Monday, September 19, 2016

Sins of Youth: JLA Jr. #1

You Gotta Be Kidding!

Written by "Danny" Curtis Johnson
Pencils by Carlo "Carlito" Barberi
Inks by Wayne "Wayne" Faucher & Juan "Tito" Vlasco
Colors by Pat "Patty" Garrahy
Letters by Dave "Davey" Lanphear & Clem "Clem" Robins
Edits by Minnie Mo McTigue & Eddie "el Nene" Berganza

Cover by Mike Wieringo & Terry Austin. Colors by Tanya & Richard Horie.

Now we're into the full swing of things. The rest of the covers and issues of this event will follow the same format. On this cover, Wieringo wisely gave the focus to the members of the JLA who will not be appearing in other issues — Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Steel, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman will get their turn later on. This cover also sets the precedent of altering the small images on the bottom. Since Red Tornado is in the main image, his small picture has been replaced with Lagoon Boy.

The bulk of this story takes place before that short JLA/JSA story in the Secret Files issue, which was a little disorienting initially. So we pick up in Washington, D.C., right after everyone has been transformed, and is chaotically trying to split up and regroup at the Young Justice cave. Doiby Dickles is blaming himself for making things worse; Merry the Gimmick the Girl is trying to console him; the media is trying to sort everything out, erroneously reporting that a group of heroes clashed with government agents and that Superboy started the fighting; Senator Perkins is trying to restore order and get rid of the reporters; and Klarion the Witch Boy gladly welcomes chaos, his old friend.

The JLA has grouped together by some trees, and Wally immediately starts asking a bunch of questions that no one can answer: How'd they become kids, who're those other super-people who suddenly showed up (Point Men), and where'd Young Justice go. Superman suggests they find those "super-goons" and kick their until butts until they're changed back. Wonder Woman astutely notes that they don't know who transformed them, and maybe they shouldn't be fighting anyone until they can figure out what's going on. All Batman cares about is that nobody sees him.

Superman tells Batman that if he was so worried about being seen, then he shouldn't have jumped out after that "weird little kid" (Klarion). Batman says he thinks Deadman made him do that, but Superman says he's just making excuses. He also starts a running gag of calling Batman "Bats," which he hates. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel occupies himself by messing with Steel's armor, and Green Lantern, an artist by trade, literally changes his costume every single panel.

Wonder Woman begins to speculate that that weird little kid may have been some sort of sorcerer, but Captain Marvel interrupts her by tugging on her lasso and saying a bunch of people are looking at them funny. The people think that Superman is Superboy and his teammates are Young Justice instead of the JLA. Aquaman tries to explain the situation to them, but he's soon blasted from behind by the Agenda troopers. Soon, the JLA is surrounded by troopers and the Point Men, but they're rescued by the adult Anarky, who uses a couple of well-placed smoke bombs to cover their escape.

Batman angrily claims that he was just about to do the same thing, which Superman highly doubts. But Batman does begin reasoning out their next move, saying they won't be able to get to the meeting place with the Point Men trailing them like this, so he suggests they go to the Watchtower. Wally points out that the nearest teleport pad is in the D.E.O. building, and there's no way they could get in there in with "everyone and their grandmother" hunting them. Anarky once again comes to the rescue, saying he's been developing a teleport pad, but would need a few more codes to adjust it to send the team to the Watchtower.

Since they have no other option, the JLA retreats to Anarky's base, and Steel makes the adjustments to send the team to their base base on the Moon. Steel also makes sure that this is a one-time teleportation only, so that Anarky won't be able to go to the Watchtower at a later date. But once the JLA arrives in their base, the security system is triggered and begins to detain the heroes. Apparently the key parameters they used to have the Watchtower identify them were their size, mass and voices. One would think that the shape-shifting Martian Manhunter would be able to turn himself into an adult to turn off the defense mechanism, but the computer is smart enough to tailor its attacks to each intruder, and it surrounds J'onn with a ring of fire. So it's up to Batman to evade all the obstacles and punch in the manual override. And he can't help but brag a bit when he accomplishes this.

The heroes get a brief moment to relax and regroup. Steel adjusts his armor, Captain Marvel begins tying Plastic Man in a bunch of knots, and the rest get the monitor board on to see that, sadly, the media seems to be milking this story for all its worth. But one reporter, Ace Atchinson, is providing a fair report, asking how much of the truth they aren't hearing, and suggesting that they listen to the kids to learn what they need. Green Lantern says they just need a few more reporters like him to spread the truth, and Wally sarcastically says he'll just interview every reporter in the country at super-speed. Red Tornado tells Wally that's not a bad idea, but there's no guarantee he'll be believed as long as people think they're part of Young Justice. The android argues that their priority should be to return to normal so they can be in a better position to help the real kids.

Martian Manhunter begins a telepathic search for Klarion the Witch Boy, who is currently in a cave, reaching back in time for the android Amazo. However, Amazo emerges as a teenager, which Klarion hadn't intended, but speculates is a residual side effect of all the chaotic forces he's been throwing around today. Klarion then notices J'onn's presence, and psychically repels him. The young Martian Manhunter was a bit shaken by this, but he did manage to confirm that it was Klarion who de-aged them, and that Klarion is working with somebody else.

Aquaman, who is busy looking at pictures of Power Girl and Fire, suggests they "just chill until the bad guys reveal themselves." Superman hates this idea, saying they also need to worry about their home cities like Metropolis and Gotham. Wally reminds everyone that he's supposed to be on his honeymoon right now, and he tersely tells Superman he's free to "go babysit" his city while the rest of them "actually work on the problem." Wonder Woman prevents Superman and Flash from attacking each other and all of them realize that their emotions have changed to match their younger bodies. Green Lantern cries out that he'd rather be a monkey, a caveman, a potted plant, anything but a teenager again. Steel jokes that Kyle is only two or three years younger.

