at the time–I was getting a lot of Marvel at that point (with the Heroes Return titles) and mainly just the Superman titles from DC, offhand. The END of that Young Justice series (and Titans) came in the Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day mini-‘event’, which I picked up just after my OWN graduation day from college. The event led away from Young Justice and Titans and into two "new" series–a new iteration of Teen Titans and Outsiders, both of which I followed (getting in at #1 for lengthy runs) up to Infinite Crisis or so. I dove deep into DC continuity just after Young Justice. So I never had the nostalgia of the title or the particular iterations of the characters. When the animated series was out, I enjoyed the first several episodes, but lost track of it due to episode scheduling (as I do most animated series, it seems). So I had no huge attachment there to the title, either.

But somewhere along the way between this series being announced and this issue’s release, I found out (online) that Tim Drake would be Robin again, and that "my" Superboy–Connor Kent–the one introduced during 1993’s Reign of the Supermen–would be back. Seeing Superboy in particular on a cover image, I was "sold."

Maybe the first thing about this actual issue to note is the hefty $4.99 price point. I tend to DESPISE $4.99 #1 issues, particularly because of the way I feel that Marvel has abused the practice over the last few years. This issue felt thicker, though, and I’m more forgiving toward DC (though they have squandered a lot of the goodwill they earned from me with Rebirth). It is an extra-sized issue, with 30 story pages (an extra 1/3 content for the price of 1/4), so the "value" is technically there.

We open the issue on Gemworld, with someone relaying information about seven crises and Earth. We then jump to Earth, and a young woman’s arrival in Metropolis. This is Jinny Hex…new to the big city. As she’s dealing with having been pulled over for a busted taillight on her vehicle…agents of Gemworld invade, causing quite a ruckus. Jinny finds herself face to face with Robin (Tim Drake) and seems rather awe-struck. A flashback shows us an interaction between Tim and Cassie Sandsmark minutes earlier, also in Metropolis, as the two catch up briefly before Tim leaps into action with the invasion. Joining the action is Impulse–Bart Allen; he is clearly excited to be in action and interacting with the others while facing the invasion. Before long, Wonder Girl joins in as well as a Green Lantern Ring Construct…and Bart declares that Young Justice is back! It looks as if the heroes may have prevailed, and then they’re caught up in some sort of energy, and Robin comes to on Gemworld facing Amethyst…while Impulse finds himself facing a certain missing teammate to end the issue.

This issue provoked a reaction in me that I haven’t had in awhile from any comic, and that I don’t know entirely how to describe. But to try…in short, I flat-out enjoyed this comic, I loved seeing Tim referred to as Robin again, and something about these characters–even though I lack a huge amount of context for the grouping–really hit my nostalgia buttons. Perhaps because this is the first time it seems Tim Drake has properly–without likelihood of reprint revision–been referred to as Robin since 2009 or so. Perhaps it’s seeing Connor Kent Superboy again for the first time since at least 2011. Perhaps it’s that this feels like something from before the New 52, period.

Likely all of the above and that the issue was just…FUN. I mean, an invasion, the destruction of property and all that…sure, that’s not something to celebrate, but this IS a comic book, and we’re not beaten over the head while reading about the destruction itself or how it’s impacting some random character or bystander. We just get heroes in action, and saving people, and no real focus on dark, grim, gritty stuff.

I know I’ve had issues with Gleason‘s art in the past–I think to the point that I even came to dislike seeing his name on stuff; it was a sign that I would likely dislike the art. His art won me over a bit during the Rebirth run of Superman; and maybe I’m just so thrilled to see Robin and Superboy again, but I really dug the art on this issue! Gleason‘s style seems very well-suited for this sort of frenetic fun and the energetic nature of much of the issue–from Robin laying into Gemworlders to Bart completely enjoying himself in action…and even working in more serious stuff without coming off with stylistic things that’d get me complaining on some principle. There are several double-page spreads, and other than the "Young Justice is BACK!" bit, I could do without them. I tend to feel that most double-pagers are "cheats" and go by way too quickly for taking up multiple full pages, lowering the "value" in terms of per-page story content.

