Writer: Peter David
Artists: Todd Nauck(p), Larry Stucker(i), Tom McCraw(c)
Issues like this one just make me wish to turn over the entirety of the DC universe to Peter David. I'm not easily impressed, but the man's writing on Young Justice is stunning. He puts out a monthly comic book that's often poignant between bouts of slapstick and sublime fun, and he can handle the pacing of a storyarc in such a way that actually makes sense and feels exciting.
Peter David's climaxes really feel like climaxes. This double-sized issue, worth the increased price, has a weighty feel to the story. The ending is smartly written with judicious use of special effects and scenes of action as tights-clad titans clash. It's so good it should have it's own theme song.
What's amazing is how the story is just so basic yet so compelling. The heroes are Young Justice. What do they seek? Justice. How do they act? Young. Their dialogue is rampant with boisterous outbursts but not unintelligible slang. I mean what can you say about writing that actually gives the Wonder Twins and Lobo resonance?
Resonance is a key theme in the story. Mr. David does not dumb down his heroes. He builds on them. He may put them in embarrassing situations, but never do they act out of character or behave in an irrational manner. For Cassie the newly elected leader of Young Justice, this is her trial by fire, but she isn't a newcomer on the team. She knows the golden lariats. Her scene with Robin is touching, but it's not overly dramatic or self-important. It's lightly done and a pure pleasure to read.
Robin comes off as a detective in this story, and the wordless, silent scene is brilliant. With later dialogue, he also identifies a problem inherent in the DCU. Whereas the adult heroes behave like congenital idiots far too often and betray their sixty some years of history, or even the ten years they've been around after the Crisis, the Young Justice team act as experienced strategists: more so than their adult counterparts. The older villains expect a bloodbath with the kids spurting most of the red sauce. They completely underestimate them and as a result convincingly lose but badly.
The climax in this climax is one of the most memorable of the current DC universe. Spare me your "Who shot J.R. Fairchild?" Don't give me "Dude? Where's My Bodyguard" or "Aquaman, Aquaman, Who's Got an Aquaman?" Peter David takes a throwaway character and makes this character the savior of innocence as well as somebody who solely through storytelling ability is more impressive than the ciphers DC claims represent sixty-year-old icons.
Artistically speaking, nobody can draw Young Justice like Todd Nauck. He's been key to this book's success. His cartoony artwork does not only keep things light nor does it just knock your socks off with group panels but can actually weigh in with chilling scenes such as those involving a surprise from Secret and the stealthy stalking of the Baron. There's not a page in this book I didn't enjoy.
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