The Rise of the Mystery Men
Plot & Action: Len Wein turns in a feature and back-up story. The back-up story is nothing to write home about, but the feature is pretty good. We essentially get a street kid's point of view to the rise of the mystery men to combat organized crime. It's an interesting take on the idea of the superhero, and I hope they continue with this angle of the normal person's point of view. Not only would it unify all these different eras and stories, but it would provide an interesting angle to see the impact of the heroes on the world and people.
Character Wise: You don't really get a lot of character work on the heroes and villains, but you do get it in people's reactions in both stories. Whether it's dismissed as myth or the narrator's growing character, it's really the heart of this story. I'm not fully connected to the narrator, but I could be if he continues to be our point of view here.
The Art Team: We have three different artists in the main story - well kind of. Scott Kolins takes the first two pages set in the modern era. It's brief, but good in a sort of photo-realistic manner. Then we get the father/son team of Andy and Joe Kubert on pencils and ink for the main story. I like the pencils and ink. I would've liked to have seen some muted colors to suit a flashback, but the characters are drawn nicely and the background has a lot of detail. What I don't like? The straight lines as shadows. It really gives the art a rough sketch/rushed feel while also making the young kids look really, really old. It's distracting at times.
J.G. Jones does the art for our back-up story, and the art looks fantastic. I would've loved to have seen him do the main story. The detail is great, his use of shadows is fantastic, and it really shines. Comparing the two does make me view the main story a little less favorably.
Generally Speaking: One of the best things about DC Comics is its legacies and mantles. Golden to Silver to Bronze to Modern, every generation has its fans. With the DC Anniversary year going on, it's very cool to see them re-visit all of this. I'm not really a fan of the Golden Age, but reading this was actually pretty entertaining. The book has a cool retrospective feel, which is good since it is a retrospective, and I'm excited to see where this story goes and if they'll use the same narrator on all ten issues. I wish I could give this a 4.25, but I can't so I'll round down to a 4. I'd recommend this issue if you're a Golden Age fan or a DC fan in general. It was a surprisingly good read.