Earth 2 #25
Review by Paul Bowler
The heroes of Earth 2 have joined Commander Khan and his troops on Amazonia, the last outpost of the World Army. Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl rescued the Flash, now they must escape from the Beguiler and thousands of Parademons over the North Pacific. Val-Zod must also prepare to embrace his destiny as the new Superman of Earth 2 as he confronts the savage, unrelenting brutality of the evil Superman, the former hero of Earth 2 now resurrected as the Herald of Darkseid, while the world trembles before the might of Apokolips.
Earth 2 #25 is without doubt one of Tom Taylor’s most ambitious issues so far. This extra-sized special is a blockbusting epic that sees many of the ongoing plot thread and characters’ being drawn together as the fate of Earth 2 hangs in the balance. The Kryptonian Part 5 begins as Hawkgirl’s message reaches Batman on Amazonia, former home of the Amazons. As Earth 2’s new Batman coordinates his efforts with Commander Khan, elsewhere on this mystically shrouded island, the young Jimmy Olsen must convince Val-Zod to use his powers to help them fight the evil Superman.
Val’s striking blue and white costume, first glimpsed last issue, is finally revealed in Earth 2 #25 along with an account of the young Kryptonian’s origin. These scenes between Val-Zod and Jimmy are so well written, Taylor has established a great bond between these two characters, and the dialogue really draws you in as Val-Zod recalls events on Krypton. We learn the circumstances which led to him being taken in by Lara and Jor-El before he too was sent into space, along with three others, as Krypton met its doom. Perhaps most intriguing of all though is the mystery of the fourth child that Lara and Jor-El sent away from Krypton along with their son, his cousin, and Val, which offers up a wealth of intriguing possibilities…
The great respect that Val has for the symbol of the House of El is also apparent. His suit was designed to help him survive his voyage to Earth, so it makes Val’s reasons for hiding the symbol, along with his hesitance to use his powers for violence, and his agoraphobia, seem all the more poignant now considering how long he was held in Arkham. His friendships with Red Tornado / Lois Lane, and now Jimmy, have seen the character slowly emerge from his shell, and it’s been great to see him confront his fears and anxieties while discovering his Kryptonian powers.
Just as it seems all is lost for Hawkgirl and her friends, the tide of the conflict over the Pacific turns dramatically, and the Beguiler soon finds herself battling against forces that even she is powerless to resist. While events take a sinister turn in Smallville as the evil Superman and Red Tornado visit Jonathan and Martha Kent, the device that Bedlam has forced Mr Terrific, Terry Sloan, and Mr Miracle to construct is now complete.
Earth 2 #25 has so many key moments it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Tom Taylor keeps the action moving at a blistering pace, quite literally at one point, as the Flash pushes his abilities to the limit, and beyond. I really like how so many of the major characters get to feature in some way during this issue, it really builds on the dramatic sense of urgency, as differences are put aside and the heroes of Earth 2 work together to save the planet.
It was also good to see Dr Fate taking a more active role at last. He seems to have been babbling away on the sidelines for ages now, so I was really pleased with his scenes with Val, and hopefully it looks like Dr Fate will be back in action very soon. Tom Taylor has never been one to shy away from the depiction of graphic violence and wanton destruction in Earth 2 and the events which unfold in Smallville are some of the most shocking we’ve seen so far!
Nicola Scott’s art for Earth 2 #25 is phenomenal, those sunning two page spreads covering the scenes over the Pacific are just stunning, especially when an old ally returns, and the way Flash uses his powers really blew me away. The scenes on Amazonia, with the magical barrier shimmering in the air are beautiful. Val-Zod’s costume and the way his origin is told was also excellent, and his scenes with Jimmy and Dr Fate are another great highlight of this issue. The dark air of menace on the Kent farm is deeply unsettling while the thunderous energies unleashed around the Earth are done so with the familiar technological “pings” of yesteryear ringing in our ears. Nicola Scott is absolutely killing it with every issue of Earth 2, together with superb inks by Trevor Scott, and mesmerising colors by Peter Pantazis, this title is a visual spectacle of the highest order.
While Commander Khan, Major Sato, Batman, and Sandman prepare to lead the remaining forces of the World Army into battle, a clash of the titans ensues as the world teeters perilously on the edge of being drawn through space. Earth 2 #25 is another outstanding issue by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott; its packed with non-stop action, great character moments, and that final page will have you counting the days until the next issue.