This is a revisiting of the concepts and characters that made the Silver Age an era that many comic fans and creators look back to with goofy-eyed nostalgia. Wein captures the zaniness and the fun comic book science fiction, as well, right down to the Inertron, but he does so in a manner that overloads this book with wackiness and suspension of disbelief. There’s almost too much going on in this issue, contrary to the trend of decompressed storytelling.
Paul Lincoln and Jimmy Mahoney continue to have their stories blended into the greater fabric of the DC Universe, as the story is told through the eyes of an elderly Lincoln. Fans can unclench a little bit there, as one man’s tale isn’t necessarily comic continuity gospel. That man’s tale is fit to burst with Silver Age highlights.
This issue has more Silver Age moments in one single story than any comic ever: the introduction of the Doom Patrol, the first meeting of Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, the Metal Men (whose debut is covered by Lois Lane and Jack Ryder, thank you very much!), the first JSA/JLA team-up, the origin of the Teen Titans, and a battle between Superman and Toyman. Wein gets into the heart of each moment, playing up the wide-eyed wonder and heroic innocence of the characters involved, but the issue also ends with the end of an era, the death of the Doom Patrol. To my recollection, the team’s demise has never been addressed from a civilian’s point of view, especially, so this treatment of the event offers new insight, but that insight comes across as dismissive and unaffected by the heroic sacrifice of the team.
The demise of the Doom Patrol offers the series a transition from the devil-may-care Silver Age to the looming Crisis. It will be interesting to see what Wein’s cliff notes of that event are filled with. This issue was stuffed with iconic moment after iconic moment, and the end result is a story that is thin.
Garcia-Lopez’s art is solid throughout this issue. He’s pressed into service to jam a great deal of information and a greater amount of characters into this story, and he does so remarkably. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Trish Mulvihill spare us all the agony of having to see the dreaded fashions of the 1960s and 1970s in detail, choosing to minimize the overall appearance of civilian attire to give it a more generic, less-specified appearance.
The bonus story is a reunion of DC’s war comic heroes, made to order by Joe Kubert. The story is set as occurring on the July 4th and the reunited characters are regaling each other with yarns of yesterday, including a tale of Sergeant Rock’s death. Kubert is always welcome to share a tale of Frank Rock and the Easy Company. It serves as a nice contrast to the bold, garish costumes worn by the characters visited in the main story of this issue.