If you use LaTeX, since it's built on top of TeX, what you are basically doing is accepting Don Knuth's idea of good style. Some of it is good, some is not so good.
If you use HTML, you aren't really taking anyone's idea of good style; HTML rendering is supposed to be minimalist, the browser is not meant to try to fix pretty hyphenation or whatever.
HTML is not, originally, designed to do document design. It's not even really meant to do 'pretty' web design, which is why websites are typically a mess of CSS and set styles forcing the HTML to do something it's not basically meant to do - and the later HTML spec confuses this further by trying to make the ugly forcing style standardised. What HTML was originally for was a very basic markup, enough to cope with a few text sizes and colours (and pictures, badly) on a screen that could be anything from ASCII-text only (i.e. drop all the markup and pictures), 12'' mono, 21'' VGA, et cetera - the point being that the markup should be easy to parse for the browser to render as something intelligible.
LaTeX is not especially antiquated; there's not much 'modern' that you can't do in LaTeX. What you can't easily do, is anything Knuth doesn't like. So, you may want to flow text by an image, but because Knuth doesn't like that you can't do it without a lot of work.
But the simple fact for a journal is, if everything is in the same style it looks professional. So the journal will do everything in LaTeX, and your argument that your new style looks better will be ignored; they'll just bill you for retyping the document in LaTeX.