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Monday, April 02, 2012

Young Justice #14 - May 2012

"Under The Surface" by Kevin Hopps, Greg Weisman, and Christopher Jones.

It's a Special Young Justice Monday!

Hey there again, everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett back with a review of Young Justice #14. The title of this story is "Under the Surface…", and as you can imagine, it features Aqualad, Atlantis, and many members of the Aqua-family prominently. So lets get to it, huh?
Deep in the Atlantic Ocean, a squid-headed boy named Topo is being chased by a band of hooded assailants. Despite exhaling ink into the water to confuse them, Topo is cornered by the group, who are able to generate energy from their hands.

Back at Mount Justice in Happy Harbor, Aqualad is preparing to return to Atlantis for a visit, which he resolved to do more often during the events of the episode "Downtime". After Kid Flash, Robin, and Artemis teleport home, Aqualad asks Superboy and Miss Martian if they would like to accompany him to Atlantis. The pair are excited and say yes, but Superboy asks why the others weren't invited. Aqualad replies that he would've liked to invite them, but their human bodies lack the resistance to survive at the depths where Atlantis is found. So, the trio take off in the bioship and are soon in view of the splendor of Aqualad's home city, Shayeris:
Both Superboy and Miss Martian are enthralled with the beauty of their surroundings, and Miss Martian quickly changes her form to include gills. Aqualad, aka Kaldur, takes his friends first to meet his parents, Sha'lain'a and Cal Durham. Since Miss Martian can translate Atlantean and Superboy was taught all languages while in his pod at Cadmus, there's no language barrier and everyone gets along great. Before Kaldur leaves, however, his father pulls him aside to tell him that there are rumors of unrest in the capital city, Poseidonis. The group makes that their next stop, and when they arrive, they are greeted by Queen Mera:
They also meet Prince Orm, Aquaman's brother (Aquaman is apparently off with the Justice League) as well as many pupils from the Conservatory of Sorcery, including Ronal, Blubber, Tula, Garth, Lori Lemaris, La'Gaan (aka Lagoon Boy) and King Shark. When Miss Martian remarks that each of the students is very different in appearance, Kaldur states that since ancient Atlantis sank, the population of each separate Atlantean city-state has evolved different adaptations to ocean survival, resulting in a wide variety of sentient life. The Conservatory, in particular, draws a diverse cross section of Atlantean citizenry.

But as much as Superboy and Miss Martian want to know about Atlantis, the students want to know about them and the surface as well. But soon, the atmosphere of wonder fades, as Ronal leaves in a huff and King Shark begins acting in a threatening manner. Aqualad sees Topo swimming by and goes to greet him, but he sees a word marked onto Topo's chest. The other students quickly take Topo away and warn Kaldur to mind his own business, but Tula tells them that the word written on Topo is ancient Atlantean script for "impure":
Meanwhile, in Bar Harbor, at an assisted living facility called Windward Home, a Dr. Jim Lockhart is greeted by a strange young man who seems to know him. He goes along with the man, even leaving his walker behind:
Back in Poseidonis, Aqualad is disturbed by Topo's mutilation and asks Tula and Garth what it means. They tell him about the Purists, a group which has recently become stronger in Atlantis and desires only for the human-looking Atlanteans to be a part of the society, using intimidation and violence to frighten off those they deem unsavory.The turmoil has grown much worse since Kaldur's last visit, and is becoming more and more public. In fact, after hearing cries of anger, Kaldur and the others come across two groups of students facing off against each other; one group with human appearance, the other with characteristics of sea creatures. Aqualad and his friends are able to break up the skirmish, but with no real resolution:
Later, in a secret meeting, the Purists meet to discuss what happened with Kaldur and his friends earlier in the day. Not surprisingly, Ocean Master is leading the group. He tells his followers to cloak themselves with hoods and cleanse Poseidonis of the impure, even saying that Aquaman will approve since he is human-looking as well.

Back on land, Dr. Lockhart has followed the stranger to a graveyard in Queens, where he is digging up the grave of Danette Reilly, a former hero he knew in his youth. However, when the grave is opened, the body shows no signs of decomposition, which the young man seems very pleased about. Back in Poseidonis, the Purists begin their attack on the Capitol, defeating the guards and making their way to the Royal Chambers, where Queen Mera (and her unborn baby) sleep peacefully; until Ocean Master appears, asking her, "Sweet dreams, my Queen?"
...to be continued!

Well, this issue definitely delivered on the Aqua-family front, much like "Downtime" before it. While Aquaman doesn't appear, just about everyone else is here. I find it interesting that the Young Justice creators are presenting a good mix of Aqua-family supporting characters both old (Lori Lemaris, Cal Durham) and newer (Topo, Blubber, Lagoon Boy). It could be a personal bias on my part, but it also seems as though the writers and artists on both the show and the comic seem to relish the opportunity to show Atlantis as a colorful, breathtaking place.

As far as the story, it makes sense that Ocean Master (who is revealed as Prince Orm in this issue, which hasn't been done on the show yet) would be leading a group of hate-mongers, though I would bet he is doing it for his own purposes of taking over the throne of Atlantis. Of course, as we all know, going up against Mera is not a good idea, so I predict that next issue Orm will regret intruding into her bedroom as she sleeps.

But overall, this issue is probably my favorite yet, just for the amount of Aqua-content, and the fact that I find the whole setting of Atlantis and its denizens more interesting than most other settings featured so far in Young Justice. Not only that, but Aqualad gets a fair amount to do, and a few moments are given to his love triangle with Tula and Garth. This (and hopefully next issue) would not be a bad pick-up for Aqua-fans, even if you're not a fan of Young Justice.

Editor's Note: Since both the newest issue of Young Justice and the newest episode of Young Justice feature Aqualad and the Aqua-Family, I decided to give Andy's reviews of both a little more room to shine, which is why I moved "YJ Day" to today. Be back in a few hours to read his review of the Young Justice episode "Agendas"!


Wings1295 said...

Wow. That is a boat-load of Aqua-stuff! Love the history of all the characters involved here, but with a new spin. Hope we get some versions of these in the DCU proper!

Russell said...

Gotta go pick this up!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've been a long time "lurker" but when I saw Ronnal--one of Aqualad's classmates) I just had to comment.

Better known as "Mer-Boy" he was last seen in the Silver Aqe and as Wonder Girl's would be boyfriend... and they revive for one last hurrah!

Long live Aquaman.