Duo #1 is written by Greg Pak, penciled by Khoi Pham, inked by Scott Hanna, colored by Chris Sotomayor, and lettered by Janice Chiang. It’s published by DC Comics. Scientists David Kim and Kelly Vu share nearly everything, from their lives as a couple to their nanotechnology research. However, when mysterious creatures attack their lab and set it ablaze, the nanobots end up uniting David and Kelly on a cellular level while also granting them superhuman abilities. Now they have to learn how to use their powers while sharing their minds in a single body.
This title marks the launch of the Earth-M banner. With Earth-M, Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan and Reginald Hudlin aim to fill a similar purpose that the original Milestone comics did and introduce a wealth of new heroes for a new generation. The fact that this relaunch also comes on the heels of DC revamping classic Milestone heroes such as Static and Rocket, also at the height of Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, sends a strong message that DC is committed to Milestone’s success. I’m all for it.
It also isn’t lost on me that Duo boasts a mainly Asian-American creative team, similar to Marvel’s relaunch of Shang-Chi. Pak, who’s written a number of established characters, including the Hulk and Darth Vader, turns his attention to an original hero (or rather, semi-original since Milestone aficionados will recognize David as the immortal techno-mage Xombi.) Connection is at the heart of Pak’s script, first and foremost. David and Emily are connected romantically as well as in their research, and they aim to use that research to help others make those connections. Yet as one of their potential benefactors points out, the world may not be ready for that level of connection – which turns out to be frighteningly prophetic when it comes to Duo’s origin. Future issues will no doubt play upon this new status quo and how it might affect David and Emily’s relationship.
The art team plays into the theme of duality. Pham opens the issue with a series of panels that feature David and Emily lying in bed, facing each other. He also draws some genuinely disturbing imagery, such as a series of frog-like creatures that attack David and Emily. Thanks to Hanna’s inks, they feel like they have inhuman bulk. Sotomayor delivers a color palette that features some bright and vibrant hues. There’s reddish-orange representing fire, golden yellow rays of sunlight, and the yellow and blue color scheme that makes up Duo’s superhero outfit. That same color scheme influences Chiang’s lettering; David’s thoughts are represented in yellow, while Emily’s are blue – and locked within misshapen word balloons that threaten to envelop entire panels as if she’s literally screaming to break free.
Duo #1 serves as a launching point for Milestone’s Earth-M initiative, featuring a new Asian-American hero and a majorly Asian-American creative team at the helm. I’m genuinely curious to see what other titles are in store for Earth-M, and if Duo will follow in Static’s footsteps and hit the big screen. Time will tell.
Duo #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Duo #1 serves as a launching point for Milestone’s Earth-M initiative, featuring a new Asian-American hero and a majorly Asian-American creative team at the helm. I’m genuinely curious to see what other titles are in store for Earth-M, and if Duo will follow in Static’s footsteps and hit the big screen.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.