Once one gets past Len Wein’s expository narration—and his way too self-aware Batman thought balloons—Retroactive is a good bit of fun.
The story’s got two possibilities for predictable revelations and Wein plays with it. He fulfills one of them but then completely ignores the second. Instead, he does something utterly goofy in the context of a one shot but perfect if it were a “missing” adventure.
However, having Tom Mandrake do the art for a seventies Batman book is a little odd. Mandrake’s artwork is utterly fantastic. His Batman is big and scary and his Bruce Wayne is urbane. He’s got some amazing panels of people and I wish he’d do a talking heads series; it’d be beautiful.
But it’s not seventies Batman style. He’s way too good for the absurdities Wein sometimes lobs at him (and the reader).
It’s a surprisingly okay issue… with fantastic art.
Terror Times Three!; writer, Len Wein; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Wes Hartman; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Chynna Clugston Flores and Jim Chadwick; publisher, DC Comics.
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