the_mighty_monarch's Starman/Congorilla #1 - Now & Then review

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The New Blue and Gold?

The Good: Normally I don't like Brett Booth's art all that much. It's not bad art by any means, it's just not my taste. I don't know what it was, but as the issue progressed either the writing was immersive enough that I didn't notice the art, or the art got better. Either way, this issue made me a lot less nervous about BB taking over art duties in JLA. 
A lot of this issue is an excellent recap of some of the more obscure major event of the DCU as of recent years. 
There's a lot of obscure or less appreciated characters drawn into the story, and I found myself being interested in pretty much each one of them. 
There was some great comedy sprinkled through the whole thing. 
Congorilla and Starman make a good duo. I'm afraid if they stay in the JLA their significance may be diluted. They work much better when they're together, the dialogue between the 2 was very good, and I found myself much more interested in them than I have been before. If they got their own title I would probably get it.
The Bad: Whenever a Gorilla was talking, whatever font they used made it hard to tell the difference between periods and commas. This made some of the dialogue pretty choppy, and required the rereading of several sentences to piece together the flow of the dialogue, which screwed with the pacing when I had to keep stopping myself. 
Part of me feels like it's trying too hard to be Generation Lost. Congorilla and Starman are tromping across the globe following bits and pieces of various information and touching upon more obscure characters. In one regard, it did succeed in making me interested in many of them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that this was a heavily watered down version of the better of 2 Justice League titles currently running, especially when you consider James Robinson IS the writer of JLA. (But hey, at least his run has been the best on this current JLA series so far.) 
The narrative kept slipping back and forth between 'Now' and 'Then.' For the most part it was pretty cleverly done, as pieces of the past revealed pieces of the present simultaneously, but at some point down the line it got overwhelming and I couldn't decide which part was supposed to be 'the main story' so I didn't know which one I thought should run on longer. 
They spent this whole issue gathering this team together for one mission. The thing is, I was really getting enthusiastic about the team they had, and there was even a huge theme running in it. Congorilla, Malavar, Rex the Wonder Dog, Animal Man, and finally Tasmanian Devil? This is heavily 'Animal' based team. And I loved it. There was a huge amount of potential set up here, but as far as I can tell there wont be any payoff. I feel a bit cheated that Robinson set up such a fun team that personally I think he's written as a more interesting team than the current JLA, and yet it seems clear this team won't be a team, and I'm pretty let down by that fact. 
In Conclusion: 3.5/5 
When all is said and done, I really liked this. Brett Booth is making me come around to his art, and despite it being a bit of a struggle to get though at first, being really wordy at the start, that grimace barely persisted more than a page or 2 as I was soon drawn into the short but fun odyssey these 2 were taking around the DCU. I say give this a chance, because if this book gets enough support I think DC might start treating these characters better. I think their potential is wasted in the JLA. People care more about the characters they already know in a title like that, and JLA is a book for big battles, not fleshing out new characters. I would honestly love to see them in a duo title, or with the team they gathered together in this issue, because there's clearly a lot of potential for some good character development and an overall well functioning team. The characters all work together extremely well, on both a combat level, and on an analytical level. What drags down the score the most is the fact that this issue feels like a gigantic tease. And I'd be fine with that, if it weren't for the fact that there's 0 evidence that the thing being teased will ever actually exist.

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