The New Golden Age #1 review

Well, this made me happy. A romp through the DC Universe beginning with the first meeting of the Justice Society of America…

… and ending with a 31st-Century version of the team.

In between we see vignettes from the Fifties, Seventies, ‘13 years from now’ and ‘18 years from now’. Linking the various time periods is one of the JSA’s greatest foes, the time travelling Per Degaton. There’s one particular JSA legacy he’s targeting, a member whose death always precedes the end of the entire team.

He’s also dropping in on young Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman of, not Earth 2, but the mainline DC Universe.

For some reason, Degaton is shaping Helena’s personality, making her wary, giving her reason to arm herself… to become a Huntress.

Degaton isn’t the only master of time in this one-shot launching Geoff Johns’ new Golden Age line.

It’s Rip Hunter, Time Master, along with colleagues Bonnie, Jeff and the annoying, but entertaining, Corky, who shows a Degaton-style talent for manipulating events.

OK, he makes out he’s trying to prevent John Wilkes Booth from blasting his way into the history books, but look at that expression in the penultimate panel – the kid’s a sociopath.

I loved the story here. Johns seems to be writing it for me, giving me old favourites and new legacies, along with never-before-revealed-sidekicks. The latter aren’t seen in the main story beyond a single splash page, they’re unveiled in a series of Who’s Who pages apparently left out of the original Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. This kind of thing.

OK, the borders based on Benday dots should all be yellow, but let’s blame the Time Masters. Yeah, that’s it. They’ve plucked the kids – along with Golden Age Aquaman and Mr Miracle – from continuity and kept them in stasis, presumably for some convoluted reason relating to the safety of all time and space. Events in Flashpoint Beyond have somehow returned the lost to their points of origin, and we’ll be following them into the upcoming Stargirl: the Lost Children six-issue mini (we glimpsed them in last year’s Stargirl Spring Break Special.

The New Golden Age is also setting up a new Justice Society series, with its first storyline being the Huntress/Per Degaton mystery. Based on the quality of Johns’ writing here, I’m all over it.

As for the art, Johns – presumably with editors Marquis Draper, Andrew Merino and Katie Kubert – has gathered a first team of talent.

The only name I don’t recognise is Diego Olortegui but he certainly deserves his place among the veterans here. Even without knowing which sequence he draws – given his name comes first, I’m guessing it’s the Li’l Helena bits that kick off the book and weave through to the end, with the exceedingly creepy Degaton – I’m impressed. If I’m wrong, my apologies. Whoever drew what, I enjoyed every page, with my favourite sequence being the return of the masterful Jerry Ordway to the JSA… nobody does them greater justice. Ordway presents my favourite panel of the issue, showing us that Alan Scott’s old sidekick Doiby Dickles was privy to all his secrets.

(Mind, I’d expect Doiby to be open minded – in the Sixties he married a space princess. Lucky gal!)

Congratulations and thanks to all the illustrators, colour artists and letterer extraordinaire Rob Leigh (notice his authentic approach to fonts and balloon shapes/pointers in the Forties sequences) for 36 pages of fantastic visuals and the 12 ‘lost’ Who’s Who pages… and let’s not forget Darran Robinson, who gives us almost a dozen new logos. (I wonder if DC brought back the fabulous Brenda Pope to proofread!)

The cover by Mikel Janín is pretty good, though the colours are more washed out than a comic this GOSH (that’s Good Old Super-Heroes, as coined by the IFanboy gang) demands. Did anyone else take ages to spot the tiny time bubble?

I’ve not mentioned everything in this comic that thrilled me, that delighted me – how about telling me what worked for you? Could this really be a New Golden Age?

27 thoughts on “The New Golden Age #1 review

  1. Ok, so, after complaining about Geoff Johns’ seeming lock on all-things Golden Age/Justice Society to the detriment of fresh takes/series having come out sooner, I have to admit I’m … intrigued. Some of it IS nostalgia, reminding me of those days over 20 years ago when I was so excited to read the latest issue of JSA by Johns (David Goyer, though, certainly had something to do with that as well as co-writer for several issues.) Yup, love the “Who’s Who” pages and also the link to the Legion’s time. That is one idea that I don’t think has ever been explored – a FUTURE JSA. The emphasis has always been on the team being reborn in the present, not on a legacy lasting thousands of years. But it makes perfect sense. HOWEVER… I am wary of all of the “missing sidekicks.” The concept could easily go from fun/creative to annoying/overkill. Also not keen on whatever is being done with the Time Masters. I’m a sucker for Rip Hunter. Own the “Showcase Presents” and some original issues. I don’t like the idea that Johns might be going a bit dark with them. And lastly, if it were 20 years ago I might have gobbled up Flashpoint and Doomsday Clock and the Flashpoint sequel that just came out. But I didn’t. And it seems like Johns is off in his corner of the DCU, weaving what at this point is a slow, 11-year story, and I’m not keen on that seemingly laying the foundation of this Justice Society run. So still on the fence, here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While there’s never been a future JSA, we did have Justice League 3000, which I expected to be appalling. It was rather great. If you missed it, and have access to the DC, please do take a look!


