With the forces of Apokolips finally stopped, apparently Earth 2 got no breathing room because we jump ahead five years and see that, apparently, there was some kind of mass exodus from that dimension into Earth Prime. Authorities are now armed with special goggles that allow them to see dimensional origins and prejudice and xenophobia against those of Earth 2 abounds. Daniel H. Wilson shows us an amazing snapshot of a world in absolute turmoil with a whole new slew of slang and technology as a result of this dimensional transference. And while it may seem absurd that the prejudice would go so deep and so thoroughly, they make it clear that the populace of Earth 2 often look and even behave like their Prime counterparts, which would definitely create some seismic shifts in both perception and reaction to these outsiders. In just one issue, we get all of this established and fleshed out with an incredible economy. We see what happens to a well-known, well-liked celebrated presence like Mister Terrific who is suddenly “accused” of being from Earth-2 and how quickly it ruins him. We see a vicious, horrific team-up from two of the most brilliant minds from either dimension, unshackled by morality or conscience and see a relationship that spans two worlds. This is a grandiose, sweeping epic of an issue.
Eddy Barrows handles pencils and the panels themselves, the visuals they communicate, look great. The detail level is extraordinary, the character designs are interesting and the sense of having captured a moment in time is perfect. Eber Ferreira handles the inks and sharpens every panel with little touches that bring out the grim tone of the story and that brings us to the colors by series regular Pete Pantazis. Though he’s no longer working with the Scotts, the previous EARTH 2 artists, Panatizis still brings his trademark dark, grim tone to a book that definitely benefits from it in big ways. His colors are bombastic without being bright, giving the book an action feel while grounding it in darkness.
While the visuals and the writing are great from one panel to the next, when taken as a whole this book is incredibly difficult to follow. Its pacing is all over the place, time stretches and shrinks at the whim of the creators and there were a number of times I couldn’t have told you what was happening or why. The entire issue feels like it was a story arc compressed into a single issue with characters practically hurling themselves from one page to the next like they’re trying to beat the clock. The person on the cover is also featured for a grand total of one page, and it’s a page that adds absolutely nothing to the story and tells us nothing about the universe, especially since we’re not even guaranteed that this is anything more than a self-contained one-shot.
I love the concept of this book and I really enjoyed the visuals as static images, but taken in aggregate this book is all over the place and extremely difficult to get into. I would have actually preferred if this were just a blueprint or a snapshot of this world with an overarching narrative rather than focusing on the few characters it does. Those characters give us a glimpse into the world, but the pacing is such that they’re almost impossible to follow and wind up working against the strength of the issue rather than with it.