Young Justice #2 is a comic book that has all the trappings of being a title someone in their mid-30s steer clear of. The cast is a roster of fast-talking, snarky kids who have powers beyond their maturity level, and a hyper-kinetic, glucose-fueled art style that screams Saturday morning cartoons and Adderall. And yet, despite the first glance assessment, Young Justice #2 is a solid comic which starts to made good on the promise of high adventure the first issue only touched upon. This issue focuses on the new team roster starting to converge and figure out where they are (it’s Gemworld, by the way), and why they were spirited away from their world.
While the pacing is far from glacial, Young Justice is a title that seems to be comfortable with taking its time to tell the story. Brian Michael Bendis is a writer who knows how to use the long game; there's always the initial hook to reel readers in, and if those readers are willing to go along with the adventure, they'll be rewarded for their commitment. Sure, Young Justice is only two issues in, but it already feels like the groundwork for crazy revelations down the line has already been built.
It’s safe to assume that everyone remembers the first time they read a Bendis comic. His prolific comic resume is so long, and the number of genres he’s dabbled in is incredibly varied. I first discovered his work in the true crime miniseries about the Cleveland Torso Murders and the slow spiraling downfall of lawman Eliot Ness, Torso, which was co-written by Marc Andreyko. I was a high schooler, looking to find gritty books that operated outside the superhero realm, and Torso scratched that itch like a baseball bat wrapped in razor wire. From there, I scooped up more of his crime and noir titles like Jinx, Goldfish, and his Image Comics run on Sam and Twitch. Little did I know at the time Bendis would soon dip his toe into the realm of superheroes and rekindle my love for the genre.
Jump ahead twenty years, and Mr. Bendis is still producing solid material in both worlds. Over the course of two decades, he changed the trajectory of Marvel Comics, and now appears to be looking to do the same for DC. This isn’t to say everything Bendis touches is gold. He’s had some duds, but they're few and far between. Young Justice , however, is not one of them. It feels fresh and vibrant. the humor is sharp (especially the reoccurring joke about no one knowing who Wonder Girl is), and the adventure portions are gorgeous and uncluttered by whirlwinds of dialogue. The conversation between Wonder Girl (who is the MVP of this issue) and Zeus is fantastic, and feels quite relatable despite the fact that it's happening between gods.
Patrick Gleason and Amanuela Lupacchino do solid work here. The art has a youthful flair to match its quick-witted young heroes, and the action sequences are drawn with an impressive fluidity. One moment characters are discussing some possible nefarious plan, and in the next they're getting kicked in the face by a Pegasus with Robin on its back. The scenes that take place in Gemworld are the real stand out, though. Inker Ray McCarthy and colorist Alejandro Sanchez shine the brightest here, their deep heavy inks and splashes of vibrant color imbuing Gemworld with a sense of wonder, making it stand in stark contrast to the aesthetic of the real world.
I was a bit on the fence with the first issue of this series, but Young Justice #2 convinced me to get me on board. The final page is something out of a '80s Saturday morning cartoon and has piqued my unflappable nostalgia. The creative team seems to be having a blast with these characters, to boot, which always makes for a more enjoyable read. Hopefully some of the new additions to the team with get their day in the sun, but with only two issues under its belt, it would be silly to expect this to have happened already. Young Justice #2 is exactly what a comic marketed toward teenagers (and adults who want to relive their glory days as young and naive comic readers) needs to be.