YOUNG JUSTICE: TARGETS #1 / Script by GREG WEISMAN/ Art by CHRISTOPHER JONES/ Colors by JASON WRIGHT/ Letters by WES ABBOTT/ Published by DC COMICS
For my money, Young Justice is perhaps the most highly underrated animated series ever. I must confess I missed out on it during its initial release, in part because I didn’t think Cartoon Network could produce a quality superhero show. CN didn’t appreciate what it had either, cancelling the series after two seasons when its intelligent scripting and deep-diving into the lore of DC Comics’ history proved better at attracting young women than toddlers wanting action-figures. Thankfully, the show developed a following, whose dedication earned the series a second life and an additional two seasons so far.
There is some question as to whether or not there will be a Young Justice Season 5 at the time of this writing. Yet the story of the series is continuing in Young Justice: Targets, which is set just after the end of the recently concluded (and well worth watching) Young Justice Season 4. Despite this, this first issue is easily accessible to those who have never watched the show before!
Showrunner Greg Weisman spins two connected stories in this first volume. The first, “Cherry Gig,” shows Beast Boy preparing to lead the Outsiders on a mission to rescue his ex-girlfriend, Queen Perdita of Vlatava, on his first mission back with the team after a medical leave of absence. The second story, “Hot Mess,” is a flashback detailing a solo adventure undertaken by Red Arrow ten years earlier, which also involves Queen Perdita and her family.
Unsurprisingly, Targets avoids the continuity pitfalls that often plague other comic books based on an established property. The characters, as written by Weisman, are true to form, and the action sequences are engaging, ably illustrated as they are by Christopher Jones, who is also a storyboard artist on the show. This truly does feel like an episode of the show, distilled into a frame-by-frame recap, so fans hoping to see more of the same will not be disappointed.
Even if you don’t watch Young Justice and don’t care about the revelation that its version of Clayface has reformed, there is much to recommend this book. Green Arrow and Black Canary fans, for instance, will enjoy their cameo appearance. And perhaps I’m reading too much into the fact that one of Queen Perdita’s bodyguards is named Denny, but the whole book seems to be a tribute to the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams era of Green Arrow. Jones’ style is all his own, but many of the layouts in this issue seem to be inspired by Neal Adams.
Whatever its influences, Young Justice: Targets hits the mark. Fans of the show will love it, but newcomers who have yet to explore the world of Earth-16 will find this book a ready portal towards seeing what they’ve been missing. Here’s hoping we see more Young Justice comics like this one and confirmation of Season 5 shortly!