Thursday, April 14, 2016

Young Justice #12

Hell's Heck's Angels Part I Dante's Disco Inferno

Peter David – Writer
Todd Nauck – Pencils
Lary Stucker and Jaime Mendoza – Inks
Jason Wright – Colors
Ken Lopez – Letters
Maureen McTigue – Associate Editor
Eddie Berganza – Editor

Our cover shows Young Justice in ... well, Heck (hey, it's a kids comic). As usual, Nauck and Stucker do a perfect job capturing the personalities of our heroes. Although, technically, Secret's appearance in this fiery place is incorrect. But we'll get to that later. In the meantime, try to zoom in on the lower right floating island. That's our villain for this issue — the winged guy dressed in purple and surrounded by little blue figures. Also note everyone dancing beneath the spiky disco balls. Most of them are dressed in appropriate '70s attire, except one girl is wearing a Stavesacre shirt, which is not a disco band. And, for some reason, this was the first issue of Young Justice that was digitized by Comixology, making this cover the "logo" for the digital series.

Anyway, our story picks up where we left off last time, with Agents Fite 'n Maad bursting through the doors in a court room to catch our heroes. But to their surprise, the room is empty, even though they just heard voices moments ago. Maad doesn't take this well, and begins swearing and pounding the wall. Fite learns that Red Tornado escaped when the forcefield was momentarily down, but air units are in pursuit. Fite orders the forcefield to remain on, believing he still has a chance to catch whoever helped Red Tornado, whether that be the Justice League or Young Justice.

We then see how our teenage heroes escaped. They all grabbed ahold of Bart and had him vibrate the five of them through the floor and into the basement. But Bart has never vibrated anyone else with him, let alone four people, and everyone's pretty worried that he can't quite pull it off. And no one's more worried than Bart, who's having trouble holding everything together. They soon pop out in the basement, and Superboy tells Imp he can slow down now. But in a brief, yet tense moment, Bart finds he can't stop vibrating and says someone needs to get Max or Wally to help him slow down.

Luckily, the quick-thinking Cissie comes to the rescue by telling Bart she loves him and always has. This unexpected shock is enough to jolt Bart back to normal, although he's left wondering whether Cissie really does have romantic feelings for him. Meanwhile, Red Tornado continues his daring escape with Traya. A couple of A.P.E.S. agents try to stop him, but they're no match for the android, who demonstrates that the air is his home.

Robin has a hard time planning their next step, saying he wished the Super-Cycle didn't ditch them once they arrived in Chicago since they could have easily phased in and out of the courthouse. Cissie suggests that the cycle is off helping somebody else, as it has done in the past. But Bart wonders why it didn't help them free Red Tornado. As the A.P.E.S. agents begin a thorough search of the courthouse, working their way down to the basement, Superboy suggests Robin whistle for the Super-Cycle. Robin decides to give it a try, and he orders everyone to put on their uniforms just in case they need to fight their way out. (Don't ask me where the girls kept their uniforms on their skimpy outfits.)

The kids get their costumes on and Robin begins to wonder if the Super-Cycle could even hear his whistle from the courthouse's basement. Fite and Maad hear them in the basement, and are just about to open the door, when the cycle suddenly phases up through the floor. Impulse rejoices over this perfect timing, and our heroes quickly climb aboard to make their final escape. Once again, they choose to phase down through the floor, but this time the Super-Cycle is doing the hard work.

Young Justice heads down deep into the Earth's crust, and the cycle refuses to listen to Robin's commands to resurface. Eventually, it reaches a large cavern, which reminds Arrowette of their recent fight against the Hugga-Tugga-Thugees. Once the kids exit the Super-Cycle, it shudders and closes in on itself. Impulse notes that it's locked down and probably wants them to stay, to which Superboy says, "Oh, y'think?" Robin pulls out a flashlight and leads the team through the cavern.

As they explore, Superboy notices that Wonder Girl has been agreeing with him most of the time. She says that's because he's right most of the time, which makes him pretty happy. The team then makes it through a corridor, coming out on the same image we saw on the cover. But there are a couple of differences. Not everybody is dancing — some are toiling away with pickaxes, others are in a pool of lava, and all of them have small, winged creatures latched onto the back of their necks. Arrowette thinks the Super-Cycle must have taken them to another dimension. The leader of the place soon swoops in on his large, grey wings, surrounded by the small, demon-like creatures. He introduces himself as Dante, the place as his Inferno, and claims to be on the same side as Young Justice.

