Some folks are quick to dismiss this as a DC Universe riff of the old “Marvels” story, but it’s not — at least, not to this point. Following decades of resets, continuity punches, and retcons, the DCU has needed a bit of a streamlining. This isn’t going to smooth over every crack, but this issue does refresh some of the early parts in DC’s history and offers a chance for readers to enjoy stories told in a time when capes weren’t prevalent across the skies of Metropolis.
Len Wein delivers a timeless story told from the perspective of Paul Lincoln, a man who has witnessed the history of the DCU firsthand. Paul’s story features adventures that cross paths with the Crimson Avenger, the original Sandman, and the original Atom. Joe Kubert’s inks over his son Adam’s pencils look as timelessly classic as Kubert’s pencil work from yesteryear does today. No one draws characters in a rain shower quite like Kubert.
Joe Kubert contributed to the stories of the Golden Age, and giving him a chance to lead the charge for this series is poetic. It’s great that this series is devoted to being as much a tribute to the artists who made these characters great as it is a tribute to the characters, themselves.
This issue features the emergence of “mystery men” as they begin to bring justice back to the streets, told from people who grew up on those streets, but that’s not all. Wein uses a two-page introduction to set up the story, and finishes the issue with an eight-page investigation of Doctor Fate, the Spectre, and Zatara. The introduction is drawn by Scott Kolins, but it doesn’t look like Kolins’ typical work. It’s cleaner and brighter (thanks to Mike Atiyeh’s colors) than what I’ve come to associate with Kolins, and it is a great entry point to the series. J. G. Jones draws the mystical back-up, and does an amazing job of it. The layouts are gorgeous and coalesce into a flowing story from a collection of panels that could easily be masterpieces if produced on a larger scale.
“DCU: Legacies” is a nice divergence from the grim and gritty universe that fills the pages of the current DC Universe. It’s not an event comic, and it doesn’t need to be. It’s a solid read sprinkled with nostalgia that revisits times in the vast history of the heroic age of the DC Universe. Unlike the 1980s version of the “History of the DC Universe,” this story starts in the twentieth century, and is grounded on Earth. This is a smart beginning for this series, and I look forward to seeing the progression through the ages.