Friday, 25 May 2012

Project 52.1: Earth Two #1 (Bret's Take)

Never let it be said that Alex-Spencer.co.uk is anything less than a site with its finger firmly on the geek pulse. We're more timely than Doctor Who,  more hip than a Ninja Turtle.

So you'll imagine our surprise that Earth Two - apparently the biggest Kahuna in the DC's Second Wave of New 52 comics - slipped through our fingers (we must have been too busy keeping them pressed firmly to the aforementioned pulse). Blame Bret's comic shop, blame DC, blame the strange timewarp that is the comics distribution system.

But not one of these evil forces would sway our brave reporter, as he stepped into an alternative universe to investigate...

Project 52.1
Worlds-finest-1


Earth Two #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott







               


And so it begins. Earth Two. Barely nine months into the New 52 and already we’re setting up the multidimensional mess which, at least I believed, DC were trying to avoid by relaunching all of their titles in the first place.

Having said that, though, the book itself was actually rather good. Laid on a little thick and without any kind of subtlety to start - like meeting someone for the first time then listening to them brag about how awesome they are. It eventually won me over, but not straight away. The tone of the comic seemed to imply that reading the words 'Parademons', 'Steppenwolf' and 'Apokolips War' were meant to strike a nerve with us as if they meant something, rather than leave me unimpressed. Even the front cover proclaims 'The Epic Begins!' - a little presumptuous for my tastes.

Luckily for them, a few pages in, the story was saved by the art work. The sheer level of detail made me stop and enjoy every frame. There’s a full 2 page spread early on featuring Superman, Wonder Woman and Bats all sticking it to these Parademon chaps, but in very individual ways. The personalities of the characters really come across in the little touches added to the art, which made up for the very generic dialogue and unimaginative writing.

I think my main problem with the book is the fact that the majority of it was just an introduction to the universe, leaving what seems to be the beginning of the main story arc for the last four pages. Because of that, there’s really not much I can say about what I assume will be the book's direction from now on, as all we got was a very simple origin story: Meet Normal Guy. Thing falls from sky. Normal Guy gets powers from Thing. But even that doesn’t really happen this issue.

The rest of the book is a setup for what kind of world this new story will be told in. Even while reading, I was just waiting to finish so I could start the real story. It still managed to do some brave things, though, that I didn’t expect.  Some landed - like the first thing Steppenwolf does when he appears - and some missed their target all together - like the attempt to humanise the soldiers by having them say they love each other before getting eaten. And don’t even get me started on what Batman says to Robin before the tower blows.

All in all it was a pretty good read, but has left me no urge to carry on reading. Everything I would have wanted to see has already been done.

FINAL GRADE: B

Project 52.1 wide

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Videogames, film, music, comics: feed them into the Alex-Spencer machine and out come neat little articles. Like the ones you're looking at here.