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‘Earth 2: World’s End’ #21: it gets better

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Earth 2: World’s End #21
Written by Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson, & Cullen Bunn
Art by Scott McDaniel, Eddy Barrows & Eber Ferreira, R. B. Silva & Walden Wong, Robson Rocha & Guillermo Ortego, Eduardo Pansica & Paul Neary
Colors by Mike Atiyeh
Published by DC Comics

Another week means another issue of Earth 2: World’s End and while the chance for this series to be anything beyond cheap tie-in material to DC’s Convergence event has long passed by, this issue is a shocking improvement to what has usually be a painful slog to read. It’s true that this series has made the terrible decision to split art duties between plotlines instead of individual issues such as with Futures End and Batman Eternal, but for once this series does something that resembles competence.

The story this week is surprisingly better focused than the series has been thus far. Though the issue has just as many excessive characters as it always has, this time everyone’s stories are starting to gel together. Sadly there are no big character stand outs, even with Batman and Huntress. It’s a shame, they tend to be the better part of the series. Here they spend most of their time expositing with the newly introduced Oliver Queen, in this world called Red Arrow. The segment doesn’t really go anywhere (ending on a small cliffhanger.) The rich character dynamic shared between Power Girl, Val-Zod, and Red Tornado is also missing as they spend their entire time fighting wave after wave of assaults form Apokolips. The biggest surprise this issue is that Dick Grayson is involved, and he’s not insufferable. That sounds very negative, but it’s an actual improvement from earlier. Terry Sloan is the real eye-rollingly bad character this time around. Sloan’s whole appeal is his shady, possibly benevolent, possibly evil, attitude. While it worked in the early issues of Earth 2, it becomes grating here.

The art is where this book shines. Not that it’s actually good, but how it’s a massive improvement from before. Though this series continues the sin of its unwieldy art team, this time around everyone has more pages to draw meaning the art styles aren’t changing around every page. This makes scenes much easier to read when they transition between perspectives and is a warm welcome. So much more of World’s End would have been redeemable of the book looked like this. The Batman/Huntress scenes continue to be the best looking, with much more human and rounded faces and are about as close as this series has gotten to resembling Nicola Scott’s style. There’s a notable change with colors as well. The issue’s colored by Mike Atiyeh who offers more varied colors. It’s a godsend compared to previous issues where everything was a terrible shade of red.

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While reading Earth 2: World’s End is the literary equivalent of beating a dead horse, this issue exceeds the series unfortunate low standard. It shows what could have been. In some alternate universe, one can easily imagine this being a dull series to a better book. Getting into this book right now with only five issues remaining is self-defeating but at least James Robinson’s brainchild is dying with a single shred of grace.


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