The war between Earth 2 and Apokolips isn’t going in Earth’s favor. Superman takes the two Mister Terrifics and The Flash captive, before holding an explosive press conference in which he declares that the planet is now under the rule of Apokolips.
Elsewhere the heroes are scattered, with Dr. Fate dazed and rambling words that will surely pay off in the future. Then the Parademons attack en masse.
Last issue, Batman assembled a “B-Team” of sorts, with the aid of Red Tornado (Lois Lane, although Batman doesn’t realize it’s her yet), and freeing Queen Marella of Atlantis (an Aquaman/Mera stand-in) and Jimmy Olsen, who has a photographic memory and threatened the government with his hacking ability. As they make their escape, Jimmy tells them there’s another who should join them, an alien that Terry Sloane was keeping hidden. There’s a bit of a mislead as to who the character is, but Batman figures it out.
This issue seems pretty bleak, but there are signs that things are about to turn around. However, I am starting to see what others have been complaining about– that this book is turning into another Batman/Superman book. It was pretty refreshing that the book was built around Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkgirl with The Atom and Sandman on the fringes. But that team never even really had time to gel before even more characters have been shoehorned in, unfortunately including Batman and the new brainwashed Superman, not to mention Lois Lane as the new Red Tornado and Jimmy Olsen.
But at least these are unique takes on the characters. This isn’t any Lois or Jimmy that we’ve seen before. They’re still playing all mysterious with Batman, but his secret identity was already spoiled… actually months ago, although I just found out myself. Queen Marella, like Aquaman in his own book, is cranked up and insanely powerful.
The art is consistent and as attractive as usual. I like the design of “Dark Superman” a lot and the new character Val is quite striking. And the scene of Superman, ahem, causing great destruction is rendered fantastically! And one shot of Hawkgirl is really impressive!
The cast is ballooning to Legion of Super Heroes proportions, but the story is picking up and does keep things interesting. I hope to see Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkgirl and Doctor Fate take back the spotlight. I really don’t need a new Batman book. But all and all, not bad!
EARTH 2 #19
Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils by Nicola Scott and Robson Rocha
Cover by Barry Kitson and Peter Pantazis