Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1 review

At the memorial service for the lost Justice League, Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark is pondering life as a teenage superhero. And death.

Heavy. Her mood actually worsens when she sees former Young Justice pals Tim (Robin) Drake, Bart (Impulse) Allen and Conner (Superboy) Kent.

And by the time she joins them after the service, along with onetime YJ stalwart Cissie (Arrowette) King-Jones, she’s feeling almost murderous.

That ‘Bloop’ was Tim, Conner and Bart vanishing, prompting Cassie to ask Cissie to help her track them down.

Now, I get Cissie wanting to swap the hero game for college – being a superhero is a deeply weird life, and certainly not conducive to studying for a degree – ask Dick Grayson and Wally West. But after being pushed into superheroing by her mother, she found she enjoyed being teen archer Arrowette and was a committed YJ member for a long while – she wouldn’t turn her back on Cassie.

Even a Cassie this dark. Who is this young woman taking such a harsh view of her best friends? And why is she acting as if it’s been years since she’s seen any of them? Young Justice got back together only recently and got on pretty well, yet Cassie’s remembrances don’t go past the Geoff Johns Teen Titans run. Wonder Girl is actually wearing her most recent costume (the super-drab one).

So that was confusing. As is Cassie’s burying the lede when she asks the Flash family for a hand.

I’m sure Wally would have been a tad more concerned had she bothered to mention Bart hasn’t just gone off-grid, he was apparently kidnapped by teleporter along with Tim and Conner.

This tie-in to DC’s event du jour, Dark Crisis, becomes a lot more fun as we see where the three boys are.

So much for Cissie’s dismissal of Bart; Tim and Conner are being pulled into this new/old world, while Impulse is focused on solving the mystery of why they’re where they are – YJ didn’t even exist in 1992, the year Superman died.

The person supposedly in need of help is the epitome of distraction.

Well, there’s someone I never expected to see again, a very minor baddie from one of Peter David’s satirical YJ scripts. Her rematch with the lads makes for a fun few pages leading to a most intriguing ending.

Quibbles apart, I’ll certainly be buying the second issue of this mini-series. Being tied to a bigger story involving multiverses and timelines allows for all sorts of nonsense, so perhaps we’ll find out why the recent YJ run is being ignored. If not, I’m sure I can enjoy this on its own terms; I may not agree with some choices – why is no one mentioning other YJ stalwarts, such as Empress and Secret? – but Cassie should certainly be admired for her doggedness. It’s safe to say that Meghan Fitzmartin has me intrigued with her story.

One thing I could have done without was this moment.

Dearie Lord, worrying about x-ray vision as an invasion of privacy? These people are vigilantes, they’re constantly behaving in ways that don’t bear up to scrutiny from a legal viewpoint. I feel I’ve read another recent DC book – maybe Superman: Son of Kal-El – in which x-ray vision was talked of as if its very use was a criminal act. Or perhaps it was a CBR article by some well-meaning young soul. Whatever, can’t we just relax and enjoy a fun, useful, visually interesting super power that’s been around as long as our grandparents?

Laura Braga’s illustrations are beautiful. Every page is replete with great-looking characters, and there’s some fine ‘acting’ going on. The storytelling is sharp, and Braga deserves points for differentiating the equally blonde Cissie and Cassie beyond their hair choices, and handling the superhero crowd scene that opens the issue. Bart’s costume could do with looking more consistent – the lightning design is often way off – but overall this book is blessed to have Braga.

And it also has colour artist Luis Guerrero, who adds a real shine to proceedings with bright and beautiful tones. Letterer Pat Brosseau brings his own art to the story, with personal fonts and fun sound effects galore. Guerrero colours the cover by Max Dunbar, which is a logical design, stylishly executed (dunno what Superboy is doing with a holster, mind).

With five issues to go, this mini has the potential to rebuild Young Justice from the ground up. If it doesn’t manage that, I’ll settle for Cassie cracking a smile…

12 thoughts on “Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1 review

  1. They’e already ignoring Covergence restored the original Multivese. Why not ignore Bendis’ YJ run too? So much for everything matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I usually ignoe DC house adds (too much Batman and endless Crises) but caught the Dork Crisis checklist. Seven months of this? Yeesh.


  2. I’ll be reading this one, being fans of the characters.

    There are a lot of weird things – like Cissie and Cassie and the awful things they say. Oh, and almost everyone else.

    It’s definitely weird that it’s as if Bendis’s book didn’t exist. Not only that, but Conner was also in Action with Superman, Jon and Kara.

    On the other hand – maybe it did exist, because the three aren’t shocked to see each other, as they were at the start of Bendis’s book.

    But Cissie already interacted with them all in Bendis’s book.

