EARTH 2 #19/ Script By TOM TAYLOR/ Art By NICOLA SCOTT & ROBSON ROCHA/ Inks by TREVOR SCOTT & OCLAIR ALBERT/ Published by DC COMICS
From its first issue, Earth 2 has been a surprising series. Readers were treated to the return of several classic character concepts from the Golden Age of Comics but with twists to their origins that fashioned them into something oddly original. On this Earth, Jay Garrick is still The Flash but his powers were bequeathed to him by the dying god Mercury. Similarly, this world’s version of Alan Scott is still The Green Lantern but his powers come from a connection to the life force of the Earth itself rather than a magical Chinese lantern.
Tom Taylor stepped into the writer’s chair after the departure of the series’ original author James Robinson. Taylor won critical and popular acclaim over the past year for his work on Injustice: Gods Among Us – another series that presented a vision of the DC Comics universe that was both unique yet familiar. It’s no wonder then that Taylor has proven to be an able successor to Robinson on this title.
Earth 2 #19 continues the battle that has taken up Taylor’s run so far. For the second time in five years, the forces of Apokolips have invaded Earth. This time they were led by a villain known as Brutale, who it was recently revealed was actually Superman – captured and brainwashed by the forces of Darkseid some five years earlier, transformed into their greatest soldier!
With most of the series’ established heroes either on the run or captured, Taylor has introduced his own characters into the fold. Among these heroes are Queen Marella of Atlantis (a.k.a. Aquawoman), a one-man social-network/organic hacker known as Accountable and a robotic female Red Tornado that has connections to a rather prominent DC Comics family that isn’t The Hunkels. Taylor has also added definition to a mysterious new Batman and begun planting clues as to his true identity. Another character of interest is this universe’s Red Arrow, who has yet to be identified by name but seems to have the snarky personality of both Roy Harper and Oliver Queen.
This is all fascinating stuff for long-time readers, who will appreciate the novel twists. At the same time, new readers who don’t know the history involved will appreciate the characters on their own merits The only real flaw to this issue in terms of its writing is that it is a continuation of a longer story. As such, new readers would be advised to pick up Issues 17 and 18 along with this month’s issue.
Usually the artwork of Earth 2 is as excellent as the writing. Sadly, that truism is only half true this month. The series’ usual art team – penciler Nicola Scott and inker Trevor Scott – are on-hand for half the issue, doing their usual stellar job. Alas, the other half of the issue is penciled by the regrettable Robson Rocha, with inks by Justice League co-inker Oclair Albert.
There is no comparison between the quality of Scott and Rocha’s artwork. Nicola Scott’s figures are naturally posed and of normal proportion. Rocha’s figures are unnaturally posed and inconsistent from panel to panel. Nicola Scott has a fine eye for detail and anatomy. Rocha’s Superman has no neck but does possess the lengthy arms of a gorilla! Thankfully, the inking is of consistent quality throughout so let all praise be paid to Trevor Scott and Oclair Albert.
Thankfully, Robson’s sub-par pencils are not enough to damage what is one of DC Comics’ best books. As one may tolerate a world full of demons for the sake of an angel, so too can one tolerate the worst excesses of Robson’s artwork to experience the splendor of Tom Taylor’s script and Nicola Scott’s artwork. With any luck the usual team will be back in full force and fine form next month.