The Wrong Earth #5 continues to be a fun comic that riffs off readers’ understanding of both comicdom’s addiction to parallel universe stories as well as our knowledge of comics’ more hokey, naive history. That and a good appreciation of the Batman TV series of the 60’s and you’ve got it in a nutshell. And issue #5 is no different, but with the heroes of two worlds not being the only travellers who crossed the dimension rift, there was always going to be added trouble as Dragonfly and his more optimistic doppelgänger, Dragonflyman, try to find a way back home. Clicking their heels together three times and reciting the mantra, “There’s no place like home,” just ain’t going to cut it. Especially when the magic mirror that acted as their conduit for traveling is all shattered in this issue.
But, there is a note of seriousness too. While we all laughed at Batman’s infamous Shark Repellent Bat Spray, Dragonflyman has equally daft sounding inventions that help save his bacon in this issue’s opening pages. If such inventions existed in the real world – and arguably Dragonfly’s darker, more violent world is the one most similar to our own – we’d actually herald the guy a genius. Especially if he had a headquarters full of such stuff. Here, it’s Dragonflyman’s explosive repellent spray that comes to his aide in this frightening, unfamiliar world of Earth-Omega. But, imagine that, A spray that stopped the harm from any explosion. Of course, it’s the stuff of comic books, but it’s given a nice twist when seen through the lens of such a cynical world. And it’s this wide eyed innocence and optimism that seems to be catching too, offering hope for at least one citizen of this moody world.
Meanwhile, the equally cynical Dragonfly, trapped on Earth-Alpha, seems to be changing for the better the longer he stays on this world of wonders and zany sounding villains. Hell, the biggest problem facing Dragonfly on this earth is how to best escape a giant sized piggy bank. The kind of gonzo sized dilemmas Batman would find himself in time and again himself back in the early days. It’s all rather uplifting when you think about it.
Tom Peyer shows his understanding and love for the superhero genre, its history and its legacy, and does well to steer this away from being just another funny book riffing off old concepts and conventions. He’s clearly got a story to tell of redemption and of hope, and this lead story is doing just fine in drip-feeding that saga over the course of the series so far. Jamal Igle’s artwork (with Juan Castro on inks) continues to shine, whether depicting the darker world of Earth-Omega, or the more pop culture coloured world of Dragonflyman. These tie very different worlds are all the better realised by the reader thanks to the sterling work of Andy Troy on colours.
It also helps that the main back-up strip – a solo Dragonfly adventure revealing more of Earth-Omega and more of the life that helped mould Dragonfly into the toughened hero we witness today – has a similar style of artwork thanks to Gary Erskine’s dynamic and solid artwork that helps unify the book and offer a greater, consistent reading experience. That and the usual inclusion of a couple of prose pieces and you’ve got another great slice of entertainment from a company that’s beginning to hit its stride.
The Wrong Earth #5 is a superhero comic that’s offering a tonic to a more grimy, gothic storytelling that still abounds today. Bit, thankfully, not as strongly as it once did. A love letter, then, to comics’ greatest hits!
The Wrong Earth #5 is out January 9th, 2019 from Ahoy Comics.