Review: DARK CRISIS: YOUNG JUSTICE #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Meghan Fitzmartin
Artist: Laura Braga
Colors: Luis Guerrero
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2: Impulse, Superboy, and Tim Drake were just saved by Cassie Sandsmark, Wonder Girl in the strange fantasy word they’re trapped in. And she’s here to help them navigate their retro surroundings. But…Cassie Sandsmark is back on our Earth searching for her friends alongside Red Tornado and the superhero formerly known as Arrowette. Which Cassie is lying and who’s about to get burned?!
Young Justice: Dark Crisis #2 picks up where last issue left off, with Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark showing up to help Robin, Superboy, and Impulse face off against the villain Mighty Endowed. However, it becomes evident that this isn’t the real Cassie. The boys have somehow travelled to a idealized version of the DCU Earth, but the story also shows the real Cassie on Earth-0.
Cassie again tries to enlist Cissie King-Jones, who was formerly the Young Justice member Arrowette. Cissie seems to have some anger aimed at the male members of Young Justice, but gives in to Cassie’s plea for help. But she firmly states, “I’ll help you, but this is the last thing I ever do for Young Justice. She also enlists the help of Red Tornado, who acted as the adult chaperone for Young Justice. It’s great to see him included in this story, as it wouldn’t quite be a Young Justice reunion without him.
After dealing with Mighty Endowed, the boys and the false Cassie travel to the Justice League’s Watchtower on the moon .I found it a bit nostalgic to see League as they appeared in the Grant Morrison JLA era. The boys split up to have a talk with their respective mentors in the League. Each of them is presented with the offer of taking over the role of them mentor – to become Batman, Superman, and The Flash.
The odd thing is that the fake Cassie is present at all three encounters simultaneously, pushing each of them to accept the offer. It seems that this Cassie is someone or something more than just this Earth’s copy of the real Cassie. Could she be the architect of this world in disguise?
The encounter between Batman and Tim has caused a bit of a stir on the Internet. Batman’s referring to Tim’s relationship as being “a phase” has been taken out of context to argue that Batman is homophobic. This is inaccurate, as Batman isn’t calling Tim’s bi-sexuality as being a phase, but that his specific relationship with Bernard is a phase. This Batman is pushing for Tim to resume his former relationship with Stephanie Brown. Why Batman would want this is unclear, but not necessarily due to homophobia. And even if Batman was being homophobic, this still isn’t the real Batman.
I find it interesting that while Robin and Impulse are quickly realizing something is wrong with this world, Superboy is succumbing to its temptations. His recent history makes this somewhat understandable. He was written out of continuity, only surviving because of his being on Gemworld when the Flashpoint changed history. And he returned to find that Jon Kent had taken his role as Superboy and heir apparent to the role of Superman. So, it’s not hard to see that Conner might want to stay on this world where his old life has been fully restored.
The issue ends with the boys finding Cassie captured by a trio of supervillains: Lex Luthor, Captain Boomerang, and Deathstroke. This seems like a odd grouping. Luthor and Deathstroke are major villains, but Boomerang is nowhere near being in their league. But they all have one thing in common. Each of them is the cause of past trauma for each of the boys. Boomerang killed Tim’s father, Deathstroke crippled Impulse, and Conner was horrified to learn that he had been cloned from a mix of Luthor’s and Superman’s DNA.
I am somewhat confused as to where Cissie’s anger towards the boys is coming from. She is quite vocal about her dislike for the three of them. She tells Cassie, “I stopped bing a superhero because of the toxicity. Your life revolves around those three boys… But who are you without them?… I didn’t want my decisions to be overshadowed by three privileged idiots who had the whole world handed to them on a platter, while you and I scraped for any attention”.
But none of this was in the original Young Justice comic by Peter David. The boys never overshadowed Cassie in David’s original series. Perhaps Cissie was as bit, but that was more likely to her not being the protégé of a major DC star like the others. And her retirement from Young Justice and the identity of Arrowette was in reaction to her having taken a life. She felt unworthy of continuing as a superheroine after that. There was no indication that she had any problem with any of her teammates when she quit.
I wonder if Cissie’s guilt over that murder has caused her to slide into denial. Has she projected her anger towards the boys, making them scapegoats? Or has Fitzmartin retconned Cissie’s reasons for quitting? If it’s the latter, I can’t say that I like this alteration to the continuity. And while the boys arguably are somewhat privileged, Cassie is no less privileged. And none of them have ever lorded their privilege over their teammates or anyone else.
In short, I am starting to sense that either Fitzmartin has made some significant retcons to the team’s past. Either that, or she is mischaracterizing the girls, especially Cissie. Or perhaps there is more going on that will become clearer as the story progresses.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 continues this nostalgic look back at Peter David’s classic series. The original Young Justice series was one of my all-time favourite comics, and Meghan Fitzmartin and Laura Braga have managed to capture much of the feel of that series. This series is proving to be a nostalgic look back while providing an interesting story that will hopefully set up new incarnation of the team for the Infinite Frontier era.