Since DC Rebirth, the mystery surrounding Dr. Manhattan’s universal manipulation has affected every facet of the DC Universe. In Young Justice #15 (on sale June 16,) the plot thickens, as writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker continue to explore Conner Kent’s controversial origins. This issues’ latest cliffhanger suggests that this large-scale investigation is just beginning, and it’s only a matter of time before it rocks the DC Universe to its core.
Young Justice #15
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker
Artists: John Timms (P.1-15) and Scott Godlewski (P. 16-22)
Color Artist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Wes Abbott
As the writer of Action Comics, Superman and Young Justice, Bendis has the rare opportunity to craft an expansive story between the three series. We’ve already seen the Man of Steel and other heroes start to question the consequences of the DCU’s latest crisis, but now Conner’s place in the inquiry makes it even more personal. Conner, with Superman’s help, has been trying to figure out where he came from, and the art team masterfully conveys the young hero’s emotional turmoil throughout this process.
Using lifelike facial expression artist John Timms illustrates Conner’s shell-shocked speechlessness quickly devolve into harsh frustration when Impulse (Bart Allen) reveals that Conner is from a different reality. Conner’s stress lines become prominent as his understanding of the world unravels. Color artist Gabe Eltaeb adds a sunset gradient to show Conner’s underlying anger, which quickly morphs into jaded bitterness. Eltaeb represents this shift with an emerald background, which is doubly meaningful, as Conner reflects on his lineage as a clone of Lex Luthor and Superman. Time and again, the script and the art complement each other to create a harmonious story.
Any exploration of the multiverse can be an intimidating task, given the scope of the matter, and the creative team showcases these sizable stakes throughout the issue. Given the Flash’s history with crisis-level events and Bart’s place in the Flash Family, he’s the natural choice for Young Justice’s lead figure in the investigation. As Bart begins to explain what he’s learned, Timms and Eltaeb openly allude to Doctor Manhattan. When Bart says he thinks something broke the multiverse, Eltaeb uses the electric blue glow of a laptop to hint at Manhattan’s presence. Then, as Bart verbally reveals his findings, Timms shows Bart running through the multiverse, and Eltaeb fills the page with a similar shade of blue to hammer home the fact that Manhattan is responsible for the crisis. Here, the entire creative team strengthens the sense of dramatic irony that has filled the DCU for months; the reader knows that Doctor Manhattan is the guilty party, and we’re all waiting for the heroes to figure it out, too.
While the investigation of the DCU dominates the issue, the finale of the series’ latest arc brings Young Justice closer together. At Tim Drake’s suggestion, the team agrees to make Young Justice “a real thing again,” even as the roster appears to be larger than ever before. This newfound cohesion arrives just in time, as the team seems set to begin another world-shaking investigation; this time, they’ll be looking into where Bart went on his universal exploration, and the potentially shocking nature of his discoveries could test the strength of their union.
In Young Justice #15, Bendis and Walker take the next step in the DC heroes’ collective investigation of the universal tampering, and they leave the reader excitedly waiting for the examination to kick into overdrive. With Conner’s substantial character growth, Bart’s intriguing revelations and the team’s renewed focus, the series is set up for future success.
What’d you think of Young Justice #15? Check out your local comic shop to see if you can pick this book, and others you may want, up there.