ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 continues the exploration of Earth after the wars that take place in Kamandi’s time by writer Steve Orlando and artist Travel Foreman! In this future, the civilized worlds of the universe have agreed to have one representative, an Electric Warrior, fight their wars for them. Earth, still dealing with the divisions and tension that the conflicts of old have left, elects a human and an animal to be its Electric Warriors. The tension between the two sides is at the heart of our protagonist, as Ian Navarro heads into combat.

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 Is All About Fighting

The issue starts where we left off, with Electric Warriors Ian and Kana arriving on the planet Covenant. The announcer gives Kana the codename Deep Dweller. Her deep-sea home, shapeshifting, and control over darkness make it an apt nickname. Ian becomes War Cry. War Cry’s Electric Seed gives him sonic manipulation powers. The citizens of Covenant and the rest of the Alliance welcome the two Earthers. They are then shown to their quarters. Ian remarks they’re as bad as his old prison cell.

The Earth warriors don’t get much time to relax, as they get thrown into their first fights. Kana fares well against her foe, but Ian struggles against a Saturnian (aliens from one of the moons of the ringed planet in our solar system, who are telepathic shapeshifters. They’re cousins to the Martians). Ian eventually figures out his powers and delivers a seeming kill shot on the Saturnian. Ian’s opponent survives — thanks to its shapeshifting powers — and lands a crushing blow on War Cry, but not a killing one. The Saturnian whispers to Ian, and then gives him a severe chest wound.

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2
ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 pages 2 & 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Electric Warrior Culture Revealed

The price of Ian’s defeat is Earth’s supply of Gingold Grain. The grain has to be surrendered to the Saturnians. Ian has a massive chest wound. A fellow Warrior enters Ian’s mind to help him with the healing process. Said Warrior, Inceptor, also discovers War Cry’s deception, and Ian threatens the telepath before he flees Ian’s mind. The two eventually recover in the Mess Hall, where other Warriors help them. As it turns out, the Electric Warriors are friendly with each other when not battling for the fates of their worlds.

The issue ends with the revelation that the animals of Earth have halted grain trade with the humans. Tension is escalating, and Kana and Ian will have to face each other in battle!

Unlikable Characters Are A Problem…

Through the series, and especially in ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2, Ian Navarro is a bit problematic. Ian’s backstory is very sympathetic. He’s a human who survived the prison camps and holds a grudge against the animals for what happened. He opens the series starting a fight with two animals outside a bar. My problem with Ian is that he treats everyone the same, playing the “Angry Young Man” archetype. It’s hard to sympathize with a character who acts like a jerk to everybody. Ian’s one noble action, his sacrifice for his brother, was also kinda mean. Ian had his brother knocked out by two guys so he could replace him. Assault isn’t exactly a soft and kind gesture, but soft and kind isn’t Ian’s MO.

Of course, it’s early on in the story, and we may yet see Ian become more sympathetic and open up a bit more later on. He rubs me the wrong way but I think, at this juncture, he’s supposed to. Firestorm is also an odd character in this series. Firestorm is very aloof and detached from his humanity, and feels very cold to Earth. Perhaps he’s been away from home for too long?

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2
ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

…But There Are Likable Ones, Too

The most intriguing and sympathetic characters are the other Electric Warriors, including Kana. Kana’s duty and responsibility mixed with her empathy makes her a more traditional hero. She sacrifices some of her health to heal Ian, and Ian did seem to show a bit of kindness to her. Perhaps the journey in this six-issue miniseries is for them to learn from each other and, through their relationship, help repair the human-animal divide.

My favorite moments are with the established Electric Warriors. We get little vignettes with a bunch of them, and they have unique facets to them that I hope Orlando explores further and Ian learns from.

Foreman Goes Minimalist

Travel Foreman did an excellent job with the first issue, and he does good work in ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2, but there’s definitely a downtick. The backgrounds are much more sparse and essentially descend into basic colors. The color work by Hi-Fi is excellent; the palette goes from bright and vivacious to murky and dark when it needs to. The colors help to conceptualize the culturally dark yet neon bright surface of the future in ELECTRIC WARRIORS. The lack of details in the background seems like a step back from the first issue, though. It’s a bit too sparse.

Can Kana And Ian Be Friends?

Despite the story being about intergalactic warriors fighting as proxies for their planets, the core of ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 is the divide between humans and animals. Ian — the human — mistrusts everyone that isn’t like him, to the point of isolating himself and being an unnecessary jerk to others, especially Kana. Kana is different, she believes in coexistence despite having to fight for her life. With the contest between Ian and Kana set up for next issue, will either one even survive, let alone develop a positive relationship? Orlando and Foreman have delivered a compelling sci-fi story that explores the depths of humanity and its spirit well!

ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 by Steve Orlando, Travel Foreman, and HI-FI
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
ELECTRIC WARRIORS #2 steps up the action as we see the Electric Warriors, including Ian and Kana, fight for their respective planets. Steve Orlando makes Ian a bit stand-offish, and it's hard to like him. With a compelling plot, but jerky protagonist and visuals that took a step back, this issue was ultimately a step below the first.
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One Comment

  1. […] pull any punches. Champions fight for all of the supplies on their world in daily combat. In his first fight, War Cry loses Earth’s crops to another planet — crops controlled by the animals. Now, […]

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