Spoiler warning for Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1
The 1990s are officially back in fashion at DC Comics thanks to an alternate universe featured in the new Young Justice Dark Crisis tie-in. The first issue of Dark Crisis: Young Justice sees some of the main characters whisked away to a kind of alternate world or dimension where everything has been reverted to the 90s status quo. The fan-favorite Young Justice team debuted in the late 1990s, and this series plays with nostalgia for that particular era of DC Comics characters.
Young Justice has been reunited after the death of the Justice League and the ensuing events of Dark Crisis. The original Young Justice series ran from 1998-2003, and the core legacy characters from that series—Robin, Superboy, Impulse, and Wonder Girl—continued on to feature in Teen Titans (2003). Those four characters, in addition to the retired Arrowette, star in Dark Crisis: Young Justice, and their complicated history is on full display. After the events of Infinite Frontier restored once-erased elements of the larger DC Universe, these young legacy characters are being forced to reckon with their problems, both old and new.
The first issue of Dark Crisis: Young Justice by Meghan Fitzmartin, Laura Braga, and Luis Guerrero opens at the Justice League's memorial as Wonder Girl contemplates Young Justice's oft-forgotten legacy in the wake of DC's recent crop of legacy characters in Dark Crisis. After the memorial, Robin, Superboy, and Impulse are transported to an alternate world where everything is as it was in the 90s. Tim Drake wakes to Alfred—currently dead in main continuity—at Wayne Manor. Superboy finds himself in Hawaii with Dubbilex, one of his original caretakers. Impulse is in the middle of training with Max Mercury and Wally West as the Flash. The three boys find their way to the original Young Justice headquarters in Happy Harbor and proceed to fight one of their oldest and strangest villains: the Mighty Endowed.
Readers also get a glimpse of this new world's map as Impulse runs around the continent. The map highlights a major feature of the new world: 90s legacy characters are not only remembered, but in-action. The map notably features Connor Hawke as Green Arrow and Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, two once-popular legacies erased by the New 52. Like the core Young Justice members, these 90s-era heroes have been replaced by newer legacy characters—many who are currently featured in the main Dark Crisis book.
These new characters of course deserve love and praise in their own right, but Young Justice: Dark Crisis seems to be doing the double-work of both restoring these beloved histories to the post-Infinite Frontier DCU as well as playing on fan nostalgia for this long-gone era. As DC continues to move forward by diversifying their legacy characters, Young Justice: Dark Crisis promises to honor the history behind these beloved characters while encouraging them—and their fans—to move beyond the past and into the future. While it's great to see DC honoring a long-forgotten and deeply-storied era of their history, the 90s surely can't last in this latest issue of Young Justice. The core characters have a complex history behind them, but they're also ready to move on. Soon fans will see Tim Drake featured in an ongoing series of his own, just as Kon-El will be getting his own Superboy mini-series.
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1 is available now from DC Comics.