DC Universe: Legacies Review

DC Universe: Legacies is the tale of a common man who grew up living in the DC Universe. As a child, Paul Lincoln saw the advent of the original Justice Society of America and grew up to watch the universe unfold from there. Now an old man, he recounts those stories of superhero heroics and how they connect with his own life. It’s a novel approach to retelling the rich history of a comic book juggernaut, though it also proves to be one with inherent flaws.

Each issue starts with a newspaper as a starting point. Paul has been collecting newspapers with superhero headlines on them for as long as the superheroes have existed. As the story progresses, he moves in chronological order until we reach the present day. Considering the fact that this set is only 10 issues long and the DC universe is spread across thousands of characters and countless pages, Paul’s stories only graze some of the most notable events in the DC timeline. You’ll get to see his perspective on the original formation of the Justice Society of America, to the first sightings of Superman, all the way to the OMAC Project.

Having an existing knowledge of the events in this book go a long way towards enjoying it. The way in which Paul recounts these events is very natural, though it also rushes through events that may have spread out over months or years worth of issues in our time. Without knowing the details within each event, it’s also easy to get lost in why certain events happened.

For me, the highlights were the issues in which he describes his perspectives on the death and return of Superman, as well as Batman’s Knightfall saga, where Bane breaks his back. I haven’t actually read either of those arcs yet, but I know enough about what happens to connect with them. Even then, the issues are forced to sum up dozens of issues worth of continuity into a handful of pages. If you’re familiar with the source material, then it’s fine, though for everyone else it can feel rushed.

To compensate for the brevity in each superhero arc is Paul’s own life, which plays out in full as the story progresses. At first, he’s just a punk kid on the wrong side of the tracks, but he quickly grows into someone worth caring about as he falls in love and starts a family of his own. His presence does add some weight to it all, though I didn’t like the way in which his thread resolves. I won’t spoil it, but the way in which it ends cheapens the journey.

DC: Legacies is essentially the story of an old man recounting tales from back in his day, though it’s not a crotchety of a tale as it sounds. It’s a unique take on the DC Universe that will likely go over better with hardcore fans rather than newcomers. It’s lasting impression may not be book itself, but it may very well inspire me to track down the major events captured in this book to further my own knowledge of DC history.

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One thought on “DC Universe: Legacies Review

  1. dumbnick May 15, 2014 / 3:45 PM

    Thanks for the headsup about this one. Sounds like it’s right up my alley – one of DC’s strengths has long been the rich depth of history it has to draw on (or had to draw on, I guess, since the New 52). And I love the ordinary guy in an extraordinary world angle…but it’s not really *that* novel.

    Have you ever read Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ Marvels? If not, I’d recommend you read it right away – it takes a look at the Marvel U over decades from an ordinary perspective, it’s brilliantly written, and the painted art is incredible. And if you like the slice of larger life stuff, you might want to check out Busiek’s Astro City stuff as well. It’s good stuff.

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