Thursday, September 15, 2016

Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1

Justice for All

Peter David Writer
Todd Nauck Penciller
Lary Stucker Inker
Jason Wright Colorist
Ken Lopez Letterer
Maureen McTigue Associate Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

Cover by Mike Wieringo & Terry Austin. Colors by Tanya & Richard Horie. Special thanks to Kimberly & Matt B. The Klarion Icon was designed by Sean Taggart.

This is it! The biggest Young Justice event during its five-year run, taking a majority of the DC Universe on a wild tour through the silliness and awesomeness of Young Justice. And the awesomeness starts with this cover, drawn by Impulse co-creator Mike Wieringo! It's great to see Wieringo draw Impulse again (for the first time in about five years), but I'm a little sad that Impulse was drawn so small.

This sideways cover with the ample amount of white space will become the standard for most of the Sins of Youth comics. It is nice to have something very different to stand out from all other comics and indicate to readers that this is going to be a very different kind of story. Still, though, I'm not the biggest fan of sideways covers, and I kind of wish they just would have made them vertical like normal. On the bottom of most of these covers is the same seven images taken from other covers, showing adult versions of Impulse, Superboy, Secret, the Star-Spangled Kid, Wonder Girl and Robin, as well as the juvenile version of Red Tornado. So, without further ado, let's dive right in to this big story!

We pick up right where we last left off in Young Justice, with our teenage heroes exploring their new temporary headquarters — an abandoned resort in New York's Catskill Mountains. But it doesn't take long before Robin urgently calls out to Wonder Girl to join him in the ballroom. Wonder Girl delivers the message to Impulse, who was busily snarfing down some potato chips. He wonders if the team is having an emergency dance, and he calls down Secret, who was checking out the beauty salon. Soon, the whole team is down in the ballroom, facing off against Old Justice, who appear prepared for a fight.

Superboy leaps forward to attack, but he soon stops when he sees his teammates aren't following him. Wonder Girl and Robin are both hesitant with the idea of battling the elderly, but Impulse says Max is older than all of them put together and could probably take on Young Justice no sweat. But Wonder Girl is still worried about breaking their bones. Perhaps the most feeble member of Old Justice, Thorndyke, grows irritated by this talk, and he pops a couple of pills he had concealed in his cane. Superboy jokes that the old-timer got so worked up he needed to take his heart medication, but Thorndyke quickly grows into a large man, strong enough to send Superboy flying with a powerful punch.

Impulse immediately strikes back by kicking Thorndyke in the chin, and Robin orders the rest of the team to attack, but to use caution. Robin is quickly caught in a net by the Cyclone Twins, and when Impulse tries to free him, Merry the Gimmick Girl takes him out with a bunch of gas-filled marbles. Dan the Dynamite blasts Wonder Girl and Superboy with the energy produced from his power rings, and Doiby Dickles sucks up Secret into a special vacuum. Impulse manages to disperse the gas by spinning his arms around, but enough of the gas made his brain just foggy enough that Merry is able to get a special spring around him that he's unable to vibrate out of. Robin manages to escape his net and knock down the Cyclone Twins, but he's soon targeted by Dan. So Superboy rather ruthlessly decides to drop the room's chandelier on Dan.

Thorndyke manages to push Dan out of the way, but he finds himself trapped under the chandelier with his pills beginning to wear off. Merry tells Dan to blast the chandelier off him, but his rings need more time to recharge. Luckily, Wonder Girl is able to pull the chandelier off Thorndyke, and she chastises him for whining so much. She then tosses the chandelier at Doiby's vacuum, which frees Secret.

Suddenly, the fight is interrupted by the blinding flash of the camera of reporter Ace Atchinson, who is overjoyed to witness this fight firsthand. He asks Dan the Dynamite who threw the first punch, and Dan tries to deflect the question, but all the members of Young Justice point out that Thorndyke started the fight by punching Superboy. Of course, with his pills worn off, Thorndyke is now a feeble old man, being held up by the Cyclone Twins. Ace naturally questions this story, and Dan immediately jumps on this moment of hesitation, saying it's obviously absurd. But Merry is shocked by this blatant lie, and Doiby agrees, saying bad guys lie and heroes tell the truth. So Doiby explains to Ace that Thorndyke was jazzed up on some pills, did start the fight, and then was saved by Wonder Girl.

