Earth 2 #14
Review by Paul Bowler
While a crowd in Rio watches in horror as Captain Steel staggers from the fire pit, his body ravaged by flames and warning everyone about the Red Lantern trapped inside the pit, Hawkgirl encounters the new Batman in China during her investigation into Sam’s death. Tired of waiting for the World Army to strike at Steppenwolf in Dherain, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Doctor Fate decide to launch their own pre-emptive strike against the warlord of Apokolips – declaring war on Steppenwolf as they race across Dherain’s inland steppes towards the nation’s capital, Draemyre.
James Robinson cranks up the action as the New Wonders of Earth 2 prepare to take on the next big threat to their world. Green Lantern believes that by attacking Dherain ahead of the World Army invasion his Global Broadcasting Corporation will be able to use the media- spin to get public opinion on their side. After boldly declaring war, Green Lantern leads the Flash and Doctor Fate into their first engagement with Dherain’s army. Although they make light work the opposition Doctor Fate is quick to warn them how achieving their goals may come at a price, and even he cannot predict the outcome with events as momentous as this.
As Green Lantern, Flash, and Doctor Fate prepare to face another wave of troops, word of the New Wonders attack reaches Steppenwolf in Dherain. The warlord of Apokolips has been expecting them and orders the release of his “Hounds”. While a fleet of battle cruisers led by Commander Khan and General “Stormy” Foster prepare to fly into Dherain, the New Wonders are surprised when Colonel Dodds and his Sandmen, along with the Atom and Red Arrow, arrive to help them. Dodds understands why the new heroes of Earth 2 want to help, but he is worried their actions might impede the World Army, and potentially jeopardize the offensive against Steppenwolf. The tense standoff is broken when they are all attacked by Steppenwolf’s “Hounds”, three mysterious super powered beings, who vow to destroy them all.
Earth 2 #14 is an incredibly fast paced issue, bursting with intense action, and Robinson also manages to squeeze in some great character building moments for the New Wonders as well. I like how Green Lantern is adapting to working with the other heroes, they are developing a great bond, and he seems more like a natural choice for leader now than he did in the early issues. The moment where Doctor Fate hinted that victory could come at a price was quite foreboding, and it highlighted just how significant this moment is for Earth 2. It was also great to see Colonel Dodds and his Sandmen again, although Flash wasn’t too pleased to see the Atom, and we finally get to meet another World Army operative – Red Arrow. Instead of brining Sloan to help with the invasion, Commander Khan has brought his own genius, Mr Terrific, to assist them. The addition of General “Stormy” Foster is also a nice reference by James Robinson to another All Star Squadron character from the golden age, the mystery man known as the Great Defender, Stormy Foster.
Nicola Scott’s artwork on Earth 2 #14 is incredible, every page is overflowing with action as the New Wonders take the fight to Steppenwolf, the inks by Trevor Scott enhance every detail of the explosive advance on Dherain, and the glorious colors by Pete Pantazis helps convey the raw power of this first engagement. There are plenty of spectacular action set-pieces as Green Lantern, Flash, and Doctor Fate battle the Dherain army on the inland steppes, the World Army also make an impressive entrance as Dodds confronts the New Wonders on the field of battle. The fleet of battle cruisers make an imposing sight as they fill the sky, enhancing the suspense as the impending conflict with Steppenwolf looms on the horizon.
Steppenwolf’s “Hounds” each have a very distinct look about them: one is a fearsome warrior clad in armour; there is a woman who appears to have some kind of energy powers, and scrawny looking man. Although we know little about them at the moment, or their powers, these dogs of war seem hungry for a fight, so it looks like we are in for one hell of a battle. Earth 2 #14 has a fantastic cover by Juan Doe, featuring a striking mural of the New Wonders of Earth 2 painted on a brick wall topped with barbed wire.
It has recently been announced that Tom Taylor, writer of DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us will be taking over as the writer Earth 2 with issue #17 in October, following James Robinson’s recent announcement that he will be leaving the series and DC Comics. Tom Taylor is an excellent choice to replace Robinson, he will join artist Nicola Scott, who is remaining with the series. While it is a great shame that James Robinson is leaving, I’m convinced that the series will be in safe hands with Tom Taylor, and together with Nicola Scott’s amazing art I’m positive they will continue to explore the limitless potential this title has to offer.
In a statement to MTV Geek by DC Comics, artist Nicola Scott said of Tom Taylor’s appointment as writer on Earth 2: “I’ve had so much fun working on Earth 2 with James Robinson over the last year. While I’m sad to see him go, I’m really looking forward to exploring the ever expanding mysteries of the title. I’m even more excited about moving forward on this journey with my great friend and fellow countryman Tom Taylor! Not only a charming guy but a great talent to boot. She continued, I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have lined up!” Earth 2’s new writer Tom Taylor also spoke about his admiration for Earth 2: “I’m a big fan of what James and Nicola have created so far with Earth 2, and I’m honoured to be adding to this world, with its rich characters and its many mysteries. Earth 2 is entering a new age, and I’m thrilled to usher in this new age with my good friend, and fellow Australian, Nicola Scott. It was good of DC Comics to give Australia our own Earth to play with. We’ll try not to wreck the joint.”
With the announcement of Tom Taylor as his successor, the future of this title seems assured, and with all the speculation out of the way it will allow us to enjoy every moment of James Robinson’s last few issues on the series. I sincerely hope the majority of the outstanding storylines are resolved satisfactorily so that the transition will be relatively smooth and Taylor will be able to build effectively on what has already been established.
The bells of St Dramemyre ring out in Earth 2 #14, much to the displeasure of Steppenwolf, to herald the onset of war as the New Wonders of Earth 2 lead the charge into battle against Dherian and its new ruler. This is another great issue of Earth 2 by James Robinson, it really feels like this storyline is building to an epic conclusion, with everyone banding together in the fight against Steppenwolf as the fate of this alternative world hangs in the balance.