Superboy (Conner Kent) is lost in the primal, some might even say savage land of SKARTARIS! But he's not alone - Travis Morgan, the WARLORD, is at his side!
Conner's life is a wreck, and he's justifiably freaking out a bit - about being in Skartaris, if nothing else. But Morgan shares his life story in an effort to cheer him up and give him some perspective.
Elsewhere, the rest of the ever-growing team is planning - somehow - to rescue Conner from Skartaris...
Young Justice #13 is a bit of an odd duck to say the least. It’s ostensibly the start of a new storyline, but at the same time, reads more like a middle chapter than anything else. How did Superboy wind up in Skartaris? Why did he wind up there? What does STAR Labs have to do with it? Regular readers may know those answers, but the writing team of Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker offer no answers to those questions, which is not a strong way to start what – again – is supposed to be the first chapter in a new story.
Of course, Bendis’s stock in trade is decompressed, long-form storytelling. That should be a given at this point in the man’s career, so it should be taken with a grain of salt that there are multiple plot points here distended from previous issues. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that this issue is extremely new reader unfriendly. But if those things can be over looked, well, the basic plot is still clear: Young Justice (League)’s teammate is lost, and they have to figure out how to bring him home. It’s actually pretty simple – maybe too simple, though.
The “in a nutshell” version really doesn’t leave anything else to the imagination, unfortunately. Young Justice #13 is an unfortunately simplistic read, and although granted it’s padded out with jaw-droppingly beautiful Warlord pin-up pages by Mike Grell, that doesn’t negate the fact that there just isn’t much going on here plot-wise. Superboy gets some nice character beats, and Travis Morgan (that’s Warlord, ya whippersnappers!) gets to give a nice motivational speech, but really, the remainder of the comic is Bendis’s patented talking heads. The remainder of the team – plus Naomi, the Wonder Twins, and Miguel from Dial H (the rest of the Wonder Comics lineup, for those not paying attention) stand around bantering about what to do. It’s a nonstop gab-fest, with very few voices that stand out individually among the pack. It is, in short, exactly what I’ve come to expect from a Bendis comic… for better or worse. As was the case with Naomi, David F. Walker’s name is attached as co-author, but readers would be hard-pressed to decipher exactly what his contributions are. There’s an interesting little twist on the last page that seems to herald some interpersonal drama to come, but at the same time, is guaranteed to add even more voices to the mix. So it goes.
The art is an interesting grab bag, to say the least. Travis Morgan’s flashback scenes, as mentioned above, are rendered by industry legend and Warlord creator Mike Grell by way of big, sexy splashes. And unlike a lot of his contemporaries, Grell hasn’t lost his touch. These pages could have come from the ’70s and no one would be the wiser. Regular series artist John Timms handles the group scenes, cannily balancing a crowded scene in a way that everyone more or less gets equal panel time – not an easy feat. Lastly, the sequences shared by Superboy and Morgan are rendered by Bendis stalwart Michael Avon Oeming, bringing a touch of Powers gravitas to those panels. Oeming’s style might be a bit much for mainstream tastes, but to any longtime Bendis readers, they’re a great touch. Something about Oeming’s style brings out the best in Bendis, and the corresponding scenes resonate very well.
Young Justice #13 is at once threadbare and a hodgepodge storywise, especially considering it's ostensibly the start of a new story. Events just kind of happen without much in the way of explanation, and the group scenes of the team feel padded out. A trio of talented artists brings their own individual strengths to the issue artistically, but overall, this issue feels like a morass of... something... in search of a plot.
Young Justice #13: I Ain’t Lost
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 4/104/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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