Young Justice Book Three (2018)
Reprints Young Justice #18-19, Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1-2, Young Justice: Sins of Youth Secret Files and Origins #1, Superboy #74, Sins of Youth: JLA Jr. #1, Sins of Youth: Aquababy/Lagoon Man #1, Sins of Youth: Batboy and Robin #1, Sins of Youth: Kid Flash/Impulse #1, Sins of Youth: Starwoman and the JSA Jr. #1, Sins of Youth: Superman Jr/Superboy Sr #1, Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls #1, and Sins of Youth: The Secret/Deadboy #1
Written by Peter David, Todd Dezago, Chuck Dixon, Geoff Johns, D. Curtis Johnson, Karl Kesel, Dwayne McDuffie, Ben Raab, Brian K. Vaughn, Jay Faerber, Lary Stucker, Scotty Beatty, and Jim Alexander
Art by Todd Nauck, Carlo Barberi, Sunny Lee, Tom Grummett, Rob Haynes, Drew Johnson, Scott Kolins, Cary Nord, Michael Avon Oeming, Angel Unzueta, Mike S. Miller, Norm Breyfogle, Pasqual Ferry, and Cully Hamner
It all started with making Superman a weekly character. In the 1990s, the Man of Steel had four monthly series making it so that you could pick up the next chapter in the Superman saga every week of the month. This led to DC Comics shaping their publishing schedule around this four-week model. However, this ran into a problem when you had a month with a fifth Wednesday (traditionally New Comic Book Day). In 1997, DC introduced fifth-week events, a filler week where a collection of themed one-shots would be published. That grew into a space to have a mini-event, nothing world-shattering but a longer story, the type you might typically have seen in the summer annuals. This is how we got Sins of Youth.
Young Justice is pitted against the JLA due to the furor caused by Old Justice, a team of Golden Age sidekicks now octogenarians. This leads to a showdown in Washington, DC where the teen heroes want to make it clear to the adults they are capable of handling themselves. Young Justice sends out a message over the airwaves that gets the Shazam family’s attention, the Titans, the JSA, Batman villain Anarky, and more. Superboy villains The Agenda also see this as an opportunity to strike and help from the mischievous Klarion the Witchboy. Klarion uses his magic to have all the young heroes age up to adults while making their adult counterpoints into children. Thus, the event is a somewhat silly escapade that we know will be resolved by the final issue.
The story jumps around all over the place, including an issue of Superboy’s solo title. This is much like the Supergirl issue of the last collection where you are going to be lost because, while it does tie into the larger story, the storylines and character arcs in that individual title are also happening. The bulk of the collection is the fifth-week one-shots, which varying in writing and art quality. The Secret Files one-shot has a main story that is not about Young Justice at all but showcases what the Titans are up to with their two teen characters, Damage & Argent aged up to adults. There’s also a short piece with an adult Mary Marvel having to protect Freddie Freeman from Nazi Boy.
The JLA Jr one-shot is pretty fun primarily due to the art by Carlo Barberi. The characters are cute in their child forms, and their personalities have also de-aged to make for some wacky fun. The Batboy and Robin story is fun focusing on Tim Drake being forced to pose as Batman while taking orders from the child-size Batman. The Geoff Johns-penned Starwoman and JSA Jr is fantastic because he writes those characters so well. It’s fun to Courtney in the power position having to deal with a team composed of entirely off the wall elementary-age teammates. We get some early Scot Kolins art in Wonder Girls, which has some fun things for Diana and Cassie.
Overall, Sins of Youth is fun and is the closest Young Justice has felt to blending its comedy with real consequential things happening. Nothing ever feels too heavy, though, and the light-hearted tone is apparent throughout every chapter. The conclusion sets up the next big arc with one major DC player in the 1990s being stuck in kid form, which should prove to be fun in our upcoming review.