In Red Sonja #2, Marguerite Bennett continues to layer political themes in the background while telling the story of Red Sonja trying to adapt to a more complicated Hyrkania after a long absence.
Red Sonja #1 has anything a fan of female fronted sword and sorcery comics could want from political intrigue and commentary to sweeping landscapes from Aneke and colorist Jorge Sutil, who gives Hyrkania the bluest skies and greenest woods as a facade for the corruption that infects this land that seems semi-utopian on the surface. (Namely, random settlers give Red Sonja sass when she offers to protect them for food, drink, and shelter.) And there also plenty of earthy humor and wit in writer Marguerite Bennett’s script, who continues to keep Red Sonja stinky from the moment she pulls the heart out of a bull monster. Bennett also explores Sonja’s approach to romance and relationships as well as her need to always be fighting or protecting someone and balances it nicely with the political intrigue.
With four great stories and one mediocre one, Secret Wars Secret Love #1 is definitely worth picking up as it looks into a variety of relationships from platonic to struggling marriages and even ones that will make long time Marvel fans smile. This is a comic that will bring all generations of Marvel fans together and is filled with humor, heart, and a nice variety of art styles. (Gurihuru’s Danny Rand/Misty Knight is the cherry on top though.)
Witch Hunter Angela #1 is a tasty cake with layers of Elizabethan style wordplay from Bennett, impeccable costume design from Sauvage and Hans, and puns and in-jokes from Gillen. Also, there’s finally a reference to Edmund Spenser of Faerie Queene fame and undergraduate toil in a Marvel comic. It is filled with subtle or not so subtle shots at everything from William Shakespeare (and a certain Marvel hero) being overused in pop culture to the fandom and good looks of a certain, once underrated character, but these shots are playful and not biting. And in its own winding way, it continues the arc of the friendship between Serah and Angela from the now wrapped Angela Asgard’s Assassin series. Come for the clever history, literature, and comics jokes and stay for a well-rendered and realized world courtesy of Marguerite Sauvage and Stephanie Hans.
It’s the same old drill again, another issue of DC’s regular installment of disappointment. Guess it’s time to get it done. Earth 2: World’s End reaches issue #24 and is set to conclude in two weeks. Looking back on the last six and a half months leads one to conclude that the finale will most certainly be disappointing given how mismanaged this entire endeavor has been since day one. That being said, this week brings shockingly the closest knit issue to date, that is to say, there’s something that ties the many plot lines together and not something like the terrible art or drawn out fight scenes.
Like a weekly root canal, it’s time to endure Earth 2: World’s End again. At least there’s solace that this defilement of this once great universe will soon end. What is truly making this final stretch of World’s End appalling is how little is happening. The last twenty two issues have featured their cast effectively spinning their wheels in the mud and one would assume that’s to kill time, both to justify this book’s status as a weekly and to build up to a great planet shattering climax. As previously stated, the end of the world is shockingly dull.
Well, it’s finally come, the last issue of Earth 2. The reason Earth 2 and its weekly series Earth 2: World’s End gets reviewed every week is that despite all the bad worlds said about in the last six months, Earth 2 used to be one of the best books coming out of DC. In fact, it was one of the few books that made the New 52 somewhat justified in its existence. Instead of rehashing older stories or making embarrassing changes to characters older than the company that published them, Earth 2 did something different. It build a whole new world from the ground up, embracing its comic book roots by being a series about ordinary people swept up into the world of the impossible and altruism and hope overcome the darkest to times. It broke standards by bringing Lois Lane, who’d been killed off panel for little purpose, back from the dead as a superhero and making Val Zod a more true-to-nature version of Superman than Superman has been in years. It was helmed by the great James Robinson and continued by the excellent Tom Taylor. Yet that golden age has come to a close, for the past six months DC has done everything in its power to sabotage this series. It turned this book into little more than a tie-in to World’s End which itself is little more than a sloppy mess of a title, stumbling its way to the finish line. What little gems of aspiration could have been found were buried under editorial mandate and terrible management. While this series will live on after the upcoming Convergence event as Earth 2: Society, the damage has been done. There is little to no hope for this series to ever reclaim its greatness. Hence it is with a heavy heart that this is the last issue of Earth 2.
Another week means another issue of Earth 2: World’s End and while the chance for this series to be anything beyond cheap tie-in material to DC’s Convergence event has long passed by, this issue is a shocking improvement to what has usually be a painful slog to read. It’s true that this series has stuck the terrible decision to split art duties between plotlines instead of individual issues such as with Futures End and Batman Eternal, but for once this series does something that resembles competence.
Last week, Earth 2: World’s End did something unexpected, it improved. With the help of Cullen Bunn, issue #19 has some moments to shine with great characterization and heart-felt moments to wash out the terrible artwork and redundant Life Avatar battles. All of that goes right down the tubes as World’s End falls back into line with over-stretched plot lines, sloppy science fiction, and egregious artwork.