The Wrong Earth is both a satirical take on two extremes in comics and an engaging action comic.
On Earth-Alpha, Dragonflyman and his sidekick Stinger enjoy a life of adventure as lauded crime fighters on whom the police and local authorities rely. Clean cut, truly good-guys who have earned the respect of Fortune City’s government officials, our heroes remind us of many a costumed crime-fighting team.
On Earth-Omega, the Dragonfly is a lone, dark presence that hunts criminal parasites with the lethal force of an exterminator. This grim caped crusader is an unwelcome presence in his own world, a dismal realm of corrupt police and commonplace violence. His reason for not having a sidekick, as he patrols the harrowing street of a Fortune City mired in greed and corruption, seems tied to the vicious rage with which he fights crime.
But what would happen if these two heroes suddenly and unexpectedly change places?
The Wrong Earth is the saga of two world-swapped heroes, struggling to make sense of their surroundings. The story explores the two versions of the hero Dragonfly with very different ways of working. From Earth-Alpha, a Golden Age “aw shucks” version of our hero who goes by Dragonflyman, refuses to kill and has the genial nature of a 1950’s era sitcom star. From Earth-Omega, the Dragonfly a gritty, dirty-mouthed, blood-soaked crime fighter that knows no one can be trusted.
Spoiler Warning: If you have not read The Wrong Earth #1, #2, or #3 There May Be Spoilers Below
Publisher: Ahoy Comics Story: Tom Peyer
Cover: Jamal Igle Art: Jamal Igle Inker: Juan Castro Colorist: Andy Troy
From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:
A new comic book publisher called AHOY Comics burst onto the scene this September with a Freaky Friday style tale of two heroes, a series titled The Wrong Earth. We are four issues into this familiar but unique series with The Wrong Earth #4 released today. If you aren’t already reading this one and you enjoy tales of a world gone awry like The Twilight Zone, Bizarro World, or JLA: Earth 2, then you need to head to your local comic shop and grab this one.
Much like Freaky Friday, two heroes swap places and explore a life they’ve never known. However, instead of two different people swapping bodies, the same hero from two polar opposite dimensions swaps worlds. Trapped in a place where everyone thinks they know you, these two heroes with personalities drawn from different eras of superheroes discover they’ve got a lot to learn when they are confronted by a world that is nothing like their own.
Familiar But Unique
Dimension flipping, body-swapping, Time / Space travel – they’ve all been done before, usually with fairly predictable results. The Wrong Earth flips the script of the dimension flip and takes a different route. At the close of the first issue, it looked like the violent Earth-Omega denizens had already destroyed the more innocent Dragonflyman before he ever had a chance to realize what was happening. Not so.
In the second issue, we discover that Dragonflyman is much more of a survivor than expected. While at times the more innocent hero comes off as silly and ineffective, this story takes some very clever twists. Instead of playing him as the butt of a joke, he produces incredible and well-timed gadgetry that, while questionable in terms of the science, reveals that this dour and unforgiving dimension may be in a solid wake-up call from our squeaky clean costumed crime-fighter.
It would have been reasonable to assume that the purer Earth-Alpha dimension take some serious damage from to the gritty Dragonfly and his predisposition to violence. But faced with the living form of his greatest regret, Dragonfly is coming to grips with a reality that offers him a happiness he’d long forgotten.
In a way, it may be best that he’s made it here because when his arch-nemesis, the Earth-Omega Number One, begins carving (literally) through Earth-Alpha citizens, it’s going to take more than a stern lecture to stop him. There’s also a very intriguing plot thread in how Peyer explores Earth-Omega Dragonfly’s humanity. We can see that it’s something he’s buried for a long time, but we get the smallest revelation in his initial encounter with Stinger.
The main story picks up the pace by the third issue and we see why Earth-Omega Dragonfly is so frustrated that he can’t get the naive inhabitants of Earth-Alpha to take seriously the threat to their quaint society that he understands all too well.
This issue also gives us a peek at just how conniving and manipulation Duece, Number One’s main squeeze, really is. She talks her way out of jail time. She regroups Number One’s gang and claims them for herself. Meanwhile, Dragonfly’s frustration with the bank president and the Mayor hits the boiling point as he stands at the horrific scene of death wrought by Earth-Omega Number One, trying to call in a homicide while being harangued about saving “the city’s leading citizens”. Fed up, the vigilante Dragonfly violently ends Triviac’s robbery attempt, shocking the upright citizens of Earth-Alpha. To find out how they react, head out today to pick up issue #4 of The Wrong Earth.
Writer Tom Peyer does a stellar job setting up the story in the first issue. Each of the worlds and their respective heroes have very distinct feels. It’s the differing tones of the characters that produces a story that, while being a solidly enjoyable comic, parodies comics as a whole.
Earth-Alpha has a classic theme, making it feel like a well-loved golden age comic. The tone, the character dialogue, even the action sequences all have that “Golly Gee Wilikers” making the world a better place aesthetic. Peyer then juxtaposes Earth-Omega, a violent place where blood flows freely and even those who should be protectors have succumbed to dangerous vices and baser instincts. Next to the idealistic world of Earth-Alpha, the horrors of Earth-Omega appear all the more horrifying.
The story itself is instantly engaging for any superhero comic fan and though it is hilariously satirical without being obnoxious, it is also an excellent story.
After issue one, the bad and the good characters gain a great deal of depth. Peyer’s talent allows him to swing from embracing the classic superhero storytelling really beautifully and then right into the grim gritty world of Earth-Omega that evokes a similar tone to some of the darkest days of the Dark Knight.
To successfully pull this off while also parodying the two extremes speaks highly of his talent. It makes for a hell of a comic. I sincerely recommend that you grab your copy of The Wrong Earth #4 today
I expected to see multiple artists for a book that swings so heavily between two art styles, and yet Jamal Igle nails the swing between dimension too. Each Earth is different in so many ways yet the familiarity of the everyday basics are there, creating in the reader a subtle cognitive dissonance that emulates what our heroes are experiencing.
Igle’s art morphs as we switch worlds and the switch becomes most noticeable at moment the two characters switch spots. It becomes familiar as we move through the books. The way Igle uses the art to emphasizes the different in dueling eras creates a mental cue for the readers and by issue 3, one look at any panel and your mind recognizes the dimension you are in. The characters are each uniquely detailed to fit their era, so detailed that Earth-Omega Dragonfly will remind you of Batman in many ways, while maintaining Dragonfly’s distinctly intense identity.
Design wise The Wrong Earth stands out as unique while at the same time paying homage to the comics that have come before. Igle’s work is the perfect compliment to both the concept and story itself. The art flawlessly compliments Peyer’s writing throughout this series, bouncing between the grim noir and the golden age. It’s his work that truly magnifies the satirical nature of the comic, weaving a world with Peyer’s writing that is at once tense, humorous, and fascinating.
The Wrong Earth #4 is out in stores today. I’m a huge fan of supporting your local store. I picked up my copy at Krum’s (my favorite LCBS) but if you can’t get down to a shop, ComiXology happens to have it on sale. You can even get the first three issue as well.
Series Rating: 5/5 Trust me, you are going to want to add this to your pull list.