We then check in on the Red Tornado's wife, Kathy, whose condition has worsened in the hospital. But while Kathy is having a seizure and the doctors are scrambling for a crash cart, she imagines herself in a beautiful, peaceful field. Kathy sees a bright light and begins to move toward it, but Secret suddenly blocks out the light, telling Kathy she has to come back for her husband and daughter. Secret just manages to explain Red Tornado's trouble with the courts when the doctors apply the defibrillators and sends and electric current through Kathy's body. The electricity causes Secret a considerable amount of pain, and she quickly leaves Kathy's body, shouting, "No electricity! Never again!" The nurses and doctors initially think Secret was Kathy's ghost going up to heaven, but Kathy wakes up and asks where John and Traya are.

Back in the underground cavern, Dante leads the kids into his office and offers them drinks. Impulse plops down on a beanbag chair, but the others remain standing, still not ready to trust Dante. Robin recognizes several of the people in the Inferno as criminals he helped bring in. Dante explains that he was a student of theology and archaeology, which led him to discover this cavern and the winged creatures living in it. (Dante calls them succubi, which technically is inaccurate, but I'll go along with it for simplicity's sake.) The succubi feed off pain and misery, so Dante decided to provide them people to feast from. He kidnaps criminals, convinces them they're dead, then learns of their secret bank accounts and ill-gotten gains, which he then uses to continue his noble work.

Our heroes, naturally, do not approve of Dante's perverse punishment, calling it a form of slavery. Dante offers Young Justice the chance to leave, but they insist on freeing the people and shutting Dante down. But before they can even start fighting, Dante's succubi sneak up behind each teen and latch on to their necks. Dante explains that the succubi can stimulate the emotions they feed off, and once their fangs are in you, it's impossible to sever the connection.

Meanwhile, Red Tornado and Traya arrive at the Young Justice cave, and Red admits he hadn't considered the long-term ramifications of his actions. He tells Traya that he can't keep her hidden as a fugitive, away from her school and life, but Traya insists on staying with her robotic father. Their conversation is interrupted when the cave receives a signal on the direct beam. Red Tornado pulls it up on screen, and finds he's video-chatting with Fite, Maad and Kathy. Traya is thrilled to see her mom has recovered, and Kathy tells John that she's worked everything out with the authorities. She's officially designated him as Traya's legal guardian, and all the legal issues will be sorted out. But first, Kathy just wants to hold her daughter. Red Tornado agrees to bring Traya back to Chicago, realizing that he actually does love his wife.

Secret, however, is in pretty bad shape since being electrocuted. She's happy that she pulled Kathy back from the brink of death, although she's unsure of the details. Bad memories start returning to her, and she's not sure she wants to remember them. All she wants now is to rest. So she finds a quiet closet in the hospital and curls up and falls asleep.

Back in Dante's Inferno, all our heroes are having a hard time fighting off the succubi, but Superboy is having the most success in fighting them off. Dante's impressed with his resilience, but he mocks the Kid, and Wonder Girl's attempts to help him. Dante even goes so far as to call Wonder Girl a "frumpy little thing," which really makes Superboy mad. But before he can finally rid himself of the succubus, Dante lashes his whip around Superboy's neck and drags him out the window of his office. Superboy eventually does free himself of Dante's whip and the succubus off his neck, but he soon finds out that Dante had thrown him into the path of a very large and powerful winged demon.

Red Tornado and Traya arrive at the hospital in Chicago, and Kathy is able to tell her daughter that none of this is her fault. And Traya is happy they can be a family again. Unfortunately, this touching reunion is spoiled by the Cook County Police Department arresting Red Tornado for obstruction of justice, destruction of public property and resisting arrest. Kathy said she was promised all this would be worked out, but the police admit they lied to her just so they could get Red Tornado. Traya wants her daddy to run away again, but this time, Red Tornado surrenders to the police.

Yet another high quality comic from David and Nauck. We got to see Impulse push his powers to new limits, explore more mysteries of Secret, follow the Red Tornado story to bittersweet moment, and see Superboy's and Wonder Girl's relationship slowly develop. However, Arrowette wasn't the only one reminded of the Hugga-Tugga-Thugees in this issue. While Dante himself seems like a pretty interesting character, especially since he thinks he's a good guy, too much of this setup is too similar to the last big Young Justice adventure. Maybe we could have used some more time between bad guys lurking in big caverns.

As with all the other comics this month, the letters column is conspicuously missing. And that's a real shame, since I was hoping for some clarification on that mystery female cameo on last issue's cover that Berganza referred to. Oh well, let's check out the new ads:

Mystery Men. I really enjoyed this movie as a kid when it came out. However, I think a superhero spoof like this would do even better today, since the cinematic world is now so inundated with superhero films.

Ape Escape. You better get them before they get you. For PlayStation.

Next time, we'll follow this story right into our first official Young Justice/Supergirl crossover. Sadly, the cover mentioned nothing of this crossover, but at least an editor's note at the end did.

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