Banished from Gemworld by magic-wielding aristocrats into the realm of parallel realities, our young heroes just want to find the map that could get them home. What they find instead are the angriest teenagers ever.
The YJ members have varying levels of success against their Earth 3 opposites, while an unknown narrator lets us know that there are heroes on this world.
Eventually we see who it is.
Aka the local version of Stephanie Brown, the hero known as Spoiler.
Impulse, meanwhile, is rather taken by alternate Tim’s supervillain name.
Ouch, I hope that gal is wearing neck protection. At least she provides a great motivation for Tim to open up about his feelings for his Steph, before falling to that super-speed punch.
As the DCU main line gets ever more obsessed with The Batman Who Laughs, over at the Wonder Comics imprint, line guru and YJ writer Brian Michael Bendis keeps things upbeat. Sure, this issue features Tim Drake and friends fighting evil versions of themselves, but it’s not the regulars who have been corrupted – they’re here to bring light to the darkness. Cleverly, he’s shifted the action into the Multiverse for a run of issues, which allowed the treat that was last time’s Kingdom Come visit, and this month’s sojourn on the Crime Syndicate’s homeworld where, traditionally, Evil always wins.
The big news this time – which likely would have been trumpeted on the cover had the reveal not wound up in this issue, a month later than originally solicited – is that Tim Drake looks set to get a new hero name. Red Robin no more?
I’m not convinced. While the notion of a Robin moving to a new identity borrowed from someone else is a cute nod towards to Tim’s forerunner, Dick Grayson – remember, Nightwing was originally a hero in Kandor – ‘Drake’ just doesn’t fit.
Well yes, maybe on Earth 3, where most things are at the very least a tad grumpy, but everywhere else drakes are just boy ducks and ducks are silly. And it’s not great on the secret identity front, even if most of the villains Red Robin encounters won’t know Tim Drake even exists. Sure, ‘Red Robin’ always gets me singing, but it’s not like the name is actually used much in the stories. And it’s a nice song. If nothing else, Tim going by ‘Drake’ is better than Captain Marvel using his magic word as a hero name, and the way Bendis brings up the possibility of a change is great fun. I’m keen to see where the idea goes.
The multiple fight scenes, as good and bad guys discover one another, are terrifically entertaining. Bendis has fun with the dialogue, while artist John Timms really goes wild, with imaginative, dynamic layouts the order of the day. One page is very different from the rest, as Red Robin and Drake battle it out across, and down, a 12-panel grid, with clever colouring by Gabe Eltaeb, whose work is superb throughout. It’s an impressive sequence.
Too impressive… if Timms keeps upping his game every issue we’re going to lose him to a big fat Marvel contract, and I want him here.
Also deserving of huge kudos is letterer Wes Abbot, who comes up with a whole bunch of new logos; my favourite is Luthor-El, which is evocative of the Thirties movie posters which influenced a certain hero’s telescopic lettering.
The story continues next month and I’m looking forward to it immensely, it reminds me a little of that time Kon-El traversed Hypertime… maybe Superboy will reference that.
Timms and Eltaeb also provide the cover which, as you can see up top, is pretty darn spiffy. If Wonder Comics has a flagship title, Young Justice deserves to be it.