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Earth 2 #22

Review by Paul Bowler

Things look bad for Earth 2 as the forces of Darkseid continue their attack on Earth 2, all hope seems lost, but suddenly a light begins to shine in these dark times when Green Lantern is reborn from the ashes of defeat. Having taken refuge in the Batcave, the remaining wonders can only wait as, Val, the young Kryptonian they saved from Arkham, learns to use his powers, with the hope that he will help them fight the evil Superman. Now that Darkseid’s herald has learned of Val’s existence he sets out for Gotham with a squadron of Parademons, determined to crush the young Kryptonian and deal with Batman’s sudden return…

Tom Taylor beings us right back to the moment where Green Lantern was beaten to a bloody pulp by Superman in Dherain, as Earth 2 #22 transports us back into the inferno unleashed by Steppenwolf’s demise at Superman’s hand. The power of Green Lantern was given to Alan Scott by the very essence of the planet itself, now that same power suddenly returns to bring him back from his death in the raging heart of the terrifying maelstrom of Godfire that consumed him and gouged a massive scar across the surface of the world.

Green Lantern’s resurrection is stunningly crafted; Nicola Scott’s art elevates this scene to an epic scale, as Alan Scot returns from the ashes and bones of Dherain’s destruction. It’s a powerful and striking image, with skulls bathed in the glow from Green Lantern’s power ring carpeting the ground for as far as the eye can see. Perfectly accentuated by Trevor Scott’s inks and Pete Pantazis’ bold colors, this moment gets Earth 2 #22 of to a rousing start.

Earth 2 #22 (Cover )

We then check out what’s happening back at the Batcave, as Red Arrow and Jimmy Olsen try to make sense of Dr Fate’s ramblings, and Red Tornado continues to advise Val as his Kryptonian powers begin to develop. I really like how Tom Taylor has made Lois Lane such a pivotal character in this storyline. The Kryptonian Part 2 continues to see Lois adjusting to her new life in the android body of the Red Tornado, there is an especially moving scene when she is taking to Val, and she catches sight of herself in a mirror. Its scenes like this that really makes Earth 2 something very special indeed and the poignancy of this moment remains with you long after the issue is over.

Tom Taylor keeps things bubbling away at Bedlam’s science facility where Mr Terrific, Terry Sloan, and Mr Miracle have been captured and forced into helping build a boom tube capable of transporting Earth 2 through space. Superman quickly learns about the circumstances behind Val’s arrival on Earth – as well as his fellow Kryptonian’s full name – and how Terry Sloan’s kept the young Kryptonian hidden in Arkam’s basement in a secret cell. Furthermore the herald of Darkseid soon discovers what he perceives to be an even greater threat as Bedlam replays the images gathered from Arkham by the Parademons.

My favourite scene in Earth 2 #22 is where Lois / Red Tornado and Val leave the cave. Having spent his whole life in Arkham, the young Kryptonian is gradually overcoming his agoraphobia. Here we witness the pure joy as he discovers the wider world outside the Batcave, his senses evolving with each passing moment, before taking to the skies with the Red Tornado. Here we get to see that Earth 2 is much more than the all-out-action of previous issues, as Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott deliver a delightfully simple, yet wonderful moment, one that sparkles with awe and laughter as Val makes his first tentative attempt at flight.

The joy of Val’s first flight is short lived as the Parademon horde rapidly approaches Gotham; fortunately Hawkgirl is around to warn them. Earth 2 #22 wraps things up in style as the Parademons begin their attack. With the Red Tornado and Hawkgirl up against impossible odds, the bone crushing finale moments hurtles towards you before setting up the potentially game-changing confrontation we’ve been waiting for.

Overall this was a really good issue, with some fabulous character development, and plenty of action to keep us on the edge of our seat. While its been intriguing to guess what Dr Fate’s ramblings are about, he makes a very sad sight this issue, forlornly gazing at the cracked Helm of Nabu and mumbling in the corner of the Batcave. I just hope Tom Taylor brings Dr Fate back to normal soon. He’s a great character with so much potential and it’s been a shame to see him reduced to this state, especially for so many issues.

So, this is another great issue then by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott. Earth 2 #22 certainly seems to be setting things up for something really big, especially given Alan Scott’s resurrection and this issues cliff-hanger ending.