Sovereigns #2 ComicWow! Review

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Sovereigns brings together several of the old Gold Key comics heroes of the Silver and Bronze era, Magnus, Turok, Solar (Man of the Atom) and Doctor Spektor.

Ray Fawkes has worked on Batman, Constantine, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, Justice League Dark, Batgirl, Wolverine, Underwinter, Creepy, X-Men, American Vampire, Archer & Armstrong, and more.

Johnny Desjardins work has appeared in Jennifer Blood, Vampirella, Kato, Legenderry, RoboCop, Grimm Fairy Tales: Neverland: Age of Darkness, Red Sonja, Ninjettes, Last Phantom, Green Hornet, and more.

Chuck Wendig wrote The Shield for Archie comics.  He wrote Hyperion for Marvel, as well as Star Wars and A Year of Marvels.

Alvaro Sarraseca has done some impressive work on Witchblade for Top Cow Productions.

Sovereigns as a comic is a fascinating re-envisioning of several venerable titles.  While Dynamite has worked with these titles before, and even brought them together, this is different, not only in plot and characters, but even in structure.

This storyline is set in a future where the various characters live in a relatively peaceful world.  They have won their battles, and they are content now to live in peace.  Unfortunately, there are always bad guys out in the shadows.

These versions of the characters are still very recognizable. They are battle-tested and wiser, but also older, tired, and almost world-weary. The plot is heavy on exposition. There are enemies still unseen and mysteries still unsolved.

The structure of the comic is likewise different. Like both of the previous issues (#0, #1), this issue follows a unique format.  The issue rests upon a primary story following the Sovereigns.  There is an additional story that is ancillary to the Sovereigns storyline.  These second stories have shifted from comic to comic, probably in order to increase sales of the other related titles. In this particular issue, the Turok story picked up from a second piece in Magnus #1, and will be continued in Sovereigns #3.  This tends to indicate that Sovereigns is the “tentpole” for Dynamite’s current Gold Key revival.

These stories give the feeling of careful coordination and an effort to create an integrated universe. The writing is strong. These characters are well-known and well-defined.  This creates a challenge for the writers.  They need to maintain the continuity of the characters for their long-time fans.  At the same time, they need to create differences in these characters that move the plot as well as the characters forward.  The goal is evolution, not revolution, and these writers are succeeding.

The artwork is vastly superior to that of the old Gold Key days.  As the stories are more mature and more graphic, the artwork, likewise, is more graphic and more intense.  In this issue, there is one scene by Desjardins that displays incredible control and tremendous talent, but it may be too intense and too graphic for younger readers.

Sovereigns and Dynamite’s new revival of the Gold Key titles are breathing new life into old favorites, but this is not mere nostalgia.  These titles are new and they are challenging readers to expand their concepts of these characters.

Written by: Ray Fawkes & Chuck Wendig

Illustrated by: Johnny Desjardins & Alvaro Sarraseca