Continuity has been thrown out the window (Oops.), and Conner Kent aka Superboy is back in the pages of DC Comics as a farmer in Gemworld, who recently invaded Earth. Writer Brian Michael Bendis, artists Patrick Gleason and Viktor Bogdanovic with inker Jonathan Glapion, and colorists Alejandro Sanchez, Chris Sotomayor, and Hi-Fi give him plenty of time to reintroduce himself and banter with Impulse while the rest of the Young Justice “team” languishes in a prison. And what results in Young Justice #3 is a classic case of good characterization, disjointed plotting, and okay art. It’s definitely a middle chapter.
But, first, the good. I haven’t read any of the old Young Justice or other pre-New 52 comics in which Conner Kent and Bart Allen appeared in, but Bendis, Gleason, and Bogdanovic immediately show their friendship complete with hugs, jokes, and a little trash talk of Gemworld goons. (Comparing a bad guy to an Intergang member is always a sick DCU burn.) Gleason’s expressive art and Bendis’ overcaffeinated dialogue for Impulse has been my favorite part of Young Justice, and there’s a lot of it in this issue as he fights back against the Gemworld fighters and also comes to grips with seeing his old friend having changed so much. It’s a little difficult to process seeing your BFF transform from a black Superman t-shirt wearing teen rebel to a bearded farmer with a wife and baby.
Another decent part of this comic is when Bendis, Gleason, and Bogdanovic tell the story of how Conner Kent came to be in Gemworld. Bendis channels Ultimate Spider-Man a little bit by having the teacher’s lecture about rules and society in what I assume is a class on Lord of the Flies connect to Conner’s arc in the issue. He can fly and has super strength so what is he doing sitting in class when he could investigate some STAR Labs sketchiness.
Conner was created in a lab from Lex Luthor and Superman’s DNA so he’s not a fan of those kind of places. Gleason, Bogdanovic, and Glapion are trying to show his extreme rage and recklessness in wrecking the lab, but the facial expressions don’t match his action in these scenes. Also, Glapion tries to make his pencillers’ work look too much like Greg Capullo so switching from flashbacks to present day is a little jarring. Chris Sotomayor’s colors do highlight the otherworldly mystique of Gemworld as Conner is transported there from a mysterious room in STAR Labs. It’s a quick, simple way to discuss his whereabouts without getting caught in a continuity jam.
So, if the Superboy and Impulse parts of Young Justice #3 are entertaining, slightly mysterious, and character driven albeit with some awkward art transitions, the scenes with the rest of the team are extremely boring. Except for a splash page of Wonder Girl, Tim Drake, and the rest of Young Justice battling the Gemworld warriors, it’s mostly them just complaining while being trapped in dungeons and remarking on how weird reality is. There’s nothing much to look at, and thankfully, there is just a few pages.
With the entire team captive, Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason, and Viktor Bogdanovic do have the team in quite a pickle though, and I’m interested to see some of the flashbacks that show Conner’s life as a family man in Gemworld. And as long as it’s a good story, continuity doesn’t matter. Young Justice #3 is compelling as a Superboy solo issue, but sometimes the art doesn’t mesh and the check-in with the rest of Young Justice is either rushed or unnecessary.
Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Patrick Gleason and Viktor Bogdanovic
Inks: Jonathan Glapion
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez, Chris Sotomayor, and Hi-Fi
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual and Josh Reed
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
DC/Wonder Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review