Images © DC Comics, Inc.
While it doesn’t say so up front, this miniseries is a nostalgic ride through DC history from the beginning to, I assume, the present, no doubt meant to tie in to DC’s 75th anniversary. If so, you’d think they’d say that somewhere. Following in the footsteps of MARVELS at Marvel, the main viewpoint character is an ordinary man who was there from the beginning, a poor kid in a crime-ridden city, drawn into petty crime himself by a “friend,” and witness to the first super-heroes trying to put the criminal bosses away. It’s written by Len Wein, who really knows how to tell this kind of story. Every point is clear, every emotion is present but not overdone, and the early heroes come across in a way that’s both reminiscent of their early adventures and realistic enough for today’s readers. More than that, it’s fun.
The art is mostly by Andy and Joe Kubert, which seems very appropriate, with Joe having been there almost from the start himself. Here’s Simon and Kirby’s Newsboy Legion jumping in at just the right time. Each issue has a backup by another artist and a short intro by Scott Kolins as well. The backups are equally good, but a bit too short to carry the same kind of involving narrative as the main story, they come across as lighter moments, so far. In fact, the one in issue 2 for the Seven Soldiers of Victory, with art by my pal J.H. Williams III seems more like a series of promotional ads than a story. Great art, but leaving only room for staccato shorthand balloons. Doesn’t help that there are seven characters crammed into eight pages, I’m sure.
Maybe it’s the old-timers’ club, but I’m loving this book. If all comics were as easy and enjoyable to read, I’d probably read more of them. And it shows that you can write accessible stories with lots of comics continuity if the underlying structure is sound. Well done, and recommended!