As we say goodbye to Carlos Pacheco, we’re reminded of his immense, & timeless talent that will live on forever.
It’s 2003, and there was a lot of excitement swirling around the comics world, with a rivalry brewing between the Big Two, as Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada and DC’s Dan Didio, giving the medium a hype it hadn’t seen in years. DC Comics was flying high with two of the best team books on the stands, the JLA, by Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke, and the JSA, by David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, and Leonard Kirk, being big must reads, so it was only natural they’d have a big team up tale. Events were put on a back burner at this time, so what would be a 37 issue crossover, Goyer, Johns, and superstar artist Carlos Pacheco (rest in power), fit into a nice graphic novel that crafted a tale that’d get these two teams together for the first time in a long time.
Johns’ was a high profile up-and-comer, having a lauded run on the Flash, wrote the crossover, Day of Judgement, where former Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, would bond his soul with the Spectre, to atone for his sins he committed as Parallax. Johns would return to Hal, and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, which would take the comics world by storm. Pacheco had started over at Marvel, first on the X-books in the mid to late 90’s, but he’d hit it big teamed up with Kurt Busiek on a 12 issue maxi series, Avengers Forever, where he became the IT artist at that moment. Pacheco tried his hand at writing around this time, starting with a four issue mini about the Inhumans, by artist Ladron, before hitting it big with the writing and drawing of the Fantastic Four, which started out bumpy, but leveled out as time went on.
This story is special for Pacheco, because it would be his debut project with DC. The story revolves around the two teams joining together to enjoy Thanksgiving together, having what looks like they’re all having fun, except Batman, because Batman doesn’t know how, and Superman and Sentinel, who were just hanging outside the JLA’s Watchtower talking, when Superman would notice some disturbance in Tanzania, and would rush to help. The rest of the two teams would follow suit, where they’d save President Luthor (Jeph Loeb was trying to warn y’all about Trump decades ago), and Vixen from Fourth World schleprock, Doctor Medlam, and his Animates.
Weird things start happening after this. Several members of the two groups attack their teammates, Martian Manhunter is attacked by a massive telepathic assault that makes him lose control of his physical form. While this was going on, several other members were drawn into the Limbo that some of the founding members of the JSA had been stuck in due to the events of Zero Hour. There, they’d meet Johnny Sorrow, while the others would deal with Despero, who was posing as Luthor. Turns out, Sorrow and Despero had set these events in motion, which would lead to the Seven Deadly Sins possessing the seven heroes who had turned against their teammates. The two teams figured everything out, and ended up saving the day.
The story was a pretty standard, by the numbers, with Johns’ using his penchant for modernizing classic Golden and Silver Age tropes and characters, and bringing them into a modern lens. It’s a knack that would help him into becoming one of the chief architects of the DC Universe for the rest of the decade. While Johns and Goyer built up a fun and nostalgic tale, it was the Pacheco art that was the real star here. Pacheco’s style and design here made it both gorgeous and timeless at the same time. His figure work is irrepressible, and larger than life quality that is so full of detail, he could easily be described as one of George Perez’s successors. You will be missed, Carlos.
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