One of the Cyclone Twins tells Ace that they just wanted to talk to Young Justice, but things got out of hand. Ace says that as seniors, it should have been their responsibility to make sure things don't get out of hand, and Merry agrees with him, saying they wanted to have the kids surrender, so they could peacefully discuss things. Superboy interrupts her, loudly complaining that nobody wants to hear their side of the story. Wonder Girl then speaks up, and delivers an eloquent speech about how so many adults in the world are now terrified of teenagers, considering them dangerous or helpless, and blaming their misdeeds on music lyrics or Marilyn Manson or something. (To better understand Wonder Girl's viewpoint, keep in mind that this comic came out less than a year after the Columbine High School shootings.) Wonder Girl accuses adults of treating teenagers while expecting them to act like adults, and she boldly tells them that they're not the enemy, nor are they babies to be protected. She ends her speech by saying they need less protecting and more being listened to.

All this was broadcast live, and watched intently by the Star-Spangled Kid, the teen vigilante Anarky, Billy and Mary Batson, the Titans, and the Contessa, the woman behind all of this. And she happens to be entertaining a very interesting guest, who insists on being called Klarion ... bum bum BUM ... the Witch Boy! Contessa doesn't feel like adding this dramatic musical sting to his name, but she's desperate enough to keep Klarion happy that she reluctantly agrees to do it.

We return to the Catskills resort, where Ace has given our heroes a quick break before resuming the interview. Wonder Girl is quite panicked about continuing to handle the bulk of the speaking, but Superboy assures her she's doing great, and Impulse says, "Even I almost believe you!" Robin also tells Wonder Girl she's handling this perfectly, but he has to once again deny the team's request that he make a public statement. Superboy is the most angered by this, and he begins chewing out the "Batboy" before Secret sternly tells him to shut up.

As Young Justice gets ready to appear on TV again, Old Justice is dealing with some inner turmoil. Merry the Gimmick Girl chews out Thorndyke for starting the fight, and Dan for lying to the reporter. Doiby begins to wonder about the merits of their plan, noting several odd coincidences that have been happening lately. Dan doesn't buy the idea that someone else has been calling the shots all along, but the Cyclone Twins also believe it's possible that they are being used.

It's now showtime, with Wonder Girl telling the entire Young Justice story, and Impulse providing some hand-drawn visual aids after quickly reading a book called, "How to Draw Comics the DC Way" (coincidently, his drawing style is very similar to Todd Nauck's). Wonder Girl begins by addressing the story that was brought up on the Senate floor. She admits that one of their team members, an archer, did track down Richard Pulilo. Wonder Girl explains that Pulilo had murdered an innocent woman, and in the heat of battle, the archer did almost kill him, but another team member prevented it. Wonder Girl also notes that had the police caught up with Pulilo, there likely would have been a shootout leaving him and possibly some policemen dead. Wonder Girl argues that Pulilo still being alive is a testament to Young Justice, not a condemnation. And since the archer has retired from active duty, she has demonstrated an ethical standard most civilians don't share.

Wonder Girl then moves on the Mount Rushmore incident. She explains that another one of their team members was kidnapped by the All Purpose Espionage Squad, and was being held against her will despite not committing any crimes. So Young Justice rescued their team member, but the A.P.E.S. headquarters was hidden inside Mount Rushmore, so when the team defended itself against the A.P.E.S., part of the memorial was damaged. And Wonder Girl says they are sorry about that, but at the end of the day, Mount Rushmore is cold, unfeeling stone, whereas Secret is a real person made of flesh and blood ... and ... smoke.

We then cut to some audience reactions, seeing that Freddy Freeman and Mary Batson (Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel, respectively) support Young Justice, while Billy Batson (who spends a lot of his time as the adult Captain Marvel) doesn't like how they're trying to spin their assaults and destruction of monuments into a story of adults vs. teens. The Star-Spangled Kid is incensed by this, turning and shouting at Jay Garrick and Alan Scott (the original Green Lantern) that their "whole generation bites!" And Anarky sees this as another example of the government harassing anyone who talks back.

