Young Justice #4
Lord Opal may have secret allies, but is it him who is affecting Gemworld, or something from beyond?
There’s more to what’s going on in the Gem than mere politics. How does it tie into Earth and our heroes? Take the jump for our review of Young Justice #4 from DC Comics.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Patrick Gleason and John Timms
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez and Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 3, 2019
Previously in Young Justice: Bart Allen (Impulse) was separated from his friends when he was transported to Gemworld, but of all the people to run into, he finds Conner Kent, who appears to have settled down here, even to the point of having a wife and an infant. Meanwhile, Cassie, Robin, Amethyst, Jinny Hex, and Teen Lantern have been captured and are being held in the prison pits of Castle Opal. And it isn’t just imprisonment – they’re also under the effect of a spell that prevents them from concentrating.
GETTING A SENSE OF THE BIGGER PICTURE
I love it when a story comes together, which really starts happening in Young Justice #4. We open with a reminder that most of our heroes are stuck in oubliettes, and get a brief intro to Gemworld. In this issue, we learn more about Amethyst. Just yesterday she arrived at Turquoise’s wedding just in time to interrupt her kidnapping. From there we flashback to a Council meeting. Amethyst represents her House, but not only is she young, she’s from Earth. She is impetuous, has a strong sense of fairness, and wants to do something about House Opal. She is removed from the meeting temporarily so they can debate whether to remove her, or even to send her back to Earth. Turquoise stands up for her, so she has a reprieve…for now.
Lord Opal’s men continue intimidating the farmers from the village where Conner Kent lives. Bart is a bit taken aback by them and essentially starts pestering them. (It’s very cute.) Conner stands up for his villagers and takes on one of the guards, punching his armor into fragments. Then he gives the guards a chance to just leave, and leave them all alone. Bart is still hugely curious about Conner’s life here. He talks like a bright young man with ADHD and I find it charming. Conner finally grabs him and tries to get him to tell him who else might have come through to the Gem.
Back in the prison pits, we also get some more information from Jinny. She inherited a box of stuff from her great-great-grandfather (Jonah Hex). It’s full of strange stuff that doesn’t seem to be from Earth, and it’s still sitting in the back of her truck. About this time, everyone starts thinking more clearly, and Tim Drake (Robin) is freed from his cell by Conner. There is a sweet reunion for Bart, Conner, Tim, and Cassie, but oh, so brief. Now that she’s thinking more clearly, Amethyst explains further. Talking with her friend Turquoise, she reveals that she things some of the houses, and likely Ruby, have made deals with Opal, and that’s why the Council keeps getting bogged down rather than being able to do anything. Turquoise suggests that perhaps she should go back to Earth, and we learn someone is putting pressure on the other Houses.
And just then, a couple things happen. There is something akin to an earthquake, except that everything in the area sort of rearranges itself. And then, as it turned out, this was when Tim Drake arrived.
INTERESTING SETTINGS AND LOVELY DETAIL
I do love the art in Young Justice #4. We see a variety of locations on Gemworld, and each is individual and evocative. It gives a strong sense of worldbuilding. The reminder of Lord Opal’s prison is a dramatic scene for the opening, but that rapidly gives way to Amy’s dramatic entrance at the wedding. Princess Amethyst is a fighter, and don’t forget she has an armored winged horse. The council chamber is grandly gothic and I like the focus on Amethyst as she listens through the door for her fate. Princess and hero she may be, but she is still a teenager, and a range of emotions plays across her face.
I enjoy a book that can have threads of humor along with the drama. When Conner punches the guard’s armor to smithereens, it leaves the guy wearing just his helmet, shorts, and socks. Yeah, it’s a little goofy, but it is also funny and it fits the tone of the book – serious, but not so much that it drags us down.
The concept that there’s something bigger going on that is also causing the Gemworld to rearrange itself is interesting to see. It leaves us on a great cliffhanger for next time.
BOTTOM LINE: AND NOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT’S GOING ON
It’s a classic beginning – the group gets together, becomes separated, and must find their way back together. But Young Justice #4 handles this well, using this also as a device to fill us in on the much bigger story these young people have stumbled upon. It’s a solid blend of drama, fun, and excitement, with just a tinge of mystery.