When it was on, this comic had a great density. I know that sounds odd, so I'll stress again that, when it's on, this felt like it was giving me the kind of bang for my buck that you used to get more often in comics. There was no "decompression" here, with a wealth of panels per page filled with fast paced, snappy dialogue (and lots of it!). Batista's really the one who shines here, putting down art that deftly dances in between the many, many word balloons. I was really impressed with the amount of detail he put in, particularly in the double-page spread that was truly jaw dropping. Once the script gets over an especially eye-rolling hump (more about that in the Bad) I was feeling the mix of comedy and pathos that's spun here. The gag about BG showing up a few days too earlier in the future, and the consequences of his foolish mistake, was such a characteristic moment for everybody's favorite superjock.
There's a 6 or 8 page long portion of this issue, starting right after the double splash, that almost made me want to put it down. The Giffen/ Dematteis superhero comedy magic wasn't working at all there. It was dense thicket of what felt like the same two corny jokes repeated at least four times a piece. Things picked up later, but I really was about to set this down and move on to something else because the "old school density" I enjoyed throughout the rest of the issue actually made it that much harder to slog through that section.
The Verdict - 2.5/5
As for JLI throwbacks go, I'd recommend checking out Generation Lost instead of this. It was better done. The very beginning and the last half of this sail well, but that 8 page portion in the middle I mentioned was such an eye-roller, it tasks the rest of this issue with trying to make up for its mistakes. I will say, without qualification, that Batista's work is a joy to look at, though. I'm looking forward to more old school fun next issue (with an even more personal look at BG's reaction to Maxwell Lord's return) but so far, I'm wishing Dan Jurgens had stayed on.