Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5
HERE’S MICKEY! Mickey Mxyzptlk, son of Mr. Mxyzptlk, built the “perfect world” where he and the boys of Young Justice could rule without being criticized, without having to change, without ever having to grow up. Mickey has an ugly soul and too much power. YJ will have to overcome their shortcomings and defeat him to get back to the DCU they know and need!
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5 finally reveals that Fitzmartin’s goal with the series is to construct a metanarrative examining Young Justice’s place within the current DC universe. To this point the series has put forth several themes amidst a somewhat uncertain plot. With this issue Fitzmartin seeks to tie all of these elements together.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice has taken most of a generation of legacy characters off the board leaving older and younger legacy characters in place to fight the darkness. At first the series, which seems to have little if anything to do with the larger events of Dark Crisis, seemed to exist purely for that purpose–getting the Young Justice characters out of the way so that the event proper could develop the younger legacy characters. Fitzmartin leans heavily into that idea with Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5, using Mickey Mxyzptlk to point out that the spotlight has moved beyond Tim, Connor, and Bart. This is an effective idea on its face. Spend any time among fans of these characters (and other legacies of the same era) and you’re sure to hear some complaints about how Connor has been passed over for Jon and Tim for Damian and so forth. In execution, though, it’s somewhat less successful.
My past reviews for Dark Crisis: Young Justice have discussed the inconsistent characterization of Bart, Tim, and Connor, and it’s this ongoing inconsistency that most hampers Fitzmartin’s efforts here. Mickey’s goal in bringing the three characters to his dimension is to give them the prominence and adventures he thinks they deserve as the heroes that he grew up with. This revelation puts Bart, Tim, and Connor in the position of having to face any potential feelings they have about Mickey’s claims. A problem with this is that the way Fitzmartin has written these characters thus far, they probably would agree with Mickey.
At various times throughout the first four issues of Dark Crisis: Young Justice Bart, Tim, and Connor have all complained about the position they’ve been put in as a result of a younger character filling their previous role. Tim will never be Batman. Connor is no longer Clark’s protégé. No one takes Bart seriously. The trio’s dissatisfaction has been such that for much of the series Tim and Connor have at first refused to believe there’s a problem and then, in Connor’s case, resisted the idea of going home. This creates a problem because, as heroes who are above reproach, their opposition to Mickey’s idea that they deserve to be selfish because they came first is a foregone conclusion. But not only does that response contradict much of how they’ve behaved to this point, it does so without comment. Fitzmartin doesn’t write any of these characters self aware enough to acknowledge what the previous issues’ readers have seen: before they knew Mickey was involved, one of these characters was on the fence about this idea of being replaced while another was in complete agreement and never wanted to leave.
This lack of self awareness adds a kind of nastiness to the meta narrative as well. Prior to Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5, Fitzmartin was writing these characters as being somewhat in agreement with their unhappy fans. They were glad to be back in action. They were glad to get a shot at revenge against their greatest enemy. They were glad when they thought they were receiving accolades from the fictitious Justice League. But now that it’s Mickey giving voice to these ideas, they are naturally the wrong ideas to have. Fans have gone from having their opinions validated by their favorite characters only to have those same characters turn around to say that those ideas are in fact wrong. Having Mickey be the one to construct the metanarrative almost makes the whole thing feel like an exercise in trolling.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5 also proves to be artistically weak–easily the weakest of the series to this point. This is largely the fault of the issue taking place almost entirely against empty backgrounds. Most of the threat to the characters comes from glowing blobs which themselves have no physicality. That combined with the general emptiness leaves the action sequences feeling especially static. Guerrero’s colors add a measure of dynamism to the affair thanks to an effective use of contrast.
But Braga does continue to find success when it comes to emotive characters. There are times that the characters’ expressions don’t quite seem to sync up with their dialogue and actions, but this is relatively minor, and an improvement over the previous issue where Connor spent every panel pouting.
This is a frustrating issue because the idea behind it is ambitious and carries with it a lot of potential. Unfortunately Fitzmartin’s ongoing stumbles with consistent character development in earlier issues undermines these efforts.
Dark Crisis Young Justice #5: It’s All So Meta
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10