Story-wise, this seems like a pretty good first issue. I’m not at all current on Tim Drake stuff, nor Bart or Cassie; I vaguely recall something about Jinny being in a Walmart-exclusive comic, but she comes off as fresh and new here, as does Teen Lantern; I also lack any real familiarity with Amethyst and Gemworld except that they exist. But I was still able to enjoy the issue, with everyone getting introductions or otherwise at least being named on-page…no need to go online to hunt down "who" someone was or be left scratching my head. (And the lettering had a great touch, working character names in as logos in a way that doesn’t seem to be used much lately and reminds me quite a bit of ’90s comics). This isn’t a perfect story by any means…I didn’t really "get" the invasion or anything much from that–it was more incidental, an excuse for "big action" and something to bring the characters together, to get stuff from Point A to Point B and such. That it included these particular characters being pulled together, though…it worked for me.

This is certainly no done-in-one issue, and it really only serves so far to move pieces around to begin to move toward whatever the full story will eventually be. The issue is significant in itself as a single issue for bringing the characters together (if only certain characters in virtual cameos) and being the first time we’ve seen several in years–or at least, seemingly years. But this is just the opening chapter of a serialized graphic novel, that presumably will be the standard-ish 6 issues in length.

There’s a certain on-page authenticity to the various characters, that both looks and feels like what I’d expect of a Bendis-helmed comic. His work can be hit or miss for me, but this issue is definitely a hit. I got this for the characters involved, and was not disappointed. That Bendis is the writer is incidental to me, and something I’m fine with, based on this issue. Whether that holds for future issues remains to be seen! But for now, I’m definitely onboard for this title in particular…and having thoroughly enjoyed this, I may even consider checking out the other Wonder Comics titles.

If you’re a fan of Tim Drake, Bart Allen (at least as he was pre-2003), early Connor Kent Superboy, and so on…this is definitely worth jumping in on. Especially if you’ve been "away" from the characters for awhile or not staying current with DC‘s continuity. This does not feel like it relies on anything else going on…it’s just the world these characters inhabit and them coming together and working together. This is not spinning out of some other event or title…no prologue in Detective Comics or one of the Justice League titles or some other mini-series. And even if you’re not specifically a fan of a specific character in a particular role, if you enjoy teen heroes, enjoy seeing Robin/Wonder Girl/Impulse/etc. together in a title…I’d say this is worthwhile to check out.

I have every intention myself of picking up the next issue, and if I enjoy it the way I did this issue, I may be onboard for awhile!

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Winston World and the Weekend Haul: Weekend of March 17-19

winston_world_weekend_haul_blogtrailer1While this weekend was Wizard World in Cleveland, I never had any intention of attending that. I’d attended a Wizard World convention in Columbus a few years back, and decided that it’s not a convention "brand" I care to deal with (long story’s another post someday; short story is that it’s too expensive for too little comic-content, and it seems unlikely that the brand can possibly ever get back to the Chicago edition of the con I attended in 2007).

Fortunately, Carol & John’s opted to hold a sale for those #NotAtComicCon: Winston World!

Along with that, Half-Price Books had a week of coupons beginning last Monday, with two days of 20% off your most expensive item; two days of 30%; two days of 40%, and culminating in the final day’s 50% off your most expensive item. While 20% didn’t mean much to me, I jumped in, taking advantage at the 30% and snagged a few things, as I showed off in last week’s Weekly Haul post for Wednesday and Thursday.

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My primary interest in the Winston World stuff was the 75%-off graphic novel bins. There’d been several books I’d had my eye on that weren’t quite justifiable to me even at 50% off (and/or just didn’t have room in the "budget" weeks I was there) that would certainly be more than worthwhile at 75% off!

While one of the main books I was interested in was no longer there, I did find the three above that I couldn’t quite talk myself into passing up for the price. (Namely, each was cheaper than 3 current Marvel single issues!)

