Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young Justice #10 - Jan. 2012

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"Hot Case" by Kevin Hopps, Greg Weisman, Christopher A. Jones, and Dan Davis.

Hey again everyone, Andy Luckett here again with a review of Young Justice #10, part two of a murder mystery involving Captain Atom!

To recap last issue: The team grew bored learning about espionage from Cap Atom, so he assigned them to probe a cold case murder involving one Nathaniel Adams, who was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. Since Cap Atom suspects Adams was innocent, the team split and interviewed the witnesses: Adams' judge General Wade Eiling, the defense lawyer Henry Yarrow, Adams' two children, and medical examiner Shirley Mason, who was found dead by the time Robin and Miss Martian reached her. On her body they discovered a photograph taken during the war and involving the participants in the Adams case.

After checking the individuals pictured, the team tracked down a North Vietnamese general named Trang who was part of the group in the photo. After detecting an assassin about to kill Trang, the crimefighters leapt into action, only to be stopped by Rako, the assassin wielding a sword able to cut Superboy. And that brings us up to speed…

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Rako proves to be much tougher than a simple hired killer; fighting the team to a standstill and escaping, but not before killing Trang. The full team regroups in a Metropolis diner to examine the photograph and learn more about the players. A boy is also pictured, who the team theorizes may be Rako, under the direction of CIA man Alec Rois. Since Shirley Mason and General Trang have both been killed, the YJers decide that Rako is killing the rest of the people in the photo:

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Half the team heads to check on Sgt. Enos Polk, Adams' arresting officer, in Metropolis, while the other half travels to Las Vegas to protect Henry Yarrow. As they stakeout Yarrow's house, Robin, Kid Flash, and Superboy meet with a surprise:

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Sadly, Yarrow is dead. Or is he? As the team regroups to investigate a tip at a warehouse in St. George, they fall into a trap set by Rako, Alex Rois, and Yarrow himself, the architect behind the recent murders. Our heroes easily outwit the trio, but Yarrow fires his gun at Robin, causing Superboy to jump in front and ricochet a bullet back at Yarrow. As he dies, Miss Martian extracts the truth about Adams out of Yarrow's mind:
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Back at Happy Harbor, Miss Martian explains what they discovered to Captain Atom. Adams found out about a smuggling ring involving Henry Yarrow, and told his commanding officer, General Lemar. Lemar, who was in on the operation, decided to shut up both Adams and Yarrow, who had grown too arrogant for Lemar's liking. He contorted General Trang to ambush Yarrow and Adam's squad, but Adams saved himself and Yarrow as well. Yarrow decided to frame Adams by using his knife to kill Lemar, thus ridding himself of both men. Eiling was not a part of the ring and sentenced Adams based on the evidence. In Las Vegas, the explosion had killed Polk instead of Yarrow (they both had the same military tattoo).

Captain Atom is pleased to hear the team's results, and asks them to visit Adam's kids and tell them the truth. As they do, Eiling and Captain Atom arrive in a car and
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But there's more, as we see. Eiling meets with Alex Rois, who has escaped from prison. Turns out Eiling was Yarrow's boss all the time, knew Adams (aka Captain Atom) was innocent and now has shifted all blame to Yarrow. Poor Captain Atom, caught in a web of lies!


So, did you follow all that? This mystery had a lot of players, a lot of lies and double crosses, and an ambiguous ending. One trait about Young Justice, both the show and the comic, is that it rarely wraps much up tidy. Many times the defeat of the villains is merely a smokescreen, as we saw both in this issue and in the Injustice League episode of the show. While I admire the writing teams for keeping that realism, it can make the experience a bit less satisfying if more threads are left to play out for the future.

Aqualad stays mostly in the background this issue, but he does have a couple of nice moments. In the scene where the team is examining the photo on their phones (and in Bibbo's Diner in Metropolis, no less), the art looks in on each member's phone. Everyone is looking at the witness photos; except Aqualad, who has a picture of Tula on his screen. A very nice character detail that picks up on the relationships established on the TV episode "Downtime". During the fight with Rako in the warehouse, he boasts that no sword can match his own. Aqualad responds by turning his waterbearer shapes from blades into water, drenching Rako in the face and knocking him off his feet.

Overall, I appreciated the change of pace that the two issues provided for the team, as they were able to investigate a crime instead of reacting to a crisis or villain. While I felt the mystery's solution was a bit overcomplicated, it was nice to see the writers try something different by injecting mystery and non-super crime elements. Here's hoping that other subgenre elements (horror, maybe some overt comedy) will be introduced as time goes on.



Well, I enjoyed the first part of this new story, a definite change-up from former stories. We get a chance to see the team tackle a mission that requires detective work rather than physical action, though there is some of that too, of course. But the idea of tackling a cold case makes perfect sense as a training tool for a team of young heroes. The case, which seems to be a retrofitting of one of Captain Atom's comics origins, should be interesting as it plays out next issue.


The highlight of the issue, for me, was undoubtedly the conversation between Aqualad and Artemis wherein he reveals the identities of his parents. Apparently, his mother, Sha'lain'a, lives in the Atlantean city of Shayeris and his father is Cal Durham, who was working as a spy for Black Manta until he fell in love with Kalder's mother! Very interesting that this information has been revealed here in the comic instead of on the show, but I especially like the inclusion of Cal Durham, one of my favorite Aqua-family supporting characters.


We'll see where this all goes next issue!


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