Gemworld is tired of being tied to Earth’s Crises. They’ve decided to fight back. YOUNG JUSTICE, a group of teenage heroes, has fought them off. In YOUNG JUSTICE #2, the heroes find themselves in Gemworld, split up. Writer Brian Michael Bendis reestablishes a world long forgotten by DC and spotlights what’s going on with Cassie Sandsmark aka Wonder Girl.

Welcome to Gemworld

YOUNG JUSTICE #2 opens with a scene between two figures in shadow, talking about the politics of Gemworld. Lord Opal has waged war, and most of the houses have either fallen in line or fallen in battle. Only House Amethyst remains, with its young princess. As the figures plot against her, Amethyst takes the charge, striking at them with the help of Tim Drake aka Robin. In the Topaz Forest, Jinny Hex and Teen Lantern try to get acquainted, mostly at the end of Jinny’s shotgun. Wonder Girl intervenes, trying to calm things down, but Ginny has no idea who she is.

We then get a flashback to what’s been going with Cassie. Cassie had a chance encounter with her grandfather Zeus, who wanted to gift incredible power to her. Cassie was wary (and rightfully so, the gifts of the gods usually have strings attached). She told her grandfather that she would earn her own way through the world and figure out who she is on her own terms.

After calming down Jinny and getting Teen Lantern to confirm her identity, they fly off in search of their allies. They collide into Amethyst and Robin, reuniting with them. An imposing foe makes his presence known, interrupting the reunion. Pick up YOUNG JUSTICE #2 to find out who that is!

Bendis Plays the Long Game

YOUNG JUSTICE #2
YOUNG JUSTICE #2 Pages 4 and 5. Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Writer Brian Michael Bendis is known for decompressed storytelling, and YOUNG JUSTICE #2 is no exception. We don’t get much a lot in Gemworld, mostly the battle with Amethyst, a bonding experience between Jinny, Cassie, and Teen Lantern, and the final scene. The heart of YOUNG JUSTICE #2 is Cassie Sandsmark aka Wonder Girl. Cassie was a bit aloof in the first issue, letting Tim race into the fray before showing up later in the fight. This issue makes her mindset a little more clear: Cassie is a young woman trying to figure her life out.

Being a teenager is a difficult experience. Cassie is going through that as well as dealing with superpowers and the fact that her grandfather is Zeus. It’s clearly understandable why Cassie feels conflicted and confused about her role. In this issue, we see Cassie work that out, with her grandfather, trying to establish her identity. Identity is so important to a teenager, and that identity is forged first in adolescence. Bendis captures that very well with Wonder Girl.

In my review of the first issue, I was a little unsure of where Brian Michael Bendis was going with Cassie, but he directly answers that question in YOUNG JUSTICE #2. Bendis is truly a master, setting up the question and then answering it a month later. And while he has reunited four members of the team, we’re still missing Impulse and Connor Kent. How is Connor alive? What is going on? Bendis makes us wait for answers in future issues, and it makes me eager to read the next issue, which is exactly what he and DC want. Well done.

Lupacchino joins Gleason on YOUNG JUSTICE #2

YOUNG JUSTICE #2
YOUNG JUSTICE #2 Page 6. Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Artist Emanuela Lupacchino joins YOUNG JUSTICE #2 with inker Ray McCarthy. Lupacchino and McCarthy worked on the Wonder Girl flashback pages, and offer a nice contrast to series artist Patrick Gleason. Gleason takes a dark approach to Gemworld, and it’s one that is a stark departure from past versions of Gemworld. Gemworld is literally a place that is run by royalty named after jewels, and past iterations have been bright and shiny. It’s clear that the darker palette is meant to evoke the changes in the landscape of a Gemworld devastated by Crises. It’s no longer a fun, bright fantasy world, but a dark and dangerous place. Gleason makes that point very clear in his art.

To contrast, Lupacchino is drawing bright, colorful battles in the sunshine at a high school football practice. The color palette switches, there’s a lot fewer shadows, and the inking is much lighter. Lupacchino’s light touch on Wonder Girl gives her a sense of youth and vibrancy. In fact, Gleason’s art seems to brighten a bit after the flashback ends. Lupacchino’s pages end with Wonder Girl flying in a bright blue sky, and the Gleason pages also pick up in a sky, but at dusk. The themes and lightness evoke a sense of, for lack of a better term, wonder that surrounds Cassie Sandsmark. It’s an interesting metaphor for how Cassie is approaching her adolescence, with a sense of wonder, and a desire to figure out who she is on her own terms.

Is YOUNG JUSTICE stuck?

While the young heroes are slowly coming together, their friend Amethyst has a huge threat in front of her. Everyone seems to have fallen in line behind Lord Opal, and they still need to find Bart Allen. Even if they do overcome the villain and find their friend, how do they get home? Brian Michael Bendis has crafted an exciting story, one that equals the quality of the original YOUNG JUSTICE.  Teen readers are a demographic comics pundits constantly fret over. If we can get more books like YOUNG JUSTICE out in the market, those anxieties would definitely ease.

YOUNG JUSTICE #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy and Alejandro Sanchez
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Writer Brian Michael Bendis sends the heroes of YOUNG JUSTICE to Gemworld, splitting them up. YOUNG JUSTICE #2 sees some reunions, and important backstory for Cassie Sandsmark aka Wonder Girl. Bendis does a great job fleshing out Cassie's motivations, and Lupaccino, Gleason and McCarthy do a great job on art!
92 %
Reuniting slowly.
User Rating 0 Be the first one !

One Comment

  1. Jake Palermo

    February 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Uh hi, I noticed your review but am confused about the way this comic is overall: the art, characterization, and plot all have more than four stars but the overall rating is three especially since the description doesn’t have anything negative to really say. So is this a typo or something else?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *