Review by: ctrosejr

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Avg Rating: 4.3
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Written by LEN WEIN
Variant cover by J.G. JONES

Size: 40 pages
Price: 3.99

I feel I have to start this review by saying that I am relative newbie to the DC Universe. This is important because this mini-series, one assumes, will be re-treading a lot of ground, re-telling a lot of old, and perhaps well-known, stories from the DC Universe’s collective past. For me, however, most of the stories will be new. I mention this because, if you’re a grizzled DC veteran, you’re level of enjoyment may differ from mine. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the review.

This first thing to realize is that this comic actually contains two stories, both set in DC’s Golden Age. Each story follows the exploits of several different super heroes, but both are told from the perspective of a non-powered observer. In this regard, the stories feel like DC’s version of “Marvels,” written by Kurt Busiek. However, I think Wein’s characters and dialogue sets this retrospective apart. Unlike Busiek’s Phil Sheldon, a photo journalist who is basically a passive observer to the events around him, Wein’s characters are just that, characters. They are less “everyman” ciphers and are instead more fully fleshed-out protagonists, with points of view, and roles to play within the story.

Unfortunately, things get off to a bumpy start, as Wein employs the overused device of a flashback to setup his stories. This almost lost me right from the get-go. All I could think of was that this was going to be a stale, by-the-numbers retrospective. But, I stuck it out, and to Wein’s credit, once the “real” story begins, things vastly improve from a story perspective.

One of the first things I noticed was that the dialogue is snappy and fresh. These characters really feel as if they are a part of the time and place in which the story is set. To me, the standout characters are in the first story, where you sense the protagonists could almost carry this mini-series on their own, even without the people in capes. There’s real tension and drama here, aside from the “Mystery Men” who are bursting on to the scene for the first time.

As for the art, I feel it is uneven, but far from bad. The Kuberts do a more than serviceable job on the first story, but the really “wow” work comes from J.G. Jones. Andy Kubert’s compositions were excellent, with a real sense of action. My only complaint would be that the first story’s art seemed a little too dark, perhaps a little too heavy on the inks and dark on the coloring. But, overall, the art contributed greatly to the feel of the story. However, Jones’ art was the real show-stopper. Somewhat reminiscent of Ross’s photo-realistic work on “Marvels”, Jones’s art is beautiful, graceful and almost ephemeral, which complements the narrative of the second story very well. Finally, Scott Kolins does the art on beginning setup pages, which are up to his usually high standard.

Like I said in my first paragraph, I cannot comment on how well these to stories adhere to previous versions of DC’s history. I cannot even tell you if these stories are new. They’re new to me. And, as a consequence, I really enjoyed myself. This was my first exposure to a lot of these characters, and I had a really good time reading this book. I am definitely excited to read the rest of this series. My only question now is whether I wait for the trade, or if I keep reading this in issues, because I think this will definitely be worth owning in a collected edition at some point.

Setup: story 3.5, art 4

First story: story 4.5, art 4

Second story: story 4, art 5

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good


  1. Sorry about the big run-on paragraph.  I don’t know what happened.  When I clicked "Submit", there were paragraph breaks, I swear.

  2. YOu can edit it…

  3. I tried to edit it, but I got the same result.  It also happened on my Iron Man review.  I figure it either has to do with their software (which is a little buggy) or my browser (Chrome).  Oh well!

  4. Hey, I fixed it.  Definitely my browser.

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