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‘Young Justice #4’ (review)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Patrick Gleason
and John Timms

Published by DC Comics

“Where are we exactly?”
“What? Like in the story?”

This iteration of Young Justice continues to be an excellent book, and my personal favorite of the titles that Brian Bendis is currently penning for DC. It’s bright, clever, creative, and beautifully drawn by artists Patrick Gleason and John Timms.

It also manages to be retro in more ways than one.

To whit: this month we finally get our first, big, fresh new look at Gemworld, its Royal Courts, and Princess Amethyst of the House of Amethyst. Protector of the Realm.

It’s more of a look, in fact, than we’ve seen from DC in several decades of continuity.

Mind you, there have been some changes since we last saw Gemworld. Alterations of the original template, that appear to involve a rather regular deviation from the natural order of things. A rearrangement of the elements, if you will, of all that makes Gemworld, Gemworld.

Alterations that seem to have a direct connection to Earth, and a certain sequential procession of reality-changing crises.

Alterations that have allowed for the rise of dark forces on Gemworld – forces that threaten to subvert and dominate the natural harmonics of this once-upon-a-time wondrous fairyland.

Alterations that appear to be increasing in frequency.

Only Princess Amethyst appears to have the clarity of vision to stand fast against the forces that threaten her adoptive home-world. (For those who don’t recall, or have no reason to, Amy’s an Earthgirl.)

A fact demonstrated to us in fine fashion this issue, with a sequence that starts off with Amethyst foiling a disturbingly plausible Red Wedding catastrophe in one of her fellow houses, only to then be summarily dismissed as politically unreasonable by the other heads of the Houses Council, in a rather brilliantly written scene that has Amethyst making an impassioned plea for the protection of her world that should remind most anyone of the current generation of a certain powerhouse freshman U.S. Congresswoman right now, doing the same for ours.

Good call Mr. Bendis. Nicely played.

This is not the doe-eyed, pure of heart Amethyst of old, in other words. This is Amethyst, Warrior Princess of Gemworld. And while things may be changing for the worse there, due to whatever it is at work in the multiverse that is having such a dramatic effect upon it, I count the changes in Amy herself as a marvelous improvement.

Like, for sure.

Not that it’s doing her any good in the prison pits of Lord Opal. The fiend.

Opal knows Amethyst is a threat, and he’s smart enough to recognize her new allies are dangerous as well. And also, maybe he’s busy. So, into the pits they go.

Too bad he didn’t reckon on Superboy and Impulse – even though Bart’s own landing in Gemworld did not go unnoticed by Opal’s Chief Magistrate.

Not to mention whatever it is that’s in Jimmy Hex’s truck.

It’s missing the little details that’ll get you every time.

So, now we’re all caught up. And with the culminating reunion that’s been in the works for a mere four issues now, finally on the page, things can really start to get interesting.

After all, the heroes of Young Justice have never exactly been known for subtlety.

Or restraint.

Next Issue: Crisis Intervention


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