In Review: Earth 2 Society #1

I'm interested, but if the present is again interrupted by a long flashback, I'm out.

The covers: Jorge Jimenez and John Rauch, the interior artist and colorist for this issue, have created the Main cover. Against a red sunrise over the new world, Superman stands front and center. Before him flies Power Girl, to his right Hawkwoman, and his left Wonder Woman. Batman stands looking to the left, while the Flash is speeding out of the bottom right. Good image, but too much empty space between Superman’s head and the title; it looks as though Jimenez thought that the title would be bigger. All the characters look awesome, with Hawkwoman and Batman looking best. The coloring is overdosing on pale red. Superman stands out against this with his costume’s color scheme, but everyone else bleeds into each other. The Variant cover is by Paulo Siquera, Cam Smith, & Hi-Fi. It features Green Lantern in the background setting off a spectacular light show. Before him are Hawkwoman, Power Girl, Batman, and the Flash. I’m liking all the characters except Batman, who looks too armored for me, and his sleeves too loose around his upper arms. The coloring is spectacular, but that’s because Hi-Fi does it. Those greens are the perfect backdrop for the bright reds on the Flash and the dark blues on Bats. Overall grades: Both B+ 

The story: On Earth-2, one year after Planetfall, in New Gotham, Batman is under heavy fire from an unseen foe. He’s using an energy shield on this arm to protect himself, but the blasts are too much and he tumbles from the lofty heights of a building. Below him traffic continues to pass, just in front of the spaceship that was cannibalized to create their city. He smashes on top of a car, alive, and a voice through his wrist communicator locates the sniper. He’s instantly off, but stops when he sees two men demanding a boy hand over his dog. “Gimmie a second…” says the Dark Knight to off-panel assistant. “Negative. Stay on target, Batman. We’re not the only ones chasing Terry Sloane!” This man is seeing tearing down a back street only to run into the fist of Johnny Sorrow. “Planetfall” by Daniel H. Wilson nicely gives the bare bones backstory of what’s happened before this first issue, and, trust me, there’s been a lot. I read the Earth 2 series that preceded this intermittently, though I did read all of Convergence. I didn’t feel lost, and I’m sure that all that’s summarized on 8 catches up new readers quickly. What I didn’t like was the Batman story bookending this opening issue. I felt cheated that the story has to go back a year to show how the people came to New Earth-2. I would rather the story stay in the past, or stay in the present and relate what’s happened in the founding of this world through dialogue, because what’s shown in the past doesn’t require that many pages. Overall grade: C+

The art: The look of this book is fantastic. Jorge Jimenez is killing it with Batman in New Gotham, and with the characters, foes and prey, that inhabit it. His Batman reminds me of Mike Mignola’s Gotham by Gaslight visuals, and that’s a fantastic Caped Crusader to emulate. The other heroes are equally impressive, with Green Lantern and the Huntress being outstanding. My favorite page is 17 with the introduction of the other heroes. Dick Grayson also looks good, but the story doesn’t allow Jimenez to do too much with him, other than crawl on the ground and grimace. The ships that land on Earth-2 are spectacular. If this book were to be set entirely in space, I would want Jimenez to be illustrating this. The double-page splash of Pages 2 and 3 is a perfect introduction to New Gotham, which features the hero falling against a futuristic background. Jimenez is a strong reason to pick up this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Another reason to pick up this book are the colors by John Rauch. The opening page uses bright yellows for the shield that Batman is using, and for the blasts coming at him. He’s colored in violet rather than black, making details in his person visible, yet instantly different to fans of the traditional Mr. Wayne. There’s a rainstorm occurring, and Rauch has the rain fall brighten the closer it comes to the ground. He didn’t have to do this slight change in colors, but doing so makes the rain more believable. Pages 2 and 3 uses a peach color for the lights down on the street, while the distant ship that delivered the citizens is in gray to show it’s a dead artifact. There’s some really slick coloring on Page 4 with greens, 7 has some stunning shadow work done on a character, and the yellows on 21 spectacular. Rauch is good pairing with Jimenez. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene sitting, narration, signage, opening title and credits (Not the same font, which is a nice touch), dialogue, and sounds are created by Travis Lanham. I’m a big hater of dialogue that exceeds the balloon it’s within, but Lanham has shown on the last page how this works to the story’s advantage. Batman lets loose an “Agh!” as his back smashes into a building. The dialogue balloon is tight around the first two letters, but enlarges and spikes out for the last letter. This makes sense since his emphasis would be on that letter during his impact. If other letterers worked it as Lanham has done here, I’d be okay with this effect. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I’m interested, but if the present is again interrupted by a long flashback, I’m out. Overall grade: B+

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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