Dark Crisis: Young Justice Spotlights DC Comics Legacy Problem

DC Comics decision to open up the opportunity for DC Universe Infinite subscribers to only have to wait a month after release under the Ultra-tier subscription has been a game changer. One big reason is that you don’t have to wait long to read tie-ins for big events like Dark Crisis before the final issue releases next week. And out of morbid curiosity I wanted to see if a comic like Dark Crisis: Young Justice that I dropped over satisfying story improved when reading the complete story.

Now having read the complete Dark Crisis: Young Justice story the original reason I dropped the series still stands. The entire series made it clear that the Young Justice generation deserve so much better than how they’ve been treated the last decade plus.


With Dark Crisis: Young Justice Meghan Fitzmartin and Laura Braga spotlighted what Tim Drake, Conner Kent, Cassie Sandsmark, Bart Allen, Cissie King-Jones, and Red Tornado are doing during the events of Dark Crisis #1 to Dark Crisis #6.

It all begins with Tim Drake, Conner Kent, and Bart Allen being transported to a DC Universe that looks like the 90s after the Justice League’s funeral in Dark Crisis #1. This all turns out to be done by Young Justice’s biggest fan from the Fifth Dimension Mickey Mxyzptlk, who wants to give Tim, Conner, and Bart a world they weren’t pushed aside by their mentors and legacy heroes.

Tim Drake, Conner Kent, and Bart Allen Status Quo
Tim Drake, Conner Kent, and Bart Allen are stuck in their original forms from their debuts as Cassie Sandsmark explains in Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1. Credit: DC Comics

Conner is the only one that is up for Mickey Mxyzptlk plan as he aggressively shares his displeasure being in a universe where he died and was forgotten about. Not happy with Young Justice turning against him Mickey Mxyzptlk turns against the team.

Luckily Cassie, who is able to recruit Red Tornado and an extremely reluctant Cissie, arrives in this created universe to help out her friends. Together Young Justice instigate Mickey Mxyzptlk toxic keyboard warrior fanboy personality so they can defeat the 5th dimension villain with 3rd dimension’s quantum theory.


If Dark Crisis: Young Justice was your first ever experience with reading these characters I would completely understand if you wondered how all these legacy heroes ever worked together. And all of that really falls on not only the way Fitzmartin decides to frame the story of Dark Crisis: Young Justice but the resolution that is reached by the end. It is one thing to go all meta with the commentary of the Young Justice generation having gained the label of the “Lost Generation.” Because that is honestly true as only Tim Drake has been consistently developed even during the New 52 and Rebirth eras of DC Comics.

Conner Kent Wants To Stay In Toxic DCU
Conner Kent is the only one that wants to stay in the toxic version of the DC Universe because he never died there as shown in Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2. Credit: DC Comics

There are the ideas of Conner wanting to live in a world he didn’t die, Bart steps backward as Impulse, Cassie’s attachment to the three original Young Justice founders, and Cissie distaste for her superhero past and Young Justice teammates. All these things are presented with the idea about the negative side of rose-tinted of nostalgia the purpose for Dark Crisis: Young Justice is forgotten. There is a lot of merit to these characters tackling the problems they have with each other or their respective history. But what ends up being the resolution is Tim, Bart, and Conner praising Cassie non-stop while Cissie blends in with the background at the end of the story.

The care into these characters is even lost and forgotten about is just never there. That is best shown with how Cissie literally has three lines of dialogue in the final issue of Dark Crisis: Young Justice. And that is just the story in the moment. Its not even going into how Dark Crisis: Young Justice alters or forgets all these characters history to make the way characters act


Dark Crisis: Young Justice is as much a presentation of a basic Wikipedia character search as the villain that caused all this Mickey Mxyzptlk is. The first one that stands out is the idea that Cissie not being on speaking terms with her former Young Justice teammates. We even see in Cissie angry rant to Cassie about how she quit being on Young Justice and a superhero because she couldn’t deal with being the team’s toxic masculinity. Which, as you can see from the image below of Cissie and Cassie interactions in Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 and the real reason Cissie retired in Young Justice #17, you would know that is furthest from the truth.

Cissie King-Jones Reason For Retiring
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 (left) distorts Cissie King-Jones retirement as Arrowette from how it was handled starting in Young Justice #17 (right). Credit: DC Comics

As we see in Young Justice #17, Cissie’s choice to retire was her own as she wanted to find herself again after almost crossing the line by killing a criminal two issues earlier. Taking the hints that she was in danger of falling down a villain’s path Cissie made the difficult choice of moving on. She took agency in her life by finding a different path in life. That includes training to have a successful Olympic career and going to high school to continue her education.

