And Then I Read: RETROACTIVE JLA

Images © DC Comics, Inc.

This series of one-shots was a fun idea to fill in some time between the end of many titles and the launch of the New 52. Round up some creators from past decades and give them a chance to recreate their past glories in a book-length story, then pair it with another book-length story from that previous era by (at least some of) the same folks. Actually, it sounds like a rather terrifying idea for the creators! I looked through a bunch of these, and picked out three to read. This was the one I liked best.

In fact, I thought the new story by Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire was excellent, full of all the fun of their original run on this team (in several configurations). It’s quite funny, but doesn’t so much laugh at the characters as it does point out how silly super-heroics could seem in a more realistic world than comics often presents. Well, okay, it does laugh at the characters too, sometimes.

So, we have a group of villains plotting against the JLA, as usual, but they’re completely hopeless until they happen upon some Kirby Fourth World technology. That’s what drives the action and the story, and it’s really quite well done. It’s even kind of fun to see Guy Gardner as a dunce again, as he was in these books.

Kevin Maguire’s art is, if anything, even better than back when, inking his own work. Some of his characters seem to have put on a little weight in their faces, but otherwise it’s very much the same style. Except that, in the accompanying old story, he was inked by Terry Austin, a very different look. The book is printed on a very absorbent paper, and the coloring is pretty heavy with lots of modeling, so that does make things a bit muddy at times, but otherwise there’s nothing to knock in this new JLA story.

Recommended.

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