In The Other History of the DC Universe‘s debut, writer John Ridley planted a flag with a raw, emotional, and blunt take on DC’s superhero history. The debut was not only a celebration of the history but it’s the type of reflection on it that we see today with our own real experiences. The comic didn’t examine it with rose-colored glasses, instead, it delivered a perspective and truth that stands up and feels justified. It was like a band-aid being ripped off to show a still festering wound. The Other History of the DC Universe #2 that direction with a shift of a focus to the Teen Titans.
Told from the dual perspectives of Karen Beecher-Duncan (Bumblee) and Mal Duncan, we’re taken from their early years in Metropolis through the history of their time with the Teen Titans and then Titans. I’m not personally too knowledgeable with either character, so Ridley’s take is just new history for me as a whole. Karen and Mal, like the first issue, show the white-centered team for what it was and don’t pull punches. Drama, drug use, abuse, these are some of the topics touched upon. But, it’s the second class citizen nature of Mal and Karen’s membership that really stands out.
Mal rightly comes back to the fact that as much as he was there for the team, the team was rarely there for Mal or Karen. They missed their wedding, they saw Mal as nothing more than a maintenance person, there feels like a rooted racist aspect of the team. When they initial met, the Teen Titans were hiding in one of Metropolis’ crime infested areas as if no one would care about anyone in these areas. We’re taken through the history of the Teen Titans, then Titans, as they break up and get back together, ignoring Mal and Karen throughout the years except when they could use their help.
But beyond the Titans, the comic is also an examination of the relationship of the two individuals. We get to experience their ups and downs. There’s high and lows with all of the human emotion one would expect. There’s drama throughout the education. While we’re teased the Titan’s drama, we get to experience Mal and Karen’s.
Ridley delivers what feels like a very interesting critique at DC as a whole. Not just the comics but the publisher itself. The comics feel like a graphic thesis paper on the depiction of minorities in literature and entertainment. This is a series that’s going to spur discussion for quite some time.
Like the first issue, The Other History of the DC Universe #2 has a graphic essay feel about it. Breaking from “traditional” comic layouts, the comic breaks from the usual panels that are expected. The result is a read that feels like journal entries enhanced with beautiful art. Giuseppe Camuncoli‘s layouts with Andrea Cucchi‘s finishes are impressive. The art is just amazing, along with the color from José Villarrubia and lettering by Steve Wands. There’s so much packed in with art that plays as homage to classic scenes and styles. There’s some pages that feel like they’re ripped from the original material, it all brings back memories.
The Other History of the DC Universe #2 is another fantastic and amazing issue. The series is calling out the failures of DC Comics’ history and the issues with its narratives. It’s impressive the publisher would do this at all. The fact it’s all at such a high quality is such a treat. Each issue feels like it’s a college level course in DC comic history. Time for all of us to get schooled.
Story: John Ridley Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli Finishes: Andrea Cucchi
Color: José Villarrubia Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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