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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Young Justice #12 - March 2012

"The Pendulum" by Greg Weisman and Luciano Vecchio.

It's Young Justice Saturday!

Hey there again, everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here again with a review of Young Justice issue 12. Last issue, Batman and Robin foiled another plot of R'as Al Ghul's which ended in Ra's' apparent death. After Talia and Ubu scooped up the body and returned it to a Lazarus Pit, Ra's returned to life. However, soon after R
a's left, Clayface emerge from the Pit, calling Talia's name. Huh?

We pick up this issue not with Clayface and a perplexed Talia, but instead we see:
Busted! Aqualad is daydreaming about Tula as he and the other Young Justice members hunt for Clayface in a Gotham sewer. How did he get there? To find out, we flash back to a few hours earlier as Batman contacts the team at their headquarters. He tells them to track Clayface, but not to engage him until the Dynamic Duo can return with a strategy for taking him down. After that flashback ends, we flash back a few hours earlier, as Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox inspect a suspicious crate that has arrived at the Wayne Foundation building. Of course, the crate doesn't stay mysterious for long, as:
Batman and Robin show up and take on the mud monster, but he escapes into a nearby sewer, thinking about how he arrived in Gotham. So yes, we flash back again to the previous night. Clayface emerged from the Pit calling for Talia, who knows him as Matt Hagen. He asks her what she did to him, but at this point R'as returns, demanding that he sleep. Clayface, who apparently has to obey R'as' commands since he works for him, promptly falls asleep. He is then shipped to Gotham as a punishment for Batman's earlier interference.

R'as demands to know of Talia how Clayface came to be, and we flash back yet again to months earlier. Turns out, since Batman has repeatedly spurned her advances, Talia has fallen for Hagen, a soldier in the League of Shadows. Her father does not approve, saying that Hagen is beneath her and that Batman must be her intended. Yet Talia has found happiness with Hagen, and her father relents. They meet at a nearby waterfall, where:
Turns out that Hagen has inoperable cancer, and needs a Lazarus Pit to save his life. He tells her he needs her, and that since she is R'as Al Ghul's daughter, she can gain him access to the Pit. Insulted that Hagen is interested in her only for whose daughter she is, Talia reluctantly agrees.

She takes him to the Pit, where she tells him he must submerge. Predictably, as he does, she shuts the lid and locks him in. Should've seen that one coming, Matt! So, by being locked in the energized fluids of the Lazarus Pit for months, Matt becomes Clayface, and another grotesque Batman villain is born! As we see, however, the Dynamic Duo is not the only opponents he's after:
To be continued!

Okay, well, another issue of Young Justice that features cameos by Young Justice. Not that this issue was a bad read, it just seems like a strange choice of story for this book. Even Batman and Robin are relegated to the sidelines as we explore the origin of Clayface. I did enjoy seeing a more vindictive side to Talia that shows her less as a directionless pawn caught between her father and Batman, and more as a powerful woman not be be messed with. I do hope next issue that the action involves the team much more. And to be honest, the flashback upon flashback structure of this issue was a little unnecessary. At times it felt like watching that Seinfeld episode in India that plays in reverse.

As stated above, Aqualad makes only a couple of appearances in this issue, once daydreaming of Tula (which was a nice surprise for the opening page) and once in battle with Clayface at the end. But I do still feel that this comic as a whole has leaned more toward individual member stories than adventures where everyone works together. In the future I hope to see more team adventures that have a bit of that old Gardner Fox early-JLA teamwork feel, but we'll see.

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