Young Justice #2 // Review
Wonder Girl is given prominence in Young Justice #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Patrick Gleason, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Alejandro Sanchez.
Bookending the issue, the protagonists (sans Superboy and Impulse) converge, as they try to get their bearings after being transported to Gemworld. However, the crux of Young Justice #2 revolves around Cassie Sandsmark, Wonder Girl. After years of reboots and being relegated into relative obscurity, the character of Cassie has been muddled and lost, both to readers, and to herself.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis reclaims Wonder Girl this issue, re-establishing her as the friendly, powerful, inquisitively intelligent, and at times irreverent character she had previously been written as, for years, throughout the original iteration of Young Justice and beyond. During the “New 52” reboot, Cassie’s origin of being the daughter of Zeus was usurped by Wonder Woman, and only recently has she regained her heritage as a demi-goddess descendant of Zeus (albeit an additional generation removed.) Bendis focuses on the relationship between Zeus and his Granddaughter, Cassie, to help illustrate who the latter is. Though Wonder Girl’s powers derive from her divine heritage, when Zeus (a relative stranger) approaches her in an attempt to bestow an artifact of power upon her, she rejects it, reaffirming her autonomy, and showing that regardless of what her relation to Zeus is, it does not define her or her deeds. Bendis evokes Geoff John’s iconic run of Teen Titans this scene, as it mirrors Cassie’s interactions with Ares, therein, who gave her a larianette of power, but used it to try to corrupt and control her. Cassie’s rejection of a similar gift, this issue, pays homage to the character’s history, and shows that she’s grown and matured in the years since, even if only on a subconscious level.
Artwork this issue was split between two groups of creators. Emanuela Lupacchino and inker Ray McCarthy illustrated the backstory focusing on Wonder Girl. More lighthearted in design and shading; their style works well in showcasing Cassie’s facial features during subtle emotional shifts throughout the conversation between her and Zeus. Though Lupacchino and McCarthy overall portray Cassie in a softer light, they also succeed in showcasing her strength and power, with her beatdown of Destro being reminiscent of Wonder Girl’s introduction, fighting against Lobo, in the Young Justice cartoon’s second season opener.
Continuing the overarching narrative he established the issue prior, Patrick Gleason is given substantially less content to illustrate this round, but he brings the same level of creativity and intensity, providing the coolest panel of the issue: Robin riding a dark winged-unicorn into battle, alongside Amethyst.
MVP status is given to colorist Alejandro Sanchez, who colors the entire issue and imbues both segments with drastically different looks and feel. Continuing the Mignola-like look of Gemworld and its inhabitants, Sanchez utilizes cooler tones to paint the Gothic-fantasy realm. In contrast, the Wonder Girl backstory is provided an airy, pastel-filled pleasantness.
Brian Michael Bendis leisurely progresses the series’ inciting incident, with Young Justice #2, taking time to properly establish protagonists, amidst the action, as they slowly join together to form a team. Methodically paced and character-driven, Young Justice continues to unfurl majestically, like the blooming of an elegant flower.