Review by: mgriffith

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Avg Rating: 4.4
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Written by CARY BATES

Size: 56 pages
Price: 4.99

DC dropped the ball with this issue – a comic I was very much looking forward to.

First the good stuff: 

Not sure if others have had any negative feelings about the paper used with the 1970’s Retroactive books, but I enjoy the non-glossy paper used, and would welcome it with other comics.

A number of DC celebrities show up in both the new and the reprint story.  I’m always a sucker for appearances like that.

Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin were the artists on the JLA when I first started reading the title in the 1970’s, so I loved seeing their art again.

Cary Bates offered an inspired story dealing with Adam Strange, Kanjar-Ro, and Earth Prime.  There were some classic touches (Carter ribbing Ollie, The Flash having scientific answers to problems the team faced) and references to the 1970’s.

The back-up reprint story feature a JLA/JSA team-up, and those were always fun for me.

Classic JLA line-ups in both the new and (no duh) the classic reprinted story.

And finally, the lead story was a done-in-one.  Also kinda no duh here, but …

Now the bad stuff:

The reprinted story is part one of a two-part story, NOT a done-in-one tale.  It is from issue 123 of Justice League of America.  The conclusion to the story is in issue 124.  So to get the rest of the story – a pretty fun and compelling story at that – a reader will ether have to get their hands on issue 124 or the TPB collection Crisis on Multiple Earths volume 4.

Thanks, DC.

Okay, more bad stuff:  In my opinion the lead story was hampered by lackluster art.  We had a two pencil artists on the story, and the pages split between them were uneven.  I don’t want to hurt feelings here, but neither artist holds a candle to Dick Dillin in my eyes, and one of them is by far a better artist than the other.  Their talents and styles did not mesh as well as they should have.  I feel using the talents of just one pencil artist would have been the smart way to go.  As it is we get art that looks like it came from those recent Subway comic ads or an Archie title. 

This is a JLA book and the lead story doesn’t have a “roll call” section?!? 

We have Zatanna on the team performing magic and not once do we have a word balloon with a backwards-spoken spell.  I understand that maybe additional word balloons would have cluttered the panel here and there, but just ONCE I wanted to see the classic Zatanna magic words gimmick.

And speaking of Zatanna, it seems like she was pretty confident and cocksure of herself in the lead story.  That characterization seemed a little off to me.  I imagine that at this point in her career, she was pretty young and new to the team.  Seeing just a little humbleness or awe from her once in the story would have gone a long way for me.

Okay, so the long and the short of it:

DC should have offered a one-short story for the reprint portion of this special book.  Looking back at the many possible stories that could have been selected, I can only wonder if much thought was given to the choice of the reprint.

The art for the new story portion of this issue was very uneven and lackluster in places.  It deserved much better talent.

I feel this book is a missed opportunity and was disappointed in the end.  I do not feel that it was worth $5, and since it was the first Retroactive comic I read (I do own all the others from the 1970’s set), I hope I will not be let down by the rest of them.

My ratings below are a combination for the lead and back up stories.

Here is how I would rate each part:

New:  Story: 4  (but more like 3.5 if we had that option)  Art: 2

Reprint: Story: 4 (Wish I had the next part of it, though)  Art: 4 


Thank you for reading my review!  🙂

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 3 - Good

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