Young Justice #3
Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Viktor Bogdanovic (Artist), Jonathan Glapion (Artist), Patrick Gleason (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colours), Carlos M Mangual (Letters), Josh Reed (Letters), Alejandro Sanchez (Colours), Chris Sotomayor (Colours)
6 March, 2019
Bart Allen doesn’t know where he is, but right now, he doesn’t care. Because he’s found Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy. Unfortunately, their reunion is short-lived. Bart and Conner are on Gemworld, and security doesn’t take kindly to intruders. Never mind that the denizens of Gemworld literally just invaded Earth, only to have Young Justice fight them back. Bart is ready to fight, but Conner seems more reluctant. What happened to him on Gemworld?
Even for comic book readers not following DC Comics, one could be aware of the fact that Conner Kent’s absence since Rebirth has led to a great deal of speculation. There was also conjecture as to why Conner had been aged up from the teenager that he was in New 52. All that is explained in Young Justice #3.
I really liked this story. It didn’t turn out the way I expected it to, and I love the twists thrown in, especially near the end. The reason for Conner’s unlikely arrival on Gemworld caught me by surprise—I would have preferred it not to be an accident, since most events in DC’s Rebirth comics seem to be happy (or unhappy) accidents—but it makes sense in context to the story.
I was quite ambivalent about the move towards focusing on individual characters in the series, as we saw in Young Justice #2, where Wonder Girl was in the spotlight. I wanted a team book, like the first issue. Having said that, there is a lot of background that readers need for these characters, and having spotlight issues seems to be the best way to go about it.
The reason why Young Justice #2’s spotlight method didn’t completely work was because Wonder Girl’s story was shoe-horned into the primary narrative, instead of being allowed to unfold organically. That’s something writer Brian Michael Bendis gets right in Young Justice #3. Superboy’s story, from the past and the present, is interwoven in a way that flows well and ties in to the primary narrative.
The past isn’t something that is additional to the plot. Instead, it is a key component that drives the story forward and gives context to the actions taking place within the present. It makes for a very cohesive and interesting story, and highlights further the problems with Young Justice #2. One can only hope that we see more of Young Justice #3’s structure in upcoming issues of this series.
Another reason why Young Justice #3 worked was that Conner had someone to riff off of. He is essentially teamed up with Bart until we head into Conner’s past, and that camaraderie between the two characters became the highlight of the story. I loved that extended hug between the two, which made it obvious to even the newest of readers that this was a friendship that had been forged over years. I really wish we had had a moment like this for Wonder Girl’s story.
The art is also much better in this issue than it was in #2. There is a great deal of detail on every page, and everything looks beautiful, but with a touch of whimsy so readers know that this series doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not quite as stunning as the first issue but Patrick Gleason, Viktor Bogdanovic, and their team are definitely getting there.
Alejandro Sanchez, Chris Sotomayor, and Hi-Fi take over colour duties for Young Justice #3 and they certainly have a gorgeous palette to work with. I loved the vibrancy of the pages—even when the characters found themselves locked in underground dungeons—and how much depth it gives Gemworld, as well as Earth.
My concerns about Young Justice after the second issue have been alleviated with Young Justice #3. Not only do we have a good plot, full of twists and turns, a strong set of characters with distinctive personalities, but also a great deal of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this issue and find myself genuinely looking forward to what more we will learn about this eccentric, and colourful, group of characters in the rest of the series.