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Earth 2 Issue #5

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

As the Rot threatens to engulf Washington, Commander Kahn monitors the global crisis from deep within The World Army Command Centre. He is busy conferring with his superiors by video link when President Lightfoot is teleported to safety from The White House by Commander Dodds and his squad of “Sandmen”. With the President safe, Kahn is horrified to learn that a nuclear strike is being contemplated to deal with Grundy. Having witnessed a team of “new wonders” fighting the horrific creature, Kahn dispatched The Atom to help bring the situation under control, but with only twenty two hours left to stop the accelerated decay, a nuclear strike on Washington now seems inevitable.

Grundy begins to reassemble himself and cocoons The Atom!

Having crushed Grundy to a pulp with his giant form, The Atom snatches Hawkgirl from the air and demands that Green Lantern and The Flash stand down. While the heroes quarrel spurs The Flash to launch a blistering attack to rescue Hawkgirl, sending The Atom crashing to the ground, Grundy begins to reassemble himself – cocooning the fallen giant in the snaking tendrils of the Rot. Green Lantern attacks Grundy, giving The Flash and Hawgirl time to free The Atom, but as they tear a gap in the tendrils they find that The Atom has shrunk back to normal size.

Unable to prevent Grundy from regenerating, Green Lantern suggests that he uses his powers connection to the Earth’s energies to strike at The Grey, relying on his new friends to protect him while he bonds his astral form to the internal matrix of the planet. The Flash, Hawkgirl, and Atom hold off Grundy as Green Lantern’s mind travels into the inner dimensional fabric of the Earth to face The Grey. Here he learns the horrific nature of this bizarre entities threat, to destroy a world it deems to be a failure and forge a new reality from its ashes. The Grey reaches out to Alan Scott’s mind, proposing an alliance with the Green Lantern, tempting him to betray the world with the promise that he will be rewarded with his hearts desire – the resurrection of recently deceased lover, Sam.

The Flash, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern rush to save The Atom

But time is running out for the fledgling super team as The World Council overrule Commander Kahn, turning control of the operation over to the Terry Sloan, who calmly states that the time for debate is over. The World Council have already taken a private vote, and based on Sloan’s advice; the nuclear missiles are launched to destroy Washington before Grundy becomes unstoppable.

With Issue #5 of Earth 2, James Robinson introduces us to The World Army Command Centre, and its commander – Amir Kahn. This is the first real chance we have gotten to see the inner workings of this organization. Commander Kahn has already deployed The Atom into the field, but he also hints that The World Army does indeed have other “wonders” at their disposal: including Commander Dodds and his squad of Sandmen, as well as Captain Steel who is currently on the other side of the world, and the tantalizing prospect of an unfinished Red Tornado. We already know that Hawkgirl is AWOL from The World Army, and that she has a history with The Atom, but her reasons for leaving and her relationship with The Atom is still a mystery at the moment. Kahn is vehemently opposed to the Worlds Council’s decision to appoint Terry Sloan as an advisor, particularly as Sloan was responsible for the devastation caused to his homeland during the Apokolips War, and his horror when he realizes the missiles have already been launched at Washington is almost palpable.

Jay Garrick uses his super speed to knock The Atom over and free Hawkgirl

The Flash also gets a chance to step up and prove his worth in Earth 2 #5, when The Atom knocks Green Lantern for six, Jay Garrick uses his super speed to knock The Atom over and free Hawkgirl from his clutches. We also get to learn more about the elemental, almost magical, nature of Green Lantern’s powers when he tires to communicate with The Grey. But it seems Alan Scott hasn’t bargained on how devious The Grey would be, as it offers him an alliance, promising to bring Sam back to life so they can be together again. We have already seen how powerful Green Lantern is against Grundy, although The Atom’s atomic energies seem to make him immune to Scott’s power ring, so it will be interesting to see how Alan Scott manages to resist the temptation of  The Grey’s emotional bargaining chip.

The artwork in Earth 2 #5 is as superb as always. Nicola Scott’s pencils and Trevor Scott’s inks really create an epic feel to Earth 2; the attention to detail is astounding, each panel drawing you into the story and action, all gloriously realized by colourist Alex Sinclair. Earth 2 #5 is one of DC’s best team books at the moment, the characters and settings are really coming together now, each hero’s personality is individual and well defined, and I look forward to the debut of even more of The World Army’s secret wonders in future issues