The Teen Justice issue for Pride Month was not originally on the list for Wednesday, but it earned its place. Teen Justice is the youth team of DC’s Earth-11. In the DC Multiverse, Earth-11 is the genderbent universe (before gender acquired a narrower meaning); thus the Justice Guild had members such as Superwoman, Batwoman, and a male Zatanna, whose fishnets do not work. Where there is a Justice League equivalent, there is the potential for a youth team – but only one, because secondary earths must maximize impact whenever they are allowed page time. Teen Justice is the youth team to the Justice Guild. It is composed of their children, sidekicks, proteges, and whatever Donald Troy is. The team exhibits Young Justice energy more than Titans. The roster includes Supergirl (Lauren Kent), Robin (Talia al Ghul), Kid Quick, Donald Troy (Wondrous Boy), Klarienne the Witch Girl, and Aquagirl. The new kid is Gigi, a depressed runaway with dark clothing and emotional powers – no prizes in guessing who Gigi is based on. Watered-down Raven may not be a crowd-pleaser; more enjoyable is the dynamic between Lauren and Talia. Laurel Kent (Supergirl) is the daughter of Clara Kent (Superwoman). The original pre-Crisis Clara Kent was Super-Sister, a genderbent Clark Kent (Superboy), while Laurel Kent was a Kent descendant in a previous iteration of the Legion of Superheroes. Talia is a Damian clone, right down to attitude – thus your appreciation for her will vary immensely. Laurel does possess the enthusiasm of Jon Kent, and sometimes you need to take the good with the bad. If young teen Jon is gone, then Laurel will have to do.
Traditional genderbending universes can provide sharp commentary, but the temptation is to lazily transfer the concepts of the main universe without exploring the implications. Certain concepts, such as male Amazons, are awkward without further details. Donald’s mentor recently appeared in Wonder Woman’s multiversal trip, in which he was treated as temporary toxic male until Doctor Cizko (hence Psycho) could be deployed. Klarienne the Witch Girl, although a logical reversal, diminishes the impact of the apposition of ‘Witch’ and ‘Boy’; she does have Klarion’s bad attitude. Aquagirl is the distaff version of Jackson Hyde, Kaldur’ahm reskinned to avoid any royalties like Black Lightning; not a bad character, but as restrained as many leaders are. Kid Quick is just another speedster – how many are there now?
The story appears to be combination of Raven’s entrance and the Church of Blood, although the ones behind the Church of Blood are a genuine surprise. This issue’s primary purpose is to introduce or reintroduce the relevant characters of Earth-11.
As stated above, Earth-11 began as a genderbent world in a time with a simpler understanding. Now it has become a world for genderbending and non-cis het heroes. It is not clear whether such diversity will dilute the concepts because Earth-11 is not a central earth of the DC multiverse and therefore will never (probably) receive the level of exposure central earths such as the main one and whichever of 2 and 3 is currently the evil earth do. “What if the men heroes were women and vice versa?” and “What if the heterosexual heroes were homosexual and vice versa?” are similar but separate questions best handled separately. In the spirit of concession to our reality, perhaps the writers are combining the two conscious of the limited series in which to present it. Male Amazons is still a strange concept!