Robin War #2 has a pretty big plot twist, takes some risks with the character of Dick Grayson, and has an energetic blend of art styles from the big painted imagery of Khary Randolph to the slow burn storytelling of Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez.
Working off a story from Scott Snyder and James Tynion, Tim Seeley turns in a script for Batman and Robin Eternal #3 that is simultaneously full of bouncy Bat- (or Robin) banter with some choice douchiness from Red Hood and scenes both past and present featuring the dark psychological effects of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. This is somehow connected to the “mysterious” Mother, which our heroes are no closer to finding her identity. But there is still plenty of conflict as Dick Grayson’s Spyral colleague Poppy Ashemoore goes off the reservation, and threat level of the series increases when an important supporting character is put in the crosshairs of Mother and her creepy operatives.
After last week’s blockbuster opening, Batman and Robin Eternal #2 has a little bit of a sophomore slump as a mysterious assassin almost beats Harper Row (aka Bluebird) to death until she is saved by Dick Grayson and a silent, deadly Cassandra Cain, who runs off to do other mysterious things. After the extended action scene, most of the issue is Stephanie freaking out about Dick being alive along with a flashback of Batman and Dick Grayson as Robin fighting the Scarecrow with some twisted, horror influenced art from Paul Pelletier and Tony Kordos and a bendy, trippy color scheme from Rain Beredos. This sequence makes up for a mostly lackluster fight scene between the mystery attacker, Cass, and Dick in which Pelletier starts strong with a kinetic double page spread of a full bodied kick from Cassandra Cain before pulling back from the action and even using storytelling shortcuts that diminish potential acrobatics from Grayson.
Steve Orlando, Stephen Mooney, and colorists Romulo Fajardo and Jeromy Cox are in fine form in Midnighter #5 bringing the witty one-liners and ultraviolence that has become this series’ formula while adding some extra moral dilemmas and eccentricity thanks to our special guest star Dick Grayson. However, everything isn’t fun and games as the issue’s final page cliffhanger hits Midnighter in what his closest equivalent to happy place and adds another layer of mystery to the proceedings.
Batman and Robin Eternal #1 is a genre spanning (superhero and possession horror), kick in the pants start to this weekly comic event. Scott Snyder and James Tynion set up a creepy, overarching storyline for the series by exploring the tragic side of being a Robin. (They don’t usually get out alive.) Artists Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea use speed lines, little circles, and every tool in the action cartoonist’s toolbox to give the comic a hyperactive feel as the various Robins swing, kick, and ride into action while wisely utilizing full page spreads for surprise reveals that burst the nostalgia bubble of “Batman and Robin forever”. By the end of Batman and Robin Eternal #1, readers will see the relationship between the Caped Crusader and his various sidekicks in a new, complicated light.
In Midnighter #4, our titular anti-hero continues to hunt down Akakyevich, the man who has the secret of his origins and God Garden implants, but this isn’t all darkness and angst even though readers do find out why Midnighter likes to kill. Instead, writer Steve Orlando and artist Stephen Mooney, who recently illustrated an issue of DC’s digital series Bombshells, bring out DC’s resident chiseled beefcake Dick Grayson for a team-up as they fight Russian vampires (kind of) and a testosterone heavy “thrill killing” club. Mooney uses triangular panels to add punch and panache to the fight scenes while Orlando utilizes both a monster of the week storyline and special guest star to further his long game plot with a jaw dropping final page as the cherry on top.
Being a travel agent on Earth-2 definitely has to be the Seventh Circle of Hell of careers. Sure the folks on the Nazi Earth or the Crime Syndicate Earth have their jobs cut out for them trying to convince anyone that their universe is a nice place to visit for even a nanosecond. But as Highfather’s sacrificial lamb to keep Darkseid from preying upon the whole of existence, Earth-2 makes a pretty strong case for having it the worst of all. That’s not the breaks, that’s just harsh beyond measure. But now Convergence has ushered in a whole new world — in the most literal way possible. Taking these characters in a completely new direction, Earth-2: Society makes a bold attempt at getting the Earth-2 line to hit its stride in ways that have eluded it since its inception.
DC’s latest event comic reaches its second (technically third) issue and continues the trend of disappointment. Despite a star studded cast of the excellent Earth 2 hero roster, Convergence has had very little to do despite all the publicity hype and the bringing in of countless parts of DC’s history. With so many great stories on the table, it’s a shame that this story ends up so empty.
After a rather uneventful #0 issue, DC’s big Convergence event starts in full. For those not in the know, Telos, a living planet, has served as Brainiac’s dumping ground captured cities. With Brainiac dead, Telos takes his master’s plan in a new sinister direction sets the cities to full-scale war with each other and only one may survive. What throws a wrench into the works is the arrival of Val-Zod, Thomas Wayne, Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Dick Grayson, and Yolanda Montez. They’ve been saved from death at the hands of Darkseid but now find themselves at the center of Convergence. However, given they’ve been trapped in Earth 2: World’s End for six months, this must be like a holiday for them.
It’s the same old drill again, another issue of DC’s regular installment of disappointment. Guess it’s time to get it done. Earth 2: World’s End reaches issue #24 and is set to conclude in two weeks. Looking back on the last six and a half months leads one to conclude that the finale will most certainly be disappointing given how mismanaged this entire endeavor has been since day one. That being said, this week brings shockingly the closest knit issue to date, that is to say, there’s something that ties the many plot lines together and not something like the terrible art or drawn out fight scenes.
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 stuck 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.
Last week, Earth 2: World’s End did something unexpected, it improved. With the help of Cullen Bunn, issue #19 has some moments to shine with great characterization and heart-felt moments to wash out the terrible artwork and redundant Life Avatar battles. All of that goes right down the tubes as World’s End falls back into line with over-stretched plot lines, sloppy science fiction, and egregious artwork.