Young Justice #1 was an underwhelming start to this new title. We here at The Revolution are huge fans of Young Justice. So, needless to say, we were excited that the Young Justice franchise was being revived. Unfortunately, Brian Bendis delivered a debut issue that was light on content and unimpressive with the character work. Having said that, I still remain hopeful that Young Justice will shape up to be a quality read that lives up to the legacy of this franchise. Let’s hit this review for Young Justice #2!
Words: Brian Bendis
Art: Patrick Gleason, Emmanuela Lupacchino, and Ray McCarthy
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin in the Gemworld. We see Prince Moonstone being informed that Lord Topaz is dead. That Lord Opal killed Lord Topaz and took over the House of Topaz. Prince Moonstone’s assistant urges the Prince to join forces with Lord Opal or else Lord Opal will be coming to kill Prince Moonstone. The assistant suggest that Prince Moonstone kill Amethyst and present her head to Lord Opal as a gift.
Suddenly, Amethyst and Robin appear on the scene. Robin is riding a winged horse. The two heroes attack Prince Moonstone and his soldiers.
We cut to the Forests of Topaz. We see Ginny in her pick-up truck and Teen Lantern (This characters seriously needs a new codename) on top of GInny’s truck. Ginny pulls out her shotgun on Teen Lantern and asks if there is anyone inside of the glowing green robot suit.
Wonder Girl then appears on the scene. Ginny pulls her shotgun on Wonder Girl and asks Wonder Girl who she is.
We then flashback to weeks ago at Atlantic Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida. We see Wonder Girl battling Despero. Wonder Girl easily dispatches of Despero. (Huhbutwhat? A Justice League baddie capable of taking on the entire League gets taken out like a D-list chump villain? That’s Bendis for you!)
The crowd of students cheer Wonder Girl even though they call her Zatanna. (Yes. I can see why anyone with eyeballs and two braincells would confuse these two characters.) A police officer asks Wonder Girl her name, too. Wonder Girl then sees an older man standing in the front of the crowd. Wonder Girl then curses.
We zip to Wonder Girl and the old man gloating in the air. The older man is Wonder Girl’s grandfather, Zeus. Zeus asks Cassie to give him a hug. Cassie refuses. Cassie says that this is the first time Zeus has ever visited her on Earth. Zeus says that he is here because he and Cassie need a fresh start with each other.
Zeus says that Cassie is the future of the Pantheon of the Gods. Zeus says that it is his responsibility to train Cassie for this future. Zeus hands Cassie an amulet that is a part of the Trinity of the Gods. The amulet goes with Cassie’s bracelets and lasso. That when she becomes a full member of the Pantheon of the Gods that all three items will be gifted to Cassie.
Cassie says that Wonder Woman never told her about this. Zeus replies that Princess Diana does not know everything. Zeus says that the amulet gives Cassie the power to take her place alongside Zeus and the others gods on the Pantheon. Zeus says that Cassie’s role is to protect the realm.
Cassie asks why Zeus is giving her the amulet now. Zeus says because she is his granddaughter and that it is time. Cassie says that she has done nothing to earn this amulet. Cassie refuses to take the amulet. Cassie says that she will attain her role as being a member of the Pantheon on her own. She will earn it. That Cassie will find out on her own what she is. Cassie says that she is not going to have someone tell her what she is.
Zeus says that Cassie is a pain just like her mother. Zeus then teleports away from the scene. Cassie then looks down at the ground and says, “Uh-oh. Now what?”
We cut back to the present in the Gemworld. Cassie introduces herself to Ginny. Ginny gets back in her pickup truck and Cassie picks it up by the exterior sun-visor on top of the windshield and flies the pickup truck through the air. (That…simply is not possible. Cassie would need to hold the truck from the bottom. That thin metal would just rip off.) Teen Lantern flies next to the truck.
Suddenly, Robin flying his winged horse runs into the pickup truck. Teen Lantern makes a bunch of pillows so everyone lands softly onto the ground. Robin then introduces Amethyst to Wonder Girl. Teen Lantern introduces herself to Robin and Amethyst. Amethyst welcomes the heroes to her kingdom.
