Last month marked the start of a new Earth 2 series – Earth 2: Society – which I had been looking forward to once I realized that World’s End and Convergence were both disasters in the making.  Daniel Wilson has taken the reins again and looks to introduce us to a whole new world of Wonders and villains battling for the very soul of the planet.

Like last issue, the narrative this time around is split between two major events.  The first is the present, with Dick continuing his pursuit of Sloan through the skies and buildings of New Gotham.  Opposite that are the events of the previous year, with Sloan sending the vast majority of the refugee ships planetside to establish the twelve major cities of Earth-2.  While the divide between these two can be cumbersome and jarring – usually during a scene so uninspired that it borders on a bad television show flashback sequence where a character stares at an object and initiates a flashback – it serves its purpose.  Time-skips have been popping up regularly in my recent reviews, and while I’m not against them by any means, there has to be some way of progressing the story while informing the audience about what has been going on during said skip.  Wilson hasn’t quite gotten the formula right, but I have high hopes that he will manage to catch up soon.

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One year ago, Terry Sloan sent all multiversal iterations of the TSS Endurance crashing to Earth-2 for more or less unknown reasons.  This issue we see that Sloan was afraid of someone hacking his computer systems and, instead of risking the lives of everyone on board to keep them in space, he grounded the other ships.  Due to the lack of communications, this came across as traitorous to the Wonders, and Sloan accepts the black hat with little begrudging.  Also, we learn that because of the presence of a red sun in Earth-2’s solar system, both Kara and Val have been getting progressively weaker off-panel.  Working alongside Sloan are Wesley Dodds and the other Sandmen, who help Sloan steal something called the Source Vault.

Let’s talk about the Source Vault for a second.  Left behind by Bruce Wayne before his death six years earlier, it holds the DNA and material composition for every plant and animal species on the planet.  The problem being that there are alien lifeforms native to the new Earth-2 before humans inhabited it.  Sloan claims that activating the Source Vault now will give them their ideal planet, and that in the wrong hands they could end up with some kind of nightmare world.

The present centers around Dick Grayson and his search for Sloan, which has all the important parts of most Batman chases.  Awesome gadgets and flying at street-level?  Check.  Disregarding the helpful advice of teammates to go on alone?  Check.  Coming out of the shadows like a bad-ass?  Check.  Awesome brooding scene with lightning in the background?  Check and double check!  I can’t stress how fun this part of the issue was, you’ll just have to read it yourself.

The brilliant work by Jorge Jimenez continues on in this chapter, and I have to say the new Batman design is growing on me.  The classic shot with lightning in the background was stellar, and every scene with Grayson exudes how a Batman comic should be drawn.  Each character is given a cool overhaul; Jay looks more like Johnny Quick than his original Flash costume while Huntress has streamlined her own outfit.  I can’t wait to see what Jimenez does with Superman, Hawkgirl, and Powergirl.  The scenes where the refugee ships are crashing to Earth-2 are chaotic and fiery, with bewildered Wonders scrambling to keep the damage contained.  It perfectly catches the surprise of Sloan’s perceived betrayal, while the tight, focused action of Grayson and Sloan’s chase compliments the reading process.  All-around excellent work.

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Spoiler

  • Sloan ends up opening the Source Vault, which probably won’t end well. While I was hoping for another villain to take Sloan’s place and start off Society in a similar way the Darkseid battle began Justice League, looks like Sloan is still the main antagonist for now.

Favorite Quote: “It only hurts from the waist up.” – Dick Grayson

Recommended If…

  • You want quality artwork from Jorge Jimenez.
  • You don’t mind a lot of set-up.
  • You still want the focus to be on Sloan and Dick.

Not Recommended If…

  • You’ve been wanting more of an ensemble book.
  • You don’t like recap/backstory.

Overall: While the story taking place in the present-day is moving slower than I would have liked, the overall narrative is moving at a solid pace to piece together what readers have missed during the time-skip.  Batman fans will be happy with the focus on Dick Grayson and readers of Earth 2 will enjoy the brief but satisfying cameos from the other Wonders.  Strong artwork and a lot of promise lend itself to the issue and keep me engaged enough to keep reading.

SCORE: 7.5/10