Earth 2 Issue #4
Review By Paul Bowler
This issue opens with a flashback to what happened five years ago to the soldiers in Papua New Guinea after they were attacked by Parademon’s. Having used an Atomic Cannon to beat them off we witness a squad of soldiers searching through the terrible aftermath, where there, amongst the charred corpses, they find the naked body of Al Pratt – the only person to survive the battle. The story then shifts forward to the present day to a military plane as Captain Pratt is about to embark on his first mission as The Atom in the rot infested Washington DC.
Having become infused with the power from the mysterious Embodiment of Earth Energy that saved him from the wreckage after the Bullet Train crashed; Alan Scott has been transformed into the Green Lantern. Still wracked with grief for the death of his lover Sam, the ring he was about to use to propose has now tragically become the symbol of his newfound power. But he has little time to contemplate the uncanny forces which now drive him across the Atlantic to face the opposing power that has risen to destroy the world – The Man of Grey Solomon Grundy!
With the degeneration now affecting Poland as well, Hawkgirl gets Jay Garrack to use his speed powers to allow her to hitch a rid to the source of the outbreak – right into the heart of Washington DC where they come face to face with Solomon Grundy. Hawkgirl orders the Flash to keep out of her way because he is so inexperienced in using his powers, telling him to help evacuate the civilians while she does her best to hold off Grundy with the weaponry at her disposal. Try as she might, Solomon Grundy continues to regenerate at will, making him impossible to kill. Green Lantern arrives to help Hawgirl fight Grundy as The Flash ferries the wounded to safety. The new superheroes are becoming a worldwide sensation on television as the dead matter threatens to overwhelm them, at a crucial moment Green Lantern’s ring seems to run out of power, but before Solomon Grundy can strike The Atom falls from the sky – having grown into a hulking giant – and pulverizes Grundy into the ground. Without pausing for breath The Atom snatches Hawkgirl from the air, he then turns to Green Lantern and The Flash and orders them to stand down – stating he has the authority of The World Army Council.
Earth 2 is rapidly becoming one of my favourite team books in The New 52. Issue #4 continues to build on the rich storytelling that has seen both the origins of The Flash and Green Lantern, James Robinson begins to entwine these individual strands of fate to bring these new heroes together at last. Teaming them up with the new Hawgirl is an inspired choice, I really like the character and they way she has been helping Jay Garrack learn to use his powers – and her bravery in the face of the unstoppable Solomon Grundy is as outstanding as the firepower in her arsenal!
Earth 2 #4 also introduces us two new characters from this alternative universe, Solomon Grundy from last issues cliffhanger, and The Atom. This New 52 version of Solomon Grundy is no brainless monster; instead he is a raw force of nature, the polar opposite of Green Lantern’s powers. The new Atom has a neat military style costume, incredible powers, and seems to have some kind of “history” with Hawkgirl
Nicola Scott’s fantastic artwork coveys the wholesale destruction of Washington to startling effect. The scenes where Solomon Grundy continues to regenerate his wounds are gruesomely realized, it’s great to see the early stages of this new team taking shape. This book is an exciting read, it feels much more like classic DC than some of its New52 counterparts, yet is still very fresh and innovative while offering a new slant on some of our favourite characters of yesteryear. Lets hope The World Army Council have a few more super-powered surprises in store for us.
Earth 2 #4 continues to take the series to new heights, building successfully on its original premise to become an essential monthly purchase.