Multiversity Teen Justice #4 review

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While we get our first fight between the Teen Justice team and their Green Lantern opponents, a handful of mysteries surrounding the suspicious involvement of Raven comes creeping in to remind us that there is much more to this story than meets the eye. This issue is full of teasers for things to come, which both works and doesn’t, let’s find out why!

I’m glad to see that this issue has had some minor improvements when it comes to its delivery of plot and character dynamics but if you want to know more about the actual story then this is really not the issue for you. As I said in the beginning this is all about Danny Lore and Ivan Cohen teasing out as much information as possible. So fight scenes give us a taste of the actual final confrontations, certain characters reveal a bit more about their powers and new villains show up to get us excited about both sides of the conflict. This issue actually reminded me a lot of the kinds of trailers you see nowadays where they basically give you all the info of a movie and showcase some of their better looking shots to get you interested in watching the actual movie. But the problem is this should be the actual movie. I don’t think that this issue is completely devoid of worthwhile content but I do feel like instead of ramping things up through natural story progression we are treated to a mixed bag wherein some elements work pretty well but get slowed to a halt by the glaring issues of this mini-series.

One of the glaring issues I have with this mini-series is that the main conflict within the Teen Justice league never evolves. It’s always the same characters saying the same grievances over and over again with no new points or any idea of how to make things work. Everytime I read about how Aquagirl can’t be trusted because she’s working in two teams I just roll my eyes because I’ve read it one too many times and there’s nothing new about it. At the beginning of this mini-series I was actually defending the moments where characters were just hanging out doing normal people things while airing out their dirty laundry but the Aquagirl drama is so out of place this time.

Thankfully Kid Quick makes the drama zip past the page and in an instant we’re brought back to the meat of the action. I am so happy that Kid Quick is written in a fun fast paced way and he has become a consistent source of entertainment. I shouldn’t be surprised that a character in this mini-series is well written but that’s kind of where I’m at with Mutliversity Teen Justice right now. Kid Quick has become the exception not the rule. Not only has this character gained the superpower of moving the plot along but he actually brings some genuine grievances to the table and any scene involving his super speed is just a blast to see.

One of my early criticisms of this mini-series had been that the villains seemed uninteresting especially when compared to the Teen Justice league but don’t worry now they’re the exact same level of uninteresting! Although to be fair the villains are a bit more interesting now. Visually we have gotten a lot more characters added to the mix which also allowed some of them to have some character beyond generic bad guy lines. I also thought it was a pretty cool idea to have their henchmen be linked to their weapons so the team had to restrain themselves as much as possible when attacking them. But it’s not enough and with the Teen Justice characters all declining in the quality of their writing (except Kid Quick, god bless Kid Quick) it really feels like we have two teams that are gearing up for a fight that, character-wise, I don’t really care about.

Although my interest in the characters has been plummeting I do think that this mini-series keeps delivering on certain elements that have been working well and have introduced some fresh ideas here and there that have stopped me from completely abandoning the storyline. I think this issue in particular did a great job of showcasing the power imbalance between the two opposing teams. The Teen Justice league put themselves in the precarious situation of having to fight their opponents at their base and on top of that their opponents’ entire shtick is sapping people’s energy/life force so it’s abundantly clear that the Teen Justice league aren’t up to the task quite yet. Another element that reinforces the league’s inferiority is that their parents and guardians are wiped off the map and since their presence in this comic has been to remind us that the Teen Justice league is by no means the strongest superhero batch to come out of Earth-11 the fact that they’re gone is yet another reason to be worried for our fledgling team of crime fighters. Their one trump card seems to be Raven who is loosely related to the plight of the cult members that the Lantern wielders have usurped but even Raven’s powers come at a cost.

While the writing of this issue is slightly better than the last I feel like the art has taken a bit of a hit. Don’t get me wrong, the art is still Teen Justice leagues ahead of the dialogue. There’s just a couple nit picks and scenes where I’m not super impressed with how the information is delivered to us. Like when Klarienne is apparently distracted by her cat and can’t focus on what Aquagirl is talking about but the panel before that shows Klarienne clearly turning her head towards Aquagirl anyways. Or there’s this super goofy moment where the bad guy just sucks up Raven’s spirit form and immediately runs away. I’m sorry what?! This seems straight out of an episode of Looney Tunes with a splash of Ghostbusters. I appreciate that this comic adds a lot of lighthearted moments to compensate for some darker elements but this was just too ridiculous for me.

On the other hand Kid Quick, Klarienne and Raven are stunning to look at when they are in full swing! Not only are they almost always doing something cool to look at but they have these stand out moments in this issue as they all warp the world around them, the powers of these characters impacting the page in incredible ways. That isn’t to say that the other characters have nothing to do. In fact Marco Failla has everyone fighting in their own way with unique moments cemented onto the page. The fact that everyone has something to do actually does a great job of delivering some incredibly efficient and entertaining visual storytelling.

What really drives home the unique feel of each character is the coloring by Enrica Eren Angiolini who lets the drab atmosphere of this issue’s main setting ebb and flow depending on the intensity of the moment. When a character is unleashing their powers at full capacity their color pallet overwhelms the page and blocks off the beige and muted browns, having the powers hit that much more. Or there are moments that are more restrained where characters are in conversation and the colors are all about making the space as intuitive as possible as characters are clearly separated from each other, distinct and dapper. I used to complain about Troy’s outfit but now I can see the scintillating specks sparsely sitting between the slick black blocks and I’m way more into his design because of it. There also seems to be a lot of work done with fading that makes Kid Quick’s speed and Raven’s soul form seem a lot more ephemeral, adding once again to how helpful the colors are when trying to make the comic as intuitive as possible.

What also helps with the issue’s readability and plays a lot with coloring is the lettering by Carlos M. Mangual. In a way I’m glad that I don’t have to talk about Gigi anymore because now I can guarantee a moment to compliment the lettering of this comic! The dialogue between characters is often tinted in the colors that reflect them the most and everything from the spacing of the letters to the size of the sound effects feels carefully crafted to fit the intensity of the moment or the actions of the characters. The placement of speech bubbles is also pretty impressive because I often have to choose whether or not I want to read a page and then look at it or vice versa but there are some pages in this issue where I can easily switch between the two without skipping a beat.

Recommended if…

 

  • Kid Quick or any version of a well written Flash character has you hooked!
  • You’re always on the lookout for beautiful colors and clever lettering
  • Evil Green Lantern characters is something you just have to check out

Overall

I started off this review saying that this issue was all about teasing out the actual plot and that I wouldn’t recommend this story to people but I don’t think that’s the whole story.  I stand by what I said but I have to admit that I am pretty invested in this mini-series and I really want to look deeper at everything they bring to the table. This issue shows some improvement and I hope that it keeps getting better but honestly if I weren’t this invested then I would say there’s no need to check this issue out. So if you’re like me then this issue isn’t something you will despise or be intensely disappointed in. It’s a coin toss between wanting to recommend it or not so maybe flip a coin and find out what fate has in store for you before going to the store and picking it up!

Score: 5/10


DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.

 


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