Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Steve Bennett reviews two super teen team comics: Young Justice and Teen Titans.

Projects by publishers meant to attract new, younger readers are always of interest to me, the same way I'm always eager to read anything written by Brian Bendis.  So when I read the announcement about a new project which combined the two, DC's teen-focused pop-up imprint Wonder Comics, let's just say it got my attention.  And when I learned that along with being curated by Bendis, two of its initial four titles (Young Justice, Naomi) were going to be co-written by him, I was absolutely all in.  Then I promptly forgot about the whole thing until I noticed Young Justice #1 was shipping this week.

Having read it, I can say Young Justice #1 (co-written by artist Patrick Gleason) did not disappoint.  It probably should be noted though that, except for the title, this comic has nearly nothing to do with the new episodes of the Young Justice animated series streaming on DC Universe.  Actually, seeing as how it features Superboy and Impulse, it has more in common with the pre-"New 52" Young Justice series written by Peter David.   I know this will be good news for all of the fans who have been fretting about whether Conner Kent or Bart Allen was ever going to be a part of the DC Universe again.

But as so often is the case with me and these super teen teams, I tend to fixate on the frequently odder new characters.  Which in the case of Young Justice includes Jinny Hex, a distant relation of Jonah Hex who has inherited a “trunk full of DC crap.”  Or Teen Lantern, a girl from Bolivia who has (somehow) hacked into the main Green Lantern power battery.

And especially Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.  I’m a long-time fan of the original version of the character created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Ernie Colon in the 1980s.  This was back when she was actually ordinary teenager Amy Winston and led a secret double life as magical Princess Amethyst who battled evil on Gemworld astride her mighty pegacorn (Pegasus/ Unicorn) Max.  If this premise sounds strangely familiar, it’s important to remember the first issue of Amethyst Princess of Gemworld was published in May 1983 and She-Ra: Princess of Power premiered on September 9, 1985.  And the American version of Sailor Moon was still a decade away.

If you're unfamiliar with this version* it’s because over the years she’s been repeatedly revamped and revised until all her authentic aspects have been removed.  And she was reduced to someone that the standard male superhero fan could take seriously; just another generic magic-wielder.  This Amethyst is currently a member of Justice League Dark, apparently.  I’ll be honest, having never read an issue I had no idea this was the case until I looked up her entry at the Comic Vine Wiki.

But I have never given up hope that one day DC would finally realize there is now a sufficiently large enough female readership to make a comic book about a magical princess commercially viable and transform her back to her true self.  I know this can happen because it already has; in the 2016 animated feature DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year the actual Amethyst appears in a flashback.  But so far been this has been the extent of her participation in the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, which to me seems like a massive missed opportunity.

Right now these hopes are being pinned on the recent announcement Bendis Working on Young Justice Spinoff with Major Female Creator.  And while that creator has yet to be revealed, the spinoff is definitely Amethyst.  To quote Bendis, "Amethyst has a major creator already signed on. This creator was my first and only pick for the project and she said yes!"  So, here's hoping against hope that this time it actually happens.

Maybe because I was such a loner/loser as a youth, in spite of the fact I’m now every inch an old I still seem to be drawn to the camaraderie found in a good super teen team book.  For instance, I honestly thought I had reached my limit on Teen Titans titles, yet I found myself predisposed to enjoy the current series written by Alan Glass and drawn by Bernard Chang.

As with the new Young Justice team, it’s the odd new characters that Glass and Chang have introduced to the team that I like the most.  While all eyes have been squarely on Crush, Lobo’s illegitimate 15-year-old daughter (who is, surprisingly, not nearly as awful as I originally feared), I’ve been a lot more interested in Roundhouse.  He’s a plus-sized (for some reason) blue Asian kid with a strong contender for world’s worst haircut and powers which make him a bad-ass version of The Legion of Superheroes’ Bouncing Boy.  Roundhouse; he’s your breakout star.

Hopefully, I’ve demonstrated that I like super teens, I especially like them when they come in teams. And while I’m gratified that there are now more comics intended for a young adult audience being published by DC I do have to wonder.  Do they all have to be about super teens?  Which is a topic I'll get to next week...

* If you want to become familiar with this version of Amethyst, the individual issues of her original series are available on ComiXology; there's also Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, which collects the entire series in one volume.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of