The New Golden Age #1 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Diego Olortegui, JP Mayer, Scott Hanna, Jerry Ordway, Steve Lieber, Todd Nauck, Scott Kolins, Viktor Bogdanovic, Brandon Peterson and Gary Frank
Colors:  Nick Filardi, John Kalisz, Matt Herms, Jordan Boyd and Brad Anderson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 8th, 2022

There’s an ultra-creepy villain moving through time and shadows,  targeting certain members of the Justice Society of America (and their descendants) in The New Golden Age #1.  The book takes us through a dizzying number of time periods, new characters and subplots setting up Justice Society of America #1 that will be released at the end of this month.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read The New Golden Age #1 Review.

The Story

Reading The New Golden Age #1 felt like watching a parade moving at 100 miles per hour.  There are a ton of interesting things happening but it’s all coming at you so fast you barely have time to register one thing before the next thing zooms by. Geoff Johns is back doing what he does best, writing Golden Age heroes in a modern framework.  Unfortunately though, instead of having a 4 or 6 issue mini-series to set up all the situations and characters that will be featured in the upcoming The Justice Society of America series, he has this one extra-long issue to set everything in motion.

There are so many jumps in time and place throughout the book, you feel punch-drunk by the end of it.  In the first third of the book alone, we jump from the year 2042 to 1940 to 3022 to 1976(!).  It would make even Doctor Who and H.G. Wells reach for the extra-strength Excedrin.  And when there are variations of the same characters throughout the issue (like Doctor Fate’s many incarnations) it makes things even more confusing. It seems like Geoff Johns is trying to hammer and weld the Justice Society’s history into the current version of the DC Universe, as well as give them a present and future, like shoving a square block into a triangular hole.  And maybe he’ll succeed when he has more room in the regular Justice Society series, but here, it mostly comes off as a jumble of plot fragments and character sketches.

On the plus side, we get some tantalizing looks at new legacy characters who look like they may eventually become a Teen Justice Society (a Teen Justice-style group but with young Justice Society-related characters).  My favorites are The Boom and Salem the Witch Girl and I can’t wait to see more of them.

The villain in the book (who’s never named) is about the creepiest character you’ll ever see.  He moves through different time periods and watches characters from afar (similar to Mike Myers from the “Halloween” films), but when a character notices him, he disappears.  He’s almost like a ghost, but he can interact physically with people as well.   He’s definitely much different from past JSA villains like Ultra-Humanite or Per Degaton.
Finally, we get to see the original Justice Society of America sitting around their big meeting table, just chilling and talking, and it’s a beautiful thing.  Seeing all those characters in their prime again, just chatting and joking, made my heart just swell with sweet nostalgia.  I love those characters and it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the regular Justice Society series. Geoff Johns writes them perfectly.  Doctor Fate has his usual air of mystery, Al Pratt is impulsive and forceful, and Jay Garrick is like a superhero version of Jimmy Stewart.  Great stuff!

The Art

10 artists and 5 colorists do the artwork on The New Golden Age #1, and there’s not a bad page of work in the entire issue. I’m not familiar enough with each artist’s work to know who drew what pages, and there’s no specification in the issue of who drew each page, but thankfully there’s no manga-style art anywhere in the book.  It’s all old-fashioned superhero art, with realistic drawn characters, colors that pop (especially when Green Lantern uses his ring) and dynamic panel layouts.  It makes the story come alive.

Final Thoughts

The New Golden Age #1, though having an extremely confusing narrative that jumps between many different time periods, puts the original Justice Society of America in focus again, as well as introducing several new legacy characters and a unique new villain.  The book also features appearances by numerous obscure characters that are always fun to see.


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