It's Young Justice Saturday!
Hey there again, everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here again with a review of Young Justice #18. Since the last two issues starred only Robin, Kid Flash, and Artemis, this issue begins a new storyline involving the entire team. To review, the comic book series has generally told stories that fill in the gaps between television episodes. This installment is no exception, as it takes place after the events of the "Alpha Male" episode that aired last October.
As we pick up the story, Robin recounts the events of the team's last few missions in his case notes, including Superboy and Miss Martian's infiltration of Belle Reve prison, the attack by Red Tornado's "sibling" robots, and the recent defeat of The Brain's Kobra Venom project in India (where Superboy picked up his pet wolf named, uh, Wolf).
Once they arrive in Bwunda, The Brain is already monitoring them from his hideout. He and his companion Monsieur Mallah are not alone, as The Ultra-Humanite is also in attendance. They agree that summoning Gorilla Grodd is the way to bring down the team. In the jungle, Aqualad asks Miss Martian to establish a telepathic link for the team, but she first wants to know about what happened with Tula, sensing Aqualad's distraction. He tells her of his regret:
He asks Miss Martian to camouflage herself and remain as backup, while Robin throws up a smokescreen. Kid Flash takes off, but runs right into Grodd himself, also under the influence of Kobra Venom. Grodd takes out Kid Flash and shuts down Miss Martian psychically, leaving her unconscious and invisible. He then stomps Superboy and Aqualad while Artemis finds herself slapped with an inhibitor collar. Soon the others are as well:
Superboy briefly escapes but is quickly defeated. Grodd and his minions return the unconscious heroes (minus Miss Martian, still invisible) to The Brain and Ultra-Humanite. They are upset that Wolf and Miss Martian are still missing, but realize that the Kobra Venom may be causing the gorillas' improved mental faculties to erode. They send Grodd and the others out to search for Miss Martian and Wolf using infrared goggles. Miss Martian wakes up later, faced with Grodd and the other captive gorillas. Instead of attacking, however, Grodd asks for her help.
Continuing with DC Comics' long tradition of using apes as antagonists, this issue features a whole barrel-full. I find it interesting that the most dangerous of these apes, Grodd, is in a subservient role to Ultra-Humanite and The Brain. I'm guessing next issue we'll see Young Justice trapped between the machinations of The Brain and the wrath of Grodd.
I think the concept of using this comic to showcase missions "in-between" the TV episodes is for the most part successful. It broadens the timeline of the show and creates a very concrete continuity. On the other hand, it can make events seem a little densely packed, and it makes the Young Justice team look like the busiest super-team DC has, since they seem to undertake one mission right after the last! Of course, starting with issue #20 in September, the timeline of the comic will skip five years ahead like the TV show, so we will see if this format stays true.
Aqualad was granted a couple of nice moments in this issue. Besides taking down some gorillas with his water-bearers, he also revealed a bit more about his situation with Tula. It makes sense that with his tendency to over-think and analyze, he would've missed his opportunity to share his feelings for Tula. My favorite Aqualad moment in this issue was his line about the team not resorting to game-playing about their own romantic wishes. Being the oldest and most responsible (not to mention having suffered a recent heartache himself) it stands to reason that he would seek to stop the others from making similar mistakes.
See you soon for my review of issue #19. Same Aqua-time, same Aqua-place!