Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have the All Ages segment of DC Comics under their complete control. As the creative team behind “Tiny Titans,” the duo now writes many of those same characters here in “Young Justice.” (They recently spoke with our own Kiel Phegley about their work on this book.) This series is set to follow in line with the continuity of the cartoon series, and Baltazar likens this series to the experience of watching a DVD with the deleted scenes. It’s not a total rehash, and it certainly encourages evolution in the characters.
The book features nice character moments and relationship developments between Superboy and Miss Martian as well as Superboy and Red Tornado. Superboy and M’gann have time in this issue to find their quarters in the Mount Justice base like kids staking claim to the coolest rooms in a new house or summer cottage. Viewers of the show know of M’gann’s crush on Superboy, so naturally this story offers some humorously uncomfortable moments for the niece of the Martian Manhunter. Those moments are expertly captured by Mike Norton, who gives these characters a great range of expressions while remaining true to what we know of the characters from the show.
Norton’s art is strong, yet stylized, evoking the feel of the cartoon without being slavishly resigned to mirroring the cartoon. As this is a comic based upon a cartoon, the focus of the story is on the characters, but like the cartoon, the characters are not overly rendered. Norton plies his craft to the expressions of the characters and the acting of those characters through their posture and interactions. Norton also adds detail to the backgrounds when applicable, but never at the risk of overwhelming the cast of this title.
There is a bit in this book that plays upon the classic JLA tales from years long past, but as Franco and Baltazar did with “Billy Batson,” they’re selectively borrowing from the legacy to improve the overall story. It’s an interesting bit that has the potential to be exactly what it seems like or to be much deeper. Where this crew takes it from here remains to be seen. In the meantime, for fans of this “Young Justice” cast in need of more from these characters than the weekly fix, this book is a nice supplement. For those that haven’t discovered the cartoon, this book is strong enough to be enjoyable all by itself.