Wednesday Reviews – Week of May 29
Earth 2 Annual #2
- Written by James Robinson
- Art by Cafu & Julius Gopez
- Published by DC
When it was first announced over 2 years ago, one of the first things fans got up in arms about concerning DC’s New 52 was “Where is the Justice Society?” The Justice Society, both in comics and in real life, are the precursors to the more prolific Justice League, a team of heroes that originally donned their costumes at the height of WWII.
But with the retcon of the New 52, they all vanished. Superheroes are new, none of them fought during WWII. In fact, these people didn’t even exist…on Earth 1. Finally returning the Justice Society to their own world, Earth 2 has been a fantastic read so far.
Writer James Robinson has had the same task alone, with one book, that dozens of writers had 51 other titles to do: build a new DC Universe. There are certain books that are murderous to read monthly because they are such slow builds. Once the story is finished and collected though, it can really be appreciated. Robinson’s writing does suffer from that slightly, but he answers questions and introduces new ideas so quickly that it feels like your money’s worth every issue.
And the art is wonderful too. While this issue stands out with solid art from Cafu and Julius Gopez this issue, not enough nice things can be said about the regular art team. One of the other great losses of the New 52 was losing Nicola Scott as artist on Teen Titans. Her run with writer JT Krul was just getting its legs when the book was cancelled. It took a year, but Scott came back to a monthly title with Earth 2 and has been great. Even the fill-in artist, Yildiray Cinar, is excellent, along with inker Trevor Scott. This is a top notch book and quite frankly, one of the only DC books I continue to read regularly.
This is a completely different DC Universe. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman died saving the Earth. The Green Lantern is power by the same force as Swamp Thing, The Flash got his powers from the god Mercury, and the world is covered in scorch marks that resemble those of the terrible planet Apokolips. And in this issue, someone new has taken up the mantle of Batman. Strong money says Dick Grayson (who has a long Earth 2 history in the pre-New 52 books), but we have yet to find out. This is a great book that builds with every issue and is free to do what it wants.
But it must be said, I say all this with a grain of salt. Robinson is leaving the issue #16. His replacement will have some big shoes to fill.
3.5 Colors out of 4
- Written by Brian Wood
- Art by Oliver Copiel
- Published by Marvel
This is one of the most anticipated books of the summer. Not because of the talent attached to the book (though Brian Wood and Oliver Copiel are great selling points themselves), but because this X-“Men” team is the first to comprise entirely of women. Hard to believe, especially since some of comic’s stronger female role models come from the X-books. And yet, aside from female leaders and headmasters at the Xavier School, there hasn’t been an all-ladies X-Men (X-Women? XX-Men?). So with such high expectations given the historical element of this new team, how do they fair?
After one issue, the jury is still out.
That’s not to say that this is a bad book. It’s not. Wood, one issue in, already has strong voices for his leads. The team consists of most of the X-Men’s A-list female characters. Storm, currently sporting a mohawk and fresh from her divorce from Black Panther (long story), Jubilee is the perspective character, getting the reader up to speed on what is going on. Rachel Summers and Psylocke (the two telepaths) leave little impression in the first issue, but Rogue and Kitty Pryde (who has been portrayed so well in the past five years) instantly shine.
But for this book to really rise, it is going to need to ditch the novelty of the all-female team fast. It’s the classic sexist argument in comics (and really, entertainment in general): When it’s all guys, gender isn’t an issue. When it’s all women, gender is THE issue. The first villain this team is facing is literally the first angry female on Earth, bent on getting revenge on her brother. This is especially troubling given the fallout Marvel faced when it made a huge deal about an all-female X-Men, but didn’t have an females involved in producing it. The focus on gender is the true villain the X-Men face.
Other than that, Wood and Copiel do a fine job, especially Copiel who is turning himself into a high-end Mark Bagley. By that I mean, a consistent artist who makes deadlines and doesn’t need a fill-in artist, but is being utilized for the event books like Bryan Hitch (who’s art is beautiful, but follow-through is atrocious).
A strong, interesting start, but one that is going to need to be flying higher pretty soon.
3 Colors out of 4