Of all of Young Justice, Bart Allen has probably been through the most. It’s almost impossible to describe him in less than an essay. However, we may not realize how deep the tragedy goes.
The creative team has really outdone themselves with this story as a character piece. However, as far as advancing the plot, I’m torn on my feelings. The issue comes to us thanks to Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, and Wes Abbott.
Bart Allen needs to slow down, and Conner Kent can see that. It leads to the most unusual race between Superboy and Impulse. However, when they actually sit down and talk, what truth will they discover?
I’m really of two minds on this story. On one hand it’s a great character study of Impulse. For the first half of the issue, we just see Bart literally running away from his problems, while Superboy tries to get him to stop and confront them. It’s a strong depiction of both young heroes, and an interesting character study of Bart.
However, in the end, this is yet another issue of wheel-spinning in a series that’s come to be defined by it. It’s enjoyable, and the characters and their relationships are the biggest draw for me to keep coming back. However, the plot has advanced so little that it almost seems like it’s an afterthought. It’s a frustrating point to consider for a series that should work better than this.
Godlewski’s line work on this issue is a lot of fun though. He steps in and is able to capture the same feel the previous team had, while putting his own stamp on the characters. I always judge artists harshly based on how they portray speedsters, which he does really well, using Bart’s speed to break panel borders and experiment with inset panels.
His layouts are engaging and he’s able to portray the action and the quieter character driven moments both equally well. Eltaeb contributes a lot with his colors, using just enough technique to help the line art jump off the page, without drawing attention away from what’s trying to happen in the script.
I also don’t give letterers enough credit, but I really like what Abbott does here too. He’s able to use italics, bold and some unusual fonts to help the dialogue jump out. It makes the dialogue feel like natural spoken language, rather than just letters on the page.
I hope to see more forward momentum with this series again soon. When it’s advancing its plot alongside the character work, it’s at its best. It has moments that really remind me of the characters and stories I grew up loving. Other moments I’m frustrated at the fact that so little is happening. It’s a duality that makes for a series that I struggle with.
Young Justice #16 is available now from DC Comics.