Along with that she calls out Cassie for not reaching out to her before Dark Crisis. As we saw in the image above Cassie did take Cissie’s retirement hard as they were best friends. But while Dark Crisis: Young Justice makes you believe Cissie’s retirement was the end of their friendship. Even though when you go back to read Young Justice you’ll see not only does Cissie hangout with her friends she is a constant presence in the series 54 issue run. If that wasn’t enough when Cassie is having a hard time getting to live a normal teenage life in Teen Titans it is Cissie who stands up for her best friend when Cassie is denied going to a new high school.

Cissie King-Jones Young Justice Friendship
Even after retiring Cissie King-Jones still hangs out with her Young Justice teammates and helps Cassie Sandsmark enroll in her school as shown Young Justice #32 (left) and Teen Titans #7 (right). Credit: DC Comics

It is unfortunate that the power behind Cissie’s history is completely altered. Because even though she did give up her superhero life Cissie found peace in discovering her own path in life. That included still spending time with Cassie and her Young Justice teammates when they had a chance to. Even in the most recent volume of Young Justice, which this Dark Crisis tie-in seems to be heavily inspired by, featured Cissie not hesitating in putting on her Arrowette costume when her teammates needed her help the most. But of course, you would not know any of that by just reading Dark Crisis: Young Justice.


Yet another swing and miss in tying Dark Crisis: Young Justice to the history of the team is the failure around the two plot points around Conner Kent. The first is that there is this introduction of Conner Kent opening up to the sorrow he feels over being in a world where he died and came back like no one cared. It was one of the biggest honest moments that drove at least 60% of the story as Conner was the voice to wanting to stay in the 1990s DC Universe that Mickey Mxyzptlk created.

There is a lot there to be explored from Conner’s origin as a clone to how his Superboy successor in Jon Kent arguably already surpassed him by becoming Superman. When you look at what he meant to the DC Universe from his whole origin to stopping Superboy-Prime in Infinite Crisis Conner basically being an afterthought during the decade New 52 and Rebirth existed is a painful experience. It would be understandable Conner would have this feeling of going back to a time he was seen as the next big thing. But in the end the big revelation Conner, along with Tim and Bart, comes to is burying this character arc to apologize for being a horrible first love to Cassie.

Cassie Sandsmark Honesty To Conner Kent
Cassie Sandsmark tells Conner Kent about her kiss with Tim Drake not long after his return to life back in Adventure Comics #2. Credit: DC Comics

If that wasn’t enough of a beating down on Conner Kent’s character there is the premise of how Cassie and Tim still regret their kiss after his death and don’t want him to ever find out. Immediately bring this history back up you immediately are reminded that this has not been an issue for a long time. Why? Because we should really forget that as a young adult Cassie took agency by talking about this and Conner understanding his friends took his death incredibly hard and had an emotionally charged moment together.

Like with all the problems with Cissie’s character arc, Dark Crisis: Young Justice tries and fails to use the history of Conner, Cassie, and Tim to manipulate things in a way that reminds you of the whole Fake News trend. It’s a disservice to the characters and the type of story Dark Crisis: Young Justice premise was trying to explore.


At the end of the day Mickey Mxyzptlk is just 4chan being brought to life in the DC Universe. Mickey Mxyzptlk is the definition of the toxic fanatic who is an uncontrollable keyboard warrior that he hates everything that is making the Young Justice generation be forgotten. If that wasn’t obvious Mickey Mxyzptlk makes that clear by trying to present the roster of new legacy characters as the enemy.

Mickey Mxyzptlk Represents Toxic Fan Culture
Mickey Mxyzptlk of the manifestation of 4chan and toxic fan culture as shown by his hate for the new generation of heroes in Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5. Credit: DC Comics

That all lead to Mickey Mxyzptlk being an eye roll of a character that brought nothing to the table other than an excuse for Young Justice not to play a role in the latest Crisis that has hit the DC Universe. And how better to do that to push the idea that the 1990s and 2000s DC Universe was extremely problematic when fans take off their rose-tinted glasses of those eras.

The message is obviously flung at the face of the reader. But rather than giving a purpose for why Young Justice is not helping overcome Dark Crisis, the story just a poor handout to fans because there weren’t actual plans for these characters.


Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #5
Nightwing leads the Titans against Deathstroke’s Dark Army in Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #5. Credit: DC Comics

The Young Justice generation most certainly deserve better than they’ve had not just from Dark Crisis: Young Justice but for the last decade plus when looking back at New 52. This latest story just showed that like Dick Grayson before him Tim Drake is the only one that has been able to avoid forever being tied to being known for his time in a memorable team run.

It’s unfortunate because all of this continues the trend of DC Comics introducing all these legacy characters with a ton of potential only to forget about them for the next new character. That is too bad because when you combine the Teen Titans, Young Justice, and current generation of new characters there is a strong roster that DC Comics is wealthy with. Hopefully with whatever does come out of Dark Crisis we do see more than just the Batman Family be a focus on giving time to develop and gain popularity to carry their own titles