Okay everyone. It’s time for the *sniff* final issue *sniff sniff* of Young Justice. It’s a somber fact that eclipses an otherwise delightful, fun, and nostalgic issue.
But before we get into the details of this bittersweet narrative in Young Justice #20, we find ourselves at the cover of the book. The last remaining threshold, before Young Justice’s final chapter begins…
Young Justice #20 comes with THREE, count em, three, covers! Our main cover by series veterans John Timms and Gabe Eltaeb delivers as always. Another crazy detailed and beautifully rendered group shot featuring Naomi as the centerpiece, as the team faces down an unknown threat who looms just behind the camera. This serves a decent snapshot of the issue’s content, although the Dial H kids and the Wonder Twins aren’t present for the main fight.
The variant cover by Derrick Chew is pretty great also, featuring a painted collage of our team in different times and places, much like a Star Wars poster. Superboy is front and center here, which is nice for us super-fans, but I particularly like Impulse and Wondergirl here, shown in dynamic action poses!
And finally there is a “solicit” cover, also by Derrick Chew, and this one is my favorite. It has vibrant poppy-colors, and a stronger anime vibe that I think works very well for the piece. It shows our heroes, again with Superboy at the center, staring down the camera , as they sit on the stoop of a building.
As we venture past the cover and into the story, we get some wonderful call backs for fans of the original series. The team has gathered at Mount Justice, the JLA’s original headquarters and also the original headquarters of Young Justice. The facility is no longer in use and the team has come to reclaim it for themselves and give the new members a grand tour.
In doing so, we stumble across another nostalgic call back, the inactive body of the the team’s original mentor, Red Tornado! Red Tornado reactivates and registers the team as intruders, and now they must fight him to stay alive!
The issue focuses heavily on our final team member who has yet to get much narrative love, Teen Lantern. She’s a big fan of Red Tornado and ends up being the one who has to face him alone. We also get a visit from Green Lantern John Stewart, who butts heads with Teen Lantern, over her illegal use of the Green Lantern energy. Superboy plays a major role in diffusing the conflict and making Teen Lantern really feel like one of the team, which was a lovely moment.
The issue is very fun and bounces from moment to moment with levity, heart, and action. The dialogue is great here, though some of the original members act a little less chummy with Red Tornado than they have in the past. Another bright spot here is that despite all the Multiversal and Crisis shenanigans, Bendis continues to establish that the entire original run of Young Justice happened, is canon, and is remembered by the team members who were there. So that’s another win for us original series fans.
Now, I did notice that Bendis again has David Walker as a co-writer on this issue. I imagine Walker was brought in to condense what Bendis already had into these last two issues. Squeezing Wondergirl’s arc into one issue, and now Teen Lantern’s, culminating in a rather abrupt end to the series. This is showcased in the form of a double page spread tacked onto the end of the book after an incredibly awkward and forced page transition. The double page image itself glosses over many a plot point, and attempts to brush aside potential questions about the future of these characters with a caption reading “Never The End.”
Had I not known about the troubles the book was facing, and that this issue was indeed the last one, these final pages would have been incredibly confusing. This is due to the fact that only now in Issue 20, has the team finally settled into a dependable status quo. The team is fully assembled, their headquarters is established, the initial threats that plagued their origins have been dealt with and they’re ready to start being a team in earnest. Only now it’s the end for some reason. In narrative terms, this is either a disaster of an ending, or a disaster of a beginning, or both.
Now, we can only hope that the series’ ending caption rings true and that we’ll get a revival of the series after DC’s new Future State event, or that perhaps the team will carry on in the background of the DCU, like the JSA when they didn’t have their own book. Perhaps Superboy will take up a more full time role in the Superman titles once the new creative team takes over. Who knows. All I know is, I’m sad and I really hope that is the case.
All that being said, the interior art by Scott Godlewski, Michael Avon Oeming, and Gabe Eltaeb was tops, continuing to showcase the wonderful character designs. Red Tornado is depicted exactly the same as when we last saw him in the original YJ series, which was nice, and the artists took more than a few cues from Young Justice’s TV incarnation for the design of the Mount Justice Headquarters. And as disappointing as that last double page spread was narrative-wise , it sure did look great.
This series was a fun ride with old friends, and I truly hope Young Justice #20 is not the last we see of these characters and that there are more adventures with these guys ahead of us.
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