Review: Young Justice Volume 1: Gemworld
Young Justice Volume 1: Gemworld
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Patrick Gleason
Teen+ (15 and up)
DC Comics; October 2019 (digital), May 2020 (print)
176 pgs., $16.99USD
I’m not a big fan of the DC Universe. I’ve always been more of a Marvel girl, but there are a few characters I will always check out when they show up in a series. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld is one. I’m a big fan of the original series, so anytime she shows up, I give the series a shot. When she was shown to be in the new Young Justice reboot, I had to give it a read.
The trade volume collects the first six-issue story arc. The main purpose is to introduce the characters that will be making up this new team. Tim Drake as Robin, Bart Allen as Impulse/Kid Flash, Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, Jinny Hex, and Keli Quintela as Teen Lantern all happen to be in Metropolis when warriors from the Gemworld appear, demanding to meet with Superman. The teens fight them instead, and when the Gemworld warriors retreat, the teen team are transported to the Gemworld as well, getting separated along the way. Bart finds Conner Kent, Superboy, and Tim meets Amethyst. From here the story is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping between the team trying to figure out what’s going on in Gemworld to flashbacks for Cassie, Conner, Amethyst, and Tim, dropping hints about issues they will no doubt need to deal with later in the series.
As the beginning of a series, this volume is a strong start. The characters are introduced at a fast pace, with their personalities well defined. As a fair-sized ensemble, not everyone gets the same amount of development. New faces Jinny Hex and Keli Quintela only get a few scenes, while the more established characters Conner, Cassie, and Tim get full flashbacks. Of all the characters, Bart is the least fleshed out. The only things we really know about him are that “he’s gotta go fast” and he has wanted the team to get back together. He ends up being a bit of deus ex machina in getting the team out of trouble. He brought the most levity though, with Keli coming a close second.
The story was the weaker part of this volume. Nothing really gets explained. The warriors went to Earth because all the “crises” (i.e. reboots) kept affecting Gemworld, and they wanted answers. But this whole part of the plot is dropped in favor of making Dark Opal the big bad that apparently only Amethyst wants to stop. While Dark Opal is traditionally the villain in Gemworld, I found the sudden switch baffling, and seemingly coming out of nowhere. I didn’t care for the non-linear storytelling either. Even though the story did come full circle, getting there was a jumbled mess. The way the second issue started left me wondering if I had missed something previously.
I will continue reading this series, as I do like the characters, and am interested in some of the mysteries that have been hinted at. There is plenty of action, which artist Gleason does a good job of balancing and keeping from getting too crowded or confusing. I didn’t care for the way Amethyst and Gemworld was handled, but I will wait and see where it goes. Young Justice has a great cast, so hopefully writer Bendis can follow up with a story to really do them justice.
Filed under: Reviews
About Lori Henderson
Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!
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