Wonder Girl continues her speech, now telling about the arrival of the Point Men, which led to the destruction of the Young Justice headquarters and brought the JLA down on the team "like a ton of bricks." And according to Wonder Girl, this last bit hurt them the most. We see the JLA watching from the Watchtower, and Wonder Woman proudly comments on Wonder Girl's eloquence. Aquaman detects a bit of bias from the Amazon, which Red Tornado acknowledges, but he also agrees with Wonder Woman. Superman says if anyone's going to be biased, it's going to be Red Tornado, and the android responds by saying if anyone's going to be interested in truth and justice, it's going to be Superman.

Wonder Girl tells the camera that the recent media frenzy has made Young Justice feel like criminals, and Impulse draws a cute picture of them all wearing old-school prison clothes. But this picture was one too many for Wonder Girl, who angrily rips it away. She continues her speech, by saying she hasn't seen one story that has cut them any slack. They feel like people can't wait to tear them down, saying anyone who's young and super-powered can't be trusted. Wonder Girl says something needs to be done about this attitude, so Ace asks her what she has in mind. Thinking on her feet, Wonder Girl suggests a justice for all rally. Since Washington, D.C., is the center of the controversy, Wonder Girl proposes they all meet tomorrow at 6 p.m. on the Great Lawn. And she invites all adult heroes to attend. Merry steps forward, promising that Old Justice will be there to make sure no injustices occur.

The interview concludes with Merry the Gimmick Girl and Wonder Girl shaking hands, while Impulse excitedly pops up between them, shouting, "Hey, Max! I'm on TV!" Max, who is at Dr. Morlo's running some more tests, asks Morlo to change the channel to "The Price is Right." Meanwhile, Wonder Girl begins to chew Impulse out, not realizing that they're still on the air.

At the Titans headquarters, Damage leads the rallying call that they should attend the rally. Arsenal offers the lone dissenting opinion, saying this rally could be a trap, but he gives in to the rest of the team. Billy also says this whole thing sounds suspicious, and Mary accuses him of acting like a grown up. Wonder Girl asks Superboy how she did, and he answers by giving her a big kiss.

We then check in on the Contessa and Klarion ... bum bum BUM ... the Witch Boy! The two are sitting down to tea, with Klarion's cat and familiar, Teekl, joining in by transforming into a strange half cat/half woman. The Contessa explains that her goal is to cause chaos and confusion — the very things that superheroes are ill-prepared to battle. Klarion says he's quite familiar with chaos and confusion, but he wonders why they're targeting Young Justice. Contessa says it's because they're easier targets, and she's playing off the recent paranoia of adults being frightened by teenagers and the Columbine mentality. Klarion catches on, seeing the greater fear that metahuman teens can strike into the hearts of adults. In other words, they're planning on getting at the older heroes by attacking the younger heroes. And the Contessa notes that the more youthful heroes they have, with fewer adults to oversee the situation, the better things will be for the two of them. Klarion happily accepts, calling this a glorious challenge for Klarion ... bum bum BUM ... the Witch Boy!

The media then descends on Senator Neptune Perkins, who merely comments that the JLA coming down on Young Justice "like a ton of bricks" should tell you something. He quickly retreats to his office, only to find Aquaman there waiting for him. The King of Atlantis explains that the Justice League is not against Young Justice, despite what the teens believe. The JLA was just rethinking the need of one-to-one supervision, but they had no intention of disbanding the team. And now that they've learned of Secret's kidnapping, the JLA is looking for answers. Perkins says Secret was a national security hazard, and presents a tremendous potential for danger. Aquaman doesn't like this excuse, and he makes sure to intimidate the senator a bit before tossing him a copy of the United States Constitution, telling him to read up on how no one can be imprisoned without due process. Perkins still objects, and Aquaman says the JLA will support Secret and Young Justice tomorrow at the rally.

We return to the abandoned resort, where Old Justice and Young Justice have come together to whip up a buffet meal to share. Robin asks Dan how they were able to find them so quickly, and Dan says that Old Justice was originally contacted by a woman named Amanda Spence. She said she believed in their cause, and had a way to keep tabs on Young Justice. The next thing they knew, Old Justice began receiving telepathic images of what YJ were up to. This is how they were able to alert the media to go to Mount Rushmore before it exploded. Dan says that they've recently stopped hearing from their telepathic source, and all the teens are predictably uneasy at the idea of someone reading their minds. Impulse notices that Superboy seems most disturbed by this, but the Kid tries to brush it off as a hard story to believe. The Cyclone Twins assure them that they have no reason to lie, and they look forward to straightening everything out at Washington tomorrow.

