Young Justice: Gemworld by Brian Michael Bendis

details
Title: Young Justice.
Story-Arc: Gemworld.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis.
Penciller(s): Patrick GleasonJohn Timms, Emanuela Lupacchino, Kris Anka, Viktor Bogdanovic, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ray McCarthy & Jonathan Glapion.
Colourist(s): Alejandro Sanchez, Gabe Eltaeb, Alex Sinclair, Chris Sotomayor & Hi-Fi.
Letterer(s): Josh Reed, Wes Abbott & Carlos M. Mangual.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: October 1st 2019.
Pages: 160.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401292539.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

In hopes of extending its reach to a younger audience, DC Entertainment tasks the prolific writer Brian Michael Bendis into launching a brand-new pop-up imprint belonging to DC Comics, allowing him to curate a universe set in the main DC universe, to his taste. With his sight set on teen-oriented content that looks into a specific moment in the life of youngsters where they are in the middle of discovering who they want to be and what they’re willing to fight for, this imprint launched its flagship title Young Justice since January 2019 and adds three more ongoing series, for the time being, including Naomi, Dial H for Hero and Wonder Twins. This imprint thus seeks to both revive existing characters who are currently under-utilized while also introducing all-new content based on existing familiar identities.

What is Young Justice: Gemworld about? When Metropolis is invaded by strange beings from a nightmare dimension known as Gemworld, young heroes find themselves serendipitously united at the heart of the action as they fight off these ill-intentioned villains only to be hurled back into their realm and discover a new reality that might hold the answer to a medley of shocking alternate realities and timelines. As these heroes struggle with their own personal questions about their purpose and destiny in life, they also meet and greet each other, with as many old (Wonder Girl, Impulse, Red Robin and Superboy) and new faces (Amethyst, Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex) amongst them.

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Looking to recreate the teen magic he has infused in his past creations with Marvel, notably Miles Morales (Spider-Man) and Riri Williams (Ironheart), Brian Michael Bendis accomplishes something quite special with this exciting new team-up. Although there are far too many heroes to introduce properly in this first volume, they still make a cohesive and entertaining squad with some heroes far more exciting than others, and some who still manage to remain intriguing in their mysterious and shy demeanour. Impulse, the Flash from the future, also particularly steals the show every time he gets the chance with his impulsive—pun very intended—personality and his inability to calm down and take things down a notch. However, some of the villains spawned from the newly-introduced Gemworld universe are a bit unusual and invite a bit of doubt as to their potential, especially the great evil known as Lord Opal.

Although the energy is really fantastic in this new series, especially with the consistent vivid artwork by Patrick Gleason and his colleagues, that allows this first volume to showcase all the colours in the world in a mesmerizing new universe based on gems, it’s the structure of the storytelling that retains this from being closer to perfection. In fact, Brian Michael Bendis utilizes a flashback narrative to tell this story, with each issue jumping back in time—and not even to a particular time period—in order to take a glimpse at some of the dilemmas that each of these young heroes face in their individual lives, from issues with rules and heritage to a desire to embrace a learning curve without any shortcuts and to forget the rules that restrain us to follow what the heart desires. While these sequences are fascinating, an illusion of story progression is conveyed and invites even more confusion as to where things are headed with all the back and forth.

Young Justice: Gemworld is a revitalizing and refreshing new chapter in the youthful and energetic teen squad as they face new forces from unknown dimensions.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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While it isn’t based on any particular comic book series, Young Justice: Outsiders is the third season of the fan-favourite animated series! Have you checked it out yet? A fourth season is already confirmed as well!

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17 comments

  • I like Bendis’ work, usually, but it pains me a bit to see him once again tackling teenage angst and development. How many times can you tell the same story and retain the freshness and enthusiasm of the beginnings? I like Miles Morales, I’m not too enamored with Riri whom I see as a bland gender variation of the old trope.
    That said, I am still curious about this new project of his 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, it’s funny that he came back to that again with this pop-up imprint. He still writes Superman and Action Comics though, and some other stories for DC. I guess it’s just DC that wanted him to continue to do what he used to do and expand their audience even more.
      And, like you, I’m just curious to see everything he plans on doing for DC until he starts to repeat himself or tell really bad stories… Hopefully, not for a while…

      Liked by 1 person

  • As much as I want to shake my fist and say “Those kids….”, I am, upon reflection, very glad to see a line of comics aimed at the younger crowd. DC and Marvel have been living off of the 80’s and 90’s generation and it is time for comics to be for kids again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahahah it is indeed nice to see some series intended for a younger audience, without necessarily excluding everyone else though. Then again, there are plenty of series out there for kids/young adults. I just don’t read them hahahah 😀 I like my heavy themes in dark settings after all. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • I love Young Justice so I was pretty excited to see that there’s a new graphic novel coming out, but it’s a shame that it jumps backward and forwards between timelines. I don’t think that’s always the most conducive way to tell a story, especially if there are so many characters being introduced as you say. I might still pick this one up at some point though. Great review! 😀

    Like

    • I’m glad to hear you love the Young Justice! I do love their energy and that type of YA issues that often come with them. I think this is still pretty decent though. Especially if you know what you’re getting into (with the flashback narrative style). After all, the story arc is still interesting and the artwork is fantastic! Hope you get the chance to try it out someday, Kate! Thank you so much! 😀

      Like

  • Impulse looks fun just from his mug on the cover! I like that they are doing comics like this… though I’d say the audience is more middle grade than teen. The idea of flashbacks to introduce everyone seems like a good idea but yeah it just makes a reader pause. Especially an adult one. Still I assume you’re going to be on the lookout for the next volume? I’d be interested to see if it gets better. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha yep! Impulse has always been such a quirky and overexcited little kid and it’s nice that it was handled properly here. He sort of saved the story’s odd structure for me. I definitely plan on giving volume 2 a try to see if indeed it feels more MG than YA. If it doesn’t improve, I might be more inclined to pass afterward.

      Liked by 1 person

  • It sounds quite interesting to have teen superheroes, it reminded me of the Incredibles hahaha (is that the correct title in english?) 😂 The animated series reminded me of the hours I used to spend watching TV when I was a child 😂 Great review, Lashaan 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahaha yes, it does have that Incredibles vibe to it, although it doesn’t share the “superhero meta-discussion” that comes with the movies. 😛 Oh man, that’s why I still watch animated stuff nowadays. It’s hard to say “no more” of those, even as I get older. 😛 Thank you, Caroline! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awesome write-up my friend, I’m a Bendis fan and was aware of the Young Justice line but I’m not sure it’d be my thing really as dismissive as that may sound! I do however plan to check out his forthcoming Legion of Superheroes run as that has me intrigued with some of the groundwork being laid in the Superman books.

    Alas, I haven’t caught up with the YJ animated series – you might recall that I started the first season only for it to get pulled from Amazon Prime and with no service yet carrying the DC Universe series I guess I’ll have to hang fire!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting a good grasp of Bendis’ abilities with what I’ve read so far and am willing to give anything he writes a try for now. This one is a bit less adult-y but still pretty cool! It’s nice to see how he fits the whole Gemworld universe into DC.

      Bruh. I don’t know what I could say to get you to watch and finish it but I’ll always remind you of it just so it will stay on your list. It’s really worth checking out. Best thing we got as an animated TV series for now. I can’t wait for the Deathstroke one they announced though. How amazing did that seem?!?!

      P.S. I am a bit meeeeh about the visuals though but I can get used to it if the story and action is as good as it was teased to be!

      Liked by 1 person

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