Welcome to The Round-Up! This week, we have the Zero Issue for Earth 2, the kick-off to a new Thief of Thieves Arc and the start of the Guardians of the Globe series!
With an issue one that set the world up and an opening arc that is introducing a new set of heroes, you’d be forgiven for wondering what a zero issue of Earth 2 would offer.
Well how about the origin story of Earth 2’s greatest villain?
James Robinson expands heavily on his take of Terry Sloan, giving him the superhero identity of Mr. 8. As a narrative it isn’t anything new, a hero who comes to a realization that he must adapt his methods to save humanity and thus become a villain. But Robinson delves into the mind of Sloan making him a Machiavellian character akin to lex Luthor, and just as charming. In fact the similarities to Superman’s bald nemesis are numerous (he has a battle suit), but much like Luthor he is an engaging antagonist.
Tomás Giorello’s art has a cinematic style, with big bombastic action happening in wide panels. His Superman and Wonder Woman are far more aggressive looking in a fight than their counterparts, which is a nice touch. However the finer details of the characters aren’t as convincing and Mr. 8’s design is a little pedestrian and familiar (Armoured-Spidey).
The issue mainly succeeds due to its cinematic presentation and the musings of Terry Sloan. It may not be the most original concept and Sloan may in fact be Earth 2’s version of Luthor, but Robinson and Giorello at least use Zero month to flesh out an important aspect of the series.
GUARDING THE GLOBE #1 / Written by PHIL HESTER / Art by TODD NAUK / Published by IMAGE COMICS
Review by DANIEL COLE
Guarding The Globe is a hard comic to recommend. On the one hand it is a well-put together narrative, which delivers all the aspects of a superhero book. However it is not really the easiest jumping on point.
Phil Hester delivers a script that touches upon a lot of interesting character developments. Using Brit as the issue’s focus gives the book a solid backbone. Also the whole cast have a depth to them as Hester gives everyone a quirk and hints at their story arcs.
The narrative does feel dense though as it dumps a lot of information on the reader. However the information isn’t explicitly new reader friendly. There are a few moments of exposition that help new readers get to grips with a few of the characters and the antagonistic force. But the book feels exclusively for fans of these characters. It is nice to see how utterly connected this universe is and there is a sense of history about the book, but it is at the expense of the new reader.
As for the art Todd Nauck has a great style that suits the book. It isn’t inherently cartoony, but it’s just enough to make the universe look a little different from DC and Marvel, whilst keeping it within the style of the Invincible universe. His characters are expressive, his action frenetic and the color palette bright. It all adds up to make a solid looking title.
Hester might not be tailoring to new readers, but for fans of the characters this will easily impress. The art gives the book a vibrancy that makes the title stand out. But if you’re new to this it might be prudent to do some background reading, which makes this number one fundamentally flawed and therefore hard to recommend.
THIEF OF THIEVES #8 / Written by JAMES ASMUS and ROBERT KIRKMAN / Art by SHAWN MARTINBROUGH / Colors by FELIX SERRANO / Letters by RUS WOOTON
Review by KAHLIL SCHWEITZER
Thief of Thieves kicks off a new arc with its new scribe, James Asmus, who treads some familiar territory but manages to make it all his own.
So far Thief of Thieves has been a series that doesn’t waste any time, keeping the momentum on full throttle by introducing characters, conflicts and revelations with each new chapter. This issue had a lot of fallout to deal with, but instead of just dumping all of the consequence on us, Asmus cleverly only pulls the curtain back a little on multiple plot threads, some more menacing than others. This way we see an approach that feels a bit calmer, and eases us into understanding what we can expect. Asmus is able to maintain Spencer’s voice that he defined of each character, but build upon this to further explore the interactions within the relationships we’ve come to know. By going this much deeper it seems that this arc will be one that really delves into the emotional consequences of Redmond’s choices. That’s not to say that we don’t get any action in this book, because we get to witness a heist that’s both satisfying and genuinely funny.
We’re all thinking it, but let me just say this out loud; Shawn Martinbrough is perfect for this book. His simplistic features are able to express a great deal through the way he frames them against an often blurred, obscure background. This lets the reader pick up on facial subtleties that can often convey the most emotion. There are a lot of pages with a single toned backdrop that help everything fit a mood, which is a simple enough idea but is not always executed properly. Here though, Serrano uses the drastic shifts to help move the story forward, even when it’s going back in time.
While it was a quieter issue than the series is used to, Asmus and Martinbrough deliver an engaging story that touches on the fallout from before, sets up the future, and follows through in the present.