Gemworld has declared war on Earth, and Young Justice has answered the call. As the team entered Gemworld, Impulse was separated from the group. YOUNG JUSTICE #3 not only reveals what Impulse has been up to, but what Connor Kent — aka Superboy — has been up to, as well. Writer Brian Michael Bendis has planted a lot of surprises in YOUNG JUSTICE #3, and Superboy is the centerpiece.

Connor’s Taken a Leave of Absence

This issue starts with the cliffhanger from issue one, with Impulse embracing a visibly older and stubbly Connor Kent, the hero known as Superboy. Opal’s troops close in on Impulse and Superboy, and Impulse talks a good fight, hyping up his friend — only to see Connor surrender peacefully. YOUNG JUSTICE #3 then takes us on a trip down memory lane.

In the flashback, Connor Kent fights monsters let loose by STAR Labs. STAR covers things up, and Superboy is non-plussed. As he sits in class and does research on the situation, his teacher calls on him and makes him question the point of being in class. He then seemingly gives up on being Connor Kent and breaks into STAR Labs, where he finds a crystal.

That crystal has led him to Gemworld and the life of a farmer. Back in the present, Superboy has been enjoying his quiet life as a farmer and Impulse has disrupted the flow. The two henchmen take down Impulse, while Connor does nothing.

YOUNG JUSTICE #3
YOUNG JUSTICE #3 Page 1. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Meanwhile, the fight from the last issue between Opal and the teen heroes did not go well for Young Justice. They, along with Princess Amethyst, are prisoners with a dampening field preventing them for making a cogent thought. With Connor and Bart also being detained, it looks like everyone is going to share a jail cell real soon.

Connor and Bart’s story ends with a huge revelation. I don’t dare spoil it for you, so check out YOUNG JUSTICE #3!

Bendis Makes Titanic Changes in YOUNG JUSTICE

The surprise revelation of YOUNG JUSTICE #3 involving Connor is stunning. While writer Brian Michael Bendis shows a lot of respect to these beloved characters, he definitely has no qualms about changing the status quo. After all, Connor seems to have adjusted to living a quiet life on the farm in Gemworld quite well. It’s in juxtaposition to how restless he felt in Smallville, dropping out of school to crash STAR Labs’ secret facility.

The changes hadn’t been as dramatic thus far: we got Bart being Impulse again and Cassie deciding to be her own person and figuring out who that person is. However, Connor’s journey in YOUNG JUSTICE #3 — and the people now in his life — are bold, bold changes that are rarely seen in comics. It takes a writer with the track record, pedigree, and popularity of Brian Michael Bendis’ caliber to pull these off.

Bendis also does a great job of highlighting the tension between Gemworld and Earth, using the encounter between Conner, Impulse, and the two Gemworld soldiers. Bendis reminds us that Gemworld has legitimate gripes: all the Crises that Earth goes through affect them as well and they don’t recover as well as Earth does. It can be easy to forget that and have these evil Gemworld-ers be stereotypical villains.

As a minor aside, there’s an ELECTRIC WARRIORS reference that made me guffaw; good one, Bendis.

Bogdanovic Joins Gleason on YOUNG JUSTICE #3

YOUNG JUSTICE #3
YOUNG JUSTICE #3 Page 2. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Artist Viktor Bogdanovic, normally on THE TERRIFICS, joins YOUNG JUSTICE #3 to handle the Superboy flashback pages. Bogdanovic does a great job with Connor, both as Superboy and as a civilian. It’s important to denote the difference between the two — what’s the point of a secret identity otherwise? Bogdanovic handles it well, giving Smallville a lighter touch. The infiltration of Star Labs is drawn much darker, which matches the scene’s theme of exposing secrets.

Pat Gleason is his usual brilliant self this issue. I like his reinterpretation of the classic Superboy outfit, with the spiked leather jacket. The classic costume is one of my personal favorites, and the ’90s kids who remember it will most likely love this new version as well. His rendering of Impulse’s speed powers is also a highlight. The blur effect as Impulse bounces around his friend, smack-talking the Gemworld soldiers, makes for a fun scene. My only real gripe from YOUNG JUSTICE #3 is that Connor’s scruff is barely visible at times, and Bart makes a big deal about it, implying he should have more facial hair.

Will the Band Get Back Together?

Everyone seems to be in Lord Opal’s custody, unless Superboy fights back. Can the team come together to beat Lord Opal? What is going on with Gemworld, really? Most importantly, what will the team do about Connor’s life in Gemworld? Will they make him leave it behind? Bendis is working his magic, hooking us in and making us wait for answers! YOUNG JUSTICE is one of the best books out there, regardless of the intended audience.

YOUNG JUSTICE #3 by Brian Michael Bendis, Viktor Bogdanovic, Pat Gleason, Jonathan Glapion, Alejandro Sanchez, Chris Sotomayor, Hi-Fi, Carlos M. Mangual, & Josh Reed
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Writer Brian Michael Bendis shows us what happened to Impulse and Connor Kent -- and Connor's been busy! Bendis is respectful of the past but definitely carves his own path. Guest artist Bogdanovic is great, drawing the flashback sequence. Gleason is his usual terrific self, but Superboy could be scruffier.
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