In Review: The Wrong Earth #1

Swapping heroes takes a dark turn in this book.

The cover: A vertical line separates this cover into two mirror pieces. On the left is Dragonfly of Earth-Alpha. He smiles as he leaps over the sullen city at night. On the right is Dragonfly of Earth-Omega. He scowls as he jumps over the city during the daylight. These two characters are the same individuals, just from different Earths. Each is in the other’s universe. This is the perfect cover by interior artist Jamal Igle to tease for the reader what’s to be found inside. I also have to give kudos to letterer Todd Klein for the cool logo, with the title shattering the further it goes to the right. Nice visual to show that things are definitely wrong. Overall grade: A

The stories: “The Wrong Earth” is by Tom Peyer and begins in Fortune City on Earth-Alpha. Dragonfly and Stinger are strapped to a giant metal number one that’s about to be blasted from a ricocheted energy from several mirrors. The young hero frets over the predicament, though the older hero says he still has an ace up his sleeve. The villain taunts the pair from a safe room before leaving with his gal and three henchmen. The door that leads to the death trap explodes and the heroes emerge to the villains’ chagrin. An explanation worthy of a classic 1960’s Batman comic is given and fisticuffs begin. Peyer then moves to Earth-Omega where the ultra hardcore Dragonfly is taking a beating from four goons armed with baseball bats. This series excellently captures the essence of classic and modern day heroes. When they switch spots, preceded by their villains, it’s a shock. I found myself feeling incredibly sorry for the Earth-Alpha characters who have to deal with the denizens of Earth-Omega. This book also solidified my dislike of ultra grim and realistic heroes. That’s not to say this story is depressing, because there are several fun moments, though it’s the escapades on Earth-Omega that stick in my mind.  “Stinger” by Paul Constant is a five page story set in 1940’s Fortune City of Earth-Alpha. The sidekick is investigating the paranormal accounts of a crone at a fair that can predict the future. Their conversation is a fun read and the twist in the story is perfect for the time period. The conclusion was a litter harsher than I expected, though those comics often had some dark endings. “‘Hud’ Hornet’s Holiday in Hell” is a text piece written by Grant Morrison. Strap yourself in as you read this one as it goes all over the place: movie tattoos, Lego bricks, and volcanoes. Only Morrison could write something this oddball and make it unquestionably engaging. Overall grades: “The Wrong Earth” A-, “Stinger” B, and “‘Hud'” A-

The art: The first story is penciled by Jamal Igle and inked by Juan Castro. Both artists neatly capture the heyday of classic hero comics and the piss and vinegar of the modern age vigilantes in tights. The design of the characters are great, capturing enough of their inspirations without making lawyers begin to file lawsuits. Number One of Earth-Alpha has a fantastic design that has him set firmly in the 1960s. The more modern Dragonfly has got a constant snarl on his face befitting the influence of his world. I like how the suits really show how different each hero is when they cross over to the other’s world. The full-paged splash on 18 is the biggest visual shock of the book. The reader will definitely know the hero is not in Kansas anymore. The penultimate panel on Page 20 will create the most revulsion in the reader with the visages of a pair of characters. “Stinger” is illustrated by Frank Cammuso and it looks terrific. I love this style of artwork. The hero looks awesome, the Crone looks like she’s ripped from an EC book, and the final two pages are just flat out cool. More, please! The three illustrations for “‘Hud’ Hornet” are by Rob Steen. They include a horizontal panel of ‘Hud’ in the flaming cockpit of his plane, a close-up of one of his tattoos, and his plane on a path of destruction toward an erupting volcano. Done in black and white, these look good. Overall grades: “The Wrong Earth” A-, “Stinger” A+, and ‘Hud’ A- 

The colors: Andy Troy colors “The Wrong Earth” and Cammuso colors his own work. Troy uses wonderfully bright colors for the happier exploits on Earth-Alpha and its heroes, while darker ones naturally consume Earth-Omega. I like how both Dragonflys have a similar color scheme, though there are enough differences to set them apart. My only grouse is on 18 where an action is surprisingly colored brown rather than red. This had me momentarily thinking that mud had struck this individual. Cammuso’s colors are outstanding with the pages browned and faded for age. In doing so the story is much more believable in being a classic tale. Overall grades: “The Wrong Earth” A- and “Stinger” A+

The letters: Rob Steen is the letterer on “The Wrong Earth” and Cammuso letters “Stinger.” Steen creates narration and transmissions (the same font), signage, scene settings, sounds, yells, and the tease for next issue. The signage in this issue, especially on the first page, is impressive with all the different angles and variations created. The sounds are graphic for some particularly nasty scenes. Cammuso creates signage, narration, dialogue, the book’s credits, and sounds. The lettering on these five pages is the fun lettering I remember reading in comics of my childhood, so I was completely taken by them. The signs were particular favorites. Overall grades: Both A+ 

The final line: Swapping heroes takes a dark turn in this book. One will either find this incredible fun or just too dark. The five page comic is a delight and the three pager of text is weirdness one cannot stop reading. There’s something for everyone in this. It will be impressive to see if the main story can beyond the tropes of the characters. I’m willing to return for more. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/The-Wrong-Earth-1/digital-comic/713608?ref=Y29taWMvdmlldy9kZXNrdG9wL3NsaWRlckxpc3Qvc2VyaWVz

To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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