The last few issues of World’s End have been above-average, which is a compliment of monumental proportions considering the nonsense that this series has pumped out these last months.  But here we have the makings of the plot-driven, action-loaded story with character depth that we should have had all along.

Outside Atom’s Haven:  Yolanda Montez, also known as Wildcat, formerly known as the Avatar of the Red, is seen alive and well after giving her strength to Green Lantern.  It seems she will have some role to play going forward with Earth 2.  Above her, Alan’s plan to shield the planet has failed, and he has managed to buy the rest of the Wonders only a few precious minutes before Apokolips starts feeding again.

TSS Endurance:  A thrown-in segment, as usual, that could have been accomplished in some other way, the crew of the Endurance receives a call from Major Sato that they will be carrying about two million survivors.  It must really suck for the people who couldn’t make it to Atom’s Haven, which is pretty much anyone who didn’t live in America or the very few who were saved by the Sandmen.  Sorry Bolivia, you need to get your own Wonders to sacrifice themselves to build an underground bunker and create an interdimensional space ship to ferry them to safety.

Amazonia:  Kalibak has knocked out Jimmy Olsen, who is confirmed as a New God.  To some people this is not such a stretch for him, but this whole development is pretty insane for those of us not familiar with the character’s history.  Kalibak and Barda get distracted, delving further into The Villain’s Handbook: Section 14, Article 3 – “Right before the villains kill an important hero or someone who will be needed in the story later on, they will bicker amongst themselves, giving the hero enough time to escape.”  This comes right after the “talk to long and let something happen to allow the hero to escape or win” article.  The surviving scientists and Barda warp to Atom’s Haven in a boom tube.

Atom’s Haven:  The refugees from Amazonia arrive in Atom’s Haven and are tended to by Sato and Steel.  Barda, shockingly, somehow manages to evade them, beat up a guard unnoticed, steal clothing, and then have some kind of conversation with another villain from Apokolips who is yet to be revealed.  I have money on Desaad.  Meanwhile Batman and Huntress lead the evacuation of the remaining refugees, and we get another awesome heart-to-heart moment between the two that this series has done a fantastic job of pulling off.

The Stratosphere:  Yeah!  Fighting!  Alan, Val, Kara, and Lois team up to do battle with the soldiers of Apokolips in the skies above Earth 2.  It’s mostly straight-up combat, but it’s filled with a very cool sequence that blows away most of what World’s End has done.

Let’s jump right into this; the artwork is astoundingly beautiful.  Ortego et al kill it with this issue, especially in the latter half of the book.  The entire Stratosphere segment is vividly drawn with a wide array of colors coming together in one explosive scene that I would gladly frame if the paneling job wasn’t so terrible.  Whoever designed the panels should have just made this a single page splash and it would have been even more incredible.  The rest of the issue is pretty par for the course, with the Batman scenes also shining in their own way.  The Dark Knight looks imposing for a drug-addicted grandfather, which is hard to do, but all props go to the art team on this one.

Spoiler

  • Alan creates a giant spear of light to blast through the shield around Earth 2, allowing sunlight to come through. This powers up the Kryptonians, who will be at full strength for the first time in several issues.

Favorite Quote:  “A lot can change in a few minutes’ time.” – Val (or a few issues’ time)

Recommended If…

  • You’re in it to win it.
  • You appreciate great artwork.

Overall:  The last few issues of this book have been a solid improvement over what we’ve been given with World’s End.  Impressive action, high-quality artwork, character development, and the semblance of a coherent storyline are coming together to raise my hopes just enough to keep buying this.

SCORE: 8/10