Last issue ended with the bombshell that one of warlord Steppenwolf’s soldiers was actually the believed-to-be-deceased hero Superman! Except now he is under the control of Darkseid. So now, the most powerful hero ever takes on the rag-tag resistance movement… and makes short work of them.
The heroes must retreat, but one of them may stand a chance against the corrupted Man of Steel. Doctor Fate then begins spewing something about “crumbles” which is surely a hint at things to come, but if it’s a reference to something from the past, I don’t get it. (I did get the reference to a scientist by the name of Robert Crane, however. Anyone?)
Hope may lie in the hands of the new female Red Tornado, who is a bit twisted from what we would expect. And there is a reference to other beings that may prove instrumental. (I’m sensing a new All-Star Squadron coming.)
Nicola Scott’s artwork is fantastic and extra gory in this issue. The gruesome factor has really been cranked up in the last few issues, and that carries on here, but then again “War is hell,” right? In addition to energetic action sequences, Scott does an excellent job with facial expressions and body language.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t quite measure up. It’s not terrible by any means. I just felt that once we hit the “ah ha!” regarding Red Tornado, I was rolling my eyes. It felt too gimmicky. Also, we suddenly had Terry Sloan and Michael Holt side-by-side and not one mention of that fact.
The new Earth 2 Batman also fails to elicit any response from me. The big mystery is “Who is this?!” and I don’t really care. I don’t actually even care if there’s a Batman or even a Superman in this book. That’s probably because my major exposure to the original Earth 2 characters was through the “All-Star Squadron” comic book and neither of those characters were heavily featured in that series.
Even with a new writer, Tom Taylor, taking over for James Robinson, this book is still just barely managing to be average. The artwork is great, but the story is flat and unexciting.
EARTH 2 #17
Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils by Nicola Scott
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver and Hi-Fi