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The Ultimate Comics: Divided We Fall, United We Stand was still there, so I snagged it. Then I started poking through back issues, and snagged the Peter David Supergirl #1, which puts me one issue closer to a complete run on that.

weekendhaul_03192017c

The 50% off back issues brought the cost of these issues to around or under half the cost of a current DC issue, so I snagged the three Superman Specials and the actual Superman issue that had Superman meeting Destiny for the first time (and reprinted in the DC Retroactive – Superman: The ’80s).

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I also picked up several Batman issues post-Death in the Family/pre-Lonely Place of Dying that I’m missing (or pretty certain I’m missing). A bit more expensive than I’d’ve preferred, but they’re issues I don’t tend to see in quarter-bins, and for 50% off, it brought them into the price-realm of "no worse than buying a current comic." And kept me well under $10 an issue!

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For convenience’s sake, snagged most of the The Day of the Krypton Man arc, likely to join with Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite as nostalgia reading in the near future. Unfortunately, they did not have the second Adventures of Superman issue (Chapter V) but I was pretty sure I’d be able to snag that without much problem later.

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Along with the Winston World/St. Patrick’s Day edition of the shop’s sticker that was being given away with any purchase, I also opted to buy one of the regular ones. I haven’t decided yet where to actually stick them, but I’ll try to remember to post a photo here or on Facebook once I do!

All in all, I got out for around the cost of 12 current Marvel issues!

weekendhaul_03192017g

I then ducked into Half-Price Books to use a 40% coupon. Despite the spine damage (which I’m hoping I can at least somewhat repair with some glue) I opted to snag the Five Years Later Omnibus, as I can’t imagine finding a copy anywhere near this price elsewhere/when. This completes my "set" of New 52 "event-Omnibus" volumes (already having the #0 issues volume from 2012’s "event" and the 2013 Villains volume).

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A friend visited over the weekend, and while we were out and about, we stopped in at a vintage toys store in the Cleveland area–Big Fun Toys. Loads of great toys new and old to see, plenty of classic games and books, too. While I have my eye on some figures that were in a display case and thus more expensive…I picked up these four TMNT figures at the excellent price of $3 each or 4/$10! I was going to get three, but on learning of the 4/$10, I went back to the bin and grabbed the Fugitoid figure! I’d had a Fugitoid back in the day, but it disappeared over the years, so this one will (for now) serve as replacement. Genghis Frog, Groundchuck, and Scumbug are new-to-me characters that I’d never owned.

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At HPB again, using the second day’s 40% coupon, I snagged the Dungeons & Dragons boardgame Tyrants of the Underdark. Way above my price range at full price…but far more reasonable at 40% off! Not quite as cool as a couple of the other D&D games, but still a worthy addition to the games shelf!

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Sunday, I drove out to a third HPB location, hoping to snag a hardcover I’d seen some weeks back. Unfortunately, it was no longer there…someone apparently was more determined than me to get it, taking advantage either of opportunity, the week’s coupons, or both.

On my way back, I swung by Comic Heaven and found that Adventures of Superman issue I wanted! Also snagged some card boxes to use for shelf displays, having found them to be excellent, cheap "risers"!

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I stopped back into the closest HPB, determined to go ahead and use the 50% off coupon. I hadn’t seen/"left" anything at the one I bought the D&D game at, so went back into this thinking of getting the Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years that I’d been eyeing. While it would have made for an excellent purchase…I figured it’s a sort of "anthology" volume, I’ve no clue my likelihood of getting other _____: A Celebration of __ Years editions beyond the Superman and Lois Lane ones I already have, and it seemed a shame to use 50%-off on such a low-priced item that’s well worth its marked price.

So, since they still had it, I opted for the "set" of Impulse #s 1-89 plus Annuals 1 & 2.

With the coupon, they became 25-cent books…these 91 comics cost me the same as what SIX current Marvel issues would.

