Review: EARTH 2 #11

EARTH 2 #11
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott
Release Date: April 3, 2013

EARTH2_Cv11-full_02The origin of Dr. Fate continues, as Jay Garrick and Khalid Ben Hussain wind their way through the labyrinth that is inside the Tower of Fate! Facing off against the great beast that protects the Helm of Nabu, each man comes upon his destiny and are set up for a final confrontation with the evil mage Wotan. Meanwhile, Steppenwolf has plans for two heroes previously missing in The New 52, and it’s up to Fury to retrieve them!

Robinson delivers yet another exceptional issue this month, taking great care to lead Khalid to accepting the role of Dr. Fate in a manner, if not rational, at least convincingly thoughtful. His take on Nabu’s essence that remains in the helmet, and its long term possible effects for its bearer, really creates a tension that never seemed fully analyzed in past incarnations. Khalid knows exactly what he’s in for, which reinforces his heroism in a much more significant way than if he was subtly duped over the course of time to relinquish self-control. Jay too continues to develop into precisely the brave, über stoic figure he has consistently been since is inception over 70 years ago. If there was ever any question that Robinson knows these characters and this world inside out, and deeply connects to the root of these heroes throughout their entire publishing lifespan, those thoughts can be put to rest. Jay Garrick, young or old, is the inspiration for a generation of heroes, and it’s delightful to see him (and his ever-curious mother) evolve right in front of our eyes.

The pencils throughout this issue by regular series artist Nicola Scott do great service to Robinson’s vision of a mystical realm, ever shifting in context and direction, with nooks and crannies for the characters and readers alike to explore. Her depiction of the fully realized Dr. Fate is breathtaking, and as always, The Flash remains the quintessential super-hero under her steady hand. I’ve been so pleased to see her develop the expression of Jay’s power to be visually distinct from his Earth-Prime counterpart, and eagerly await to see more of the same in future issues with The Green Lantern.

Cover artist Brett Booth, also responsible for the costume redesign on Mr. Miracle’s gatefold cover debut, also deserves significant props for continuing to add just enough flourish to the vision of this world without the same sense of over-design many costume reinventions have elicited of late. It would have been glorious to have been surprised by the reappearance of Mr. Miracle (Scott Free?) in the course of reading the issue, and not before, but alas, it was not to be in this month of heavy advance marketing for DC’s entire line. Hopefully, the ability of this issue to attract the uninitiated among comic fans outweighs that one detraction.

Yet another solid issue placing Earth 2 at the height of DC Comics’ New 52 line creatively, #11 is sure to please fans of old and new iterations of these classic characters. Like its preceding issues, this chapter is yet another example of how one can re-envision an entire universe after decades of stories and develop new concepts and echoes of the past that feel fresher than ever.

Verdict: 9.5/10


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