Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 review

Last issue Impulse, Superboy and Robin vanished from the Justice League’s memorial service. They appeared in what was apparently their past and soon began questioning its reality – someone seemed to be deliberately trying to keep them too busy to think. At the end of the issue, Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark appeared in classic YJ mode, pigtails, belly shirt and all.

It’s not Wonder Girl. The real, current day Cassie was still on Earth 0 trying to enlist former YJ member Cissie King-Jones, Arrowette, to help her find their pals. Cissie said no, insisting her superheroing days were beind her.

This issue, it’s more of the same, but even more obvious that someone wants the boys to settle into a retro reality.

And yet they still allow themselves to get dragged to a Justice League meet and greet, where Tim gets patronised about his private life.

At which point Tim should round up Bart and Conner – who are also being offered promotions – and find out who’s plopped them into superhero Disneyland. And he tries, having a sit-down meeting, but Conner is drinking the Kool-Aid.

Meanwhile, real Cassie and Cissie have tracked down YJ’s old mentor.

Back wherever, the boys do leave the satellite, but a missing ersatz Wonder Girl prompts guilty feelings.

Now who’s that reflected on the Super Cycle? Pariah in a beanie? We know the Crisis on Infinite Earths survivor has been sending Justice Leaguers to distractingly perfect versions of their lives, surely he’s done the same to Robin and pals… but why are they all on the same world? Why is there an in-house Wonder Girl?

Why does no one remember that Secret and the Mist were also longtime YJ members and might be of help, or in danger themselves?

There are enjoyable moments in this second issue, such as the arrival of Red Tornado. Tim’s internal narration as he arrives at the JLA watchtower is nicely written. I like that Impulse is shown as a smart kid who has grown as a person, and that level-headed Tim is level-headed Tim. Superboy gets to carry the stupid stick for the sake of the story, sadly. The mystery of why this world seems rather more sinister than those housing Superman, Aquaman and Flash kept me interested.

There’s a little too much angst in terms of the lads realising they don’t know where a Wonder Girl would weep, and Cissie has had a 180 degree turn in terms of her interest in superheroing – she is unbearable.

This from the kid who went to a private school.

Kali. Lobo. Lex Luthor. Darkseid… let’s have a collection for the poor, underprivileged folk picked on by the toffs of YJ. Now, Arrowette could literally have had her memories tampered with, but I strongly suspect writer Meghan Fitzmartin is serious here, twisting the history of YJ to suit her interests.

I mean, look at how Cissie arrives on panel after turning down Cassie’s appeal for aid last time.

Utter cringe. Last month it was Cassie fretting about the morality of using x-ray vision. Will next issue reveal that former YJ foe Granny Goodness was a bullied trans-woman? I wouldn’t mind if such things contributed to the story, but they really do read like tacked-on virtue signalling.

Friendships, feelings… they’re all great story fodder, but YJ were such a tight unit for so long, the bonds between the characters not in doubt, that the brittleness between Cissie and Cassie this time, and Cassie and the boys last time, the idea that Tim, Impulse and Conner don’t know Cassie outside the team… it’s nonsense.

The art is gorgeous once again, with some lovely character acting in Laura Braga’s illustrations and a lightness of touch that’s refreshing. My quibble from last issue is no more, Braga has got the hang of drawing Bart’s lightning bolt costume element – well, I did say ‘quibble’. Some of the pages are packed with panels, it’s not often your get four tiers in a US comic, but the pages all look good under Braga’s hand. Nevertheless, my favourite page is the credits splash, when the art has room to breathe and we see the return of the Whiz Wagon – it’s terrific. Oh, and Braga also gives us an amusingly fat Captain Boomerang.

The colouring of Luis Guerrero is as bright and breezy as Braga’s work, his tinted world underlining the enticing nature of the tailor-made ‘reality’ in which the boys find themselves. Pat Brosseau’s lettering is as sharp as I’ve come to expect.

As for the cover, it’s the wrong side of ‘not exactly representative of the insides’… OK, it’s a super-dramatic lie. Perhaps it’s meant to be on next issue’s chapter. Anyway, it’s a great pic from Max Dunbar and Guerrero.

All in all, there’s some good craftsmanship here, a frustrating mix of solid characterisation and rubbish, and a mystery that’s… spoiled in this week’s solicitations for future Dark Crisis stuff. Thanks ever so, DC 😬 Anyway, if you’re an old Young Justice fan, you’ll likely have been enticed into reading this.

So what did you think?

6 thoughts on “Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 review

  1. I read the first of these, but have decided to read the rest on on DCUI. I get the feeling I’d be on board with the spirit of what Fitzmartin is trying to do, but from what you show, it sure seems like the execution is a bit heavy handed… partially because she’s keeping her thumb on the scale to make her argument. But I’ll withhold final judgement until I read more.

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    1. I’d be really interested to hear what you reckon. I don’t know what Fitzmartin is trying to do. The thing with the pronouns, that’s unforgivably random and clunky – I get it’s important to lots of kids these days, but find an organic way to put it in the story, rather than have Cissie look straight to camera and deliver a PSA.

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      1. I hear you about the pronouns… super clunky.
        But… this is how many of my students are starting to speak now. At least, the ones for whom pronouns are an issue are speaking this way. So… clunky? Yes. Super earnest? Also yes. But also, a valid way of introducing someone for some people.

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  2. Yeah, the pronoun-filled introduction didn’t bug me; it’s super-clunky (as it is in real life), but seems accurate for a certain segment of people, especially younger ones. It actually seemed to me a pretty sharp signifier of the personality and values Fitzmartin is giving to Cissie. If that’s how she introduces people, there’s a lot you can assume about her character.

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    1. That’s a great way of looking at it, Rob; I’d be going with it had the pal Cissie introduced been in any way a part of the story, but Liz was simply marched on panel, then ignored. She was in two frames, that’s it… Cissie could have made her pronoun point in a far more organic way. Anyway, let me know what you think in six months!

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  3. (And again, I say this as someone who’s only read the panels you’ve posted, and who doesn’t have the whole context of the book.)

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