Tom Taylor hops into James Robinson’s shoes and takes us for a good walk around the block.
Taylor is tasked with continuing the world of Wonders that Robinson laid the foundation for and has jumping right in. At the end of the previous trade or issue #16 we learn that Superman is not the man we know and is assaulting the planet. Taylor doesn’t start soft as he starts his run and this trade with the return of Batman, the start of Red Tornado and a fight between Doctor Fate and Superman. This world is also in full war mode and nations and our heroes are razed and ravaged, but from the rubble and wreckage plans are made and a foundation of the story to come is laid.
We’ll never know where James Robinson was headed but Taylor presents a logical progression. The Batman begins organizing his task force of Wonders to face the Superman lead Apokolipse army. In Earth 2 revisionist fashion we get Lois Lane’s consciousness placed into the body of Red Tornado – conveniently built as a woman. He then sets out to free Marella, Queen of Atlantis and Jimmy Olsen –not boy reporter but cyberworld wonder from the World Army prison. This team then frees another Kryptonian named Val, who suffers from Agoraphobia but will surely play a big roll later on.
Meanwhile above ground the World Army and the other Wonders struggle to get back on their feet. Doctor Fate is reduced to babbling-perhaps prophetic or not. Superman incapacitates the Flash and takes Michael Holt and Terry Sloan to Bedlam. Hawkgirl makes a small return and it seems out of place, like Taylor was unsure how to carry her forward from Robinson’s intended use.
So the book splinters off into various stories as Batman’s team heads to his cave and the World Army and wonders deal with Superman and the parademons on the surface. Here we have a shift from the “war” and Taylor begins molding these characters: Android Lois Lane/Red Tornado is the calm in the storm as, In Lois Lane fashion, she soothes the Kryptionian and befriends Jimmy Olsen. More importantly we get to learn the identity of the Batman- no spoilers other than to say it’s an interesting take.
The art work was strong and having Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott continue on the title only helped Tom Taylors transition as its new writer. This is a big canvas they work on: from the big picture, covering large battles and crowds to destruction and debris to close ups displaying ranges of emotions to propel the characters and story. Pete Pantazis colors also bring an artistic sense of continuity to book and with burning skies and hordes of parademons he shows how much a colorist brings to a book.
While it seemed rushed in some places it was a good read and overall 1trade is a good step in the future of the series and because of its “re-launch” (or season 2) feel it stands as a good jump on point for new readers without the usual confusion of what happened prior. If you’re looking for a different spin on the DC universe this is a pretty good ride to invest in.