In comics, massive villain attacks seem to be a common occurrence (Lex Luthor attacking the city, must be Tuesday!). However, seeing consequences and aftermath from them are not, and that’s something that sets Young Justice #17 apart.
This is a bit slower story, which this series has needed, since the entire run of the series has taken place in less than a week in-universe time. So in this issue things slow down a bit. It’s a welcome break by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, and Wes Abbott.
In the wake of the Legion of Doom’s attack on Metropolis (from the Action Comics’ arc just before the pandemic hit), Young Justice takes the time to help the Justice League clean up and rebuild. While the clean-up happens, the young heroes take the time to reflect on their actions and bonds, as well as talking to their friends, family and mentors on the League. It’s a bit of downtime that will drive the team forward into their next adventures!
Bendis and Walker are both exceptionally good “character” writers. They understand character voice and motivation and how much it can drive a story forward. By slowing down for an issue and building that up, they’ve given readers a great reason to care about these characters again, and also reforged the ties that drove the previous incarnation of the team for so much of their existence. It’s not perfect – the timeline of the story just jumped out at me in a really glaring way and Bart and Barry’s relationship is a little too perfect and unrealistic – but it’s probably the best issue of the series so far.
Godlewski is a welcome addition to the team with his second issue here. He draws the character interactions in intimate close-ups, but also provides a constant sense of motion, whether it’s moving the point of view, or including little bits in the background to draw the reader in. Eltaeb’s bright color palette keeps the issue from feeling overly somber, and a bit more like a celebration of these renewed relationships.
Overall, this is a great read that recaptures the magic of these characters’ 90’s heyday, while marching forward with them into the future. It makes me excited to see where things go next!
Young Justice #17 is available now from DC Comics.