Earth 2 could not have picked a better writer to replace James Robinson, and I’d like to think the reveal created by Robinson at the end of last issue was made specifically to introduce Injustice: Gods Among Us’ Tom Taylor.  If you haven’t read “To The Victor…” please, please, do so immediately.  Ok, now that you’ve done that, back to Tom Taylor; has there been anyone in the past few years to better write Evil-Superman?  With Superman’s return to Earth 2, and his intentions clearly aimed at being the harbinger for Darkseid’s return, the world faces its worst threat ever – it’s most powerful Wonder.

If I had to pick one person to combat Superman and save the world from his wrath, my #1 pick would be his greatest ally, the Batman.  And just from the cover of ”The Dark Age Begins!” you can see that this is a grittier and more menacing Dark Knight than ever before.  The issue opens up, however, with a quick recap of the end of “To The Victor…” explaining Superman’s return and his actions since killing Steppenwolf.  We cut to the flagship of the World’s Army fleet and the World’s Army’s main base, where a new Wonder is rising to give Earth 2 another defense against Superman’s rage.

Spoiler
Red Tornado is apparently imbued with Lois Lane’s memories and personality?

The remaining Wonders and World’s Army fighters try to come up with a plan to defeat Superman, analyzing his weaknesses and trying to determine who would be best suited to take him down. 

Spoiler
They choose Doctor Fate because of his magical abilities.  It does not go well.
  Superman is not their only problem, however, as someone is sneaking around the facility, heading towards the “stasis chambers.”  A few thoughts: this place is called “The Arkham Base,” and there are “stasis chambers” involved – put the pieces together.

Now, without spoiling anything here, something happens that causes a string of nonsense to be spoken.  There’s actually a lot in the babbling randomness that is coming out, but I’ll go into more detail in the Spoilers.  It seems like a lot is going to happen in the next few issues, and Superman’s return will be just one of many things to come that will shape the face of Earth 2.  The final pages show just what the World’s Army has been hiding, and hopefully the World’s Army knows what it’s doing, or Superman won’t be the only problem they’ve got.

After Superman’s reveal last issue, “The Dark Age Begins!” is more of a static issue, with the majority of the story focusing around Superman’s rampage and the scrambling defense of the Wonders.  Tom Taylor seems to be easing into his next “Batman versus Superman” story, but if Earth 2 raises itself to the level of Injustice, expect much more from the title as Superman turns on his former world.  The artwork is solid as always, but the story does not progress much; the Wonders are gathering their forces to bring the fight to Superman.

Spoiler

  • The intruder was Batman, duh, and he has some classic Batman-in-tight-corners-taking-down-soldiers moments.  It was cool to see.
  • Green Lantern is probably dead, seeing as how he was caught up in the Omega Beam strike that levelled all of Dherain and left a massive scar on the face of Earth 2.
  • Flash and Doctor Fate get own by Superman, but both survive.
  • Ok, so the Doctor Fate ramblings.  Here’s what he says, “The space door opens! Crumbles…The Queen! It crumbles, Green! Crumbles, the queen, speed broken! The child, the resurrected hope, angel in the slaughter, they come from the fires! The alien, crumbles green, it crumbles!”  Pretty intense stuff.  The Green is probably Green Lantern, and he’s crumbled?  Like dead?  So a lot of people are dying?  Speed broken would mean Flash, who gets his ankle broken by Superman (I keep relating to Jay more and more), the alien might mean Superman?  The resurrected hope would be Batman? Or Lois?  Angel in the slaughter has to be Hawkgirl, yeah?  So much to examine!!  Who’s the queen? Who’s the child?
  • People I think I saw in Arkham Base’s stasis chambers: The Riddler, The Joker, Azrael, The Penguin, and Man-Bat.  Let’s not use all of them; less characters probably means better story.
  • Superman kills Lois’ father, but it seems that General Lane thinks Lois is Earth 2’s only hope.

Favorite Quote: “The world’s scarred and burning – dark god’s preparing to claim it.  Criminals and madmen may be Earth’s only hope.” – Batman

Recommended If…

  • Tom Taylor and Injustice are on your favorite writer/title lists.
  • You want to see the aftermath of Superman’s return.
  • You want to watch rookie heroes try and stop Superman.

Overall: This being Tom Taylor’s first issue, not a great deal happens.  The world is still reeling from Superman’s return, with the World’s Army and the New Wonders preparing to sacrifice everything in order to save their world.

SCORE: 6/10