Wonder Woman returns to her magic theory, asking if anyone has a sorcerer handy. Captain Marvel tells everyone he knows a wizard, but many of his teammates doubt this, especially Wally, who says the "squirt" would claim he knew an electric pocket monster just to get attention. But, once again, since nobody has any better options, they all decide to follow Captain Marvel's lead. He takes them down to Shazam's cave, where the wizard opens with a lesson on the Seven Deadly Sins of Man. Batman is linked with Injustice, Green Lantern is Laziness, Aquaman is Selfishness, Flash is Hatred, Plastic Man is Greed, Red Tornado is Envy, and Superman is Pride. Naturally, none of these youthened heroes take this message well.

When they do get to speak with Shazam, the wizard explains that he is unable to help them since their ages were altered by a strange combination of magic and science. Shazam advises them to meet up with the other heroes at the Young Justice cave, then disappears. Wally criticizes "Wonder Chick" for this stupid idea. She says it wasn't her idea, she just said it sounded workable. Wally says that's the same as it being her idea in the first place, which launches a classic back-and-forth of "Is not!" and "Is too!" Naturally, Wally is too fast for Wonder Woman to keep up with all his "Is too!"s.

Superman gets fed up with everything, and he flies off to Metropolis, which makes Captain Marvel start to cry. Batman says Superman had a good point, so Wally mocks him, asking if he's worried about his mommy and daddy back in Gotham. Batman flips out and almost attacks Wally, but Martian Manhunter stops them, who realizes they'll never be able to solve this problem in their emotional condition. Finally, at the urging of Red Tornado, they all head to the Young Justice cave, catching us up to the Secret Files story.

After the brief (and hilarious) fight between the JLA and JSA, the adults of Young Justice show up and restore order. They all agree that they should approach their problem from as many different angles as possible. Aquaman says says he'll check out the high technology and old magic in Atlantis, and Lagoon Boy plans on having some fun with his king in their new ages. Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman plan on trying the gods of Olympus. Red Tornado says they also need to deal with the matter of public perception, so Wally brings back the idea he initially suggested sarcastically. He and "Impulse-Man" could go get the word out. Impulse agrees with this idea, but he calls Wally "Kid," which he doesn't like.

Superboy says Superman shouldn't have taken off so impetuously, but he did have a good point. Superboy will head to Metropolis to keep their enemies believing things are business as usual, and he advises Batman and Robin to go to Gotham. Doiby heads off to the planet Myrg with the JSA to try to repair his aging gun, and Secret says she'll take Deadman with her to track down Klarion the Witch Boy. Red Tornado volunteers to remain at the cave and coordinate everything. He says they don't have time to wait for the Titans, so everybody rushes off toward their own adventures.

CDTV News Top Story:

This is Ace Atchison reporting for CDTV News, continuing the latest coverage on the current "Youth Movement."

We're her live from Washington, D.C., where Young Justice has called for a superhero "Justice for All" march, to defend themselves against the crimes that they believe they have been wrongly accused of. It looks like anyone who's anybody in the superhero community is here to hear their case: the JLA, Titans, the JSA, plus a lot of other heroes.

Wait ... some government officials have come to greet the heroes and ... what's this? Superboy is turning against his teammates, saying that all the accusations are true and that Young Justice is dangerous! But wait! Another Superboy has shown up, and a major fight is starting!

Hey, who's the little kid in the suit waving his hands around? Some showy figure is jumping on him! Heck is breaking loose, people! There's smoke all around, it's hard to know what's going on. All we can make out is loud zappy, zappy sounds.

The smoke is clearing ... and what the ... ?! Is it me or did all the adults get turned young, and the kids are now adults?! We'll be right back ...

This was another fun installment in this Sins of Youth event. It's so wild and silly and simply wonderful. What can I say? I love seeing the Justice League as kids. This reminds me a lot of the Justice League Unlimited episode, "Kid Stuff," although that was on a much smaller scope — only turning Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman into kids. And everything else was completely different, so that's where the comparison ends. But the root of the idea, turning adults into kids, is always an amusing concept, in my opinion.

The art was handled wonderfully by newcomer Carlo Barberi, who also drew the JLA/JSA story in the Secret Files issue. Barberi has a fun, light-hearted style that works perfectly for a story of this nature. I see hints of Humberto Ramos, a splash of Craig Rousseau, and just a smidge of Todd Nauck in his work (in fact, I even like Barberi's Klarion more than Nauck's — not quite as chubby). Later, we will see how Barberi's style will help him become the next penciller on Impulse after Ethan Van Sciver leaves.

This story did a good job of providing enough information for anyone who might have missed a previous issue or two, but there were a few continuity problems I noticed. However, these are small quibbles in the grand scheme of this story. But I do have to ask, what was everyone else doing before they met up at the cave? We know that Wonder Girl and Superboy were at Cadmus, the Titans were at S.T.A.R. Labs, Mary Marvel and Freddy Freeman tracked down Klarion to a museum ... and that's it. Specifically, I want to know what Robin and Impulse were doing, since they're now two of the most responsible superheroes on the planet. Oh well. Like I said, it doesn't really matter that much.

Up next is Part 5: The JLA has tried to get its act together by separating, but Aquaboy and friend are more interested in catching rays and babes than finding a solution to their problems. It's good to be the king! Sins of Youth: Aquaboy/Lagoon Man #1.

1 comment:

  1. This issue is so much fun! And I have to agree - Carlo Barberi is one of my all-time favorite DC artists. I love his whimsical style! It works perfectly for this series, as well as Impulse. Looking forward to more! :)