The Story: Earth-2 gets a record fifteen pages of rest before disaster strikes again.
The Review: Earth-2 is still a relatively new world which we only know so much about, since it’s basically been in crisis mode ever since we’ve known it. There’s never been a chance for us to catch our breath and really get to know these characters, especially since the cast has exploded in recent years. And yet, as if to confirm that Earth-2 indeed can never catch a break, DC seems ready to finish it off while everyone’s just starting to recover from the last disaster.
If the World’s End part of the title didn’t tip you off, there’s also Khalid’s grim rhymes of the future: “—depart as one, we must, and soon—to take our refuge on the crimson moon—“* The reference to Blood Moon has little meaning—thus far, it’s only the name of DC’s next major marketing stunt—but we can now rest assured that Earth-2 as we know it is coming to an end.
But before we can get on to the world-ending, Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson backtrack a little, throwing in a few glimpses of Earth-2 before it went to hell. Most of the revelations aren’t terribly stirring, unless you really care about Sam Zhou, Alan’s doomed boyfriend/would-be fiancé. We don’t really need any more evidence that Sloan is a horrible person, so the fact that he planned Sam’s death doesn’t exactly shift your opinion on him much.
The bulk of the issue is spent on summarizing events from the last few years, and you know how that goes: useful for those new to the mythos, useless for everyone else. No matter who you are, however, this is a lot of material you have to push through just to get to the actual beginning of the story, and the writers don’t liven it up much. The dialogue ranges from bland to somewhat terrible, especially when uttered by the already one-dimensional Sloan to himself: “I will do whatever is necessary, no matter how vile…to save my world,” “And who would have the audacity to double-cross the smartest man in the world?”
Once we finally get to the present, there’s not much going on. Everyone’s preoccupied with cleaning up, despite Khan’s insistence that they find a way to seal up the firepits for good. Obviously, no one listens, and obviously, they pay for it almost immediately as yet another Apokoliptian threat appears declaring the world as Darkseid’s. The surprise on the heroes’ faces is unwarranted; at this point, they should just sigh with weariness and remark, “Yeah, you and everybody else.”
You might be wondering if there are any redeeming attractions to the series, and there are some, though few and not very compelling. Kara and Helena’s return to their homeworld has got to mix up the dynamic some, and there are still more new characters to come: the Grayson family (consisting of journalist Dick, police officer Babs, and little Johnny) and a reference to Oliver Queen. These are trifling interests, but they’re what you get.
The number of artists working on this issue is approaching ridiculous, but the end result is amazingly consistent and fine. That’s not to say it’s all that remarkable; most of the visuals stick closely to script and do nothing to elaborate the story, but with the DC house style, sometimes you have to be grateful for plain, non-distracting art.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Conclusion: Such a lifeless start to a series can only signal more disappointment to come. Preemptively Dropped.
Some Musings: * But I thought Khalid was over this stuff once Val repaired his helmet.
- I'm assuming Sam exposed Sloan to Jimmy Olsen, who then sent the info to Lois, but it's not made clear from Sam's email. I'm inclined to blame letterer Dezi Sienty, as I do for most lettering mistakes.