The Story: Nothing like a potential global disaster to bring friends and family together.

The Review: As I was saying earlier, Earth-2 hasn’t had a lot of quiet time for its characters to engage with each other very deeply, for love or otherwise. This rarity of sentimentality has probably been the biggest grind of all for the series, no matter how much it fits a world under a constant state of war. The premiere of World’s End put even more pressure on the situation by launching yet another threat just pages after the last one, making you wonder if the Earth-2 people will ever get a rest at all.

They do, sort of, in this issue—only for a few characters and, as is usually the case for this title, while in the middle of responding to a threat.* What makes this issue different from ones prior is the focus is squarely on the relationships between Val, Kara, Lois, Thomas, and Helena, forcing the plot to retreat to near irrelevance. Bennett-Taylor don’t spend a much time fleshing out the flesh monsters who came in the wake of Bedlam’s newest portals to infect some Bern scientists; they’re a generic threat easily rid of, allowing our heroes to exchange quips and indulge in nostalgia.

Bennett-Taylor perhaps try to cover too much ground, however, with four relationships to explore: Kara and Lois, Helena and Thomas, Kara and Helena, Kara and Val. Through flashback, each gets just enough material for you to see the general dynamic between them (mother-daughter, estranged granddaughter-grandfather, best friends, childhood friends, respectively), but none of the details that make for deep investment.

The issue pushes you to appreciate these relationships in a rather short amount of time, and only occasionally succeeds. Probably the only pair who goes full-circle, in a minimally satisfying sort of way, is Kara and Val, whose lovey-doveyness** is almost a shock for a series that’s been wall-to-wall grim for the last couple years. It’s a bit too much, too soon—especially all the childlike handholding—but even sappiness is a nice change of pace for Earth Two.

Obviously, Helena’s not about to be as friendly toward the stranger claiming to be her supposedly murdered grandfather as Kara is to her adoptive mother and girlhood buddy. Bennett-Taylor probably could have let the two Waynes stew in resentment for a while longer, but instead force them into a wry truce by the issue’s end, and even that feels like a stretch. It’s just not convincing that Thomas’ refusing to let his granddaughter take Miraclo is enough to bring that change. Maybe if you saw more of their collaboration during the Bern fiasco, you’d be more sold on the idea of them exchanging grinning banter when it’s over.

“Good job, kid.”

“Give it a rest, old man.”

With the departure of Nicola Scott, things on Earth Two decline visually and significantly. The art isn’t terrible, but it’s a dead-straight, middle-of-the-road product that very often feels too open and generic to fit the supposedly dire situation at hand. Again, this all makes you think the plot doesn’t matter at all, so long as the characters get their warm and fuzzy moments.

– Minhquan Nguyen

 

Grade

C+

Conclusion

Conclusion: Some nice steps forward for some of the newly formed relationships in the series, though not very well sold.Some Musings: * It's also worth pointing out that even though the editor's note expressly places this issue after the events of World's End #1, for people who actually read WE #1, the timing is off because last you saw Val, Thomas, Helena, Kara, and Lois, they were looking in shock at the Fury that just emerged from a firepit.** So between Michael Holt and Val, can we conclude that Kara has a bit of a black thing? I'm just saying.