“Earth 2” is, at its core, a problematic book. The basic ideas behind its storylines all feel good on the surface, but some issues nail the execution better than others. In the case of “Earth 2” #8, I feel like it’s one of the less successful attempts. James Robinson and Yildiray Cinar introducing the new Fury should be a fun story, but instead this issue fails to entertain.
The basic idea, with Steppenwolf trapped on Earth and unable to get back to Apokolips while raising Wonder Woman’s daughter Fury, isn’t a bad one. I think the biggest problem with the comic is that Robinson tackles this idea not by having the “Earth 2” heroes discover Steppenwolf hiding out in the country of Dherain, but rather by devoting the entire issue to Steppenwolf and his taking over of the nation. Neither Steppenwolf nor Fury are compelling characters on their own; Steppenwolf sounds like a generic and stereotypical bad guy, and Fury is little more than a bundle of brute strength to attack things. They aren’t given any characters to interact with, just a sea of faceless extras. Showing up opposite some of our heroes might have fixed that, but instead we just get long, extended, uninspiring fight scenes. The end result is a comic that the reader will never have a stake in; it’s a takeover of a brand-new fictional country populated by no one we’ve ever heard of before now. Why should we care?
Cinar’s art in “Earth 2” #8 is adequate. Some pages aren’t bad, with images like the side-profile of Steppenwolf on page 3. But more often than not, it feels a bit wooden and overly posed, like when one of the guards is attacked by Fury’s whip on page 4 and both characters are in configurations that just don’t look right. Fury’s costume is also underwhelming; it feels very ’90s “bad girl” chic, and that’s a look that I’d hoped had gone away two decades ago. It’s a bad combination of non-functional and ugly; I’m not entirely sure why this is the direction chosen for the character’s look. Add in some “look at my crotch-or-butt” shots that just feel embarrassing, and the end result is a book with visuals that could have been better. I expect a bit more than this from Cinar.
“Earth 2” #8 is a comics that I wanted to like, but it feels like a series of bad decisions beyond the initial idea. Another issue like this one and I think it’ll be the last for not only me, but other readers as well. Hopefully the introduction of Dr. Fate next month will prove to be a bit more inviting.