Markley’s Fevered Brain: I Wonder

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Late last year DC announced a new line of comics featuring younger heroes and the whole line being overseen by Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis is well known for his writing of younger characters over the years from Miles Morales to Takio. DC had high hopes for this new line of four books, so with this blog I am going to look at them. I must say overall they are really enjoyable. I say this as an old man reading these books with the idea they are for younger readers. I think the target audience is young teens and above. I will admit that while these books do tie into the DC Universe they are not that intricate to the DCU nor do you need to know anything about DC Comics to appreciate these books.

Young Justice

Young Justice


First up we have Young Justice which takes the name from a DC Comic from 1998 that was written by Peter David and featured Robin, Superboy, and Impulse. Since then, the name and various mixes of heroes have been published including a fun run by Art Baltazar and Franco. (There have been at least three Young Justice series before Bendis’ version). I should mention that there was also a very popular cartoon show based on the concept of the teen DC heroes teaming together for all sorts of adventures. In Bendis’ new Young Justice, the story opens with the magical world of Gemworld (from the classic series Amethyst) merging with Earth and Wonder Girl, Impulse, and Robin hook up with Jinny Hex (who may or may not be related to Jonah Hex) and Teen Lantern. As a group they attempt to stop Gemworld from taking over Metropolis. In the process have they found the long missing Conner Kent (Superboy)? This first arc of six issues (yes, they are still writing for the trade sadly) is written by Bendis and beautifully drawn by Patrick Gleason. This is a fun adventure filled with action and gags. The characters are a lot of fun and Bendis hits a nice mix of a young reader’s book and a well done traditional superhero comic. It is fast paced and filled with twists. As with a lot of stories by Brian Bendis, there are a lot of subplots and teases of things to come so you are left with a number of questions at the end of the first arc. The first issues have been collected into a beautiful hardcover collection. I should mention that Patrick Gleason has left the book after issue six (he is moving to Marvel and Spider-Man). Gleason was replaced on art by John Timms.

Naomi

Naomi


Next is another book written by Bendis that was a six issue miniseries called Naomi. This book was co-written by David F. Walker, who I consider highly an underrated writer (I still consider his Luke Cage Christmas Special a classic), and drawn by Jamal Campbell. The art is just beautiful as it is clean and smooth and just flows like water. The story is about a teen girl named Naomi who, after Superman and Mongul crash into her home town, goes on a quest to look into when the last time a superhero had come to her home. This leads to Naomi discovering her origins are not what she thought and she is not a typical teen after all. This book had a lot of buzz when it was coming out and Naomi has recently appeared in the pages of Action Comics along with Superman. I really enjoyed this book but it read differently than Young Justice. It is a different type of story as it is a single character that is firmly set in a normal world with extraordinary things going on around her. (Young Justice is a lot of magic and fantasy.) Both books are very good but to me it seems they would appeal to different audiences. The first hardcover collection of Naomi Season One is just out and it is a worth checking getting. DC has announced there will be a second season of Naomi (a second series) but there are no dates yet for it.

Dial H for Hero

Dial H for Hero


The third series is Dial H for Hero. Like Young Justice, there are at least three previous versions of Dial H for Hero. All of these series have revolved around the mystical H Dial, where the owner can dial the word HERO and they transform into a different superhero. This series was originally announced as a six issue miniseries but since then it has been expanded into a 12 issue series. It is written by Sam Humphries and drawn by Joseph A. Quinones Jr. This new series revolves around Miquel Montez who, through a number of accidents, comes across the H Dial and from there things go south. I find this book to be my least favorite of the Wonder Comics. It is well done and the art is nice but the story to me is too complex. (I guess the same thing could be said about Young Justice). Humphries does a nice job of tying in the previous Dial H history into this current run with an appearance by Robby Reed, the original holder of the H Dial in the pages of House of Mystery in the 1960s. I will continue to read this book until it reaches its conclusion as I want to see where it goes. It is an interesting read but it does not entertain me as much as the other three books. The first collection is due out this Christmas and the second trade is due next spring.

Wonder Twins

Wonder Twins


The final book is Wonder Twins. The Wonder Twins are Zan and Janya, a brother and sister superhero team who first appeared in the Hanna-Barbara Super Friends cartoon. Over the years they have appeared in various DC Comics including Teen Titans Go! and an appearance on the TV Show Smallville. As part of Wonder Comics they were granted their own six issue series which, like Dial H, was been extended to 12 issues. It is written by Mark Russell (another one of my current favorite writers) and beautifully drawn by Stephen Byrne. In this version of the Wonder Twins, the duo are exiled from their home planet and land up on Earth and under the watch of Superman who recruits them to be interns at the Hall of Justice. From there they find themselves involved with a secret crime gang which they take upon themselves to stop. Mayhem ensues. This is my favorite of the Wonder Comics as it is filled with Mark Russell’s humor and lean storytelling. In my book Russell, along with David Walker and Tom Taylor, are my favorite comic writers. This book is a perfect mix of humor and action along with a touch of snark. It moves quickly and the art is beautiful with a hint of an animation look which is a nice nod to the character’s origins. The first trade collection collecting the first six issues will be on sale in November. I would highly recommend this book.

Young Justice #11

Young Justice #11


This wraps it up for this time. I really like what Bendis has done with these books. I do not know how much he is personally involved with these books, but I think DC deserves credit for trying to do these books that can be read by non-traditional comic fans or the hardest comic fan alike. I would recommend any of these books to anyone looking for a good read. As always I would love to hear what you think about these books. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. (Sorry, I am not social enough to be on any other platforms.) All of these words and thoughts are mine and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.

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