Still recovering from the end of San Diego Comic Con? …
Writer Gene Luen Yang excels at writing Clark Kent go-getter reporter and Clark/Superman and Jimmy the best of pals. But he abandons the danger and mystery of Clark and Jimmy investigating a piece of futuristic weapons technology that will affect the welfare of Metropolis for a vague mystery story and a costume swap with Daredevil. It’s great that Yang is deciding not to use traditional Superman villains, like Lex Luthor, Zod, or even Parasite, to weaken him, but these baddies lack bite, style, and motivation. Artist John Romita Jr. also abandons his crisp (with some extra lines) compositions for a quick cutting car chase that needed some extra pages to breathe. Superman #41 starts strong, but ends up losing its solar energy just like its protagonist by the final page.
JLA #1 is another feather in Bryan Hitch’s artistic cap as he excels at showing superheroes in action along with labs, helicopters, explosions, and even a decent flirty interaction between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. However, his plot maybe suffers from some hypercompression as ideas, threats, and allies are introduced at a rapid pace without proper establishment. There are also a few story logic issues, The Flash and Green Lantern are written interchangeably, and Cyborg is kind of treated as deus ex machina. These misfires make JLA #1 an average comic with great art.
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.
As DC’s next big soft-core reboot begins underway, one of the most troubling facts to acknowledge is that despite the compay’s claims to have a new marketing strategy with a wider target audience in mind, that some of their most troubling decisions dating all the way back to 2011 are going nowhere. Case in point, just about everything involving DC’s handling of Wonder Woman, not just in comics but also video games, animated movies, and very likely the upcoming live action films, seems to be stripping the character of the revolutionary feminist philosophies that she was born from and replacing it with the same toxic masculinity straight out of 300. DC has taken William Moulton Marston and swapped him for Frank Miller and it still remains one of the New 52’s cardinal sins that intends to live on beyond Convergence.
Convergence #0 occupies a very strange space. DC had a bout of #0 issues a while back, not only an entire month dedicated to them but also a few afterwards such as Harley Quinn #0 and Justice League United #0. The problem with #0 issues in general is that they tend to fall into one of two categories, either a) just the first issue of the actual book or b) pointless prelude material that will only be explained in the #1, making the issue itself nothing less than a cynical money grab. Convergence #0 is the latter.
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.
Like a weekly root canal, it’s time to endure Earth 2: World’s End again. At least there’s solace that this defilement of this once great universe will soon end. What is truly making this final stretch of World’s End appalling is how little is happening. The last twenty two issues have featured their cast effectively spinning their wheels in the mud and one would assume that’s to kill time, both to justify this book’s status as a weekly and to build up to a great planet shattering climax. As previously stated, the end of the world is shockingly dull.
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.
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.