WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Young Justice #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, John Timms, Kris Anka, Evan "Doc" Shaner, Gabe Eltaeb and Wes Abbott, on sale now.
Everyone loves a good teen romance, so why not bring a fan-favorite relationship back to Young Justice? Now that Conner Kent is married with a kid of his own and no longer with Wonder Girl, the book was in need of some love. Young Justice #5 took a step back from the action in Gemworld to reintroduce the bond between Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown.
Longtime DC fans know about the relationship between Robin and the vigilante known as Spoiler. The two were an item back in the early 2000s before Stephanie was killed in the line of duty. She has been brought back on numerous occasions and the two have maintained some form of a relationship in Rebirth continuity.
Through the use of flashbacks this issue, we see what the two have been doing since the end of James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez's run on Detective Comics, right up to the point where Young Justice was reunited. Not only does this sequence explore the mysteries of Rebirth, it also delivers the perfect moment between Robin and Spoiler.
Love is Still in the Air
When Tim Drake's story in Detective Comics ended with him and Stephanie riding off into the sunset, fans were excited to see where their story would pick up. Their relationship had been extremely tumultuous at times, but it finally looked like the two had gotten back together. They knew about their pre-New 52 lives and were ready to face what came next together.
However, when Tim surfaced in Young Justice, this storyline was not initially picked back up. For four issues, it was unclear what happened to Spoiler, but the flashback in Issue #5 leaves nothing unsaid as it fills in what the two were up to before the events of the book. It turns out that three days before the team went off into Gemworld, Tim and Stephanie were still together and enjoying an intimate moment.
They traveled to the Hall of Justice to talk with Zatanna about their bizarre memories. When new memories are unearthed, it pushes Tim to action. He now remembers his friends in Young Justice and needs to find Conner Kent. The two then split up, with Robin going to Metropolis to find his friend and Spoiler going to talk with her father, the supervillain Cluemaster.
Before leaving, though, they share a perfect moment, where Tim and Stephanie confess their love for one another. Tim even admits that he's relieved Stephanie was part of his life before the continuity change because he would not want to know a world without her in it. The two part ways and promise to meet back in three days, but clearly the universe has other plans.
Living in a Conspiring Universe
Tim Drake has been through the wringer over the last few years. Since the beginning of Rebirth, he has nearly died, been imprisoned for the better part of a year and come face to face with a fascist version of himself from an alternate future. At the end of it all, he also learned about a former life he once led in a previous version of DC continuity.
Now, it feels like the universe is conspiring to keep these two lovebirds apart. Their investigation is put on hold so they can each take care of personal matters. While Stephanie goes to meet her father, Robin continues on the trail, where he ends up getting sucked into Gemworld alongside his other teammates.
While Robin is getting back together with the best friends he only just remembered, he is leaving Spoiler behind. The flashback took place three days prior, and they both agreed to meet up in three days. Unless he finds a way to settle the problem with Lord Opal and get back to Earth, it doesn't look like they will be reuniting any time soon.
The issue does not explain where Stephanie is in the present, so we don't yet know if she is busy or waiting for Tim to return. Hopefully she will be understanding why her boyfriend didn't show up when he said he would -- then again, there has never been an absence of drama between them.