For a comic that doesn’t feature a foe for the protagonists to punch in the face, but rather turns its focus to a philosophical discussion between two of DC’s most storied characters, this issue was very enjoyable. Like a superheroic interpretation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” a fevered Hal Jordan and an astral projection of Kent Nelson discuss the logistics of changing the past — or, at least, the past as Hal knows it and the future as Dr. Fate has yet to experience.
This issue succeeds largely due to the visual mastery put to page by Jesus Saiz. His characters have always had a way of looking inherently heroic, but in this issue, Saiz trims the heroism in humanity. Dr. Fate — one of the most aloof characters in comics ever — is given a personality and a conversant demeanor. Saiz carries that through in his art, choosing to illustrate Fate’s emotions through body language, seeing as the helmet of Nabu eliminates any hint of emotion on the face of the wearer. Saiz’s Hal Jordan is strong and heroic, human and emotional, but that doesn’t stop Saiz from using body language to further emote the goings-on in the mind of the greatest Green Lantern. Beyond delivering great figure work, Saiz manages to make even the smallest panels seem like a massive canvas, yet his art is never misplaced nor ill-sized. The panels in this book are like individual masterpieces, but combined they deliver the story just as capably as Straczynski’s words.
I cannot presume to understand what drove the choices for team-ups Straczynski has used in his stint on “The Brave and the Bold,” but this one is inspired. The fact that Straczynski goes so far as to take two of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe and put them together in an issue without a substantive foe makes this story all the more enjoyable in its accomplishment. Straczynski’s Fate is one of the most human takes I’ve ever read on this character, and one of the most enjoyable. I would certainly welcome another appearance by Nabu’s chosen one.
New to this issue is the tagline, “Lost Stories of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” which I am sure was added on to help allay the concerns and fears of the continuity-conscious. Honestly, though, if a comic can give you two great characters well written and impeccably drawn in an enjoyable story, does it matter if it is in continuity? I would argue that it doesn’t. All that should matter at that point is enjoying a really good story.