In the past year I finally got around to reading collections of “Justice League International” courtesy Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire; it’s one of those rare titles that really is as good as everyone claims. So with the “DC Retroactive” project wrapping up this week, I’m delighted that “DC Retroactive: Justice League America – The ’90s” chose the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire era of the team to spotlight, and once more united the three creators for a story of silliness and superheroics.
When writing “DC Retroactive: Justice League America – The ’90s,” Giffen and DeMatteis managed to fit in as many familiar faces from the era as they could; members of the Justice League, the Injustice League, and even Power Girl’s creepy cat. More importantly, though, this feels like it could genuinely be a lost issue from this era; the characters’ voices all ring true, and the general patter and rhythm of the story flows just as smoothly and (to the reader) effortlessly as it did in the original comics.
If you haven’t read their old run on “Justice League International,” though, it doesn’t matter. Giffen and DeMatteis introduce each of the characters with ease, letting you get a feel for their personalities and their relationships to one another. And while the story itself isn’t terribly deep, it doesn’t need to be; the humor moves swiftly from one scene to the next, and sets up its conclusion whirling around the corner.
It’s no surprise at all that Maguire’s art is as smooth and beautiful as ever. From a 16-panel talking head opening (with carefully shifting facial expressions to carry the script), to three panels of Mister Miracle reacting to Guy Gardner fighting a Parademon, every single panel is a perfect example of storytelling and how it can accentuate a script. Even just looking at some of the smaller details, like all of the different little clocks on Clock King’s outfit (each set to a different time), or the detailing on Parademon Big Sir’s flesh. It looks great, and it’s a reminder why Maguire is an artist whose work should always been sought out whenever published.
Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire also take advantage of the opportunity to foreshadow other upcoming stories, like the Injustice League’s infamous “Justice League Antarctica” disaster, or all the problems with Power Girl’s hideous cat. It’s a great flashback to earlier days from this trio, and having their conclusion to Giffen and DeMatteis’s run on “Justice League America” included in the back is a nice touch. I might be a Johnny-come-lately fan for this era of the League, but I still feel nostalgic for this era when reading the comic. Good show, one and all.