Tom Taylor’s had enough time to get acclimated to his new role as writer on this title and it definitely shows. We’re getting a loosening of the frantic, constantly shifting plot and getting to know some of the new characters who’ve been introduced as well as some old favorites that were able to weather the storm. The story most centers on Batman and company returning to his cave to plan their next move and to try and get the Kryptonian Val to overcome his fear agoraphobia and face the conquering Superman. It’s...definitely a process. We also get to see what said conqueror is up to and...well it’s definitely not collecting for the March of Dimes.
On art we have mostly Barry Kitson with Robson Rocha on four pages in the middle of the book and the transition between the two, brief though it is, is a smooth one with Kitson’s style flowing perfectly into Rocha’s and then right back into Kitson. Kitson also supplies his own inks with Oclair Albert backing up Robson Rocha and Pete Pantazis pulling everything together color-wise. The colors are a big standout in this book with them looking vibrant and gorgeous, particularly during one scene at the beginning of the book involving Aquawoman, and communicating both the dim, dreary underground and the savage, explosive action above. As a general thing, the art works very well in the portions that take place outside the Batcave, they’re detailed and action-packed with a lot of great moments and some very impressive visuals.
There’s no way around it: this is a filler-issue. We get to see Aquawoman work her awesome power at the beginning, but apart from that this is an issue about regrouping and reassembling. That’s not a bad thing inherently, but it makes it that much more difficult to keep things moving at a brisk pace. I absolutely feel like a break was earned, but I also feel like the Annual covered that fairly well and this issue just seems to spin its wheels. There’s also a very, very strange statement made that I won’t spoil here but, if true, it means I do not like where a certain part of this is heading.
I danced around the art above because there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on, but something about it just seems flat and drab. The facial expressions are all somewhat similar and since it’s mostly dialog, diversity of expression is a premium that should be invested in. Parts of the issue just look rushed.
I’m not willing to write off Earth 2 yet by a longshot, this is one decent issue against three good-to-great ones, but I’d like to see it get back on track and focus on either bringing the team to bear or even starting to strike back. There are still a few players who’ve yet to enter the arena, so I’m still anticipating more goodness out of this book.