Sunday, August 6, 2017

Young Justice #40

The Night Before Doomsday

With apologies to Clement Moore ... or maybe Major Henry Livingston.
Writer Peter David
Pencils Todd Nauck
Inks Lary Stucker
Colors Jason Wright
Separations Digital Chameleon
Letters Ken Lopez
Assistant Editor Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor Eddie Berganza

This month's cover is by Nauck, Stucker and the colors of Ian Hannin. All of DC's covers this month had the titles in the art, which is a pretty fun change of pace. And this is an incredible cover, putting the entire team above a theater's marquee sign. But as much as I love this image, it is a bit jarring for a couple of reasons. One, Arrowette left the team a long time ago, and Impulse and Robin just left the team recently. Two, as we're about to see, the story inside actually takes place long before Slobo, Empress or Snapper Carr were brought aboard. So I really don't know what to make of it.

Our story is a Christmas poem patterned after "The Night Before Christmas" told by Robin. The Christmas he describes took place two years ago, back when the team was just Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl, Secret and Arrowette. Superboy was still in his old costume, Wonder Girl was wearing her black wig, and the team was still based in the old JSA headquarters in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. We open on Robin in the bathroom (or Bat-room as he renamed it) because he ate too many of Arrowette's crab cakes. The rest of our heroes are busy putting up Christmas decorations, with Impulse getting tangled up in the lights. An alert suddenly pops up on their monitor, and Impulse hopefully suggests it could be Santa, but Superboy shoots that down.

Robin emerges from the toilet and is quickly told about the incoming energy wave blast from deep space. His teammates have dubbed this "Doomsday" (not to be confused with the Superman villain) and Robin readily agrees. He puts out a call to the JLA, but they're off-planet. In desperation, Robin calls everyone he can think of — the Titans, Outsiders, Doom Patrol, JSA, Ravers, Inferior Five, Suicide Squad and Legionnaires. But they were all busy fighting or partying. So, it's left up to just Young Justice to save the world. They all load up in the Super-Cycle, trying to not let on how terrified they were — except Impulse, who begins openly writing his Last Will and Testament on an incredibly long piece of paper.

Our heroes head toward the moon, and soon come in contact with the energy blast, who identifies himself as Mordrek of the Great Khund Alliance. He explains that he created a bomb to destroy Earth, and to ensure its success, he placed his essence in it — being perfectly happy to sacrifice his life to destroy the human race. So the Super-Cycle pulls out every gun and cannon it has and begins unloading on Mordrek. But its weapons have no effect. So our young heroes unanimously agree on a suicide mission, hoping that a head-on collision with Mordrek would save the world.

Suddenly, Santa Claus appears out of nowhere, being pulled in his sled by his eight reindeer. He turns to wish a happy Christmas to the teens, not realizing he has flown right in the path of Mordrek. It's too late for Santa to get out of the way, and he collides with Mordrek, causing a huge explosion. All that's left is the smell of burned reindeer, as both Mordrek and Santa have been completely vaporized.

However, the presents Santa was set to deliver miraculously survived and neatly fell into the Super-Cycle. Not only that, but the toys came pre-addressed and accompanied with a map. At Bart's urging, Young Justice agrees to deliver the presents in honor of the late Santa Claus. Unfortunately, it took our heroes more than two months to complete this task, which made a lot of people quite upset. Robin concludes his poem by wondering if Santa Claus is immortal and is reincarnated each year. He hopes that Santa will be back next Christmas, but if he's not, Robin and his teammates refuse to deliver the presents again.

On a side note, the scroll that contained the words of the poem got longer and longer on each page. On page 16, Impulse breaks the fourth wall and notices this. He calls in his teammates to try to help him prop up the scroll, but despite their combined strength and the various contraptions Bart builds, the scroll wins out in the end, completely filling page 22. On that final page, Secret and Impulse phase through the paper and comment on how many words are on the scroll. Impulse says it's all the words they didn't use in issue #31.

This was a delightfully dark Christmas tale. Not only did Santa Claus die in a horrific, fiery explosion, but then it took our heroes more than two months to deliver his presents around the world. Beyond that, it was a fun change of pace to have a prose-focused comic. And it was a bit nostalgic to return the team to the original six members. Speaking of which, Todd Nauck once again demonstrated his genius. This story takes place two years ago, and all the characters actually look two years younger. Superboy doesn't have his scruffy little goatee yet, and everyone — especially Impulse — is a bit smaller and skinnier. All in all, another classic issue of Young Justice, which is especially welcome now that Impulse is technically not on the team anymore.

Our letters to the editor begin with Jason Smith asking if Our Worlds at War was Peter David's idea because he enjoyed Young Justice's role in it so much, particularly how it put the spotlight on people who work behind the scenes and never get the glory. Eddie Berganza, however, says that David would rather stay clear of crossovers, and it was the Superman writers who came up with the event.

Justin Asbell enjoyed the homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as the reverse psychology scene with Lobo. He does worry, however, that his favorite Young Justice member, Impulse, will be hurt or killed, since he was not shown in the future scenes of the Young Justice Our Worlds at War special.

Kristen McClure, of San Clemente, Calif., thanks Todd Nauck for spending so much time at the San Diego ComicCon. Kristen worries that Bart is going to quit Young Justice like Cissie did, saying it's too soon for her favorite big-haired, big-footed speedster to go. She also worries that the end of Young Justice is looming. Now for the new ads:

Drive dangerously. Burnout for PlayStation 2.

Coin collecting, advanced. Warioland 4 for Game Boy Advance.

A darker justice must be served. Batman Vengeance for PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Xbox and Game Cube.

You've never played like this before ... RZone at Toys R Us, featuring the Nintendo Game Cube.

If one is good, a handful must be better. Starburst.

Racing has evolved. Kinetica for PlayStation 2.

In the world, only this island is ... Dragon Warrior VII for PlayStation.

Are you seeker material? Harry Potter trading card game. I actually did try this game out. It sucked.

Pikmin for Game Cube.

Prepare for a beating ... Virtual Fighter 4 for PlayStation 2.

Culture, advanced. Golden Sun for Game Boy Advance.

This time, Crash is going to need all the help he can get. Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex for PlayStation 2.

How far will you go to get your prey? Looney Tunes Sheep Raider for PlayStation.

Super Smash Bros. Melee for Game Cube.

They're revolting! Oddworld Munch's Oddysee for Xbox.

Next time, we'll begin a three-part crossover with Dark Horse in SpyBoy/Young Justice #1.


  1. Great retrospective, as always. I've always thought the cover of this comic was just to highlight the entire roster of Young Justice throughout the years, showing what it *could* have looked like if the entire team were together all at once. Sort of like a "What if" scenario, if YJ consisted of all of the members throughout the years. But I do agree it's a fantastic cover and a fun story overall. As always, looking forward to more!

    1. You're right, it is more of an "all-time" Young Justice roster. And thanks again for the compliments!