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Earth 2 #32

Review by Paul Bowler

All seems lost in Earth 2 #32 as the heroes of this world prepare to defend Atom’s Haven, the last refuge for the survivors of Earth 2’s war with Apokolips. Earth 2’s avatars have fallen, Amazonia is now in ruins, Mr Miracle and Holt are trapped, Deathspawn has covered vast swathes of the world in molten metal, and Apokolips itself about to drill into the planets surface. Could this really be the end of Earth 2?

Well, not quite… Although this is the final issue of DC Comics monthly Earth 2 series, World’s End isn’t over just yet. Earth 2’s war with Apokolips will continue over in the World’s End weekly series, as the story builds towards its conclusion in Earth 2: World’s End #26 (On sale 1/4 /15).

Earth 2 #32, written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson, does a reasonable enough job including all the main characters gathered at Atom’s Haven as Apokolips surrounds the Earth and prepared to use a gigantic drill on the surface. Yes, that’s right, most of the main characters actually appear in this issue of Earth 2, wonders will never cease! Dr Fate also returns after his trip to Apokolips from last issue, and it’s great to see Khalid reunited with the Flash and Hawkgirl.

In fact, it’s this brief moment that Earth 2 #32 finally recaptures a little of the essence that originally made this comic book so good. I haven’t reviewed Earth 2 for quite some time. Frankly, after Earth 2 #26 (Nicola Scott’s last issue as regular artist) I slowly became disillusioned with Earth 2 and the new World’s End weekly book. I found World’s End to be very inconsistent and disjoined, worse still, the monthly Earth 2 series became a shadow of its former self, with the main characters often sidelined completely by the banal excess of subplots and characters that World’s End discarded like scraps from the table.

EARTH 2 #32 (Cver)

To its credit, Earth 2 #32 does have a few standout moments. Captain Steel’s confrontation with Batman was good, and we also got a rousing speech from Commander Sato as these ten heroes bravely prepare to stand together against the gods: “For Earth!” Hell yeah, you tell ‘’em Val Zod! For me though, the real highlights were the scenes featuring Dr Fate and Hawkgirl as they attempt to shut down the drills power source. Kendra’s close bond with Khalid as he struggles to resist Nabu’s powerful influence when he uses the Helm of Fate is crucial here, providing some terrific moments that will delight fans of these characters. We also finally get to see how Hawkgirl got her wings during an intense and emotional flashback to events in Egypt, when Khalid donned the Helm of Fate for the first time, and saved them both.

Earth 2 #32 is a fairly consistent looking issue as well. Featuring pencils by Andy Smith and Airi Kamiyama, inks by Trevor Scott and Airi Kamiyama, and colors by Peter Pantazis, the action flows nicely from scene to scene. Earth 2’s heroes flying dramatically into battle is another high point, those flashbacks in the tomb are effectively structured, we’ve the explosive results of the attack on the power source, and lastly there’s a very impressive final page that hints at so much more for one character …

I’ve collected Earth 2 since the monthly title began, it quickly became one of my favourite team books, and it was also the first comic book I reviewed here on Sci-Fi Jubilee when I started my blog. Even though I’ve disliked World’s End, I’m glad I’ve stuck with the Earth 2 monthly book until the bitter end.

For me, I guess everything that was great and good about Earth 2 was defined by James Robinson and Nicola Scott in issues 1-16. Those early issue were superb. James Robinson did a terrific job reinventing these classic golden age characters, while Nicola Scott’s fabulous artwork established the distinct look of this world, its characters, and even its technology. Although I was disappointed when James Robinson left Earth 2, I still thought Tom Taylor was a good choice to take over the writing duties Earth 2; he brought in new characters, action-packed storylines, and reinvigorated the series to a certain degree.

However, despite being optimistic about World’s End, I felt the monthly Earth 2 series quickly deteriorated from issue #28 onwards. With all the changes on Earth 2 the writing and art seemed to lose all sense of cohesion. I still hung in there, hoping Earth 2 would improve, but I think I’d guessed the writing was already on the wall.

I am vaguely curious to see how World’s End concludes, or perhaps I’m just morbidly fascinated, to be honest I’m not really sure how I feel about it anymore. Seeing Earth 2’s steady decline has been difficult. Or maybe I’m just a bit fed up that a comic book series that I really used to enjoy got so totally distorted beyond all recognition and swept up by yet another big event, re-launch, or whatever…

At least Earth 2 #32 was a relatively good issue to end this monthly series on, nice to have one last reminder of how good this series could be. Its just such a shame that Earth 2 became something that was little more than a bland supplement to World’s End. I’m hoping something good emerges from DC’s Convergence event, perhaps the new Earth 2: Society and Dr Fate titles in June will recapture the magic of Earth 2 for me, fingers crossed.

 

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