    Looks like continuity is whatever any writer wants it to be.

    Cassie’s outfit is indeed drab, and it’s kind of strange that, on the one hand, it’s just regular clothes. On the other – she wears it like a uniform. But it highlights she’s a kid with an American mom, and she’s unique among the Amazons. All of the others have some sort of tribal background, and speak with a kind of formal dignity.

    Time travel back to an era where some version of you already exists is always complicated. Will they run into earlier versions of themselves? They haven’t changed their clothes in 30 years, so they’ll have no trouble recognizing each other :).

    It will be interesting if Tim runs into Stephanie and has to pretend they are still together. I suppose Fitzmartin would handle that as awkwardly as she handled Cissie and Cassie (in the first half) here, and Steph in the recent Tim Drake special.

    I wonder why Pat Brosseau uses gold letters on red in so many places. Here, he uses that for Cassie and Bart narration boxes, and last week it was for Tim Drake in his special. Like in the memorial page you posted above – is that easier for you to read than it is for me? It’s not just the colors, but the vertical parts of the font are extra-thin – especially noticeable vs. the font in the dialog balloons everywhere else.

    The DC wiki had again posted a list of characters appearing in this book almost before the book was even on sale, or within an hour, and what a huge list it is! I suppose many of these characters are on the blurry video screens, or spotted at the funeral, but this many? Amazing.

    https :// dc . fandom . com/wiki/Dark_Crisis:_Young_Justice_Vol_1_1

    Do you know who the 4 are on the map that Bart “runs across”? I spotted Connor Hawke and Kyle Radner, and the Wiki synopsis says the knight is Zauriel. But the woman with the long pony tool remains a mystery. She looks a bit like the Mighty Endowed, or it could be Big Barda, or even the Amazon version of Artemis with the massive pony-tail. But she doesn’t quite match any of them.

    This could be a fun series. I hope the newbie writer Fitzmartin makes this work, as this series will be the biggest tie-in to the Dark Crisis event.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was reading that was definitely Artemis to my eyes. That would fit with the other replacement heroes in the panel. It seems the book is playing it that anything that happened in the Nineties is current in this slice of the timeline.

      I’ve no problem with the lettering, even when not reading close up via Guided View. It’s not so much good as cream for Cassie in my version, while Bart’s pretty much white on red. Incidentally, have you seen Pat Brosseau’s online store, he’s designed some amazing tee shirts – the best has DC Comics prices down the years, ‘still only 25c’ and what have you.

      Thanks for the terrific comments!


  3. “First Hippolyta. Now Diana.”

    At the very least, shouldn’t it be “First Diana, then Hippolyta, now Diana again” pet Death Metal?

    Or, in Cassie’s life, “First Diana (Byrne), the Hippolyta (Jimenez), then Diana again, then Hippolyta again, and now Diana again”?

    I don’t want to belabor it too harshly; maybe her distress is really over the mass death, even though it’s not reflected in the internal monologue. It’s just that Cassie has a lot of experience with death so far. Anyway, thank you for the review! The art looks great, and I love that Mighty Endowed has been pulled out of the (ahem) treasure chest.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed the Tim Drake special, so I picked this one up. I liked it well enough — Cassie’s catty thoughts didn’t bug me so much, but I’m a pretty sunny guy who keeps most of my dark thoughts to myself, so I can a) see where she’s coming from, and also b) see why it comes out of nowhere for most people. But I’ve definitely had reunions with people who I was both happy to see and also annoyed with immediately. Sometimes time gives us a crueler eye. I try to keep that to myself, and I’m sure Cassie would, too — but it’s comics, and we’re in her head.

    But I did miss any sort of mention of the Bendis era YJ, and while I’m intrigued by the 90s setting, this doesn’t feel so vital to the overall story that I can’t enjoy it for free 6 months from now, once the rest of Dark Crisis is over.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah, I’m a sweetheart, but sometimes I get into a dark mood. I keep it to myself.

        I remember reading in a JM DeMatteis Vertigo comic, Seekers Into the Mystery, the phrase “We are not our thoughts.” Our brains our weird things, and sometimes they misfire or give us an internal monologue that appalls us. Brains aren’t our Selves, even though that’s where we think the Self lies these days (as we did previously with the heart, or the humours). They’re just another organ. But it’s our ACTIONS — being kind to others, keeping those dark, selfish, or mean thoughts to ourselves, etc — that is really who we are. The rest is just noise. It’s a notion that’s really helped me, for years. I ought to thank JMD for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. JMD really is one of the wisest writers out there, comics are lucky to have him. And I was but kidding, I’m sure we would have the best of times; the worst of times could play out in our cute wee heids.

        Liked by 1 person

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