Earth 2 #31 review

This issue should have been renamed “The People We Forgot to Include in World’s End,” because that’s essentially what this was.  It takes all the Wonders who were barely mentioned and then never brought up again in World’s End and gives a hastily-told story that serves as little more than unsubstantial fluff.  Writing duties fall to the team from World’s End – Daniel Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson.  This week has been kind to this writing team, as they’ve been able to produce two quality books at the tail end of their run.

Most of this issue follows Doctor Fate, who is featured prominently across that very awesome cover.  Khalid is fending off Parademons with Flash and Hawkgirl, presumably sometime between defeating Famine and the return of the Geneva Wonder Squad.  Khalid and Nabu argue over priorities for a few pages; Khalid wants to stay on Earth 2 and help his friends evacuate civilians while Nabu wishes to go to Apokolips.  Nabu wins out, and they warp to Apokolips to uncover some secret knowledge.

On Apokolips, Doctor Fate travels through the Apokoliptian Hall of Lore, where we are reintroduced to Arcanis.  Avid readers of World’s End will recognize Arcanis from the scenes in the Court of Apokolips.  She is the keeper of the Apokoliptian lore and tricks Nabu into joining himself with one of her enslaved mages.  Nabu finds himself subjugated to the mage’s power, and is forced to use his magic to burn Earth 2 again.  How, or in what manner, is never explained, but it’s a statement about how detrimental Nabu’s pride is.

This brings up an interesting dynamic with Doctor Fate that I have found interesting throughout reading Earth 2 and World’s End.  KhAlid is a necessity, a host that Nabu needs in order to extend his power out into the world.  While Khalid serves as Nabu’s body, there is a strange and unexplained dynamic that goes on between them.  It is not like the bond shared by Nabu and Kent Nelson in the comics or shows like Justice League and, to a much greater extent, Young Justice.  In those cases, Nabu has almost complete control over the host.  In Earth 2, Khalid rarely refers to himself as Doctor Fate, and in this issue outright introduces himself to Arcanis as Khalid.  This is probably one of the major reasons why I like Doctor Fate as a Wonder so much.  There is this dynamic, internal struggle that occurs within him whenever he and Nabu disagree, and that struggle is on display throughout this issue.

Doctor Fate

A much smaller portion of this issue follows Aquawoman, who has been missing from Earth 2 and World’s End ever since she released Azathoth.   She talks for a bit about how many Atlanteans have lost their lives and that the remaining survivors must join with the surface people.  There is a cool scene where she absorbs water from the atmosphere to help heal some stranded sea life, which is something I haven’t seen before as only a very casual Aquaman reader.  My biggest problem with this section was the clear time lapse that occurs between this and World’s End.  When exactly does this happen?  The Atlanteans were killed way back in the beginning of World’s End, so what exactly has Aquawoman been doing all this time?  There is no way to reconcile the lost days from her last scene and this issue, and serves as another reminder of the poor planning of World’s End.

The artwork fell to two creative teams this issue, with Andy Smith and Trevor Scott handling the Doctor Fate scenes while Cliff Richards worked on Aquawoman’s.  The artwork was above par, as has been most of the work done in Earth 2.  Aquawoman’s section in particular worked well with the overall tone of the book and the time during the story when this issue takes place.  We have all but neared the point where all seems lost for our Wonders, and the stark comparisons of Earth and Apokolips are all too prevalent.  The only real life is when Aquawoman brings water to the dying sea creatures, which stands against the desolate landscapes.

Favorite Quote: “There will be no victors – only survivors.” – Aquawoman (Pretty much the theme of the last four months)

Recommended If…

  • You’re a fan of Doctor Fate or Aquawoman.
  • You’ve been following Earth 2: World’s End.
  • That sweet, sweet cover appeals to you.

Overall:  An entertaining look into two of the more criminally underused characters from the Earth 2 series, this issue tries but fails to become more than what it is – a filler.  Until Convergence hits next month, it would seem this book will finish its run as little more than supplementary material to an inferior book.  That’s the real shame.

SCORE: 6/10