Written by: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker Art by: Scott Godlewski
This very special issue focuses directly on the friendship at the heart of Young Justice: Conner, Tim, and Bart-a.k.a. Superboy, Drake, and Impulse. As younger men, these three iconic heroes built Young Justice on their friendship. Now their dream has grown and changed as much as they have. And with the demands of adulthood pulling them in different directions, they realize that nights like this one may never happen again.
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker Art by: Scott Godlewski
Impulse unleashed! Bartholomew Henry Allen II has traveled to the edges of space and time-and along the way, he’s discovered truths that he’s kept from even his closest friends. Until now. The truth behind the legacy of Young Justice is revealed! What does tomorrow hold for Young Justice?
Young Justice versus S.T.A.R. Labs! What happens when a universe reboots right under you? Conner is about to find out! The entire Young Justice team confronts the evil genius behind S.T.A.R. Labs and the truth about Conner Kent. Young Justice #15 wraps up the current story arc while setting up what’s to come.
Conner Kent is back and the truth about how he fits into the DC Universe is revealed. Writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker wrap up this story arc with a fun and wild ride of a finale. Conner has been absent for years in DC, so where has he been? Bendis and Walker give us a simple answer in a way, an explanation that we’ve seen in other stories and media. It’s not a complicated reason and easy to accept and move on.
There’s a really intelligent direction about this in that it allows the reader to focus more on the interaction of the characters more. That’s where a lot of the strength of this series lays. There’s an energy and enthusiasm from the characters that’s fitting for their age. There’s also a sense of love and family that radiates from the page. You really get the sense these are heroes who are happy their friend is back, even the characters who didn’t know him. There’s lots of humor as everyone has their moment and quips fly around. It’s just a fun comic with a lot of energy.
Part of that enthusiasm is due to the art of John Timms and Scott Godlewski. Along with colors by Gabe Eltaeb and letterer Wes Abbott, there’s a lot packed in every panel. There’s a lot of characters here but it works. The fact there’s so many characters packed into the issue is a challenge, but Timms and Godlewski know exactly where to focus and where to put in some visual jokes as well. A facial expression or stance is used to tell the story and what a character might be thinking. Eltaeb’s colors pop on the page and deliver a vibe that matches the youthful exuberance of the series.
Young Justice #15 is a solid finale to the storyline delivering a simple explanation for a character’s absence. The reuniting of the team feels like the old friends back together like it should be. It ties into DC’s meta story well without shaking things up too much but also playing off of mysteries established years ago. It also sets up something to come that has been teased since this series launched. Young Justice #15 sets up an interesting team for the future bringing together the younger heroes in a large group that will hopefully rotate the members delivering something regularly new going forward. It’s a fun series that sticks to the more positive attitude of “Rebirth” and full of potential.
Story: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker Art: John Timms, Scott Godlewski Color: Gabe Eltaeb Letterer: Wes Abbott Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
(W) Dan Jurgens (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Howard Porter In Shops: Jun 17, 2020 SRP: $4.99
Dick Grayson has been many things in his life-Robin, agent of Spyral, even Batman…but will he have a choice when the Condors try to recruit him for their cause? And will they take no for an answer? A thrilling, high-octane adventure awaits over the skies of Gotham City!
I’m totally okay with Brian Michael Bendis finally allowing Superman to reveal his secret identity as Clark Kent. It seems like a sales gimmick or one that will be walked back in a couple years. It’s remarkably in-character and makes up for the half-assed “mystery” that was Event Leviathan. Superman: Heroes #1 shows the reactions to the big reveal. It does so from a variety of perspectives from Lois Lane to the Justice League. Drawn by the fantastic Kevin Maguire! to Clark Kent’s high school chemistry teacher in a sweet story by Matt Fraction and Scott Godlewski. Fraction also pens Jimmy Olsen’s reaction to his “pal” losing the secret identity. That features slick, emotive art from his Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen collaborator Steve Lieber.
And wait, that not’s all. After being terse in the Maguire 12 panel grid sequences, Batman gets to open up to Wonder Woman about his true feelings in regards to Superman’s reveal. It’s a powerful story written by Greg Rucka and drawn in atmospheric shadows by Mike Perkins. However, there’s room for comedy too. Booster Gold finally gets to shout that Superman is Clark Kent after keeping it in for so long because he’s from the future. This comic is a true marriage of different tones. Art and writing styles from Bendis and Maguire set up a running Plastic man gag to Batman coming up with legit, devil’s advocate style arguments for why Superman revealing his secret identity to the world is a terrible idea.
Bendis, Fraction, Rucka, Maguire, Perkins, Lieber, Mike Norton, and Godlewski use Superman: Heroes to show how important Superman is to the both the community of heroes in the DC Universe and the superhero genre as a whole. They also show his roots in Smallville, connections to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and the consequences of his actions. The best parts of this comic are connected to Smallville. The opening scene features a great conversation between Ma and Pa Kent and young Clark about feeling different or weird and having a greater responsibility to the world because of his abilities.