  2. I’m wary of what’s coming because it’s Johns, the man who thought a romance between Huntress and a man who ws an adult when she was born was okay. Did someone dare him to outdo Byrne? There’s more gratuitous death than is necessary to me as well. On one hand I wish the JSA would just pick up from where they were on Earth 2 the day Crisis One of Fifty hit but then i remember how he darkened that up when 52 Earths was a thing. He’s also the one who put the different Legions on separate Earths rather than treat them as alternate timelines so I don’t trust him with time travel shenanigans.

    And yes, Corky as a sociopath was just plain wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember who Huntress had an inappropriate romance with – presumably Dick Grayson. Nah, can’t be, I think that goes back to the Huntress back-ups in Wonder Woman, long before Johns was writing for DC. Wildcat?

      I don’t mind the Legions which were originally Crisis-revamps now being on alternate worlds, it allows for team-ups.


  3. Sadly, this whole book feels like an alternate Earth that will be forgotten as soon as Johns gets bored. The whole rewriting Golden Age history and introducing a Helena Wayne whose parents aren’t even together in the main DCU make this book hard to take seriously as part of the new post Dark Crisis reality.

    Unless of course DCOIE #7 gives us a married Bruce and Selina in the rehashed universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ll see, Harry. I must say, the Huntress outfit on the cover is dull as dishwater, but maybe by close of play it’ll be the Earth 2 classic, with everything revealed to be on a classic Earth 2.


  4. Thing is, Johns clearly still sells books. And DC has been patient with him and allowed him to weave this story over the last decade (starting with Flashpoint). So I wouldn’t dismiss this as some alternate Earth that will be forgotten. My hope, were I to commit to buying this series, is that it will: 1. Come out on time 2. Johns will be at the rudder for a while, as he was with the original JSA title, and not jump ship after one or two arcs 3. That, after this initial arc, the book settles in to being your standard – but good – superteam title, as was the case with JSA, and doesn’t turn into this mini-Crisis/time travel event that takes up like two years worth of issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Johns mostly doing just limited series and that interminable story told over the complete short run of Shazam pointtowards you probably not getting your wish. That series also took two years to put out fifteen issues so I’d expect more of the same. Most Johns project’s been like that since comic writing seems to be worked around his other job.


  5. I think that’s Childminder, not Degaton at all.

    I don’t think we ever saw Degaton without his “D” jacket, though that was probably just his “costume” for visual reference/reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I should also admit that the post-Flashpoint break in classic JSA finally broke my suspension of disbelief with them. One hundred years old and barely middle aged no longer works for me. I don’t care how man Ian Karkulls or Green Flames you throw at them, I just can’t enjoy them like I used to. Then there’s the fact that they come from an era with larger families and most of them have just one kid. Heck, there should be three generations of family behind them. And do what few kids they have also not age? Why and have they been in their teens and twenties for decades as well? I’d really rather have two Eaarth 2 books. One with aging JSAers dealing with Sixties and another with their legacy in modern day. Heck, things like Quebec actually seceding from Canada made Earth 2 fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I don’t have your problem with the JSA-era not being in wheelchair and care homes, I love both your ideas. I love ageing heroes and families. If you’ve never read John Byrne’s Generations Omnibus, get it on your Christmas list!


  7. One thing I loved about this book was how the artist of the 1970s segment got Power Girl’s body language so dead-on. That made me laugh out loud with appreciation.

