Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Young Justice: Targets #1 Review


Written by: Greg Weisman
Art by: Christopher Jones, Jason Wright, Wes Abbott
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Price: $1.99 or DC Universe subscription
Reviewed by: Jon Wayne

I want to state this clear right off the bat: I am a devout fan of the Young Justice animated series, I loved the recently concluded fourth season “Phantoms,” and the finale was the most satisfying episode of television I’ve seen in a long time. However I am reviewing comics now and not watching episodes of television, so I will do my best to separate my inner fan from my reviews. That said, this comic really is for fans of the show. If you are coming into this series blind then the setup when our story picks up is unlikely to make a ton of sense.

Targets picks up about two months after the finale of Phantoms and opens with a dramatic reveal: Queen Perdita of Vlatava has been kidnapped, and her ex-boyfriend Beast Boy AKA Garfield Logan is scrolling through pictures of her on his phone. Readers are thrown a lot of info in a quick burst that BB and Perdita have been broken up for a few months, and that Gar has been off the Outsiders for a while. An issue I had off the bat is that while I am a fan of the show and know why Gar hasn’t been active for a while, a new reader would have no clue nor would they even know who Perdita is. This is a recurring theme throughout the issue for me, but I accept that you only have so much page space and Greg Weisman clearly knows who his audience is.

The art is standout throughout the entire issue, Chris Jones really does honor the designs of the characters from the show. The art makes you feel like you’re in an episode of the show, so kudos to them for that.

We flash back to two days prior, now with Perdita before the kidnapping in Star City with our favorite family of gingers, Bowhunter Security! (Always on point!). Again though, if you haven’t watched the show you’ll get none of the feels and you probably won’t know there is 3 different Roy Harpers present (Roy and two clones, Will and Jim). We cut away to a prison in Markovia where Perdita’s dear uncle Count Vertigo and his friends are being broken out of prison by his forces… who then appear in Star City to kidnap Perdita. We get a few more cameos from the show’s lore along with classics like Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Clayface as the action takes over. Again, Jones and co kill all the way through, but they really shine in a few-page action sequence depicting the kidnapping. But that’s basically it for the main story. While I enjoyed it as a fan of Young Justice, not all that much happens from a comic reading perspective.

The backup story is a narrative flashback for Will Harper, one of Roy’s clones and the one we’ve spent the most time within the show, thinking back to when he was still a brainwashed agent of the Light and he allowed Perdita’s father, King Josef, to be assassinated roughly 10 in-universe years ago. This does give an added layer to the main story, as now we have a more personal motivation for Will to want to protect Perdita in the present day. But similar to the main story, there’s just not a lot of meat to this.

I know Greg Weisman to be an excellent storyteller who is particularly adept at crafting stories that build intrigue throughout and really deliver on it by the end. I trust him to do the same in this comic. My question is whether his style is a great fit for a digital-first comic series, and I question the decision to have its narrative split up too. I don’t like the “write for trade” mindset that many writers today employ, I believe every issue needs to stand alone first and be part of a larger story second. A tie-in comic to an animated show means that the equation needs to be altered at least somewhat here, however, I stand firm in that each issue needs to be self-contained, and in my opinion, this issue sadly is not. If a story has a beginning, middle, and end, this issue is all beginning.

Bits and Pieces:

This is the first issue, and I absolutely believe that Greg and Co.have a great story to tell here, and I’ll be reviewing it every month giving them the benefit of the doubt. But this feels like something that will read a lot better when the whole series has been released and I don’t particularly love that. The art will carry the score on issue #1, and I’m hoping the story catches up by issue #2


1 comment:

  1. We strongly disagree on this one. I loved the first two season of YJ, I can't stand what they did to the show with the last two seasons, it's like they're too different shows. Way too many preachy, heavy-handed and poorly constructed social messages, too much wokeism for my taste. I will give them something, though, they're maybe the only DC property that treated New Gods and Apokolips lore decently and even added to it. But that little plus pales in the faces of all the minuses.