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Earth 2 #26

Review by Paul Bowler

The final battle begins in Earth 2 #26. A massive Boom Tube has opened in space. While Green Lantern attempts to prevent the world being transported to Apokolips, the Wonders of Earth 2 have united with Commander Khan and the surviving World Army forces to attack the facility generating the Boom Tube in Geneva. The young Kryptonian Val Zod must now battle the evil Superman as Earth’s fate balances on the edge of oblivion…

Events take a dramatic turn in The Kryptonian: Part 6 as Tom Taylor steers the conflict on Earth 2 towards the mother of all showdowns between the combined forces of this parallel world and the might of Apokolips itself. After last issues extra sized prelude to this main event, Earth 2 #26 wastes no time at all in plunging you right into the thick of the action, with Green Lantern using all his power to stop the world being dragged through the Boom Tube, while Batman leads the charge against Bedlam’s base in Geneva, and Val Zod steps up to the plate as Earth 2’s new Man of Steel to confront the wrath of Superman, the former protector of this world, now transformed and resurrected by Apokolptian science as Darkseid’s crazed Herald.

Tom Taylor rounds off the current Kryptonian storyline in Earth 2 #26, with an issue that’s positively bursting at the seams with action, as we see Val Zod embrace his destiny as the new Superman of Earth 2. Faced with an army of Parademons and Warhounds standing between them and the complex housing the source of the Gateway threatening the world, Batman forms a plan with Aquawoman, Flash, Hawkgirl, Major Sato, and Commander Khan’s forces to breach the facility so they can free Mr Terrific, Terry Sloan, Mr Miracle, from Bedlam’s mind control and shut down the device they’ve been forced to build.

Earth 2 #26 (Cover)

Earth 2 #26 certainly has more than its fair share of action, and Tom Taylor does an excellent job maintaining the pacing and structure of this issue while balancing all the characters and big action set-pieces. Its great to see all the Wonders of Earth 2 working together as a team, there are some great moment of characterisation as well, along with a couple of surprising plot twists that few of us could have seen coming either. Unfortunately there’s no sign of Dr Fate this issue, which is a shame really, as it would’ve been great to see him take part in the battle.

The scenes in Smallville, where Lois and Martha are still reeling after Superman killed Jonathan Kent, as the young Jimmy Olsen continues monitoring the global situation from Amazonia are handled really well. Tom Taylor has written some really strong roles for all the female characters of Earth 2, especially Lois Lane, her resurrection as the Red Tornado was an inspired move by Taylor, and her role proves even more crucial now following the events at the Kent’s farm. Aquawoman is another great character, regal and powerful, Queen Marella dominates every scene she’s in. The way she puts Commander Khan in his place when she arrives in Geneva is priceless, dismissing Khan’s greeting with hardly a glance, and her clash with Bedlam leaves us with no doubt that the Queen of the Sea is a mighty force to be reckoned with.

Ever since the Superman returned from the dead as the crazed Herald of Darkseid and Val Zod was discovered in Arkham Asylum, the inevitable showdown between these two Kryptonian powerhouses has been the major event that we’ve all been waiting for. One of the four Krytonians that Lara and Jor-El sent into space before Krypton was destroyed; Val Zod was then hidden in Arkham Asylum by Terry Sloan. It’s been fascinating to see Val’s character progress over the course of this storyline, as his new friends Jimmy Olsen and Red Tornado helped Val overcome his agoraphobia and he learned how to use his powers. Now his journey has come full circle. Val Zod’s confrontation with the evil Superman is the undoubted highlight of this issue as Val’s vow of pacifism clashes with the raw power and ferocity of Superman’s wrath.

Nicola Scott’s art is as superb as everything we’ve come to expect from her work on this series. Earth 2 #26 contains so many artistic highlights that you will be completely immersed and swept away by the sheer spectacle of it all. Nicola Scott has excelled herself with this issue, along with inker Trevor Scott, and colorist Peter Pantazis, every page is so vividly detailed and crammed with action: from the Warhound flattening Bat-Punch, to the epic scale of the ground battles themselves, and the conclusion of Val‘s showdown with Superman, this issue of Earth 2 has it all.

Earth 2 #26 is also Nicola Scott’s final issue. Nicola Scott has been with Earth 2 since issue #1, she has brought so much to this series, creating the distinct look and style of this parallel world, its technology, and of course its heroes. Nicola Scott’s contribution to this series has been outstanding, and I look forward to her future projects.

So, with Nicola Scott’s departure, a new era of Earth 2 is set to begin. First off we will discover what happens during the major clash of worlds in Futures End, followed by a glimpse five years into the future, with September’s special tie in issue Earth 2: Futures End #1, before Earth 2 #27 hit’s the shelves (Oct 8th) and the new DC Comics weekly series, Earth 2: Worlds End, debuts in October. Earth 2 #27, written by Tom Taylor, also sees Marguerite Bennett joining the main series as co-writer, (Taylor and Bennett are also part of the writing team on Earth 2: Worlds End), with Andy Smith taking over as Earth 2’s series artist.

While not quite living up to the promise of the great cover by J.G Jones and Paul Mounts, Earth 2 #26 is still an excellent issue. Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott have wrapped up this storyline up in fine style, with its brilliantly staged action, beautiful final page, and intriguing epilogue, the possibilities for the future look very promising indeed….