The Wonders of Earth 2 are facing off with their first true test as heroes, with the destructive force of Grundy sapping Washington, DC of all life.  Our heroes converged in the shadows of the ruined Capital Building, with Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl joining forces to combat the encroaching pestilence brought about by The Grey’s champion.  We were also treated to the presence of The Atom, whose arrival on the Earth 2 scene was heralded at the end of the third issue.  He immediately proceeded to crush Grundy under his massive size.  I was unaware of this, having only known Ray Palmer to be The Atom, but 48 years prior to Ray taking up the mantle of The Atom, the title originally belonged to Al Pratt until 1955.  The Atom of Earth 2 is also named Al Pratt, which adds to the theme of harkening back to the original incarnations of our Wonders.

“Welcome to The Grey” opens up with a rescue of the President as the death-tendrils of The Grey slink their way into the Oval Office.  There is some pretty impressive technology shown here, and as soon as I’m done writing this sentence I’m going to Google who one particular person is so I don’t get side-swiped by another Ray Palmer-Al Pratt oversight.  (Find out more in the Spoilers!)  We are transported to the World Army Central Command Center – which is probably the same World Army that The Atom claimed to be working for – and their leader, Kahn!  Some interesting pieces of information are divulged here, some of which will be added below, but it provides us with some key back-story that had been previously missing.

The rest of this issue is chock full of action, with Wonders battling against Grundy and trying to work together without killing one another.  Flash has some solid moments, and he’s quickly becoming my favorite of the New Wonders.  Grundy is proving to be a powerful and dangerous villain, if that wasn’t clear from the previous two issues, but he seems more unstoppable now than ever before.  We uncover a bit of conflict away from the battlefield, but the most awesome part of this issue is the slow development of a hierarchy among the Wonders. 

Spoiler
Green Lantern has only been around Flash, Hawkgirl, and The Atom for a few minutes, but he’s already asserting himself as a planner and leader.  As a CEO and charismatic business magnate, it feels natural for him to take up the leadership position.

Nikola and Trevor Scott are back as the main artists this issue, but his artwork falters for the first time this series.  Many panels seem way too busy, with speech bubbles and unnecessary background objects cluttering both downtown Washington, DC and the World Army Command Center.  There were also some panels where it felt as if Scott just ran out of time and didn’t have the means of putting in the necessary detail.  In one panel, Green Lantern’s costume looks completely smooth, then in the next his muscles are clearly defined.  It just felt like a record-skip to me, and popped off the page in a bad way.

One last thing; the ending of this comic and the plan that is concocted to defeat Grundy just made me furious.  It was complete nonsense, and if you want my full rant on the unoriginality and cop-out nature of the proposed resolution, do check the Spoilers.  I highly suggest you do so if you don’t like the score I give this issue.  The plan was so rehashed and just…lazy…which is something I haven’t come to expect in a Nikola Scott and James Robinson storyline.  In my opinion, it’s too late to save this fight; just get the predictable ending over with quickly and let’s move on with the story.

Spoiler

  • So the guys who teleported the President out were called “The Sandmen,” and their leader is named Dodds.  Wesley Dodds was the original Sandman from 1985-2011.
  • Hawkgirl, whose name is Kendra Saunders (another throwback), is apparently a member of the same Wonder project under the guide of the World Army.  She is AWOL, which would explain why The Atom was trying to arrest her last issue.
  • That Secret Service guy died the instant Grundy’s tendrils touched him.  The Atom is literally wrapped from head to toe in them.  How did he not die?  Even if he shrunk down, he was still wrapped up beforehand.
  • I cannot stress how much I hate the “let’s enter an ethereal, abstract construct and communicate with it in order to change its mind about wiping out humanity…it definitely won’t try to confuse me by offering me something unattainable and clearly a trap…oh wait…it did, and I’m going to fall for it for a minute but obviously I’m going to overcome my grief and succeed” cliché. I hate it. So much. It’s so overdone and just awful.  I’m sorry, this almost cost this issue 2 or 3 points just for pulling one of the few clichés that are absolutely abominable and should vanish from the Earth.  I hope I’m not the only person who feels that way.
  • Apparently there is more to Terry Sloan than what’s been given to us, and I’d very much like to learn more about his story and why he’s so hated by Kahn.

Favorite Quote: “Hey man, how you doing? I’m Jay – No, I’m The Flash.” – Flash (gave me old-school goosebumps)

Recommended If…

  • You like big-time fights involving heroes fighting heroes and villains.
  • Green Lantern is one of your favorite heroes.
  • You love that scene in every team-up movie where the team members fight each other before joining forces.

Overall: There’s a lot of fighting going on, jarringly broken up by scenes that throw way too much information at us.  This should have just kept to the combat, and I would’ve even been able to forgive the sub-par artwork (sub-par by Earth 2’s standards) if it weren’t for the awful ending.  Sorry Earth 2, but you dropped the ball on that one in my book.

SCORE: 4/10