Tomorrow rapidly approaches, and Ace Atchinson is on the scene, excitedly reporting the arrival of each hero. First up is the JLA, followed immediately by the JSA. Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel then fly in, and both of them are surprised when the Big Red Cheese himself joins the crowd. Up next is the Titans, S.T.R.I.P.E., Steel, Supergirl, Anarky and Lagoon Boy (all of whom were called the wrong name by Ace). Cissie is watching this unfold with a bunch of girls at her boarding school, and one of them excitedly wonders aloud what it'd be like to be one of those heroes. Naturally, this comment depresses the former Arrowette a bit.

Robin finds Batman hiding on the roof of a nearby building, and he admits to his mentor that he's upset at having to stay out of the limelight. Deadman arrives unseen, sensing that some big magic is brewing. Alan Scott asks Courtney Whitmore if she still thinks his generation "bites," and she reluctantly admits that maybe not all of them do. Finally, Young Justice and Old Justice make their grand entrance, coming in on the Super-Cycle and a flying car.

But as soon as Young Justice lands, Senator Perkins is on top of them, saying they have organized an illegal assemblage, and they're still wanted for questioning in several serious matters. Wonder Girl happily says they have arrived precisely to answer those questions. But Superboy suddenly interrupts her, shouting that everything the media says is true and the teens in Young Justice are all crazy. Everyone is shocked by this, while Superboy continues his tirade, saying they should all be locked up and he'll cooperate with the government to make sure the team is shut down.

Robin is the first to figure it out, realizing that the whole time Superboy hasn't been acting himself — hitting Red Tornado, challenging him — he's actually been someone else. Cissie also realizes this from watching on TV, remembering how startled Superboy was when she said, "I don't know you," because he thought she realized he wasn't really Superboy. Robin tells this to Batman, explaining that Superboy once told him he was cloned. Right on cue, the real Superboy comes zooming in, definitively proving that since Arrowette left Young Justice, the "Superboy" with the team was actually his clone, Match.

Superboy immediately tackles Match, but they're soon pulled apart by Superman and Green Lantern. Martian Manhunter conducts a quick mental scan and confirms which one is the imposter. Amidst all the chaos, Senator Perkins tries to get the police to arrest all the heroes, but they refuse, sarcastically saying they'll just pull out some kryptonite from their sock. Luckily for Perkins, a group of people who are willing and able to battle these heroes arrives — the Point Men, leading a large army of flying troopers in black armor. And so, a big fight breaks out, with plenty of enemies available for our huge collection of heroes.

Klarion quietly slips into the middle of the battlefield, and the only one who notices him is Deadman. He tries to possess Klarion's body, but the boy is protected by a mystic shield. So Deadman hops into Batman's body, and takes off to stop the witch boy. However, Klarion sees him coming a mile away, and is easily able to knock him out with a spell. He then turns around and casts a much larger spell that transforms the adult heroes into young children. Not only are the JLA and JSA the size of kindergartners wearing oversized costumes, but they also are acting like the little kids they've turned into. Jay Garrick and Wally West are especially cute, challenging each other to a race right in the middle of this intense battle.

Robin quickly swoops in and kicks Klarion, while a bewildered Old Justice looks on. Merry says she doesn't have any gimmicks for this, but Doiby surprisingly says he might, and he sticks his arm deep into his small bowler hat. The Point Men, meanwhile, are having a field day with the scared and confused children heroes. Aquaman gets the best line here, telling the meanies to stay away since he's a "king and stuff." The Titans weren't hit by Klarion's spell, so they try to protect the kid heroes, but are unprepared for Short Cut's teleporting, which redirects their energy blasts right on top of them. Damage tries to take them out with a large energy blast of his own, but as usual, he ends up hurting his teammates as much as he helps.

