Writer Daniel H. Wilson returns to the characters whose adventures he co-wrote in the “Earth 2: World’s End” weekly series. This time he’s joined by artist Jorge Jimenez (who did some of the art for the weekly) and colorist John Rauch and is allowed more freedom to tease a compelling mystery behind these iconic heroes and their new world. “Earth 2: Society” #1 is not only a great introduction to where this new Earth 2 is heading, but is aided by brilliant art by Jimenez and masterful coloring by Rauch.
Written by Daniel H. Wilson
Illustrated by Jorge Jimenez
The survivors of Earth-2’s war with Apokolips find themselves on a new world, but can Green Lantern, Power Girl, a new Batman and the other heroes of Earth-2 create a new world that’s better than the last, or will their interference and good intentions doom this world, just like the old one?
After the events of “Earth 2: World’s End” and “Convergence”, the Earth 2 heroes are left on a new world that is mysterious and volatile. Danger lurks behind every dark corner. Wilson doesn’t take the traditional route of many superhero titles by introducing every character on the team and explaining their situation. He strips the issue of any expository dialogue or narration and instead allows their personalities to blossom through simple narration and very little dialogue. We don’t yet understand the various factions of heroes that are butting heads (as shown in last month’s intriguing and beautiful Sneak Peek of “Earth 2: Society” released by DC that is still available on Comixology and DC’s website). Every character isn’t introduced yet and instead we hear the new Batman of Earth 2’s voice through his narration and only receive an idea of what exactly these heroes are dealing with during their first year on this world.
In Wilson’s debut issue, we see heroes being heroes while also scrambling to understand what is happening in their present and, through flashbacks, what has brought them to their current situation. Although the tone of the issue appears dark, there is an underlying sense of light peeking beneath the fabric of the pages. Wilson is able to meld superheroics with a heaping amount of noir. The art surely reflects that noir feeling but it is evident in Wilson’s script as well. It is obvious in the way we are told the story through Batman’s eyes. The narration is more impactful because of Batman’s minimalist style of telling us his experiences instead of explaining them. Short, staccato sentences mixed with humorous asides and playful observations fit the character of Batman and the detective quality that usually surrounds the character. When it comes to building a mystery, Wilson builds it naturally like a pro. He makes us want to pick up the next issue.
Because Wilson’s story is not claustrophobic or packed with every character in the first issue, he allows room for Jimenez’s art to breathe and transform into something spectacular. Jimenez’s layouts are broad, expansive, and convey a world that is ripe with possibility. This is clearly a world that is new and seems to never have been inhabited by another living thing. Jimenez brings to life a world that is simultaneously frightening and exciting. Beings both super and human must react, discover, slog through painful experiences, and confront that which is alien to them. Jimenez is given a wide canvas on which to express a simple, emotional tale that is just beginning to unfold through scenes both past and the present. Jimenez’s art complements the story and is equally as mysterious as Wilson’s words.
While Jimenez’s art is expansive, it also is highly detailed. From Terry Sloane’s shirt to a character’s face as he stares into a bright explosion coming from above, Jimenez adds detail to his art that can easily be missed if not carefully observed. His facial expressions are unique and exude emotion. Eyes, whether detailed or seen from afar (like a child’s in one panel), express a haunting quality that is suggestive of a plethora of feelings. Jimenez’s art has a flowing, watery aspect to it that infuses every scene with life and even more emotion. There are no sharp edges to his line work. The malleability of life and its possibilities are made real through his singular artistic style.Continued below
Rauch’s color palette brings light to a story that is pregnant with mystery and art that is complexly bold. That complexity is also evident in Rauch’s colors. The vast expanse of space is colored with a sense of mystery and the unknown, adding fun and as much motion as Jimenez to every page. The purple and gold of Batman’s uniform can only be described as breathtaking. It’s only one example of how Rauch adds another dimension to Jimenez’s art. Rauch brings beauty and excitement to every scene, whether a spacecraft is entering the atmosphere in a ball of fire or the lights of New Gotham are dotting the purple, blue, and green nightscape. Even a flashback scene of a world destroyed is imbued with a sense of beauty. Rauch’s colors are bold, dynamic, yet never flashy in a way that distracts from the art. He only enhances and brings even more life to the proceedings.
One particular scene stands out as an example of how Jimenez and Rauch are collaborators par excellence. In a flashback, one of the main characters is lying on his back in pain. Light passes through trees and plants above him, leaving detailed shadows that rest upon his face. Whether this is the work of Jimenez or Rauch, it is evidence of minute detail among the epic nature of both men’s artistic prowess. They make each other’s contributions that much more powerful.
Wilson, like the characters in “Earth 2: Society” #1, are all beginning to world build in this debut issue. They need to build a foundation for a new society on a planet that is supposedly barren and ready to bloom. Jimenez and Rauch join Wilson in conveying both the frightening and the joyous possibilities that come with exploring a strange land. Like the many ships with their unique groups of people that have arrived on this new planet, the possibilities for this creative team are endlessly infinite. They have created a first issue that is promising in story and spectacular in its artistic execution. This Earth is definitely worth exploring.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – There is no need to have read Wilson’s previous work with these characters. “Earth 2: Society” #1 is a great place to delve into the beginning of a compelling mystery. Jorge Jimenez is an artist deserving of superstar status and hopefully this book catapults him to that superstar stratosphere.