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All in all, a VERY expensive weekend (compared to usual). But, no money out of pocket solely for the privilege of walking around and then giving dealers cash for product. No significant lines, no major miles or gas costs, no lodging, etc. Yet the weekend’s "haul" is certainly on-par with a solid convention’s haul…but without the general hassles OF a convention.

Now I’m really counting on the upcoming "new comics day" being a small one!

Zero Hour Revisited – Flash #94

90srevisited_zerohour

flash_0094Reckless Youth chapter three: Just Do It!

Story: Mark Waid
Guest Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Wayne Faucher and Jose Marzan Jr.
Letterer: Kevin Cunningham
Colorist: Gina Going
Assistant Editor: Ruben Diaz
Editor: Brian Augustyn
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

Well, that explains a bit, on multiple fronts. Some early Wally/Bart interaction, as well as (now) confirming [1.] that yes, that was “the” Wally in Zero Hour #4 and [2.] How he wound up in the future with no real context provided.

We open on Bart, with Wally’s narration…Bart’s not familiar with his own power/abilities, and Wally’s job is to keep an eye on him. Iris Allen–Barry’s wife–is present, and plays coy on details of Wally’s future. Meanwhile, Linda’s got a guy named Argus involved in some current investigation (I think he’s the Bloodlines character introduced in the Flash 1993 Annual). Wally’s none too happy about being pressed into responsibility for Bart…and takes full advantage when Argus phones in a tip. Wally investigates,and finds himself about to get some really good intel on Kobra when Bart rushes in, spoiling things. Resigned, Wally joins the fight, but soon finds himself facing Kadabra…and then he’s pulled into the far-future, Kadabra’s own time…and while still trying to get his bearings, Waverider appears.

The credits list Pacheco as a guest penciller…which explains my relative (but only slight) surprise at this not being a Weiringo-drawn issue. Though some panels come off slightly more cartooney than I’d prefer, with an odd sort of simplicity to them, on the whole the issue is quite good-looking, and not bad to see. I can mostly follow stuff, though I’m mentally piecing together context, as this is listed as part 3 of a story, but I’m reading it because it’s a Zero Hour tie-in. We get plenty of linework to suggest Flash’s speed, but nothing special or surprising. I “get” that Flash is fast, but there’s no particular creative styling to suggest the speed in a way that the very layout of the page does it, and the art style in general isn’t something drastically different from other contemporary books. It’s “just” superhero art, works well, and fits the issue.

Story-wise, I’m a bit lost, with not knowing where the story began (if this is part 3, I can assume #92) nor how long it should go (six issues from this would be #100, though there’s the #0 yet between). Similarly, given the tight continuity, I spent most of the issue wondering how Wally’s here doing this stuff when in Zero Hour #4 he’s in the far future, apparently having just captured someone (Kadabra). That does get addressed at the end of this issue, and perhaps my expectations were thrown by the Batman issue: that one shared several pages’ worth of story with Zero Hour #4…this one basically a panel. I’d “assumed” we’d get something a bit more detailed in this issue on Wally’s actions trying to shut down the Time Rift…but apparently that was “uniquely” contained to the Event Book itself.

I’d half thought/assumed over the years that Bart–Impulse–first appeared in Zero Hour itself, that this story shoehorned the character into the Flash mythology…but it would seem that I was wrong…and that has me all the more interested in getting up to speed (no pun intended) with the Flash book. This was a first-time-through for me with this issue…I didn’t read it back in 1994, nor had I ever read it prior to this reading project…so it’s actually rather cool to get this taste of the Flash’s own story, knowing the exact point it’s taking place in relation to a bunch of other ’90s issues…namely, during July 1994, and the Zero Hour event.

As this issue is part of the earliest stage of the story, the Time Anomalies are just being discovered, the wibbly-wobbly-ness just started to get noticed, so the bulk of the issue really IS “just” a typical Flash story, just any issue of the Flash book.

I enjoyed it, and look forward to the #0 issue, and eventually/someday getting fully caught up contextually with Wally’s time as the Flash.

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