EARTH 2 has been one of the most surprising break-out hits of DC’s New 52, particularly for a book that, for most of its first 2 years at least, didn’t ascribe to DC’s apparently unspoken policy across all titles of featuring Batman in at least half its issues. The driving force of James Robinson’s pushing of the envelope (remember issue 1? Where he eliminated the Earth 2 Trinity?) combining with Nicola Scott’s eye-popping visuals made the title impossible to ignore. So it seems only appropriate that Robinson’s final issue be an absolutely stunning one.
The World Army combined with the Wonders have been absolutely devastated, crashing against the cliffs that are Steppenwolf and his unstoppable Hunger Dogs of Apokolips and this month, the battle is set to end in crushing defeat at the hands of Apokolips’ stranded forces. This issue ends with one of the most amazing twist/cliffhanger endings I’ve seen in a long, long time and one I am intrigued to see the next writer (Injustice’s own breakout star Tom Taylor) take and run with.
Nicola Scott is, likewise, at the top of her game portraying the abject despair of the failed assault as well as the absolutely savage viciousness of the Hunger Dogs and Steppenwolf. Last issue gave us a lot of fluid, dynamic moment-to-moment shots while this issue focuses more on embedded-style war stills and the effect it achieves is absolutely fantastic. I feel like her panels should be calmly narrated in a Ken Burns documentary. All credit to Trevor Scott’s clean, defining inks and Pete Pantazis’ gorgeous, crystal-clear colors as well, the art on this issue is nothing short of gorgeous. The art illustrates the pacing shifts perfectly as the book transitions from a longview to a more in-the-moment pace and despite how different they both are, they both work.
It’s Robinson’s final issue! It also contains a LOT of two-page spreads and while they’re absolutely stunning, it does make the issue a very, very fast read. I’m kinda shocked that DC doesn’t seem to have a “Mature Audience” rating as a T seems like it doesn’t quite do this book justice. I say this as someone who isn’t bothered by it, but it bears mentioning.
What an issue to go out on and what an moment to leave on. Again, the twist/reveal/cliffhanger is absolutely jaw-dropping, and there’s no hyperbole in there. Even the Juan Doe propaganda-style cover is a thing of beauty and fits into the narrative and the story. Rereading the issue, I’m already seeing plenty of hints that I missed to the reveal, so it’s definitely not a twist for twist’s sake, which is the hallmark of an excellent one. The entire tone of the issue as a superhuman war that looks more like the traditional wars that have been fought has been an interesting tone that the book has taken over the last several issues, and this closes that out perfectly. There’s plenty of story still untold and plenty of loose ends to tie up, but even as an issue, this was amazing.