Thursday, September 22, 2022

Dark Crisis: Young Justice #4 Review


Written by: Meghan Fitzmartin
Art by: Laura Braga, Luis Guerrero, and Pat Brosseau
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 20, 2022
Reviewed by: Jon Wayne
WTF can anyone say about this book at this point? In a series that should be nothing but fun, I’m having absolutely none. I’ve said it before but Meghan Fitzmartin, a woman with a very thin track record in comics, was miscast as the writer here on a book as big as this one. She has consistently bitten off more than she can chew in terms of the meta-commentary, and it has never really landed in a way that makes sense, or that helps progress the story. But clearly “progressing the story” is a foreign concept to Fitzmartin because with only two issues left we’re going nowhere fast.The big reveal is when the villain is shown to be Kid Mxyptlk, but even that feels lackluster given that it has taken us four issues to meet him and we don’t actually learn anything about him here. Having a 90s fanboy-inspired villain highlights Fitzmartin’s lack of understanding of these characters and what they’ve been through. The diehard fans of Young Justice - in theory, the people DC wants to buy this book - were never the ones who wanted the team stuck as Young Justice forever. As I’ve laid out many times before, many of this group’s greatest adventures happen after they leave YJ.

Meta commentary isn’t for everyone, and the reason is that when it doesn’t land it RUINS the plot. This is comics, not a YA novel, so creative teams have only 22 pages per month to get an effective story communicated to readers. When you focus on the meta without developing the plot, you get a mess that no one wants to read -  like this series! But if Fitzmartin really wanted to go down the meta route, there was a very clear lane that many fans have articulated in the past: Apologize for f-ing this team over during the New 52 and then handing them over to Bendis carte blanche! Let the group get back to their pre-flashpoint status quo or something close, and then move on. After four issues, it seems like Fitzmartin has gone in the complete opposite direction and is using the team to apologize for the 90s being worse than we all remember them - while doing NOTHING with the plot.

Even the highlights of the book, conversations between Bart, Conner, Tim, Cassie, and Cissie, respectively, feel both contrived and forced. Everything except Cissie cutting off her friends entirely for years has been dealt with before in other series, and in much better ways to boot. While typically solid, the art can’t overcome the shortcomings of this book. There are a few panels where the characters' faces look the same despite the emotions of the dialogue depicting an entirely different mood. Maybe Laura Braga has seen the writing on the walls of this series and is mailing it in. If so, I can’t say I’d blame her because this book is a dumpster fire.

Side Note: I am sure that some may take this review as an excuse to validate the points about fandom in the comic itself, but please don't fall for that!  Everyone has the right to their own opinion and saying someone is "Toxic" because they don't like something is utter bullshit!  The only reason I am even writing this is that I saw people on social media using bad review scores for this issue to make it alright to assume the reviewers had ulterior motives beyond not liking the issue because they thought it was poorly written.  Again, don't fall for that nonsense! - Jim

Bits and Pieces:
Instead of trying to destroy the legacy of the original Peter David run and showcasing it as something the heroes need to reject and destroy, this series should’ve been a celebration of our core team. Then it should’ve found a way to push these beloved characters forward in a way that excites fans as DC enters the “Dawn of a New Era” phase. Instead, we’re getting a book desperate to tell readers that this team remains directionless - and that is depressing AF.


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