There is a lot to cover on Wednesdays. We should know, as collectively, we read an insane amount of comics. Even with a large review staff, it’s hard to get to everything. With that in mind, we’re back with Wrapping Wednesday, where we look at some of the books we missed in what was another great week of comics.
Let’s get this party started.
Earth 2 Annual #2
Written by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Robson Rocha
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
This was a tricky issue for fans of “Earth 2,” if only because it was so…good?
I’m not going to reveal the identity of Batman here because, well, I’m not in the spoiler game. However, it has been a much derided choice among fans of both Batman and of “Earth 2,” and, I must admit, I was part of that angry mob. However, seeing how Taylor worked it out, I have to say, I was pretty impressed. Sure, it disproves my theory, but that’s ok – he made the “new” Batman one that is flawed, relatable and (perhaps most interestingly) finite. Aspects of the origin tease other Earth 2 characters, and overall, this adds a nice subtext to the entire series, going back to #1.
In addition, the art by Rocha was far better than anticipated. I’m not a connoisseur of Rocha’s work; he’s never overly impressed me or caused a groan. But here, he manages to do some really expressive work that recalls the 1970s setting without feeling like a cliche – sure, he puts almost everyone in sideburns, but there are worse things than that.
The most important point, though? Earth 2 had heroes in the 90s, putting them almost 20 years ahead of the main Earth, in terms of hero appearances. That feels significant.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Buy
East of West #9
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by Nick Dragotta
Reviewed by David Harper
East of West is in an interesting place that a lot of books struggle with, and that’s figuring out how to follow up on a stellar first year of a run with story and storytelling that still excites and entertains readers. Something to make it stand out even as it is surrounded by brand new #1’s on the stands.
Hickman and Dragotta clearly are not afraid of that place, as this first issue of 2014 finds the team introducing a fascinating and thrilling new character, while turning a blind eye on the status quo.
And by that, I mean Death literally lost an eye, as part of his payment for getting the answers he needs. That moment in particular was a standout one by Dragotta, who turns something truly repulsive into a moment that has strange beauty to it. The way that Hickman and Dragotta tell this story gives it an almost poetic, storybook feel, like this is a story that has existed for all time and we’re now being introduced to its major moments, and it gives a situation that could be exploited in the wrong hands a real sense of gravitas.
Meanwhile, John Freeman, the Crown Prince of New Orleans and his father’s whole empire, has completely sucked me in with his pervasive, in-control presence, and everything about his moves in this issue – the faith he has that his father doesn’t, the way he handles a challenger to his position (aka one of his brothers), the trust he puts into a woman he clearly can’t – makes him feel both like a threatening player and someone we can root for in this game of thrones.
This, my friends, is how you kick off a second year.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – the world expands as it moves into chaos