I have to commend DC for bringing on board some of its big guns for the 10-issue “DC Universe Legacies,” intended to retell the history of the DC Universe and presumably be in print for years to come. So after the first two issues had Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, J.G. Jones, and J.H. Williams III attached, seeing Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dave Gibbons step up next to the plate? That’s not messing around.
Here’s the big problem I have, though. It’s slightly boring.
I suppose if you want to read about the start of the golden age with the Justice Society of America and see the DC Universe slowly progress to the present day, that this might be a little more exciting. And in theory, it’s not a bad idea. But while Len Wein’s script is perfectly reasonable, there isn’t anything special about it. I’m not seeing any sort of spark of excitement about this retelling of the formation of the Justice League, and his viewpoint character of police officer Paul Lincoln seems so trite and stereotypical that I find myself unable to care about his domestic and familial problems. The second you find out that his girlfriend’s brother is running with crooks, you know it’s just a matter of time until Paul is on duty and coincidentally encounters him. It’s that by-the-book, obvious plotting overlaid on top of the retelling that actually drags it down in some ways; too much attention is paid to a boring character.
I’m also not convinced that in general this storytelling device should be used. When Kurt Busiek used it for “Marvels” it made sense for his main character of Paul Sheldon to be at the center of so many events; he was, after all, a photojournalist. Paul Lincoln, on the other hand, feels like a pale shadow in comparison. Maybe it’s time people backed away from this particular framing device?
The art is the best thing about “DC Universe Legacies” #3, but it’s actually a tiny bit underwhelming. I think the problem is that while Garcia-Lopez’s pencils are just fine, it’s not a great match to have him with Gibbons on inks. Garcia-Lopez’s issues of “Batman Confidential” and “Wednesday Comics” both had a much more liquid, loose feel to the art. There, Garcia-Lopez’s perfectly sculpted characters still felt alive and animated. Here, everyone’s a tiny bit stiff and plastic. I think Gibbons is a great artist in his own right, but in the future I think I’d rather stick with Kevin Nowlan inking over Garcia-Lopez.
With so many strong talents lined up for “DC Universe Legacies,” I wish I liked it more. We’ve still got issues to come with other big talents like George Perez and Jerry Ordway, after all, and in theory this should be a lot of fun. But even though I came into this comic predisposed tot like it, I’m finding myself bored. That’s not a good sign.