Comic Vine Review

21 Comments

Earth 2 #26 - The Kryptonion, Part Six Review

4

The battle is over, the losses are profound.

The Good

Endings are a tricky thing in comic books. Large events in particular traditionally have trouble sticking landings (Civil War, anyone?) but often the need to return to some semblance of a status quo can render endings impotent and almost meaningless. Clearly that is not the case here as this Earth has been irrevocably changed and no matter how the final battle went, there would be no simple return to normalcy. Normalcy has been dead since issue 1 of this series. Val-Zod confronts Superman and the two crash into each other with enough force to shatter mountains, but theirs is not the only battle. A massive Boom Tube is about to obliterate Earth and it falls to Marella and Jay Garrick to free the trapped minds of the architects of the horrible construct that makes it possible. Tom Taylor is bringing an exceptional amount of wit to the title, in particular the problem of Flash transporting Marella. Ironically, though, the best parts of this book have no humor nor wit as we see a newly powered Val-Zod confront the rampaging Superman and, in a shocking reversal of the usual trend, Zod maintains his promise of pacifism right up until the tragic end. Considering that almost every character who has a vow of non-violence across all fiction winds up betraying it "when pushed too far," or the "for the right reason" and I found this to be an incredibly refreshing and legitimately surprising development and one that I wholeheartedly support.

Nicola Scott ends this arc in typical, fantastic style. Her pencils in this are as good as they were in any previous issue, giving animation to the proceedings and emotion to the characters. I’ve loved her designs and interpretations of various characters, but seeing so many of them come together here is a true pleasure. Trevor Scott’s inks calcify the action, giving a crispness and sense of impact to the series of vicious battles, and even emphasizing certain moments of comedy when they come up. Pete Pantazis’ colors are beautiful and bright, communicating the tonal shift from the grim, horrific violence of past issues to one of uplifting hope.

The Bad

First things first: the cover coupled with the solicitation makes me think this issue underwent a MAJOR change because both are total nonsense. Power Girl is not in this issue at any point. This is as close to an old-school cover where Superman would be killing Jimmy or conquering Earth on the cover only to have the interiors be about the Man of Steel buying eggs and finding out that one was cracked after he left the store as I’ve seen a modern comic get.

I loved everything about Val-Zod that happened in the conclusion to this story, but disliked a great deal about Superman. Without going into too much detail, what exactly happened and why it happened is entirely mystifying and doesn’t even have the barest hint of an explanation. It’s not quite to the level of the writer writing himself into a corner, but it’s close. Additionally, Marella states that she arrives at the final battle not for the World Army but for Batman. I don’t recall any kind of serious relationship forming between the two but even if I'm wrong, the notion that she wouldn’t turn up to help save the ENTIRE world, which INCLUDES the ocean, is a little absurd and seems to serve the cult of Batman a little too much.

The Verdict

This isn’t a perfect ending, but it’s a very good one. It takes a few missteps, but Val-Zod’s arc is ultimately incredibly satisfying and the visuals help elevate it as a whole as well. There are moments of levity and humor, which help contrast the ending, equal parts hope for the future and grim realizations, and it leaves the world in an incredibly interesting place. As long as you don’t take the cover at face value, this is a very satisfying end to one of the most tumultuous arcs in recent memory.

21 Comments Refresh
Posted by HolySerpent

Now I have to buy this issue today, I was going to wait

Posted by HolySerpent

Yeah i just read it , I was really hoping they explain the superman thing. Also does this mean I have to buy future end 1#

Posted by dondave

The reveal was so stupid

Edited by ForeverMan

I felt like they explained what happened to Superman:

He wasn't Superman, he was a deluded shell animated by Bedlam that fell apart as soon as his puppeteer was incapacitated.

At least that's the impression I got from the way things unfolded.

The whole cover thing is indeed pretty corny though. Earth 2 has been pretty bad for that. I still remember issue 7 where GL and Hawkgirl have a conversation, while on the cover they're in a fight "to the death!" lol. At least they were actually in the issue.

Posted by Jay_Russ

Can someone help me understand something because I don't want to start a thread on it. But I thought Earth 2 was where the golden age comic book characters stayed, so to speak. How is there a black superman on earth 2?

Posted by HolySerpent

@foreverman: I didn't get that from the story but that does makes sense. And looking back at the series Bedlam did say he was always in head

Edited by SwampPing

@jay_russ: James Robinson originally used it as a place to reinvent classic characters in a new world. Tom Taylor uses the book to create new Superman characters. It's still well written but it's frustrating to see the JSA characters pushed aside in favor of unrelated characters.

@foreverman And yeah you nailed it on the head there with the nature of superman, I felt that was really obvious. But I guess some people just can't process plot unless it's explicitly explained :/

Posted by Zackisme

I plucked this from the wiki. "Starman admits the possibility that the missing Post-Crisis Earth-2 Superman is still alive (Justice Society of America [second series] #23) despite being lost, whereas Kal-L is dead."

Can someone confirm?

Posted by Rubear

@zackisme said:

Can someone confirm?

Old stuff, Pre-Flashpoint, no?

Posted by Zackisme

@rubear: Forgive me for being slow, but I don't understand.

Edited by Rubear

@zackisme said:

@rubear: Forgive me for being slow, but I don't understand.