    I have guarded hopes for this series, and the Stargirl series as well. I hope it launches strong and someone else starts writing it when Johns moves on (as I suspect he will). But boy, was I unhappy to see that page of Watchmen references. No thanks for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Okay Martin! You convinced me, I bought it, some thoughts in no particular order:
    1. For I’d say the bulk of it I had a good time. And yeah, some of that is just nostalgia – Geoff Johns back on the JSA and the JSA actually being published again after so many years. But I do love those characters and Johns’ efforts to continue/expand their legacy. The Who’s Who pages were a lot of fun and very well done.
    2. If any book could have used a one page text piece from the author, this is it. Geoff Johns has done some interviews online this week. Why not let him write a letter to the reader about his love of the JSA, why he wanted to return, what he has new to say, and teasing his plans? I mean, this is kind of a big deal. It would be like maybe Grant Morrison returning to JLA, for instance, or Mark Waid launching a new run on The Flash.
    3. Speaking of plans, I was thrown a bit because I’m not sure what to make of all the different story threads/subplots, and whether we’re supposed to assume they all connect or not. Obviously we’ve got teasers for the new Stargirl mini and the JSA ongoing. But where DO the Watchmen characters fit in? How about the Time Masters? And I’m assuming the Golden Age Aquaman, Mister Miracle and Red Lantern characters in the Who’s Who pages, at least, are not part of whatever storyline all the missing kid sidekicks are involved with… Are we meant to take this single book as a teaser for the Stargirl/JSA books, or was this more like a DCU Rebirth or Marvel Point One-style issue laying the groundwork for other titles to come as well…
    4. Also not keen on the inclusion of the Watchmen. Didn’t read Doomsday Clock, or the Flashpoint sequel, and I’m not planning to, so I hope they are key to everything happening, cause then I may move on.
    5. The kid sidekicks, as I expected, are kind of fun but also kind of goofy. They work within the context of the DCU and all of the legacy characters. But they risk going overboard. We’re meant to take them seriously, but it’s almost like a parody when even the Red Bee and Human Bomb have sidekicks…
    6. I have to imagine with Johns playing around with Hypertime in the Flashpoint sequel that recently concluded, that is going to be a factor here, too, with Batman and Catwoman having married and had a child. Some have speculated a parallel earth is involved. I’d say maybe the Hypertime Huntress is joining.
    7. I’d also like a better understanding of which modern JSA we’re working with, here. The cover teases the female Wildcat and Doctor Midnite characters killed in the 1990s Eclipso series. How are they back all of a sudden? Meanwhile, where are all of the legacy characters Johns introduced in his last volume with Patrick Gleason – Mr. America, Red Tornado, Steel, Judomaster? And what about the modern day Doc Midnite that Johns had used in the JSA? Sure it’s been about a dozen years OUR time since the team last had its own title, but no way that much time has passed in comicbook years. Is Johns kind of picking up where he left off or what? Make it clearer.
    8. Which reminds me, I had a hard time getting into that second JSA volume because Johns packed it with new legacy characters, but seemed to have a rough time focusing on any of them. And that’s a bit how I felt after reading this book. I worry we’re getting yet another SLEW of Geoff Johns-created legacy characters taht will be fighting for space and time.
    Whew!!! That was long-winded. Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Cautiously looking forward to the actual issue 1.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Brian, you’re a star for giving it a go. Thanks for all the great commentary. 2) I love text pieces, I’m going to have to seek out these Johns chats. 3) I wonder if my mind is a tad chaotic compared to yours, I’d not even considered how everything might be linked, I’m just expecting the comic to do the work! 4) I’m with you on the Watchmen business, except I really like M&M. 5) I’m hugely impressed with the creativity put into the Who’s Who pages, I’m accepting these kids into the DCU with open arms! 6) Whatever I guess would ne wrong! 7) Did you see this new/old Dr Midnight in Superman this week. That’s apparently set before Dark Crisis, so who knows what the timeline is. 8) Yep, the lack of cast time was pretty frustrating in the latter part of Johns’ JSA. But it was so much better than what came next – Alan Scott as The Human Boiler.


  9. I’m cautiously optimistic. I don’t know if we needed any more previously unrevealed Golden Age characters retconned into the Justice Society’s history, but I’ll wait to see how this actually plays out in the new JSA series and the Stargirl miniseries. I have to admit, the big selling point for me was having Jerry Ordway drawing part of this issue. But I rolled my eyes so hard when Johns dragged the Watchmen universe into this. The endless strip-mining of that story by DC Comics is beyond embarassing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish someone would ask Johns why he’s so determined to integrate the continuities, because it’s such a weird decision. I thought he just about pulled off the Metaverse business in Doomsday Clock, but why bother?

      Liked by 1 person

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