Written by Greg Weisman
Art by Christopher Jones
Color by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Wes Abbott
THE DEAL: I’m going to preface this by warning folks that if you’re an avid DC fan, I’m not the reviewer for you. I’m a comic lover, but I’m not particularly enthusiastic about either of the Big Two. With that out of the way…
Young Justice: Outsiders brings together the scions of the League’s foremost champions: Batgirl, Superboy, Miss Martian … and of course, the ever-present Beast Boy. Together, they fight evil wherever it rears its exposed brain, while working through the challenges that come with being normal hormonal teenagers who hang out on an asteroid and wear spandex every moment of their lives.
THE GOOD: Something I look for in all my comic art is facial expression, and that’s something DC has always done well. The art is great, of course, but I consider that to be a staple; the real anomaly would be bad art in a DC comic. This one looks like it’s pulled straight from a WB cartoon, though, which I consider a benefit. They’re writing to a YA audience, and familiarity will pull more eyeballs to all aspects of the franchise.
THE BAD: I’m respectfully taking my rant hat off for this, because it’s uncool to use reviews to air my biases in public. Frankly, either you love DC or you don’t. Same goes for mainstream vs. indie, superheroes vs. regular joes, sci fi vs. fantasy, thinky drama vs. rom com, the list goes on.
Me? I don’t go in for camps, I hate boxes, and I unequivocally abhor hype. That’s a serious bias, and it’s burned me on many occasions.
But here’s the thing: I don’t relate to these characters on any level. I want to, so bad. I want to look at M’Gann and see a young woman struggling to understand her place in the world, or see something of myself in Superboy’s tough-as-nails exterior and soft heart – in fact, I know I should – but it just isn’t happening. They are so removed from what the real world looks like that it’s nigh impossible to connect.
This isn’t just a DC thing, either. I’m the first guy to go off on Superman’s immortality, but the dude was a farm boy from small-town America. He wrote articles for a newspaper. He had a boss, with deadlines and expectations to live up to that were more mundane than machine consciousnesses like Brainiac trying to eradicate humanity, so when he dropped the disguise and shot lasers out of his eyeballs, I could still understand his purpose in fighting those baddies every month. He had a mother and a girlfriend, and a city he loved enough to write about it in his spare time. That’s something worth fighting for, as far as I’m concerned.
But these kids live on an asteroid in orbit around the planet, and it shows. Superboy’s not a person like you or me, or even like Clark Kent. He’s just a boy with Super in front of his name. M’Gann is hiding her identity, but she doesn’t have to … not really. And Batgirl? What’s her big challenge in life, dealing with Alfred’s dad jokes? There are no stakes here. It’s just fists and fire with human-looking faces attached.
I know that this is for kids, but so was the X-Men, who dealt with rejection every day. So was Batman, who embraced the terror of his past to make him stronger than his enemies. We should ask for more from our stories, not because it’s DC or Marvel, or because they can afford better writers. We should demand better because we live here on Earth, not on some asteroid. Earth’s heroes should too.
2 stars out of 5
You can find Young Justice at www.dccomics.com
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.