Young Justice #1 (1998)

Young Justice #1 (September, 1998)
“Young, Just Us”
Writer – Peter David
Pencils – Todd Nauck
Inks – Larry Stucker
Colors – Jason Wright
Separations – Digital Chameleon
Letters – Ken Lopez
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Ya know, after covering the third part of the Young Justice “trinity” yesterday, I got a hankering to actually dive into the series itself.

I gotta say, growing up (this series started when I was 18… so, I guess I was technically already “grown up”, except… not at all) this series was one of my favorites… heck, I’m sure for awhile there it was my #1 favorite.

Sadly, in the interim, it’s kinda turned into one of those books that proves the whole “You can’t go home again” adage.  I’ve tried time and again to revisit this series… but, for whatever reason, struggle getting through it.  Not sure why… it’s just one of those things that “is”, I guess.  I could go into some theories… but, I wouldn’t want to bore you (any more than I already am!).

Let’s hop right in!

We open with a trio of bad dreams, maaaan.  In the first, Robin has lost his hand… it was eaten by “killer cockroaches”.  No bother, Batman just slaps a Batarang on his wrist and calls it good.  In the next, Superboy sprouts glowing wings… and in the last, Impulse “Hulks out”.  Oh, by the way… this is being written by Peter David, just in case you haven’t picked up on that.  These “bad dreams” feature things that have happened in other books Peter David has worked on… Aquaman losing his hand, Supergirl being a fallen angel… and of course, the Hulk being… well, Hulkish.

But… like I said, these are just a trio of bad dreams… nothing to actually worry about.  Our young heroes wake up simultaneously, and we can see that they’re camped out at the JLA’s old Happy Harbor cave-hideout.  They’re awake all of 30 seconds when Impulse realizes… he’s bored.

Well, we’ll get back to that.  First, we’re going to shift scenes to a (conveniently) nearby archaeological dig… where an archaeologist named Nina Dowd is checking out some strange findings, in the form of a… tire?!  No sooner does she touch it than it goes BWAFOOM.

Back in the Cave… Impulse is still bored.  As such, he decides to… uh, rush off, grab a can of spray paint… and proceed to “tag up” the joint.  Wouldn’t have been my first impulse (no pun intended), but whattayagonnado?  Heck, he even writes some disparaging remarks about the band Hanson on the chest of Red Tornado!

Wouldn’tcha know it… that’s all it takes to wake ol’ Reddy up, which scares the bejeezus out of the boys.  He takes a moment to give the kids the once over, before deducing that together they epitomize the Freudian concept of Id, Ego, and Superego… which, I’ll grant ya, is an interesting way to look at it.

Reddy then reveals how they managed to wake him from his self-imposed slumber.  Ya see, they simply annoyed him to the point where he has the intense urge to smack the lot of ’em!  So, he’s now awake… and, kinda indebted to the young fellers!

Impulse checks the monitors and learns of what went down at the dig site.  The foursome head off to look into it.  Unfortunately, DEO Agent,s Donald Fite and Ishido Maad have already arrived… and believe they’re in control of the situation.  So yeah, they’re Fite ‘n Maad.  Did I mention that Peter David wrote this?

Bart, seeing a strange crystal, heads into the crater anyway.  Maad doesn’t hesitate to squeeze off a round in his direction (yeesh).  Thankfully Superboy swoops in for the deflection.  Impulse vibrates his way into the crystalline cocoon… which, explodes!  When the dust settles, we see that Nina Dowd was inside it… though, now she’s calling herself Mighty Endowed… because, well… she’s… uh, hmm.  Her boobs done got big… very big.  So big, she can’t support ’em!

Robin tries to take control of the scene… and is approached by a goofball reporter from a local news station.  He refers to them as the Teen Titans (and really, why wouldn’t he?).  He is corrected, and after a couple of misunderstandings, our heroic trio is anointed as Young Just Us… er, Young Justice.

Back in the hole, Superboy spies the big ol’ tire sticking out of the dig, and decides to nyoink it out… revealing that it is attached to, well, a pretty gaudy looking vehicle… which he decides to call the Super-Cycle!  Robin wonders why just touching the thing would have turned Nina Dowd into… the ample bosomed beastie they nearly had to fight.

Robin then takes a closer look… and winds up getting trapped in the seat!  Despite Kon and Bart’s best efforts… it looks like he’s stuck!  The Super-Cycle then takes off, leaving the DEO, Red Tornado, and the media behind!

Annnnnd, that’s where we leave off!

Yeah, this was pretty fun.  I’m sure I appreciated it more as a teen-ager myself, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy this a great deal.

I mentioned during the preamble that I wasn’t going to bore you with any theories as to why certain runs we love become difficult to revisit in later years… and, well… I guess I kinda lied, because I’m about to.  Hey, at least by now you’ve already read the synopsis and looked at all the panels… so, if you wanna click off now, you won’t be missing much.  Just know, my feelings will be irreparably hurt.

I’ve said time and again that, to me… comics history is more than just “comics history”… in a way, it’s also our history.  Just like any other hobby, I suppose… though, with the periodical nature of comics, I feel like we’ve got more to tie specific times in our lives to certain eras/runs… we can point to a well-remembered/well-loved run in a book, and kinda point to where we were in our own lives, running alongside it.

Where I’m going with this, I suppose, is… perhaps there’s a part of me (us?) that engages in something not entirely unlike transference (but certainly not exactly), with certain comics.  If I look back, I originally read this during a highly transitional time in my life.  Becoming an “adult” (I’ll letcha know when I finish that), moving across country, starting to work for a living… I gotta wonder if that has anything to do with it.  Maybe I just have difficulty putting myself into the “gestalt” of when these books came out?  Maybe it just reminds me of a time where I had seemingly limitless options… and kinda kick myself today for not taking advantage of that.

If anything I said holds any water (or makes even a modicum of sense… I apologize for the rambling), than I’ll concede that I have been rather unfair to this book in the years that followed.  I’ll stop with the me-search before I decide I wanna Irish-up the cup’a coffee I’m sippin’ on.

Back to the issue.  It was fun… and I’d definitely recommend it.  It’s a silly book, and one that’ll probably cause you to chuckle out loud.  There are “inside baseball” bits, but the humor isn’t entirely predicated on knowing the reference.  Sure, you’ll get more out of it if you realize Peter David wrote that issue of Aquaman where he lost his hand (and so on)… but, even if you didn’t, the visual and reaction are still funny enough on their own.

We get some decent puns… Fite n’ Maad, Ms. N. Dowd becoming rather well En-Dowd.  Silly stuff like that.  Harmless enough, though… the latter probably wouldn’t make the final cut these days.

Overall, I’d certainly recommend this… though, I would suggest going for the trade collection, if you can.  This is very much a “chapter one” (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and I’d reckon you’d get much more out of it going in for the entire first arc.  If you like what you’ve read about this issue, I’m sure you’ll dig the trade.

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One thought on “Young Justice #1 (1998)

  • Daelen.C Clark

    I enjoyed this series quite a bit.
    In fact, it’s what really introduced me to superhero comics in the first place, and has influenced my writing.
    I’ve gotten three of the six trades, and I hope to complete the collection.


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