Dark Crisis Young Justice #3
SINS OF THE OLD! In response to their lack of gratitude, the world holding Superboy, Impulse, and Tim Drake captive has brought back the three villains who have caused them the most pain to keep them in their place: Deathstroke, Captain Boomerang, and Lex Luthor. Old wounds will open. Wonder Girl and her search team will have to hurry up before there's no Young Justice left to save!
Dream world stories are tough needles to thread. Whether the characters start off skeptical and are lured into the reality of the dream world or are instead taken in from the start, inevitably the plot requires the characters to realize what’s going on, confront it, and decide whether or not to return to reality. The trick is to keep the character from falling too far behind the reader and appearing stupid as a result. This is an issue that Dark Crisis: Young Justice has struggled with since the first issue.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3 hits emotional and story beats similar to the previous issue. Connor, Tim, and Bart continue to question the world they find themselves in and, as they began to at the end of the previous issue, they view Cassie with suspicion. As this issue goes on, the three characters’ reactions start to diverge. Connor’s desire to remain in this alternate world remains. Bart grows more skeptical. But Tim spends much of the issue waffling.
Fitzmartin’s depiction of Tim is a stumbling block throughout the issue. Despite strong evidence that Bart’s analysis regarding Cassie is correct, Tim vacillates on the situation until the final pages. Contrasted with Connor, who gave an understandable reason for wanting to stay in this world in issue two (his having never died in it), Tim has no reason to doubt Bart’s conclusion. He also displays a self-centered insensitivity toward Connor, a character who he has long been shown to have a strong bond with. While Tim endured his own trauma in the wake of Connor’s death, his refusal here to engage with such a close friend who is likewise confronting trauma feels wrong and out of character.
Fortunately Fitzmartin handles Connor and Bart better. Connor’s position, driven by deep emotion, is understandable and Fitzmartin communicates that weight effectively. By far the standout character, though, is Bart. We’re given a brief yet compelling look at his struggles to be taken seriously by friends and comrades. The strength of his response, and the fact that through him we get one character who doesn’t seem to lag behind the reader in recognizing the obvious danger, is a significant factor in why the narrative still mostly works.
The art in Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3, for better or worse, shares the same strengths and weaknesses as the story. Braga draws Bart and Connor with passion; through facial expressions and body language we always know where their minds are. But somehow Braga mirrors the weak writing for Tim with a visual depiction that is oftentimes generic. Tim never feels as present as Connor and Bart, and in every panel he shares with Bart, Connor, or Cassie he is overshadowed.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #3 is the weakest issue of the series so far. Given where the story is at the end of the second issue, there is relatively little advancement until the final pages. The opening of the issue touches on intriguing themes of wish fulfillment and catharsis but devolves in quality quickly. Bart is the only character keeping up with the changing circumstances, and while Connor’s reluctance to face the nature of the situation is understandable, Tim feels a step behind for much of the issue because of his refusal to listen to Bart and failure to empathize with Connor. He feels a few steps behind what we know despite how obvious it is that they are being manipulated, and that creates a frustrating experience. Fortunately the mystery of what is happening to the trio remains intriguing, making up for the at times uneven character portrayals, and the art contributes to the strong Bart and Connor portrayals.
Dark Crisis Young Justice #3: Time to Face Reality
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10