Earth 2 has become a planetary trauma ward.  As Apokalips approaches and the forces of Darkseid attack, societies and governments crumble and nature itself explodes into chaos.  Meanwhile, the story of Earth 2: World’s End is on the terminal list, its disparate characters flailing in separate, fragmented plotlines that cannot gather momentum.

In large part, no one element of the storyline can proceed quickly because of the rigid series format in which each issue divides its pages among story segments with different creative teams.  It leads to broken plot threads and poorly-matching art.  This world is coming to an end, and it is appropriate that reading about it brings on discomfort.  However, bringing on a migraine is taking things a bit too far.

In one of the plotlines this issue, the team of Thomas Wayne and friends has discovered Kal El still alive but badly wounded and depowered at the bottom of the Apokalips pit they have invaded.  Evidently Clark and the “others,” whom he does not specifically name, were captured during the first invasion and have been used to power the creation of the Apokalips clones.  Such a plot twist undercuts one of the foundational principles of the entire Earth 2 universe, but nevertheless this is what was explained before Helena Wayne, fresh from being tortured and turned into a monster by Desaad, breaks in on the reunion.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, a grieving Dick Grayson hands over his son to John Constantine and company to rescue.  Dick evidently wishes to stay by the side of the dead Barbara Gordon, despite an incoming tidal wave.  He has just seen Constantine use his magic to force a rioter to commit suicide, and Constantine’s comrades kill several other members of the mob, which might have given him pause.  Nevertheless, despite having sworn to save his family and keep them together, he passes his son to the Constantine gang and collapses by his dead wife in tears.

Speaking of tidal waves, Azathoth, the Lovecraftian Avatar of the Blue, joins the fray against the Furies too late to save Sam, the Avatar of the White, who has just faded away under the duress of multiple wounds.  Whether he is dead or not we cannot say.  Nor can we make much of Azathoth, whose language consists of bits and pieces of Lovecraft’s eldritch chant jumbled together.

Finally, Scott Free, having reached the interior of Apokalips where Darkseid is in some kind of suspended animation, proceeds to pour forth his filial angst to his unresponsive parent.  Having done so, he then attempts to use Mr. Terrific’s boom spheres to destroy Darkseid.  Unfortunately, this New God who is supposed to be the multiverse’s greatest expert on traps, imprisonment, and escape, only succeeds in waking the Lord of Apokalips.  Evidently, judging by commentary from Darkseid’s vicar, this was the plan all along.





What to make of this titanic mess? It's spirited, except when it drags. It's interesting, except when it confuses. It doesn't move the story along at any kind of pleasing pace, and the characters are at best enigmas of motivation and personality. The world is ending, and it's hard to see why anybody would care.