This series really kicks it up this issue as we meet Commander Amir Kahn of the World Army. Yes, apparently since the Apokoliptian invasion, the governments of the world have come together to form one peace-keeping force and among their efforts has been the development of new “Wonders” (super heroes), including The Atom, The Sandman (or rather, Wesley Dodds and his Sandmen), Captain (not Commander) Steel, and the previously introduced Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders. We get a brief glimpse of the Sandmen in action, rescuing the President and Vice President, then we see Commander Kahn addressing several dignitaries via monitor screens. The powers that be are terrified by Solomon Grundy’s attack on Washington and are planning to take desperate measures to end it, but Kahn, impressed by the reaction from Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkgirl urges them to wait.
With Grundy apparently defeated, The heroes turn on each other, with The Atom attempting to take the others into government custody. The heroes do battle, allowing Grundy to regain a position of power and to take down the super-sized Atom. Hawkgirl and The Flash attempt to save him, while Green Lantern goes after Grundy. Jay actually manages to impress the formerly sceptical Hawkgirl. Green Lantern hatches a plan and enters The Gray in an attempt to cut off Grundy’s power source, but the plan appears to go wrong when The Gray may grant him his greatest wish. (I’m curious how The Gray and The Green from this world tie into The Red and Green from the main DC Universe.)
Elsewhere, the World Army tells Kahn that they have brought in a special consultant, which infuriates Kahn. (And ME after reading the zero issue!) Oh and some nuclear missiles factor in. Uh oh!
I was majorly disappointed with all the prior issues of this series. The art, by Nicola Scott has been the main reason I’ve hung in, but story-wise things really seemed to come together this issue! Kahn is an interesting character and the involvement of the World Army adds an interesting outsider view of the rise of these new Wonders. Al “The Atom” Pratt, a hothead in the old continuity displays similar attitude here, but updated with a more human, realistic slant. I don’t mind at all that this version is more of a mashup with Atom-Smasher from the pre-New 52. The Flash’s skills develop rapidly and he slides into the hero role very well and Green Lantern was just born to do this. Hawkgirl was a cypher up to this point, but at least here we learn that she is a government-created hero that went AWOL. It is established that she and The Atom know one another, which should lead to some interesting developments. Overall, I honestly just felt this book leapt forward in quality this issue. It was actually really interesting and flowed nicely, whereas it had been a bit clunky before. (In my review of issue 4, I pointed out some bad grammar. In this issue, I spotted a few more. I’m going to chalk these up as typos, so I think the fault is with the letterer, not the writer, James Robinson.)
Nicola Scott’s art is… Nicola Scott’s art! My one complaint is she draws such shapely men that I’m going to have to stop criticizing other artists for over-sexualizing female characters.
I’ve been hard on this series, but KUDOS on this issue. It’s actually shaping up nicely. Maybe it just needed time to find its footing.
EARTH 2 #5
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis