Young Justice #22 (2000)

Young Justice #22 (August, 2000)
“… the Best Intentions!”
“Father’s Day”
“Other Interests”
Writers – Todd DeZago, Jay Faerber, Chuck Dixon, & Brian K. Vaughan
Pencillers – Todd Nauck, Coy Turnbull, Patrick Zircher, & Scott Kolins
Inkers – Bud LaRosa, Rodney Ramos, Norm Rapmund, & Dan Panosian
Letterers – Clem Robins, Ken Lopez, & Albert DeGuzman
Colorist – Jason Wright
Separations – Digital Chameleon
Assistant Editor – Maureen McTigue
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Hey, there’s a familiar cover… well, kinda familiar.

It’s pretty reminiscent of New Teen Titans #8… “A Day in the Lives”… except here, we have a red robot instead of a red menace!

That Titans issue was a classic.  Does Young Justice have any hopes of living up to it?

Read on…

We open with the Red Tornado who is having a good hard think on whether or not he should consider himself a “father” to Traya.  He’s struggling with the fact that he feels so much like a father… but, technically, isn’t.  Just then, his attention is drawn to a playground where children are… well, playing.  He sees a certain group, and they instantly remind him of… well, you know.

He then hears a girl crying.  He approaches her to find out what’s up… and she tells him that a boy just hit her.  When Reddy confronts the boy… he explains that he saw that she was all by herself and was just inviting her to play “tag” with the rest of the kids.

We wrap up with a woman who was watching (but, for some reason didn’t get involved when she saw a girl crying) tell Reddy that he’s a “natural” when it comes to parenting.

Then… an interlude!  Back at the temporary Young Justice HQ in the Poconos, Bart is trying to figure out a way for Superboy to get his powers back.  Ya see, this is on the heels of the “Sins of Youth” event, in which all of the teen heroes swapped ages with the adult heroes… so, say… Superboy became Superman, and vice-versa.  Anyhoo, when Superboy returned to his “real” age, he no longer had powers.  And so, here we have Bart Allen rummaging through his issues of Secret Origins to try and concoct Kon’s return to a super-powered state.

Our next vignette features Robin and Nightwing as they stakeout a fella named Billings in Bludhaven.  Robin’s having some trouble readjusting to being in his teen-age body after briefly becoming Batman.  He’s also struggling with the fact that… being Batman was hard.  Who better to chat up than the original Robin… and short-tenured Batman himself, Dick Grayson?

They continue to chat, and the subject shifts to secret identities.  Ya see, Tim hasn’t shared his with his Young Justice teammates… because, with his comes (in theory) the whole Bat-Family.  Dick points out how funny it is that Tim felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of being Batman… however, feels right at home leading an entire superhero team.

Just then, they see their ticket into Billings’ house.  Hungry Harry’s Deli delivers!  When Billings goes to answer the door, we find out exactly what kind of sandwich he ordered… a knuckle sandwich!  (Yeah, that was pretty bad… I apologize).

Turns out he’d actually ordered cheesesteak fajitas… which, I feel like they were trying to establish as the “tourist food” of Bludhaven.  As they tie the baddie up, Nightwing is convinced that everything will eventually work itself out.

Back to the interlude… Bart has read his comics and has a few ideas on how Kon-El might get his groove back.  First he tops off his Soder Cola with some Super Soldier Serum Syrup… then places a non-radioactive spider atop his sushi rolls.  It’s a cute scene.

Our next story features Cassie as she finds out she’d scored the lead in her schools presentation of Our Town.  She’s not at all sure how she feels about this… after all, she only tried out so her gal-pal wouldn’t have to do it alone.  Said gal-pal then starts getting on her about planning her life.  Wow, that escalated pretty quickly.

Later on, Cassie returns home… and unfortunately for her, it’s report card day.  Her mother is furious that her daughter got a B in history… and forbids her from meeting up with her Young Justice friends on school nights until she raises that grade.

She can, however, train with Artemis.  The pair discuss some of Cassie’s trepidation when it comes to heroing.  After the age-swap of “Sins of Youth” Cassie knows that she most definitely does want to be a superhero when she grows up… but, what about now?  Maybe she’d like to have a semi-normal teen-age experience… maybe even be in a school play.  Welp, that’s not what “Artie” wants to hear… and she dismisses her.

On the ride home, the Sandsmarks happen across a a woman who had just flipped her car and slammed into a pole.  She made it out okay, however, her baby is still struggling in the inferno.  Lucky for her, one of those Sandsmarks is Wonder Girl.  Cassie saves the tot… realizes the kind of difference she can make as a superhero… and the following day, drops out of the play?  Okay.

Our final “interlude” has Bart still trying all sorts of ways to give Kon some (any) powers.  He starts by bathing him in a mixture of chemicals… which, I guess isn’t the worst idea considering how several of the speedsters got their powers.

When Kon doesn’t immediately exhibit super speed, Bart figures maybe he used the “Plastic Man chemicals” instead… and checks to see if Superboy’s appendages have become all stretchy.  No dice there either.

Superboy then pins Bart down and tells him to back off… then we close out with a look at all the rest of the goofy stuff Impulse had snagged in his attempt to make a hero out of Kon.  How did Bart get a hold of a Green Lantern battery?!  And ‘Mazing Man’s helmet?!

Had more fun with this than I expected.  Young Justice is one of those weird books… it was probably in my Top 3 books while it was coming out, but I have such a hard time revisiting it.  Not sure if I just “outgrew” ’em… maybe it reminds me how none of “these” characters really exist anymore… or, maybe it just reminds me that this was half-a-life ago, and I start questioning all of the decisions I’ve made since then.  Either way… ahem, had a good time with this.

Should we start with the framing/interlude sequence?  These scenes were cute.  Bart acting like you’d imagine Bart would in this sort of situation.  I mean, he’s being a complete pain in the ass… but, his heart is definitely in the right place.  He’s going to these lengths in order to help his buddy.  Gotta remember that Kon is one of his very few “real” friends… and he probably doesn’t wanna lose him as a “running buddy” on the team.

It’s also always neat to see those “gallery” panels with oddities like, ya know, ‘Mazing Man’s helmet (which even makes it to the cover!).  And all the Bart-takes on classic superhero origins was a lot of fun to see.

Let’s talk about the Cassie arc first.  I get what they’re going for here… but, and I think we’ve talked about this before… when you bring the idea of superheroes being able to save “everybody”, it all kinda starts to fall apart.  Here we have Cassie, who just happened to be in the right place to save that baby from the burning car… which says to her that she needs to be a superhero from this point on… and walk away from her role in the school play.

But… heroes can’t be everywhere, right?  I mean, if Cassie had her way, she’d have been across country hanging out (and heroing) with Young Justice on this night… and that baby wouldn’t have made it.  So… which is it?  You’re never going to be everywhere at once… and if heroes could save everybody… then nothing bad would ever happen.  Not sure what giving up a role in a school play would help.  Again… I get what they’re going for… I just think it’s a pretty flimsy way to go about it.

Red Tornado’s story was… ehh, a bit on the saccharine side.  Another where I “get what they’re going for”, but still… feels a bit trite.  I mean, for the entire thing to work, we have to allow for the fact that a grown-up woman ignored the cries of a young girl… who, as far as anyone knew, had just been slapped by one of the boys.

And, really… what exactly did Reddy do besides ask “What happened here?”  Is that really being a “natural” father?  I think that’s just being an adult, no?

Unsurprisingly, (and ignoring it’s non-ending) I felt like the Nightwing and Robin bit was likely the strongest of the issue.  Tim struggling with how much he should let his teammates “in” has been an ongoing thread in Young Justice from the very start.  I appreciate that they understand (and explain) just what a domino-effect giving out his secret identity has the potential to cause.  It really could unravel the entire Bat-Family… which wouldn’t be a good thing.

I dig that while Tim and Dick have so many similarities, they’re also very different young men.  I loved that Dick was quick to point out the differences between the Teen Titans and Young Justice.  His dismissal of the “Junior Justice League” as perhaps a little “less stable” than his old team was pretty neat… and, also pretty true.

This was a “jam” issue of sorts, with several writers and artists… all of which flowed pretty nicely.  The only artist who really stuck out here was Zircher, as he is far less cartoony than the rest of the team.  Still, great work all around as far as art is concerned.

Overall, yeah… this is worth a peek.  It’s not quite on the level of a Scott Lobdell post-crossover X-Men issue, but if you ask me… few things are.  The kids are starting to get their lives back to normal following “Sins of Youth”, and it was a pretty good time.  This issue is available digitally.

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