They’re both former Robins but can they be a couple once more?  Your Major Spoilers review of Young Justice #18 from DC Comics awaits!


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker
Artist: Scott Godlewski and Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Editor: Brittany Holzherr
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 1, 2020

Previously in Young JusticeAt last, the coolest couple in the DCU gets the spotlight!  Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown have sacrificed so much.  For each other.  For their families.  For Young Justice.  Now, Tim and Stephanie must take control of their destinies as Young Justice gathers together to help overcome their criminal pasts!


We open in Central City, as Stephanie “Spoiler” Brown faces down a death squad out to kill her, almost taking down her maybe-ex-boyfriend Drake as she goes.  She quickly explains that, when she called him, she didn’t realize that she was being targeted by assassins sent by her father, The Cluemaster (who apparently faked his death a while back) but now she needs his help to take down Daddy Dearest.  Working in tandem, the find Cluemaster’s hideout, attacking through a window after an ingenious drive-up-the-side-of-the-high-rise-with-a-cable truck, Spoiler take a moment to offer her dad an out: Turn himself in, go to jail and enter counseling with her and her mother.  He (obviously, since he has a hit out on her) refuses, and Spoiler quickly bests him in combat, kicking the detritus out of him and preparing for what might be a killing blow… until Superboy stops her, as Drake called in Young Justice to help.


This issue is a real puzzler for me, no Cluemaster pun intended, especially given the announcement that the series will be ending with #20, as the decision to dedicate a whole issue to the question of romance between Spoiler and Drake feels like a long-game moment that won’t be followed up on in the next two issues.  Also, the revelation that Tim is going by Robin again is just thrown in in casual dialogue, which seems like an odd detail.  I like the art here, especially the flashback sequence by Oeming, and there’s a lot to like in the depiction of the Tim/Stephanie relationship, but it’s all portrayed in such a scattershot manner that it’s kind of hard to care about even the successful story moments.  Jinny, Teen Lantern, Naomi and Impulse really have nothing to do or say this time around, with Superboy only getting a couple of lines and a big cliffhanger ending where Wonder Girl arrives with the team’s next mission…  This issue is a tough read for me.


All in all, Young Justice #18 suffers from the same problems that the series as a whole has suffered from, a surplus of ideas and characters, presented at high velocity, making comprehension a problem, with some really strong moments that get somewhat undermined by the pacing for me, earning a still better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall.  That said, I’m totally on-board with the idea of Tim and Stephanie’s romance getting rekindled, so hopeful that’ll be followed up in whatever Bat-book he ends up part of in two months.

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The moments that land are good and the art by both teams is well-done, but the issue suffers from pacing and focus problems. Spoiler comes off pretty awesome, though.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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