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Friday, 15 January 2010

Young Justice - A League of Their Own

Writers: Peter David and D Curtis Johnson
Pencillers: Todd Nauck and Ale Garza
Inkers: Lary Stucker and Cabin Boy
Colours: Jason Wright and Tom McGraw
Letterers: Ken Lopez and Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
A new team of teenage superheroes - named Young Justice - similar in concept to the Teen Titans, but from the next generation.  The line up is as follows:
Robin - Batman's third protege to bear the name.  No powers.
Superboy - Young clone of Superman with variant powers.
Impulse - A speedster from the Flash family.
Wonder Girl - Granted powers by the Greek God Zeus, her mentor is Wonder Woman.
Arrowette - Ace female archer.
Secret - A girl made out of mist.
Red Tornado - An android who acts as babysitter to the team.

This collection is made up of the first seven issues of the Young Justice ongoing title, when the team had just formed and embarking on their first adventures.  In this respect it is similar to the Year One
stories.  Read the book and:
Discover the super powered motorcycle that behaves like more like a pet dog!
Witness the creation of a new and absurd supervillain!
See our heroes battle the forces of a mischievous fifth dimensional magic imp!
Speculate as to what happens when a powerful teenage supervillain crosses the parental line one time to much...
Cheer for our young heroes as they take on the adult Justice League of America!
And meet the Pope!

This is very much a young adult book.  The protagonists are teenagers, we see everything from their point of view and they act as normal teenagers should - bickering, flirting. showing off, asserting their rights and arguing with their parental figures.  Alongside all this they are heroes and will do their best to save their day.  Admittedly their best may be clumsy, not thought through or involve unusual methods, but they will save the day.

This book has all the oddities and crazy plot lines that comics are associated with, and by god is it fun!  It absolutely does not take itself seriously and neither does it expect you to.

What's good about it?
In keeping with the Young Adult outlook the humour is frequently juvenile and rude, in the same way farts and bums are rude.  Even if that's not your thing, the other gags are hilarious.  The writing is full of quick comebacks and snarky asides.  The dialogue is one of the major strengths of the books - it reads very much like a real conversation, with real people.

The book is crammed full of different stories with no overall story arc, other than the heroes getting to know each other.  Subsequently, we read about a variety of different adventures, this makes it interesting and also mirrors the chaotic nature of the group.

It captures the teenage state really well and portrays some excellent parent/child relationships.  But really, when it comes down to it, this is just a damn enjoyable read.  It's fun and lighthearted, in the way that comics are famous for.

What's bad about it?
As a Young Adult book, written for teenagers, it is a great piece that teenagers are likely to enjoy.  If you are not into Young Adult fiction you may dismiss this as too juvenile, but to do so would be to deprive yourself of enjoyable way of spending a couple of hours.  It is what it is and it does it well.

What's the art like?
Cartoony and exaggerated for the most part - all characters have unfeasibly long legs and big hair.  I find the art style particularly engaging and expressive, I hope you agree:


Other information
Price: Unfortunately this book is currently out of print, but it should be easily available from Ebay and Amazon as a used item.  I would pay up to about £8 or £9 for a used copy in good condition.
ISBN: 1840231971

If you enjoy this and want to read more Young Justice books may I reccomend the following:
Young Justice: Sins of Youth
Or the recently released Young Justice Presents series of titles from DC, that reprints older stories including the one showing how the team was formed.

For other Peter David written books click on his name in the list of labels below.

If you want to read more team up books featuring teenage heroes, look for those posts labelled Teen Titans on this site.

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