Young Justice #19
Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 6, 2020
Cover date: December 2020
“Gods and Monsters”
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis & David Walker
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Cover: Francis Manapul
Variant Cover: Bixie Mathieu
Reviewed by: Tony Parker
Cassie Sandsmark/Wonder Girl has just been fired from her old job for being absent for two years, and her funk is only increased by a bad conversation with her grandfather Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus wants Cassie to join the Pantheon of the gods, but Cassie refuses to since she feels she would be neglecting people who need her help like that.
In the middle of this heated discussion a Hecatoncheires, one of the hundred handed beasts, attacks Metropolis. Cassie, sure this is a test of her readiness for the pantheon, rushes to the defense of the city, before rushing off to find Young Justice (Connor Kent/Superboy, Tim Drake/Red Robin, Bart Allen/Impulse, Keli Quintela/Teen Lantern, Jinny Hex and Naomi) and ask for their assistance in repelling her Grandfather’s quest.
Mid-discussion, it is revealed that Poseidon is behind the attack, in an attempt to take Olympus from Zeus. Young Justice, lead valiantly by Cassie, manage to beat him in time, before Cassie rejects her grandfather once more for the path of a hero one earth. As he leaves, she sheds a happy tear…
To Be Continued…
Story – 4: So I can’t believe I’m saying this, but folks, this is a legendary moment: Not only is this my first “4” score, this is the first issue I’ve reviewed of this book I can happily say is “Good”!
Cassie is a neglected character, to say the least. In this book she is meant to be the fourth biggest character, yet so far this is the first issue to truly focus on her. That is clearly a massive flaw on this book, but I’m here to be positive, so let’s move past this and acknowledge that this issue was legitimately good!
For perhaps the first time in forever, the teen angst and conflict felt real and palpable (Spoiler and Impulse came close but could have used re-writes in their focus issues): Cassie knows that her family expects her to join the pantheon but she knows she shouldn’t, despite how down on her luck she is. She feels that she can give back on earth, and that retreating to the clouds would be selfish and pointless. She is of course, completely right, but she never comes across as preachy or one dimensional like most of Bendis’ characters in this book. Cassie feels like a real teenager trying to find her place in the world, and not just a device for Bendis to pretend that he gets the “youths”.
It helps that Zeus is portrayed as what he is: a controlling patriarch who wants to choose for Cassie who she is supposed to be. His quiet, “helpful” toxicity is done just right, and a lot better than last month’s Cluemaster.
Another thing that really adds to this issue is that it feels like Cassie’s issue, with no compromises or strings attached. The story is about her and her alone, and thanks to this we get to feel the breadth of emotions presented in the story, even feel real happiness at her victory in the end! Even Young Justice barely factoring once more is forgiven thanks to Cassie being a major member of the team and the team ACTUALLY helping beat Poseidon.
Are there problems? Of course there are, no issue is perfect. We get a horrible reminder that Superman’s identity is out, there are still some weak jokes, barely any action scenes again, Naomi’s inclusion keeps on baffling. But for the most part, this was a real and genuine improvement (which is hampered a little by the lack of buildup and the knowledge we only have one more issue to tie it all together).
I don’t have too much to say, honestly. It’s just a good, decent, well written issue. And while I have had my problems with this book, at the very least I got to praise a real moment of genuine human emotion. Cassie, I salute your heroism. In the end, the real Young Justice was you.
Art – 3: I find myself saying the art here is ok and fine every single time, and I find myself saying that once more. However, I do appreciate the attempts to shake it up with more dynamic, cinematic poses, great facial expressions as always, and some lovely splash pages! It’s no masterpiece, but Godlewski manages to illustrate some excellent poses and some powerful moments. The tear streak on a proud Cassie’s face is very touching!
Cover Art – 3: A decent cover, not much to report here to be honest. I like Cassie’s pose, and the Jor-El esque look Zeus adorns, but it’s just an ok, above average cover.
Variant Cover Art – 4: Bixie Matheiu, I would like to apologize. I was quite harsh when I first criticized your work. I still find that first variant very poor, but honestly you have improved since then, and I really like this new one! It sort of ties in with the idea of Young Justice as Cassie’s family, and there is a real, warm, and living feel to the poses the team has on the cover. It felt like a silver age cover reborn, and I really admire it! Congrats!
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