Ahoy Comics keeps pumping out inventive and binge worthy reading material. Compiling the first arc of The Wrong Earth (2018) by Peyer, Igle, Castro, and Troy, this trade paperback not only tells the gritty and exciting story of Dragonflyman/Dragonfly, but is chock-full of backup stories by Paul Constant with guest artists. To say I was engrossed by the first six chapters in this deconstruction on superheroes and villains is an understatement. If this is the caliber with which Ahoy plans to keep producing comics, they will quickly become my favorite publisher.
The Wrong Earth centers on Dragonflyman, a superhero who, with his trusty sidekick Stinger, saves their home of Fortune City countless times from would-be criminals. He is beloved by all, including the police, the mayor, and even the city's head banker! In a freak accident while battling his greatest nemesis, Number One, Dragonflyman is transported via a mirror to another earth: Earth Omega. His counterpart there, Dragonfly (without the "man"), finds himself in the former's home: Earth Alpha. In this swap, we learn that Fortune City of Earth Omega is Gotham-like, and the hero known as Dragonfly is more a vigilante than a superhero. Using the trope of the "mirror world", but not in a way that evokes cliche, Peyer allows us to see that not everything is black and white, or good and bad, and that the grays in-between are what make people and life so interesting.
Tom Peyer is an industry veteran, so having his name attached to Ahoy titles is a real treat. Through a cursory read of The Wrong Earth, one might see it as a cliched narrative full of superhero tropes and gags, but upon a more in-depth, thorough reading, it's apparent that this is a book that uses said tropes and flips them on their ear. Good guys are not so good, bad guys are not so bad, and each can learn from the other. The dialogue is never verbose nor too short; one could quickly breeze their way through the first six chapters, and even the subsequent backup stories quickly, craving more. I know I did. The deconstruction of the superhero, made so famous by Alan Moore in Watchmen (1986), has become, in itself, a bit of a cliche. But when done right, it seems effortless on the part of the author and tells a unique story. The Wrong Earth is gritty and visceral, along the lines of one of my favorites, Rick Veitch (see The Brat Pack ), but colorful enough to paint a picture of hope, therefore giving us the two sides of a superhero's life: the agony and the optimism.
Igle's art is aesthetically on par with some of the greats of the last 20-30 years: Steve Dillon and Bryan Hitch come to mind. The contours of the characters and scenery are, in some cases, so perfect, they seem real. The juxtaposition of the Fortune City of each Earth is made all the more apparent by the expressions, the movement, and the outward appearance of each character. Coupled with Castro's inks and Troy's colors, we're in a world (or worlds) not unlike those in The Authority (1999), or any good Batman story.
I can't say enough about this book, and if I do say more I may spoil it. All I can say is ask your comic shop to order it for you, buy it online, get one from the writer or artists at a show, etc. Ahoy is beyond an up-and-coming publisher, and this book proves it beyond a reasonable doubt.