The Hornblower, we are told, is approaching Earth 2.  This isn’t the character from C. S. Forester’s Napoleonic-era novels of naval adventure, but rather a planet that heralds doom.  Given what we now know of DC’s publishing strategy, the Hornblower is likely Telos, the planet that is a villain.  For one thing, Telos is a Greek word meaning “end” or “purpose” so Hornblower, something that signifies the end, would fit.  For another, we know from solicits for the upcoming Convergence event that several of the main characters from Earth 2 are going to wind up on Telos.

So, if many of the main characters are going to take refuge on the Hornblower, and many others are going to head off to Prime Earth as chronicled in the Futures End weekly, then the plotline for the remainder of Earth 2: World’s End falls neatly into place.  Several thousand refugees will journey to the colony ship hidden by Terry Sloan and discovered by Jimmy Olsen, then use technology of the New Gods to cross into the Prime DCU.  Meanwhile most of the main characters, plus Dick Grayson according to solicits, will likely be bottled by Braniac for storage on Telos, the Blood Moon.

Of course, if the heroes of Earth 2 knew all that, they would likely ask themselves why they bother to get up in the morning, much less struggle against the forces of Darkseid.  Yet, in Earth 2: World’s End #16, the fight against Apokalips actually unfolds with greater effectiveness than we have seen since the first appearance of the Furies.  With the final death of Clark Kent in the Apokaliptan lair deep within the Earth, Thomas Wayne and Company, including Yolanda Montez, Avatar of the Red, finally enter the fray.  Their power tips the scales decisively in creative and interesting ways.  Val-Zod shows that a Kryptonian’s control of Solar energy overmatches a Tamaranian’s.  Lois Lane proves that the organically targeted powers of pestilence have little terror for a robot.  And Yolanda brings a strength that flows into the breach just as the avatar of the Blue falls.

The fate of the avatar of the Blue illustrates many of the problems with this weekly.  This Lovecraftian entity appeared with great fanfare and intimations of mystery and danger.  It might have provided the meat for an entire arc or much more in most books.  But here it simply fills a space and is then discarded.

The same might be said of Helena Wayne.  Her transformation and death might have been a pivotal turning point.  Yet, previews show it is only a pause in the continuing drama, a brief hesitation as the story hurdles down it’s clearly pre-determined path. One suspects that Death’s suddenly appearing child will prove much the same.

This issue continues the tradition of multiple artists in a volume.  But the visual tone is surprisingly consistent, with effective use of splash pages and insets combining with intense colors for character and plot revelations.  One just wishes these revelations could serve a more engaging story.

Grade

C

Conclusion

For once, the forces of Earth 2 come together effectively to oppose their foes. But the Hornblower approaches, and the child of Death is born. It seems the fate of Earth 2 is set, and the future of its heroes is, literally, written. Now, it just remains for the prophecies to be fulfilled.