Young Justice #3 // Review
Superboy, Conner Kent, returns properly to DC Comics continuity in Young Justice #3, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with artwork by teams, Patrick Gleason, Alejandro Sanchez, & Hi-Fi, and Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion, & Chris Sotomayor.
Reunited with Impulse, Superboy takes center stage this issue, as he explains to his old friend how he came to be transported to Gemworld, and what Conner has been doing in the years since he’s taken up residence in said realm. Significant changes to the character are revealed by issue’s end, following the two friends being confronted by minions of evil Lord Opal, who himself is briefly shown combating the rest of the burgeoning Young Justice, elsewhere, simultaneously.
Bendis once again hits the mark perfectly in his interpretations of Young Justice’s long-ignored original protagonists. Conner and Bart’s interactions convey volumes about their relationship, and about the characters themselves. Impulse’s voice, in particular, is a spot-on joyously manic return to form for the character. Bendis also takes some significant risks in the status quo changes made to Superboy, revealed this issue, which will allow for exploration of his nature previously unimagined, if such changes are permitted to remain canon and are not immediately swept under the rug for story convenience. Also, Superboy’s connection to Gemworld gives the realm greater significance and indicates that the mythical land will remain important, past the initial arc, for more characters than just Amethyst.
Repeating the same format as the issue prior, artist Patrick Gleason and inker Alejandro Sanchez once again provide superb artwork for the bookending events set in the present (joined by Hi-Fi on colors), while the backstory artwork is provided by a guest group of creators; specifically, this issue: artist Viktor Bogdanovic, inker Jonathan Glapion, and colorist Chris Sotomayor.
In-demand colorist, Hi-Fi’s bold, brilliant palate work in perfect tandem with Gleason and Sanchez’s continued collaboration, elevating the final product and presenting Gemworld in a manner still dark, but more fantastical than gloomy in nature. The two-page spread of Wonder Girl fighting Lord Opal exemplifies the collaboration’s prodigiousness and marks one of the issue’s artistic highlights.
Covering Conner’s backstory, Viktor Bogdanovic’s artistic team does an amicable job showing how Superboy came to reside in Gemworld. Showing Kent in his iconic post-Young Justice red and black T-shirt, they also provide him with a black leather jacket similar to that he wore in his original appearance, in a handsome combo previously seen only in cosplay. Bogdanovic’s Superboy looks a bit lean for the T-shirt era, but overall the team does the excellent job of providing a lighter, more innocent looking world for the backstory, slightly reminiscent of Todd Nauck’s art in the original Young Justice series. Departing somewhat from their style seen the rest of the issue, a beautiful splash page of Superboy falling through space and time to arrive in Gemworld, really lets inker Chris Sotomayor's colors shine with the kaleidoscopic aura surrounding Superboy evoking both a watercolor-like look and impressive line work simultaneously.
Young Justice #3 continues the series’ marriage of meaningful character development and fantastically drawn action, in its reintroduction of a long-beloved character. Superboy’s re-emergence broaches nostalgia, but also adds depth and mystery to the character, showing promise of how Bendis plans to have these revered characters grow, while still respecting their pasts.