Conner Kent has been the number one character that readers have missed since the infamous New 52 relaunch at DC Comics. The only other character that could come close is the original Wally West, who returned about three years ago. So this issue of Young Justice is going to have a lot riding on it.
This issue was written by Brian Michael Bendis, with line art from Patrick Gleason, Viktor Bogdanovic, and Jonathan Glapion, color art by Alejandro Sanchez, Chris Sotomayor, and Hi-Fi, and letters by Carlos Mangual and Josh Reed. This issue brings Conner back in a big way, but is he the same character we last saw before the Flashpoint?
Bart and Conner reunite just as Lord Opal’s forces arrive to capture Bart. Impulse gets cocky, thinking that he’s reunited with the same person he last remembered, but he may be wrong. In flashback, we see Superboy and exactly what happened to send him to Gemworld…
Bendis plays with our expectations in this issue, and it’s much stronger for it. Conner has always been a character defined by his confidence, which Bendis nails in the flashbacks. But he gives Conner good reason for not acting like himself on Gemworld. It’s a swerve that’s a shock but makes total sense.
The story has really only moved incrementally in the last two issues, but the character work has been so good. Each character is getting the spotlight they need to reestablish them as the same as we know and love, but growing and changing. It’s clear that everything’s going to be dependent on the characters, and I like that about the series so far.
The two different art teams create a great contrast between Superboy then and now. Gleason is able to capture the spirit of the character but show how he’s changed perfectly. His depiction of Bart is great contrast to that as well.
Bogdanovic and Glapion’s work is high energy, even when Conner confined to a classroom. They give him a cocky edge, a degree of overconfidence that fits him so well. They also play with the layouts, having the character actually burst through the panels and gutters as he bursts through walls.
There’s so much groundwork for the future getting laid here, but it’s also telling a great story of how the characters we know and love have grown and changed. I look forward to this series every month.
Young Justice #3 is available now from DC Comics.