Earth Two #5

Confession time. To this point I’ve been kind of ambivalent about whether I wanted to continue reviewing Earth Two. As much as I wanted to enjoy it, I just didn’t have much to say about it. Well, I’m pleased to say that this issue seems to be turning that around. I’ve had this written out long-hand for a while and I’m planning on taking this last full week of October to get caught up.

Things get started on a high note by giving us the first onscreen appearance of Wesley Dodds! That excites me more than it should, but everyone plays favorites. On that subject, is it weird that I’m way more argumentative about them making Wesley Dodds a Canadian than I am about them making Alan Scott gay? We also get to see more of the “World Army” that seems to be the foremost multinational actor in the wake of this earth’s alien invasion (also it’s counterpart to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.). Moreover as the situation worsens we see the reintroduction of the nefarious Terry Sloan to events, because bringing in one supervillain to stop another always totally works…

On the ground it seems that The Atom’s unceremonious flattening of Solomon Grundy did not in fact finish the undead menace. This new version of Grundy is honestly pretty terrifying, both in what he can seemingly do and in the awful sickening detail with which Nikola Scott renders him. It is legitimately hard to look at a couple of these panels.

In an interesting turn it becomes apparent that defeating Grundy simply won’t be possible by fisticuffs alone. Rather, Alan Scott must explore the limits of his uncertain new powers to commune with the forces of Green and Grey alluded to by Grundy and the mysterious flame which granted him his abilities. Of course, since he will be defenseless while doing this there’s still plenty of zombie-bashing to be had while the others protect him. Once Scott enters the Grey discovers it to be less malevolent than had been supposed. The Grey simply views itself as performing a primordial function, the purging of a dying race so that planet earth may begin life anew. The simplicity of this goal is matched only by its implacability, and its about as easy trying to reason with a sentient embodiment of death as you’d imagine. The Grey is another area where Nikola Scott really pops this issue, weaving designs that are just unsettling to stare at for too long. Matters are given a final pair of wrinkles as Terry Sloan orders a nuclear strike on the battlefield (he’s fond of those it seems), and the Grey presents Alan Scott with a final temptation: the ghost of his dead fiance…

Unfortunately I keep finding myself pulled out of the story by Jay Garrick’s atrocious Flash outfit. I’m sorry but its just bad. I’ve not warmed to it the way I have the others, and it direly needs a redesign. I’m also not sold on the characterization. I realize that this isn’t the hard-headed elder Jay I’m used to, but he just seems saccharinely sincere in this issue. Maybe the teams needs to have that niche filled, I don’t know, but right now its not doing it for me. That all being the case it doesn’t really disrupt the action or the tension, which there is plenty of and which I feel has been the central missing ingredient of the series so far. I’ve been waiting patiently for Robinson to hit his writing groove, but I feel that I can tentatively say we’ve arrived. We’ve at last got some good momentum building here, and I’m probably the most psyched I’ve yet been about this book.

Now, to see just how many posts I can crank out before the end of the month…

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