Here’s how I know I’m an idiot. I accidentally skipped over two very important words when I started reading Greg Pak’s new team-up title. “Years Ago.” Literally the first two words on the page, and I missed them, tucked into the binding as they were. So it took me a few pages to figure out exactly what was going on as the story kicked off.
I like Jae Lee’s artwork, but it didn’t exactly help me. Moody and atmospheric as always, it isn’t exactly very distinct, often going for mood rather than detail. That style kept me from figuring out what was going on for even longer. Maybe this was by design, but the whole concept of switching Earths, Supermen, and Batmen felt a lot more complicated than it needed to be. It doesn’t help that Lee continues to avoid drawing backgrounds, filling the panels with blue skies, yellow skies, or black skies.
I find it so interesting that DC has basically created a cottage industry out of the alternate Earth idea. This entire story follows the New 52 version of Bats and Supes as they bounce into a much more interesting world; Earth 2. Earth 2 doesn’t feel exactly right, but it feels a lot closer to what I want in my DC comics, so seeing it as an option just makes me pine for it even more. (Especially considering that Earth 2 as we see here is essentially destroyed in its own series.)
Kaiyo the trickster has some interesting powers, like possession and inter-Earth teleporting, but other than pulling in some nice guest starts, I wasn’t overly enamored with her. I did like that as a New God, she had physical tools to stand up to Wonder Woman, but I just never bought in to her sort of vague plan to “test” Earths for Darkseid.
The collection includes a strange flashback to the origin of Darkseid, but frankly, I felt like the rushed pacing and simple nature of the plot actually took away from Darkseid’s mystique. The art was pretty entertaining (from Paulo Siqueira), but then again, it is pretty easy to make the New Gods’ designs look good.
This was a FAIR library read, but since it was set in a world I know I won’t get to see more of, it sort of limits my interest. I am curious to see what Pak can do when he takes these characters forward in stories taking place in the present.