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And Then They Were Gone

June 28, 2010

Len Wein’s retelling of the history of the DC Universe continues with DC Universe Legacies #2.  Once again, in the present day, Paul Lincoln waxes nostalgic about the Justice Society of America, now including members Dr. Mid-Nite, Starman, and Johnny Thunder.  After a victory against the villain Brainwave, the Justice Society helps inspire many other heroes, including the Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man, Wildcat, Mr. Terrific, Max Mercury, Air Wave, Mr. America, Judomaster, Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Robotman, Tarantula, Commander Steel, and Zatara.  Paul has gotten a job as a paper carrier, despite Jimmy Mahoney offering him a job with Vandal Savage.  When Paul gets attacked by some local thugs, the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian bail him out.  Shortly later, the Society gets attacked by the Injustice Gang of the World, composed of their enemies Brainwave, the Gambler, Vandal Savage, the Wizard, Per Degaton, and the Thinker.  Ultimately, the team defeats their foes, and Jimmy, who was working for Savage, looks to Paul for money to get out of Metropolis.  Peggy Mahoney, his sister, wants him to reform, but when Jimmy is about to strike her in anger, Paul stops him tosses him some money, and tells him to get lost.  Paul graduates from high school, now dating Peggy and noting sadly the disappearance of many of those old superheroes.  Then, the Justice Society, composed of Hawkman, Green Lantern, Black Canary, Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Atom, is called by Congress to provide testimony on a man who had attempted to kill them, and whom the government claims is a foreign agent.  The infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy wants the team to unmask, but they decide to refuse and suddenly disappear.  Then, in the Seven Soldiers of Victory story, the team, composed of the Crimson Avenger, the Shining Knight, Vigilante, the Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite (replacing Green Arrow and Speedy), as well as the unofficial eighth member, Wing, are challenged by some mysterious enemy to stop his thefts across the city in a newspaper ad that even says where he plans to rob.  However, this is a trick by their foe the Dummy, who is really stealing the Markovian crown jewels while they are occupied.  The team manages to complete their jobs in time and stop the Dummy as well.

All right, so the story of Paul Lincoln is beginning to grow on me.  He’s a nice enough guy, and as I said before, he’s an interesting normal person, a good choice for a lens into the crazy world of superheroes.  Unfortunately, he’s not close enough to the action as a consequence, so that weakens my interest.  I am glad about the focus on inspiration, since that ties into the title of the series.  By inspiring these heroes, the Justice Society was responsible for creating a superhero legacy.  And superhero legacies are one of the big things that DC Comics likes to brag about.  So that’s nice.  And I liked the Joseph McCarthy thing.  I’ve always enjoyed that DC Comics chose to incorporate even that dark part of history into its comics, as it makes the story of the Justice Society even more believable.  There is still the unfortunate problem of the dialogue.  Especially that stuff the Guardian was saying.  My goodness, if there isn’t a cheesier way to try and inspire a kid to walk the straight and narrow.  I don’t think that’ll be changing anytime soon, sadly.  Or maybe Len Wein will really try to change the dialogue to reflect the different ages.  We’ll see.  Scott Kolins’ art was still too washed out in the very beginning.  And Andy and Joe Kubert’s work still looked great.  Two of the members of the Newsboy Legion had abnormally large cheeks (I mean truly abnormally large), but that’s about the only problem.  As for the Seven Soldiers story, it was… mildly amusing.  The character of Wing was totally racist, especially since Chinese people don’t talk like that.  Then again, that’s Len working with the cards he’s been dealt.  The dialogue was still pretty cheesy, and I wish there were more interesting heroes than TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite to replace Green Arrow and Speedy.  But the art was great.  J.H. Williams III is one of the greatest artists around today, and I love the changes in style depending on the character.  My personally favorite style of his was the Shining Knight style.  The only artistic mistake was the occasionally appearing TNT logo on Dan’s shirt.  Overall, this issue was a bit better than the previous one.  I’m still not expecting a modern classic, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the end.

Plot: 8.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 5.6      Overall: 7.3

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