Continuing his fight with Klarion, Robin just manages to dodge a spell, while Klarion threatens to turn him into a dead embryo. Dan the Dynamite is shocked to see Doiby pull a large laser gun from his hat, and Doiby only says cryptically that his hat was a present from "her." Doiby then calls out to Young Justice to get all the kids together in one spot and then vamoose. So Wonder Girl corrals all the flying tykes, Impulse chases down the two Flashes, and the Star-Spangled Kid and Lagoon Boy help gather up the rest into a cage Secret has made.

Cyborg, Supergirl and the Marvels provide cover from the shock troopers pulse cannons, but suddenly the Gray Lady calls in an as-yet-unseen member of Point Men, Groundswell, a gigantic being made of rock and dirt. Donna Troy and Anarky battle Blockade and Serpenteen, and Superboy continues with fight against Match. Superboy realizes that Match is working with the Agenda, the group that imprisoned him and took over Cadmus. Match mocks the Kid for being so slow to figure it out, and he uses his unique power of energy blasts to send Superboy down to the gathering area with Young Justice and all the kid heroes.

Doiby is tired of waiting, so he activates his gun, which should age up the JLA and JSA back to adults. At the same time, Teekl transforms into an enormous tiger, and frightens Robin enough into backflipping into that gathering area and covering himself with some smoke bombs. Secret tries to tell him about Doiby's plan, but it's too late. Doiby fires his gun, but Klarion sees this and tries to counter with a spell of his own. In one blinding moment, magic and super-science intersect, unleashing all manner of possibilities in one blinding eruption of light and power, which flies in all directions, including heavenward ...

And when the smoke finally clears, we see that nearly everyone has been transformed (but this time their costumes changed with them). The results: JSA are all kids, except for Courtney, who's now an adult; the JLA are all teenagers; and Young Justice are all adults, except for Superboy, who is still the same age, and is actually upset by that.

Our story ends with a story from CDTV News "You're only gonna hear it here!"

This is Ace Atchinson reporting for CDTV News. I'll be bringing you the latest coverage on the current "Youth Movement."

This story began with Young Justice's run-in with the law after a couple of incidents that included hiding a little Secret from the government; covering for their member Arrowette, who's gotten "tougher" on crime; and the team's destruction of Mount Rushmore. Now they want to set the record straight and have organized this "Just for All" super-hero march today!

The government and a team of old fogey, appropriately named Old Justice, think the kids aren't all right, but this reporter thinks there's more to this story than meets the eye. There may be forces at work that want the teen heroes done away with. I'm here to hear their side of the story.

In other news:

— The Space Girls threaten to do solo albums!

— The Latin invasion continues with La Encantadora!

This news story is followed by The Countdown, which is a handy reading order for the 12 issues of Sins of Youth.

Yes! We're here! This is quite possibly my favorite DC comics event of all time, and a big reason why I fell in love with Young Justice in the first place. This story is so fun and wacky and wild and wonderful. It has great action, humor, topical questions, a great continuation of Young Justice continuity, and just about every conceivable cameo you could ever hope for. On the surface, this is just a silly story about our heroes' ages being swapped. But at its root, this story is asking serious questions about how much can adults trust teenagers in a post-Columbine world.

But even more impressive than Peter David's brilliant script is Todd Nauck unbelievable ability to draw everything he did here. Let's look at what he had to do here. This issue was 38 pages, chock-full of almost every imaginable DC character, all getting together in big fight scenes. And then Nauck had to draw all these heroes at different ages in different costumes. And let's not forget Impulse's fun sketches, which required Nauck to draw in a slightly different style than everything else. Despite all these demands, everything looks amazing. Nauck's work does not appear to have compromised at all for this. Now to increase the level of difficulty, consider that Nauck will also do a bunch of pages in the Secret Files issue, and end everything with another 38-page special that came out just two weeks after the first one. I seriously have no idea how he pulled this off.

Well, I think that's all the praise I should heap on one issue. I'll see you next time with Part 2 of our series, Superboy #74!


  1. This story is amazing!!! The Sins of Youth graphic novel was not only my first introduction to Young Justice, but to Impulse as a character, period. After reading this series, Bart became my favorite DC character, and led to me eventually buying the entire series of Impulse and Young Justice as a result. I agree that this is probably one of my favorite stories in the entire DC universe! I look forward to reading your posts about this series! :D

    1. Thank you! I've been waiting a long time to get here, and it is going to be an awesome ride!