The Fraction/Godlewski Superman and his chemistry teacher scene is really Eisner-worthy. From Godlewski’s clean line and the vivid colors to the underlying theme that it’s been Clark’s work ethic and moral compass that made him a great hero and man and not his superpowers. I also love how he draws Superman’s smile. Even if this means he got a C- in molecular chemistry. Clark Kent is the kid at the end of the bench who hustles for every loose ball, or the student that stays up late and goes to extra tutoring sessions that just happens to have the power of a god. Matt Fraction demonstrates his understanding of Superman’s moral character that pervades the “Truth” storyline as well as his, Rucka, and Bendis’ take on the Metropolis side of the DC Universe.
As evidenced by the “King Superman” plotline brewing over in Superman, Bendis isn’t afraid to look at the negative consequences of Superman revealing his secret identity. That extends to the moral dilemma he’s in as the Daily Planet is owned by Marisol Leone. However, that will be covered in later stories. Maybe Action Comics once the “Year of the Villain” shenanigans are over.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, Rucka and Perkins dig into it immediately in the form of the other 2/3 of the Trinity have a spirited conversation where neither Bruce or Diana is in the right. I really love the panels at the end of scene where Perkins’ heavy shadows lighten, and Diana tells Bruce that maybe he’s jealous that Superman can live his life out in the open and whole. The specters of Tom King’s botched Bat-marriage hang in the shadows of this one. Rucka’s dialogue gets to the core of Batman’s identity issues that have pervaded his best stories. He can’t retire or be a public-facing, but must strike fear into criminals as an archetype of fear.
Superman: Heroes #1 is a high note for Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on the Superman titles. It also features insightful writing from Matt Fraction as well as Greg Rucka reminding readers that he’s one of the greatest Batman and Wonder Woman writers. On the visual side, Mike Perkins shows a conversation can have just as much power as a good fight scene. Kevin Maguire is still the master of the superhero group shot. Steve Lieber’s comedic timing and use of beats works for friends being open and vulnerable together. Even if you aren’t current on Bendis’ Superman comics, Superman: Heroes #1 is worth picking up and dropping $5.99 on. It’s an intelligent and heartwarming take on the first superhero.
Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka Art: Kevin Maguire, Mike Perkins, Steve Lieber Art: Mike Norton, Scott GodlewskiColors:Paul Mounts, Gabe Eltaeb Colors: Andy Troy, Nathan Fairbairn Letters: Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Simon Bowland Story: 9.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy
(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona In Shops: Jan 22, 2020 SRP: $3.99
The Dark Knight is on the trail of the figure behind a brutal series of murders across Gotham City-and what he finds will send a cold shiver up his spine! A public attack on Bruce Wayne has brought the possible perpetrator of these murders to light…so what is an axe-wielding cult leader from the 1600s doing in present-day Gotham? Find out for yourself in the conclusion to Batman’s “Silent Knight.”
(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona In Shops: Jan 01, 2020 SRP: $3.99
In the aftermath of “City of Bane,” the Dark Knight has found himself cold, alone, and missing one of the very foundations of his life as both Bruce Wayne and the Batman. But personal problems will have to wait-a mysterious series of deaths have been peppered throughout Gotham and it seems an element of the supernatural is at play in the form of a monstrous pagan spirit. Can Batman silence the demons within to stop the killing? Or will this silent night be for keeps?
(W) Mark Russell (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Mikel Janin In Shops: Sep 11, 2019 SRP: $4.99
Lex Luthor has presented dark gifts to super-villains across the DC Universe, setting off what can only be called the Year of the Villain. Unfortunately, resources are limited, so not everyone got something. The Riddler is one such person, and he is most displeased about it. Was this merely an oversight or a deliberate slight? The Riddler is determined to find out which-and so should you!
(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski, Matt Santorelli (CA) Dan Mora In Shops: May 01, 2019 SRP: $3.99
It’s the runaway train from hell! Superboy and Robin better hold on for dear life as they ride a 20-megaton cosmic engine of mass combustion (that’s a pun!) into their final battle with Rex Luthor! But Rex has got a brand-new army of shiny young super-villains ready to conquer all they survey…will the son of Batman and the son of Superman be enough to stop him?
(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Dan Mora In Shops: Apr 03, 2019 SRP: $3.99′
Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, may be behind them-but in order to beat the Gang and get home, the boys must saddle up to survive a wild wild world of the west! An unlikely guide on this lawless planet might just help Superboy and Robin survive…but what in the west world is Jonah Hex doing out here in space?! Hold on to your hats, this one’s going to be a bucking good time!