Young Justice #5: Repressed Memories and Kryptonite

Young Justice #5 Cover A by Patrick Gleason. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Kris Anka, Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner, and John Timms. Published by DC Comics. May 1, 2019

Young Justice #5

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Kris Anka (Artist), Wes Abbott (Letters), Alejandro Sanchez (Colours), Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner (Artist), John Timms (Artist)
DC Comics
1 May, 2019

Young Justice may have freed themselves from Dark Lord Opal’s prison, but that doesn’t mean the Gemworld villain will let them get away that easily. Scarcely minutes after their heroic escape, Young Justice face the main man himself. Opal happens to be wielding a weapon strong enough to take down Young Justice’s greatest fighter. How will Young Justice escape this time?

Young Justice #5 Cover B by Kris Anka. Written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Kris Anka, Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner, and John Timms. Published by DC Comics. May 1, 2019

Another spotlight issue, this installment turns its focus on Young Justice leader Tim Drake. In flashbacks, Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown, who has not yet appeared in the series, learn that they have repressed an entire period of their existence. With Zatanna’s help, Tim is able to remember Connor Kent and Young Justice. The same does not work for Stephanie, who continues to have no memory of Young Justice.

Memory loss and recovery has been a major part of DC: Rebirth, what with Wally West having been erased and then brought back to existence (only for Heroes in Crisis to ruin everything), so I find it a little annoying that the same plotline is being recycled for Young Justice #5. The introduction of this problem also feels particularly egregious, because the events depicted in the flashback occurred two days prior, yet somehow this is the first we’re hearing about it. In the flashback, Tim recalls what he lost but from his reactions to Connor thus far, one would not think he had been suffering any repression of his memories at all.

I have to question the writing in this series because it feels like writer Brian Michael Bendis is making things up as he goes along with no plan at hand. As a result, the two storylines in Young Justice #5 feel disjointed from each other, an issue that has become more obvious over the last three installments. Somehow, the excitement, camaraderie, and tone of the opening issue hasn’t translated into its follow-ups, and Young Justice #5 exemplifies that.

It doesn’t help that the art is so out of sync in this issue. DC have been using different artists to depict various timelines and to separate the present from flashbacks, but this experiment is not turning out to be as successful as they had hoped. The art in Young Justice #5 is particularly jarring and it took me completely out of the story. Though I did love the colours, for the most part, the obvious changes in style from page to page were not pleasant to the eye. This is not a technique that makes the most of the comic medium; instead, it actively works against the visual nature of comics. I really hope they stop doing this in future issues.

My interest in Young Justice has been waning with every issue and Young Justice #5 has done nothing to help the situation. New plot elements are introduced in this book in such a ham-fisted manner that I am more certain than ever that this series is being rushed into production. With each passing installment, I struggle to find the coherence this series purports to have. Things keep happening but have yet to lead anywhere, forget being resolved. I feel like Young Justice would have worked as several miniseries tied into each other rather than a full-on continuing series but it is too late for such a change to take effect.

As it stands now, Young Justice is making no headway in its story. Despite its great set of characters, I don’t feel invested in this series because the pay-off is so low. Something drastic needs to happen if Young Justice hopes to continue engaging its audience.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir