Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Young Justice #11

Siege Perilous

Peter David Same Ol' Writer
Angel Unzueta Guest Penciller
Jaime Mendoza Guest Inker
Lary Stucker Not Guest Inker
Jason Wright Good Not-So-Ol' Colorist
Ken Lopez Little Ol' Letterer
Maureen McTigue New Associate Editor
Eddie Berganza Same Ol' Editor
Can you find the character who had her book cancelled a while back making a cameo on the cover by Nauck, Stucker and Patrick Martin?

I'll admit I have no idea which character Berganza is referring to. I have a wild idea that it might be the female D.E.O. agent in the bottom left corner. There's like a 2 percent chance that girl is Inferno, who had her own series cancelled in 1998 after only four issues. But that's just my wild stab in the dark. Otherwise, this is a really nice cover that gives us a good idea of what's going to happen in this issue and who's all involved.

Our story opens with Red Tornado visiting his wife, Kathy Sutton, in the hospital. The doctors say it was miraculous that Kathy was able to survive the fall from her apartment. However, she's now in a coma, and they have no idea if she'll wake up in five minutes or five years. Red Tornado then tries to take Traya home, but he is stopped by a social services woman. She tells Red that since Traya's adopted mother is incapacitated and she has no other living relatives, then she has to be placed in foster care until the family court works out the details. Red Tornado vehemently protests, but the sudden arrival of Agents Fite 'n Maad convinces the android to allow this to play out in the courts.

Meantime, at the Justice Cave, the kids have somehow created an indoor pool for themselves complete with a high dive. Impulse, Arrowette, Superboy and Wonder Girl have all traded their uniforms for swimming suits, although Cassie still has her black wig on. Bart tries to get Secret to join in the fun, but she says she doesn't like water, even though she's not sure why. Cissie says it's ridiculous to keep calling her Secret. She says Robin is a normal name, and they can call Superboy Kon-El if they want, but Secret really needs a normal-sounding name, too. Superboy suggests Victoria, which Cassie initially likes until Cissie points out that he's calling her Victoria Secret.

Cissie then suggests suggests Suzie, saying it's one of her names. This confuses Bart, so explains that she hates her own name and sometimes calls herself Suzie, Carrie, Cecelia, Chi-Chi, and Ralph during one weird phase. In any case, Secret is honored to accept the personal gift of one of Cissie's names.

Predictably, Robin has decided to remain in uniform and forgo the fun in the pool. He tells the others that Red Tornado just contacted him and explained the situation with Traya. Red Tornado told Robin he doesn't need any help, but the Boy Wonder has decided to monitor the situation. As Robin talks, Bart tries to sneak up on Robin and push him in the pool, but Robin was ready for this and uses his bow staff to trip Bart into the water.

At the court in Chicago, Red Tornado (officially John Smith) gets off to a pretty bad start in his case. The judge asks Red if he's even alive, to which he replies, "Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). But this does not please the judge, who says Red Tornado is entitled to the same rights as those to his father's '63 Chevy. The prosecution also brings up Red Tornado's recent attempt on the pope's life. The android tries to explain that he was taken over by Harm, but this only hurts his case more. Ultimately, the judge concludes that Red Tornado is nothing more than a machine, and he orders that Traya be placed in foster care.

Traya begins crying and screaming for her daddy. So Red Tornado decides to reject the court's decision and take his daughter anyway. He easily shoves aside the bailiff and takes Traya into his arms. Fite 'n Maad try to stop him, but Red blows past them and out the window. However, the A.P.E.S. were ready for this, having placed a null field around the entire courthouse. But Fite and Maad know this won't last, so they call in some reinforcements.

The disturbance at the courthouse is quickly picked up by the news, which the entire team watches on the monitors in the cave. Robin contacts Red Tornado, saying they'll be there soon to help, but Red says this is a personal matter and he doesn't want to jeopardize the team's reputation. Superboy asks Robin if they're really going to ignore this problem like they did when he disappeared recently, or if they're going to actually interfere like they did when Cissie was arrested during the whole Kali fiasco.  Robin tells Superboy the JLA expressly told them to stay away from his Hypertime adventure, but with Cissie, they didn't know the full story when they intervened. But when Cissie prods him, Robin does admit they probably still would have bailed her out even if they did know she was accused of almost knifing a toddler.

And then Bart says something rather profound (as he is prone to do once a Blue Moon): "If we only went places we were wanted, we'd never go anywhere!" Robin thinks about it for a minute, then decides to borrow a page from Superboy's book — look for a loophole. Red Tornado said he didn't want Young Justice to interfere, but he didn't say anything about their secret identities.

At the courthouse, the A.P.E.S. reinforcements arrive, and the D.E.O. angrily hangs back, believing this incident should fall under their jurisdiction. Young Justice arrives in street clothes, and Robin has Secret (Suzie) create a big distraction to help them slip in under the force field with the A.P.E.S. troops. Bart wonders what terrifying thing Suzie would turn into, and it turns out she's been watching a lot of CNN lately, and decided that a lawyer would be the scariest thing. Of course, it helps that she turned into a 20-foot tall lawyer, but her silly plan did have the desired effect.

