Thursday, September 4, 2014

Earth 2, Volume 4: The Dark Age


WOW, talk about a reversal of fortune.....James Robinson leaves, Tom Taylor takes over, and not only does EARTH 2 become readable/enjoyable, it becomes FREAKIN' GREAT!!!

 This is not to say that it's a perfect book.....I'll address the small complaints in a bit.

 EARTH 2, VOLUME 3: BATTLE CRY (Review here...) ended with a massive cliffhanger, as the Apokalyptician underling, Brutaal, was revealed to be a mind-controlled Superman, now loyal to Darkseid, who promptly tore Steppenwolf a new one (Literally!) before taking off to grind the Earth under his Kryptonian bootheel in the name of Darkseid.

 EARTH 2, VOLUME 4: THE DARK AGE is just that: Darkness, darkness, darkness....Superman seems unbeatable, the fire-pits are spewing forth hordes of Para-demons...can mighty Darkseid be far behind...? The bright spot in all of this is that new writer Tom Taylor wisely downplays James Robinson's bland team, choosing to play up the mysterious new Batman (Who gets a very clever origin in this volume!) and his rag-tag team of freedom-fighters, which includes Jimmy Olsen, Aquawoman, and Red Tornado. (I hate Red Tornado with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns....he's one of those characters that writers continually try to foist on you, again and again, despite the fact that they're NOT....INTERESTING.....IN THE LEAST!!! Taylor does the unthinkable, and gives us an interesting Red Tornado. I can hardly believe I typed that last sentence.....)

 Taylor also seems to have decided not to bother with some of Robinson's dangling plot threads, either, and that doesn't sit quite as well with me. While I can live without knowing why Alan Scott's dead lover may or may not have been trafficking in dead Para-Demons, I have a hard time seeing Mr. Terrific fighting alongside Terry Sloan, Earth 2's answer to Lex Luthor, a man who abducted (And brainwashed and tortured...?) him, without so much as a cross word. Plus, we still don't know just how Sloan KNEW about Mr. Terrific, how he defeated him, how and why he held him captive....it's a big gap in the story, and I hope it's addressed sooner, rather than later.

 This is dark stuff, to be sure.....Taylor, between EARTH 2 and INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US, seems to be DC's go-to-guy for dark stories involving planetary destruction at the hands of an insane Superman.  But I can live with that....Taylor has turned around a dead book, and actually has me looking forward to Volume 5.

 EARTH 2, VOLUME 4: THE DARK AGE collects EARTH 2 #'s 17-20 and Annual #2, complete with all covers and variants, and includes a small sketch/original art gallery

 DC Comics provided a review copy.