The previous issue of Earth 2 earned, in my opinion, a perfect score. I have been writing since high school and have always adhered to the rule that the greater the build-up to the climax of a tale, the greater the payoff has to be. Prior to The New 52, I had read all of one comic book, and outside of Scott Snyder’s Death of the Family, no story had a better build-up for me than Tom Taylor’s The Kryptonian. This is my opinion, but it frames the entirety of this review.
Snyder’s stories have been criticized for their seeming lack of a satisfying conclusion to Batman’s epic adventures. Heading into this issue, the six-part arc of The Kryptonian saw the return of Earth 2’s Batman and Superman, an assembling of heroes from across the world, the death of several Wonders and New Gods, a massive fissure scorched through the planet, the appearance of a massive boom tube to absorb Earth 2, and the set-up of a massive battle between the forces of good and evil. The New Wonders and the World’s Army were launching from the isle of Amazonia to combat the hordes of Parademons and an enraged Superman, who has committed acts more heinous than even the Superman of Taylor’s Injustice. At least that Superman did not kill his own adopted father.
The issue picks up where the previous left off, with Red Tornado Lois consoling a grieving Martha Kent in the ruins of her Smallville home. Jimmy Olsen warns her of the impending battle, as well as Green Lantern’s efforts in space to hold the Earth in place. The team has assembled in Geneva and they are ready to fight the entire might of Apokolips. Batman throws himself into the fray with the best moment of the entire issue, and one of my favorite of the entire series.
Superman and Val are at odds elsewhere in the world, with Val still refusing to fight. The action was limited, but at least there was some. I was reminded of that South Park episode where Kenny has to take control of the forces of Heaven to defeat Hell, but the only thing the viewer sees is Kenny playing while an angel comments on how epic the battle is. This was supposed to be the crux of the Apokolips war-machine, and the last of the World’s Army – which still had 100,000 soldiers – and the New Wonders.
Once the action started, I couldn’t shake the feeling that entire pages were missing from the story (find out what happened to them below). A back-to-back sequence felt extremely choppy and terribly edited. Aquawoman and Flash square off with Bedlam in what seems to be the undercard fight for the Kal/Val scruff, and on the next page, she’s thrown through the roof. I bought two copies of Issue 26, because I thought the Selfie Variant was cute, and I actually skimmed through the variant issue to see whether I was missing a page. Then, in two panels, the fight is over. I felt cheated.
I’m not even going to put this in the Spoilers Section because the cover features another flat-out lie. In the latest Worlds’ Finest, Powergirl and Huntress were passing through a pseudo-boom tube and into Earth 2, which was on fire. This implied that the battle between the New Wonders and Apokolips was still raging. On the cover of this issue, Powergirl is seen coming through a boom-tube. This does not happen. There is no mention of Powergirl or Huntress in the entire issue or epilogue. I searched every panel, trying to find some hint of the pair coming to Earth 2, but there was none.
Trevor and Nikola Scott upheld their end of the issue admirably. The up-close facial detail was one of the few positive moments.
Issues such as this that end these overarching stories are generally longer in an attempt to create a more complete and appealing finale. I was looking forward to an extra ten pages of Earth 2 Kryptonian-on-Kryptonian combat, and wanted to see Thomas Wayne in particular tear into the armies of Apokolips. What the reader gets, however, are ten awful pages that serve as an ad for Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity. Some people on this site know where I stand on Grant Morrison’s stuff, so this for me was a double-slap. This was an issue to wrap up a fantastic arc and instead of more much-needed action, I got a terrible ad. I repeat, I got a ten-page ad.
Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I don’t get nasty. I may get cheeky, but there is never any real malice. I hated this issue so much. So much was cut from this book when there could have been a real solid ending. This felt like the hands of someone corporate or the editorial team (Anthony Marques, Mike Cotton, and Eddie Berganza) reaching down and cleaving out entire sections of the intended story in order to provide more room for this Morrison promo. I read it in ten minutes, and I don’t plan on picking it up again.
- So…Superman was Bizarro? It felt like a cop-out, but it seemed like the only place that Taylor could go. After killing Jonathan Kent, a decision had to be made whether or not this was indeed Kal-El. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if it were actually Kal.
- It took one move from Val to defeat Bizarro. Not even a punch, a block. An aggressive block. A block so aggressive that Superman’s speech becomes all Bizarro-y.
- Aquawoman and Flash vs. Bedlam was an even bigger rip-off than Bizarro/Val. She defeats him and then he just runs away with the three people that the Wonders were told to save. How does Bedlam get up, repossess Mr. Terrific, Mr. Miracle, and Sloan, and run away without one person noticing?
- The epilogue was one page, basically ending the series with zero real closure. “Oh, we lost, but we’ll win later, doing the exact same plan.” That was the entire thing. It felt like such a cheap cartoonish ending.
Favorite Quote: “I didn’t come for you or you ‘World Army,’ Khan. I came for him.” – Aquawoman
- You want to finish this arc
- You like the Scott’s artwork
- You’re big into The Multiversity.
I never thought I could feel so cheated and foolish for buying a comic. I have never had that feeling, and it’s not fun. Earth 2 is my favorite series outside of Batman, and this felt like a rushed, poorly-edited excuse for a book that has had an otherwise strong run. This doesn’t get a 1 because of that Batman punch – that sweet Batman punch. I can understand being unable to live up to expectations, but it felt like there wasn’t even an attempt made here.