When I first heard about the DC Retroactive series of nostalgic one-shots, my reaction was mixed. One the one hand, the cynic in dismissed as a crass attempt by DC to exploit its core readership of aging fanboys by cashing in on their nostalgia for a simpler and better time that existed only in their collective imagination, or maybe on the pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths Earth One. That makes it somewhat ironic that DC is following this event with the launch of its "New 52" relaunch/reboot, a move that, if not specifically designed to alienate those very same aging fanboys, certainly seems to be having that effect nonetheless.
On the other hand, being one of those aging fanboys, I could no more resist a new Superman story by my favorite Superman writer, Martin Pasko, than Bill Clinton could resist a chubby intern bearing cold pizza.
If the purpose of the DC Retroactive books is, in fact, to appeal to fanboy nostalgia, then DC Retroactive: Superman--the 70's succeeds admirably. While I was reading this book, it felt as if the three decades since Pasko's original run on Superman never happened and I was a kid just discovering comics once again. Pasko successfully picks up the themes and plot threads of those Bronze Age stories to weave a new tale that can stand beside his finest work of that era.
I have a couple of minor quibbles. The first is the coloring. It's a little too "21st Century" if you get my meaning. Obviously done on computer, its full of the subtle shadings and gradations of color characteristic of modern comics. Recreating the flatter, brighter colors of Bronze Age comics, as seen in the reprint at the back of the book, would have the completed the illusion of a "lost" issue form my childhood. So would art by Curt Swan, but that was, unfortunately, impossible.
Then there's the reprint itself. I was under the impression that the DC Retroactive books would feature vintage tales written by the same scribe responsible for the new material. However, in this case we are treated to "Superman Takes A Wife" from Action Comics #484 written by Cary Bates. I'm not saying it's a bad story, quite the opposite, in fact, but it's just that I was expecting more Pasko. Since Mr. Mxyzpltk (I just amazed myself by spelling that correctly without looking at the comic) is the "villain" of the issue, I sort of expected to see a reprint of Superman #335 or #349, Pasko's previous Mxyzptlk stories. Of course, this is kind of a silly complaint coming from me, as there are very few, if any, Pasko Superman stories that I don't already own copies of. The lead story is sufficient to give readers unfamiliar with those tales a taste of what they were like.
All in all, I'd say that DC Retroactive: Superman--the 70's is definitely worth picking up.