As the teens rush in through the commotion, Agent Maad tries to use a smoke grenade to keep the civilians away from the courthouse. But Robin knocks it away with his bow staff. Once inside, Robin sends Kon to the roof to take down the force field, while he assigns Bart to find Red Tornado and tell him what's going on.

Robin, Cissie and Cassie remain behind to hold off the A.P.E.S., while Suzie visits the comatose Kathy. Suzie didn't tell the others what she intends to do, but they trust her anyway. As Suzie examines Kathy, she notes that she is hovering on the Abyss. Suzie says she's been there herself, and she wishes she could tell her friends. Suzie then removes Kathy's breathing mask and enters her body through her nose.

Bart quickly explains the plan to Red Tornado, then runs away before the android can chastise him. Using a mini-crossbow, Cissie uses some quick-freeze arrows to turn the stairs to ice as the A.P.E.S. race up them. And Robin gives them a smoke cover with some exploding marbles. The troops hastily open fire on their unseen attackers, and Bart is careful to zip by them without being spotted, while taking the time to tie their shoelaces together.

Up on the roof, Kon has a hard time finding anything to help him take down the force field without revealing himself as Superboy. But he discovers a can of gasoline, which gives him an idea. Inside, Cassie pushes a large statue to block off the A.P.E.S., which they naturally begin shooting at, despite Agents Fite's protests to preserve the work of art. Of course, Fite and Maad are able to figure out who's behind these attacks.

Most of the team reunites with Red Tornado, who angrily tells them to leave at once. Suddenly, Kon lights himself on fire and begins screaming for help. The agents fall for the trick, ordering the force field to be opened to let an air squad in to tend to the burning civilian. Robin points this out to Red Tornado, telling him to hurry and fly through that opening and then meet the team back at the cave. Red Tornado complies with this plan, shoving aside two trooper on jet packs while he escapes with Traya, not knowing whether to be grateful to the kids or to ground them.

Superboy comes crashing through the roof, wearing just his uniform since the fire burned away his street clothes. He apologizes to Robin for not being subtle, but Robin praises him for getting the job done. Unfortunately, Young Justice didn't think through an escape plan for themselves, and they're soon surrounded by Fite, Maad and all the other A.P.E.S. agents.

This was a pretty interesting issue. I rarely think about the ethical, moral and legal quandaries of an android adopting a child, and I appreciated this issue for opening up that topic. But this comic doesn't get bogged down in the philosophy of the matter, instead focusing on the relationships of the characters involved. Traya loves Red Tornado, and even though he's an android, he clearly loves her, too, and will do everything he can to protect her. The kids of Young Justice love and respect Red Tornado, and they, in turn, will do everything they can to help him, regardless of who is right or wrong in this ethical dilemma. And in the midst of this very serious topic, this issue is still pretty fun and light-hearted.

Even the great Todd Nauck had to take the occasional issue off, and luckily Angel Unzueta proved a satisfactory replacement. I wouldn't go as far as to say his art was good, but it never detracted from the story, and on the whole was quite serviceable. One fun thing Unzueta got to do was draw all the kids in their street clothes — something I wish would happen a lot more. Within the convoluted logic of Robin at this time, it makes sense that he would wear sunglasses to protect his identity (as if that made any difference). I do find it odd, however, that Cassie would keep her black wig on at all times. Perhaps Unzueta didn't realize that she actually has short, blond hair. (He should have read issue #9, where she hangs out with the team without her wig on!)

I guess I'm still sensitive from seeing Carol's bra hanging off last time, but I'm also pretty upset with how this issue sexualized the girls. Cassie and Cissie were introduced wearing extremely skimpy bikinis — their bottoms were about as thick as a pencil. Later, when they actually put some clothes on, they were still too revealing for my tastes. I mean, their shirts just barely covered their breasts. And their pants were so tight, it really makes me wonder where Cissie managed to hide all her weapons. Come one, Unzueta! These girls are minors! Put some clothes on them!

Paul Dale Roberts, of Sacramento, Calif., praised Young Justice #6, saying he had to laugh when Robin and Impulse said "lions, tigers and bears" in unison before being attacked by those very animals. He also likes the girls on the team the best, partly because they act like real girls that age.

James Maxey said issue #6 is why he likes Impulse. Other characters would stop and panic when being told that Martian Manhunter was being possessed. But Impulse didn't stop to consider this, instead jumping right in and helping save the day. And in the process, rapidly become one of James' all-time favorite characters.

Gavin J Vincent has high praise for the book and the whole team. On Impulse, Gavin said that whoever created him is brilliant since the way he acts is a trademark of any 14-year-old with super speed. Gavin says Impulse has a wicked cool design and great hair.

Shannon David Smith, of Atlanta, complains that Martian Manhunter was defeated too easily, and also asks for the current Green Arrow, Connor Hawke, to make an appearance on the book, saying his calm manner would be a nice contrast to Superboy's and Impulse's recklessness. Now for the ads:

Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Death of Supergirl! A tragedy that will stand forever as a defining moment in the DC Universe is brought to life in this limited edition cold-cast porcelain statue.

The world thought he was dead. That never stopped him before. Manhunter: The Special Edition.

Next time, we'll finally find out who that shadowy figure watching Bart is in Impulse #51.

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