Earth 2 #11

"Earth 2" #11 delivers the second installment of "The Tower of Fate" storyline from James Robinson and Nicola Scott and bears the subtitle "The Man Who Was Brave." This adventure features Khalid Ben-Hassin and Jay Garrick navigating the topsy-turvy Tower of Fate (glad to see the New 52 held on to this cool concept), seeking the helm of Fate while trying to avoid the beast protecting it. It's a fine line between bravery and stupidity as one of that pair finds inspiration and strength from the actions of the other while they avoid becoming a snack for the beast within.

That's not the only plot that Robinson puts into "Earth 2" #11, as he brings backstory to Wotan and even continues to develop the duplicitous nature of that sorcerer. With Jay Garrick's mother at his mercy, we learn more about Wotan's history and demeanor, setting up an unavoidable conflict. A quick two-page cutaway returns to the land of Dherain to check in on the rule of Steppenwolf. Fury shows up in that scene and Robinson reveals Mister Miracle's location while setting up a subplot for the upcoming Annual, given Miracle's current location.

I had a bit of a flashback to my childhood when I saw the full vision of the cover showcasing Doctor Fate and Mister Miracle. My first exposure to either character was through the Super Powers toy line, which I somehow latched onto as they were coming out, but concurrently with my discovery of the now-classic, pre-#192 Satellite era "Justice League of America" comics. Both characters have striking visuals and Brett Booth's cover supports that. Granted, there isn't much substance to the cover beyond the awesomeness of seeing these two characters on a larger page, but Miracle -- and Barda! -- is present on the pages in between and some of that childhood excitement percolated back through while reading this story.

Nicola Scott brings her rugged detailed style to this story, excelling at transmitting the oddities within Fate's tower. The artist uses an array of camera angles and framing choices, making "Earth 2" #11 visually striking in every regard. Some spots appear to be colored straight from pencils as details fade in the panel where Steppenwolf dispatches Fury, for example. Other pages are stunningly meticulous in their extreme content. When Fate appears, the costume is insanely fussy, taking the simplistic gold helm, cape and amulet and adding bands, reliefs, etchings and starfields. It's cool, Scott's art is stunning, but I'm not sure how long it'll be able to be drawn this way given the nuances and subtleties of what was formerly a straightforward costume. On the visual front, I was surprised that Doctor Fate's word balloons are surprisingly normal, as are all the characters' in "Earth 2" #11. It seems as though there would be some audible variance in the wide assortment of characters roaming these pages.

The world of "Earth 2" is getting so vast that entire issues now feel like chapters in an anthology. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it certainly feels like I'm just not getting enough, despite the fullness of each issue. "Earth 2" #11 left me wanting more, soon. A lot more, like adventures with Hawkgirl and Fate and Mister Miracle, but for now, I'll just have to invest in some extra patience while I wait for the next enjoyable installment.

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