Well, it’s finally come, the last issue of Earth 2. The reason Earth 2 and its weekly series Earth 2: World’s End gets reviewed every week is that despite all the bad worlds said about in the last six months, Earth 2 used to be one of the best books coming out of DC. In fact, it was one of the few books that made the New 52 somewhat justified in its existence. Instead of rehashing older stories or making embarrassing changes to characters older than the company that published them, Earth 2 did something different. It build a whole new world from the ground up, embracing its comic book roots by being a series about ordinary people swept up into the world of the impossible, and altruism and hope overcome the darkest to times. It broke standards by bringing Lois Lane, who’d been killed off panel for little purpose, back from the dead as a superhero and making Val Zod a more true-to-nature version of Superman than Superman has been in years. It was helmed by the great James Robinson and continued by the excellent Tom Taylor. Yet that golden age has come to a close, for the past six months DC has done everything in its power to sabotage this series. It turned this book into little more than a tie-in to World’s End which itself is little more than a sloppy mess of a title, stumbling its way to the finish line. What little gems of aspiration could have been found were buried under editorial mandate and terrible management. While this series will live on after the upcoming Convergence event as Earth 2: Society, the damage has been done. There is little to no hope for this series to ever reclaim its greatness. Hence, it is with a heavy heart that this is the last issue of Earth 2.
Despite being the finale to a fantastic title, this issue is a dud. While it does break the wretched tradition by carrying over from last issue, it is still utterly forgettable. There are moments where it grabs ahold of that tattered banner of optimism that once defined this series with a fantastic scene from Commander Steel. Hawkgirl does enjoy some much needed time in the spotlight that she’s shamefully been denied the whole series. However much of this is undermined by the lack of a narrative. Despite so many characters to focus on, this issue is entirely about the dull plot line of Dr. Fate not trusting the helm of Nabu which grants him his powers. In the end, the heroes all accomplish nothing but delay the destruction of their planet and the victory they have is little more than stop a big drill from digging into the Earth. There are references to this week’s issue of Earth 2: World’s End but the comic does nothing to inform the reader the proper reading order. In fact, the book itself seems ahead of the World’s End’s production schedule. To top everything off, there are even obvious spelling errors. It’s amazing that a group of three writers and a trinity of editors can’t notice when “guys” is meant to be “guns.”
The book manages to be uninteresting on a sheer aesthetic level. While Any Smith is a good artist, it’s clear he’s long lost interest in this title. He tries to recreate the great president of Nicola Scott but it all looks devoid of life and energy. There are cases of calves cut off by foreshortening and tiny bean shaped feet. In fact part of the issue is covered for Smith by Airi Kamiyama, marking her debut in American comics. While Airi is likely wise unable to recapture Nicola’s energy, when she’s not impersonating someone else, she creates what is hands down the best image of the issue, a rendering Hawkgirl’s wings ins beautiful detail. Hopefully she’ll be allowed to experiment and develop her style as she really does shine in this one image. Her presence here is the one truly interesting moment of this issue.
Surprising no one, Earth 2 leaves with about as little dignity and grace as there is to be expected behind the writing team of World’s End. While there are a few moments to shine, they’re overcome by all the uninteresting ones. With a final moment to say something about Earth 2, Wilson, Bennett, and Johnson have nothing of value. This issue isn’t about continuing a story as it is putting down a dog. If only it had been put out of its misery sooner.