That was before New 52 in some ark of JSA. Google tell something about Gog. After Infinite Crisis Earth-2 was reborn with all who ever live on it, including Power Girl and presumely Kal-l. PG showed and fight with another PG (survior of Crisis on Infinite Earths, lived on New Earth, was tossed to new Earth-2 by Gog and returned after that because she was now "At home among atrangers and stranger at home). Don't know about Kal-l so.

Posted by Zackisme
Posted by Undeadpool

@foreverman And yeah you nailed it on the head there with the nature of superman, I felt that was really obvious. But I guess some people just can't process plot unless it's explicitly explained :/

Since it's not explicitly explained, however, your interpretation may be incorrect.

Particularly with what ELSE is implied about the character.

Staff
Posted by DrThanos91

The ending was more than I expected,I kinda wanted more of a titanic clash with the two supermen and Marella and batman dialogue was so unnecessary,it added nothing to her character development just made it seem like she was a fangirl for batman,and she was starting to grow me with her character and strength,I'm glad the wonders were alittle more involved,the ending page with them all together was what I wanted,in my opinion Green Lantern is the leader of the group.

Posted by Alex_Reos

And where was a certain, Catsuited, boxing, Ted Grant to be found in all of this? Or maybe whatever Hourman's real name is? And maybe an awesome-Pre-52 looking Carter Hall?!?!?!?!? Just gotta say... who would have wanted to see the new "wonders" (cause you can't call them the JSA without Wildcat, Hourman, and Hawkman) fight that warhound or bloodhound thing that destroyed the Batcave in #25? 'Cause I did.

Posted by Jana

@drthanos91:

I thought that E-2 Batman released Marella "Aquawoman" from the super prison a few issues back. Therefore, she owes him her loyalty and comes to fight when he calls.

On the other hand, she puts the "World" in "World Army" in quotes to show sarcasm. The so-called World Army does not represent the underwater citizens of E-2. Worse, the so-called World Army imprisoned the queen of the seas, Marella.

Posted by Jana

@undeadpool:

I know I was confused by the ending. I definitely didn't put together that Bedlam's defeat was linked to Bizarro disintegrating. I agree a little more explanation was warranted.

Posted by kantrip

Good ending to a long arc and where I'm dropping off this book.

Earth 2 was a fun book for me that existed once a month outside the New 52 Crossover madness, and both writers did a great job of building up this world with all of its heroes and threats.


Sadly I can't justify a monthly book, and a weekly, and being sucked into a big company-wide crossover (looming on the horizon) so I'm dropping off here. Maybe I'll get it in trades later.

Posted by amoryblaine

I don't understand the confusion. This was obviously the Earth 2 version of Bizarro. Lois has been saying all along that this was not Clark, and I believed her. I suppose that Bedlam's power was keeping Bizarro together by willpower alone and once he was defeated so was the faulty clone. At one point his Superman "S" was on backword, but even before that it was reminiscent of Bizarro's "# 1" necklace. I makes sense that Lois was the only one (of the characters) who would remember the creature.

I think Aquawoman's loyalty to Batman II is founded on the fact that he rescued her from the World Army's basement, not any other previous interaction. She sees this as more than a personal obligation, but as the obligation (and through her eyes salvation) of the Atlantian nation.

I agree that having Power Girl on the cover was misleading. Last month for the first time in my life (I've been reading comics since 1976) I asked for my money back on a comic. World's Finest solicitation promised a link to Earth 2, and I got an unrelated Atom story instead. My money was politely returned to me without question, and I respect DC for that. There is no way I would ask for money money back for this issue. It was jam-packed with quality.

I have been wondering where ("Big"?) Barda and Fury have been. I was hoping to see them and the three misters (Terrific, 8, Miracle) free at the end of this arc, but c'est la vie. Hopefully, Power Girl, Huntress, one-armed Atom, Captain Steel, Hazard, Melody, and Red Lantern will show up before we get into the next major conflict. TPTB have so much to do...

Nicola Scott's art never seems to fail. She consisently gives me everything I need to understand the action. I don't know who is responsible, but sometimes things are too drawn out. Last issue people spent a lot of time talking about how Flash got rid of Beguiler. What happened in ten panels (The discussion, not the action) could have taken place in three. Also, Zod's agnst could have taken fewer panels. Just sayin'.

So, on Earth 2 the planet is a mess, the heroes haven't organized, Sato isn't Judomaster yet, we don't know who Khan's father is, Fate needs some serious help, and Darkseid's minions are learking on the horizon. Count me in.

Posted by hugebone

What I wanna know is: If Superman was actually Bizarro, and Bizarro from the Prime Earth was actually a clone engineered by Lex Luthor, were did this Bizarro came from? The Bizarro World we see on the Multiversity map or somewhere else?

Posted by Harryvine

@jana said:

@drthanos91:

I thought that E-2 Batman released Marella "Aquawoman" from the super prison a few issues back. Therefore, she owes him her loyalty and comes to fight when he calls.

On the other hand, she puts the "World" in "World Army" in quotes to show sarcasm. The so-called World Army does not represent the underwater citizens of E-2. Worse, the so-called World Army imprisoned the queen of the seas, Marella.

A+ bro. Why do people read comics if they can't remember what's going on? I mean this is the easiest of the scholastic mediums to conquer...