One last gathering of young heroes as they face an android who used to be their protector as Brian Michael Bendis’ return of YOUNG JUSTICE comes to a close.
Young Justice 20
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker
Pencils and Inks by Scott Godlewski
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
In a year that many would define as a complete dumpster fire, one of the most disappointing parts of 2020 for me is that this new iteration of Young Justice is now over. Another victim of the current DC Comics implosion – which claimed a lot of books that I’ve been reading regularly – Young Justice has been a bright spot in DC Comics’ release line-up for the last two years.
And, of course, now that the team has finally come together as a unit after being torn apart for most of Bendis’ 20 issues, the adventures are coming to an end.
It’s fitting that the final challenge this group of heroes has to face is one of the founding members of the original YOUNG JUSTICE. Robin, Superboy and Impulse bring the rest of the team to Mount Justice – the team’s old headquarters – which leads to a confrontation with the android Red Tornado, who is set up as a defense protocol against intruders on Justice League property. It’s a pretty ignominious role for such a storied character, but it feels on brand for DC Comics’ treatment of lower-tiered heroes lately.
Unless TOM KING has an idea for a 12-issue miniseries that highlights their darker side, I guess…
But Bendis treated all of these characters with a lot of respect. From the original members – Superboy, Robin, Impulse and Wonder Girl – to the new additions like the Wonder Twins, Jinny Hex and Teen Lantern, everyone got a chance to shine. In the final issue, Teen Lantern gets her moment in the sun, facing off against Red Tornado after the android had easily dispatched the rest of the team.
Her reward for staving off the threat is a confrontation with Green Lantern John Stewart, who demands she hand over the gauntlet she uses to access the green energy. It’s a pretty on-brand moment for Young Justice, whose original incarnation frequently had to deal with some parental overreactions from their mentors. And since the original team has some experience with it, they have no problems standing up to a guy who wields the most powerful weapon in the universe and making sure he stands down.
Because that’s what teammates and friends do, and that’s what Young Justice has always been about.
I was really skeptical about this book when it was originally announced, because the original book was a product of a moment in time that would surely not be duplicated. The stars of the book had been abandoned and cast aside for years now, which definitely worked in Bendis’ favor in bringing them all together again. I ended up having a blast reading this book for 20 issues and it quickly shot up to the top of my favorite comics list.
While this may be the end for this iteration of Young Justice, I hope it’s not the end for the characters that were introduced or returned to prominence here. After years on the shelf, there should be a lot of juice in stories starring Superboy, Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and the rest.