By Darwyn Cooke with Dave Stewart (DC Comics)
Ever since DC Comics retrofitted most of their first fifty years of story continuity with the incredibly successful Crisis on Infinite Earths they’ve apparently been seeking ways to get it all back into play again. Comics seem to work best when they access some component of nostalgia, and Darwyn Cooke’s tribute to the 1950s is a glorious blending of simpler times, two-fisted slam-bang action and the brooding menace of both Communism and McCarthyism delivered in the garish four-colour dreams of ten-year-old children.
All the DC greats come into play in a brand new yet refreshingly, comfortingly, old retelling of the archetypes of that era. There are aliens, monsters, Martians, test pilots, cars with fins, feisty reporters and Rock ’n’ Roll. The story is basic and simple, but never slips into pastiche or parody. Darwyn Cooke successfully manages to skate between and around the hurdles of kids with no access to the time period involved (nor indeed the characters) and the expectations of an older generation of readers who have spent such a long time wondering where “their” heroes went.
For my part, this is probably one of the best things I’ve read in the last ten years. Cooke and especially colourist Dave Stewart have managed to access and treat with respect an era that I’d thought gone forever, whilst at the same time concocting a cracking good yarn that seems genuinely timeless. My only quibble is that I have to wait for the second and concluding part, notwithstanding the fact that I bought the mini-series when it came out last year.
An absolute gem for kids of all ages; even casual readers who watch more movies than they read comics will be immensely satisfied.
© 2005 DC Comics. All rights reserved.