This review originally went up on The Founding Fields here.
Matt Kindt’s backups on Geoff Johns’ Justice League of America run have been quite enjoyable. He’s done a great characterisation for the Martian Manhunter, giving him a really badass and “don’t mess with me” outlook that I find to be very entertaining. As such, given that he’s also becoming the new ongoing writer for that series from next month, and that I enjoyed his Deadshot Villain’s Month issue for Justice League of America, I was expecting a similar level of enjoyment from this issue. Sadly, he completely fails to deliver.
James Robinson’s first arc on Earth 2 told an amazing story with Grundy, casting him as an agent of the Grey, similar to the Green which powers Green Lantern Alan Scott on Earth 2, and the Green which powers Swamp Thing on Earth 1. We didn’t get to see any backstory on the character under James, and that is what Matt is trying to do here, except that he fails to do anything convincing. And that largely has to do with the fact that this entire story is fractured and all over the place. Events happen, and we don’t get any kind of proper framework to contextualise them.
The story of how a man on Earth 2 eventually becomes a hulking monster, an agent of rot, and wants to destroy everything living, is not one that I understood. I was confused throughout, from about page 3 on. Matt Kindt had a great opportunity here to add to the New 52 version of Grundy’s lore, but he falls far short of that mark. We never actually see Grundy become the monster he is. What it does is make this issue one of the most disappointing of Villain’s Month issues and fractures my confidence in Matt’s writing.
The art here is by penciller Aaron Lopresti, inker Art Thibert and colourist Michael Atiyeh with letterer Travis Lanham. Overall, the art is nowhere near the same level of brilliance as what we’ve seen in James’ comics where the pencils were provided by Nicola Scott and Yildiray Cinar, and this was another disappointment. The art isn’t bad per se, but neither is it impressive in any way. It gets the job done, and that’s about it really.