In Review: Earth 2 Society #14

The story is outstanding, but the visuals are not at the same level.

The cover: The visuals on this cover by Jorge Jimenez and Alejandro Sanchez are good, but the content is misleading. The heroes do not fight each other in this issue, but they might in the next. Fury and Steel look as if they’re about to pound Superman, while the Flash appears to be recovering from a punch by the hero. In the background, Batman and the Huntress are tussling before a circular light. It’s a great action shot, but it doesn’t occur. The villain of this issue is the Ultra-Humanite, and if a reader is familiar with that character he or she is aware of what that antagonist’s capabilities are. Nice, but misleading. Overall grade: A-

The story: This is a terrific story from Dan Abnett. Yes, there’s the expected fight scenes that hero books have to have, but it’s the conversations before the fighting that are really impressive. The heroes are deciding what to do with the Pandora Casket. The device has the ability to reshape reality, if used correctly. It’s revealed that Fury has used it to have the Amazons return to life, instantly repopulating her people and saving her society. The heroes would now like to use it to bring back everyone that was lost in the forming of this new Earth. Fury is against doing so, “It was a desperate risk using the casket to remake the Amazon people and save the lives aboard the ark ship. To attempt the recreation of a whole world…The possibilities of disastrous failure are too great.” Batman wants to keep it as an option, but Fury continues, “Anything can be discussed. Who makes the decision? The wonders? The world army leaders? Who has the final say?” This is a terrific conversation with the ultimate temptation: instantly change the world to how it should (used) to be or face instant destruction. The group breaks off, with Alan and Kara sharing their thoughts, while Dick and Donna discuss theirs. These are frank discussions often absent from super hero exploits. This is in the reader’s face decision making and whatever is chosen will have lasting effects on all these characters. Naturally, something happens to table the conversation…or is that speed it up? The minions of the Ultra-Humanite arrive to take the Pandora Casket for their master. Heroes fall, with one receiving some shocking, possible fatal, wounds (Page 16) and there’s a terrific cliffhanger. This was a really strong read. Overall grade: A

The art: Federicio Dallochio creates Pages 1 – 9 and Angel Hernandez is responsible for 10 – 20. The visuals are fine, but there’s nothing spectacular about them. For example, the second panel on the first page is looking within the window where all the heroes are gathered, but they’re so far from reader to make them just blob of colors. Better is the close up Fury in following panel, but the next panel that features Batman is pretty messy; plus, Fury’s shoulder armor fares worse with a sloppy shine effect. Pages 2 and 3 contain a partial double-paged splash that shows where each character stands in relationship to the other, which is important considering that they could be coming to blows. Dallochio does this well. But why are the characters in silhouette in the third panel? It comes off as a visual cheat. The design of the Ultra-Humanite’s minions reminded me immensely of Sensor Girl’s design from the 1980’s run of Legion of the Super-Heroes. Dallochio’s final page is extremely well done. He has to leave a lot of space for the dialogue that the two characters have, but he’s able to put some good strength into the characters from their stances and point of view; I like the looking down angle of the second panel and the silhouettes in the final panel match the dramatic tone. Hernandez opens his pages with an explosive partial double-paged splash that has the characters being tossed at extremely believable levels. However, the reveal of the villains in the second panel are too far from the reader; granted they’ve been seen earlier, but this should be the “Call to action” moment for the heroes, and not seeing the villains diminishes it. Pages 15 and 16 have some solid action scenes, with the damage done to the protagonist on the latter jaw dropping. The hero that arrives on 17 doesn’t have her abilities shown in the best way — it’s obvious what she’s doing, but it’s just not drawn well. The book’s visuals are okay. Overall grade: C

The colors: The colors on this book do much to make the illustrations stronger. Look at the nice green filter put on the window in the book’s second panel to show the reader that there’s something between him or her and the heroes. Fury’s armor has a terrific golden glow throughout the book, making her look powerful. Alan Scott’s quarters have the most normal coloring of the entire issue, and that represents his current state among the other heroes. When the U-H’s minions attack on Page 12 the colors are wonderful, teasing the abilities of each of the antagonists. David Calderon of Ikari Studio really handles lighting effects well, with top of 18 being really cool when a gun is used, and the cool blues of the city in the final panel are lovely. Calderon is making this Earth 2 look good. Overall grade: A

The letters: Travis Lanham creates scene settings, dialogue, story title, book’s credits, sounds, screams, yells, a groan of pain, and the tease for next issue. The sounds put a good amount of flavor into the action sequences — It’s hard not to enjoy a good WHAKOOOM — and the reactions from characters getting hit are also great — “GNUUUGGHHH!” Excellent work throughout. Overall grade: A

The final line: When the conversations are as good as the action, you know you’re reading a well written book. The story is outstanding, with a good mix of action and drama, but the visuals are just not at the same level. If one is a fan of good writing or the adentures on this new Earth 2, I’d pick this up. Overall grade: B

To find out more about this book and others featuring characters from Earth-2 go to http://www.dccomics.com/

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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