Lord Opal then appears on the scene and says that this is unbelievable. Lord Opal says that this is why everyone wants to kill Amethyst. Lord Opal says that he is Lord Opal of Gemworld and that all of them now belong to him. End of issue.
The Good: Young Justice #2 was another disappointing read. Bendis basically just gave the reader a bunch of time wasting and filler. However, nestled inside of all that filler Bends did manage to begin his task of rebuilding Cassie’s character.
The scene with Cassie and Zeus is clearly the only real substantive content in Young Justice #2. Even though the scene went on for way too long it was still great to see Bendis performing some character work on Cassie. Wonder Girl is a great character who was really damaged by the New 52. Cassie is a character that desperately needs some rebuilding and to be given a new purpose and direction.
Before the New 52, Cassie was the daughter of Dr. Helena Sandsmark, an archeologist, and Zeus. The New 52 retconned Cassie’s origin. Cassie became the daughter of Dr. Helena Sandsmark, still an archeologist, and Lennox Sandsmark. Lennox abandoned Helena and Cassie when Cassie was four years old. Lennox was a demigod and the son of Zeus and half-brother of Wonder Woman.
Nice to get some character work on Cassie. This is a character that needs some rebuilding and a new purpose and direction. Cassie is a character that has lacked direction and purpose. She has felt rudderless. Bendis successfully addresses those issue with the scene between Cassie and Zeus.
The interaction between Zeus and Cassie was well done. I like that Bendis had Cassie stand up to Zeus and call him out about his motives for giving her the amulet. Cassie shows backbone and some good street smarts as she takes Zeus to task with his sudden appearance and the offering of the amulet.
I love that Bendis used this scene with Zeus to give Cassie some agency over her own life. Cassie assumes control for her life, her path, and her destiny. I love that Cassie prefers to take the hero’s path of discovering who she is herself and then proving herself worthy of the amulet and her role in the Pantheon of the Gods. This is exactly the coming of age moment that works so well on a teen title.
Patrick Gleason, Emmanuela Lupacchino, and Ray McCarthy all combine to deliver plenty of solid artwork. Young Justice #2 is not as nice looking as Young Justice #1. This is due to Gleason and Lupacchino having to split the art duties. The result is that Young Justice #2 has an uneven look from scene to scene. Having said that, Gleason and Lupacchino still deliver some cool moments in this issue. In particular is the double page splash shot of Robin on his winged horse and the ending single page splash shot at the end of the issue.
The Bad: Young Justice #2 read like a teaser insert for an upcoming title rather than an actual issue. This issue presents a small sliver of content in the middle sandwiched by pure filler. The reader finishes Young Justice #2 with an unsatisfied and unfulfilled feeling. This issue was an appetizer followed by a cup of coffee and a check. The reader is left wondering what happened to the dinner that they ordered.
It is striking that in just the second issue of a new title that Bendis would roll out an issue that is so lacking in content or plot progression. There is more meat on the bones of Kate Moss than there is on Young Justice #2. This issue is an extremely fast read since there is very little real substantive content. I rocketed to the final page and was stunned that the issue was already over. Young Justice #2 felt so incomplete.
The plotting and pacing on Young Justice #2 are both atrocious. Bendis is introducing plot lines in a cursory and miserly fashion. The story is inching forward in a painfully slow manner.
Bendis burns five entire pages on Prince Moonstone and his soldiers rehashing what we already got in Young Justice #1 and then Robin and Amethyst crashing into this scene. It could have been done in two to three pages at the absolute most. There is simply no new content and it fails to move the story along at all. The scene feels like a pure time waster.
Bendis then spends three pages having Ginny stare at her truck, ask Teen Lantern who she is and then ask Wonder Girl who she it. Three. Pages. This was literally three panels of content stretched out over three pages. This was such a boring and blatant time waster.
We then get a two page “fight” scene with Cassie and Despero. This scene is a good example of how Bendis ignores all established history of a character when it does not suit his personal needs in his story. So, Cassie manages to take down a villain of the level of Despero with complete ease in just two pages. It is so silly that it pulls the reader out of the story. Beyond that, this scene is provides the only “action” in this issue and that “action” is pretty short and lame.
