Just as it is almost too late, half-way through the story and with only twelve issues to go, Earth 2: World’s End finds its heart.  As he pilots his spacecraft on a doomed attempt to destroy Darkseid’s tower, Amir Khan observes that “All that is not given, is lost.”  That statement underlines the tragedy and triumph of his own futile but noble effort, and might have done so for the entire plotline of Earth 2: World’s End.

The problems suffered by this series come from its subject.  This is a story of destruction and failure.  That is a big enough challenge, as the story of Earth 2 began on a note of hope and rebirth, only to end with all of those efforts and dreams coming, at least apparently, to nothing.  But failure does not have to mean tragedy.  Defeat that illustrates noble ideals and high morality can uplift and inspire, rather than depress.  Think, for instance, of Julius Caesar, on one level the story of how the noblest Roman of all comes to his doom, but on another a celebration of honor and trust in the face of death, betrayal, and corruption.

That the authors of Earth 2: World’s End are not so many Shakespeares does not condemn them.  That would be an unrealistic standard for anyone.  But that their story is depressing and dreary rather than exciting and motivating is a condemnation.

Earth 2: World’s End #14 contains many moments that show the possibilities of a storyline that on the surface appears dark as midnight.  The noble sacrifice of the Atom, giving his life so that the people of his world might have refuge, is the most obvious example.  But so is the painful effort put forth by the embodiments and avatars of Earth.  On the other hand, the unfolding storyline deep in the fire pits of the doomed planet only muddles things, as do the events on Apokalips, which seem designed only to provide a technical plot point for later issues.

The story of Earth 2 Dick Grayson is, for once, of great interest.  The idea of Dick Grayson training with Ted Grant rather than Bruce Wayne has potential to provide a different take on two familiar characters.  Unfortunately, it also reduces Barbara Gordon’s death to cheap, standard motivation, the kind of thing for which superhero stories have long come under justified condemnation.

Overall, the art and coloring of Earth 2: World’s End #14 proves effective.  The shadows are darkening, the lines becoming rougher, the movements and poses more desperate.  The only glaring failure was a vision of Chicago after a tidal wave that might have been any inner city after a simple rainstorm.

Grade

C

Conclusion

Amir Khan emerges as the moral heart of the series as he declares that "All that is not given, is lost." Unfortunately, this weekly comic has reserved too much, and is in danger of losing it all. Let us hope that Khan's exhortation is not too late for his world, or for his comic.