Bendis then wastes a one page scene establishing that nobody knows Cassie’s codename. This is so over done and repetitious. This is something that most writers effectively perform in one or two panels at most.
We then get the seven page scene with Zeus and Cassie. This is where Bendis hides the actual new content and plot progression for Young Justice #2. Now, I have already praised the good aspects of this scene in the earlier section of this review. The glaring and obvious problem with this scene is that it is way too long for such a simple plot-line.
As usual, Bendis loses his focus and ends up repeating himself. This scene begins to meander about as it progresses. There simply is not enough content to this single plot line or this scene to warrant it being seven pages. This scene would have been far more effective and achieved the same goal if it had been delivered in a proper four to five pages.
Bendis then wastes yet another page still introducing Cassie, Ginny, and Teen Lantern to each other. Move on already. It became ridiculous at this point in the issue to see what most writers do in a couple of panels now be stretched over multiple pages. It just came off as blatant time wasting.
Bendis ends Young Justice #2 with a three page scene of everyone crashing in mid-air then landing to the ground, quickly introducing everyone to Amethyst and then Lord Opal arriving on the scene. First, this scene shows that Bendis knows you can introduce characters to each other in the span of a couple of panels. This makes the reader even more irritated that Bendis spent multiple pages doing that with Cassie, Teen Lantern, and Ginny. Second, the arrival of Lord Opal did provide for the only other new content and plot progression outside of what we got with Cassie and Zeus. Of course, this scene is the perfect case of too little, too late.
What makes Bendis’ plotting truly awful is what the reader does not get in Young Justice #2. Bendis makes a point of delivering a huge hook ending in Young Justice #1 with the stunning return of Connor Kent. The hook ending succeeds in making the reader forget about the dull and shallow debut issue and gets the reader exited for Young Justice #2. And what does Bendis do? He pulls a bait and switch and fails to have either Bart or Connor appear anywhere in Young Justice #2.
It is a cheap trick and poor writing when an author ends an issue with the promise of a certain plot line or character and then deliberately fails to deliver on that promise with the following issue. There is no excuse for this type of lazy writing. It does nothing for the story at all and only serves to make the reader feel that the writer is intentionally playing games with them. It is always vital that a writer retain the trust of the reader and tricks like this do not help in that endeavor.
All in all, Young Justice #2 provides practically no plot progression and very little in terms of actual new content. Bendis serves the reader a half-baked shallow story that is an unfulfilling read. And the cherry on this crap sundae is that the reader receive no payoff from last issue’s hook ending.
Young Justice #2 is not only decompressed and dull but it offers the reader little to no action. We do get the very brief and uneventful two page “fight” between Cassie and Despero. But, other than that? Nothing. In fact, when things heat up in the beginning of the issue with Robin and Amethyst crashing into the scene with Prince Moonstone, Bendis immediately cuts away from that scene to a dull and meandering scene with plenty of babbling. It was like Bendis thought, “Oh, shit! Are we about to have some excitement and action in this issue? Can’t have that!”
Young Justice #2 also presents the reader with such unimpressive character work. All of the characters are so bland and generic. Well, with the exception of Ginny. She continues to be nothing more than a ridiculous caricature of a Southern person. The rest of the characters? Just beige cardboard cut-outs. There is no hint of genuine personality to these characters.
The dialogue is equally bland and neutral. All of the characters outside of Ginny have the same external voice. Ginny gets saddled with that silly “Southern” voice that writers always give characters from the South.
Of course this all leads to the most disappointing aspect of Young Justice #2. There is zero chemistry between the members of this team. That is unfortunately since this franchise used to have excellent chemistry between the teammates.
Overall: Young Justice #2 is another disappointing read. This young title is off to such an unimpressive start. Team titles have never been Bendis’ strength. Still, Bendis has shown growth in his writing over on Superman so I thought we might get more of that here on Young Justice. Unfortunately, Bendis’ Young Justice is off to a slow, dull, and meandering start that offers the reader little in the way of quality character work or engaging plot lines.