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Subj: Earth-2:Society #18 - Regaining Cohesion.
Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 at 10:23:00 am EST (Viewed 907 times)
There isn't much to say on Earth-2:Society #18 that I did not say last time. The plot sees the continuation and conclusion of Dan Abnett's several issue-long mission to try some degree of integrity to this critically damaged series, and with this issue suffice to say he finally achieves his aim, and deserves a good deal of respect and due credit for doing so.
After nearly three years of terrible chaos and woeful negligence the world that we were introduced to in James Robinson's imaginative reworking of the Earth-2 concept is restored. The series has a future again, rich in possibilities. Full credit to Dan Abnett for his determination and rather skillful method in returning some respect and real potential to the series again. From the sick man of the DC schedules to what may become a remarkable turnaround - The transformed book, deservedly, now being all his! A testament to some fair ingenuity on his part and nothing left to lose with this burnt out dead-ended series.
With a striking use of colour and visual minimalism the tale opens once again on the streets of a strange half-formed limbo that recreates in faint outline the Metropolis of old earth, we are in surreal territory and artist Bruno Redondo manages this challenge with commendable flair and skill. As the scene opens with The Batman, Huntress, and John Grayson cautiously striding down the eerie white-voided 'street' the contrast between this stark white environment and the three blackclad figures is as much symbolic as it is visual, three redundant dark knights on their fruitless patrol, with no more nights.
That Dick Grayson has submitted himself so deeply into the Batman mantle that he now keeps his beloved son at a cordial arms length is a matter we will just have to accept as-is, as the character depth in Earth-2 has never been much of any priority. But then this storyline is not about character, it is simply the urgent need to get this cast back to a recognisable and workable backdrop they can operate in once more. Once that goal is reached then, hopefully, the real character development can begin. But despite the continual threats of the shadowy Sandmen that appear from nowhere to assault there is still time for some small character moments, as Val-Zod arrives on the desolate lifeless street it is he that takes some rational stock over the strange events and spares a moment to move to consol the isolated figure of Fury. The scene is a small but rather significant one as Fury blames herself for triggering the Pandora's Casket left to her by the Amazons, the decision leading to the desperate situation around them, and to their detriment her sometime colleagues have spared not a jot of compassion or any attempt to put themselves in her position and try to understand real reasons for her doing as she did. Its a shameful buisiness. Val-Zod however does recognise her terrible position. And apart from being a return to the pacifistic values he was first introduced with this display of common compassion and the willingness to undertand the other is what makes for any Superman deserving of the name. Something Dan Abnett clearly recognises and goes to pointing out in scripting this moment.
A moment of kindness, the simple reaching out of friendship, and the transformative effects are warming to watch unfold. As Fury regains her self-worth it is she who then takes the initiative, and in doing so moves one step closer to allowing some greater understanding of what it is that is occurring in this ghostly half formed cityscape around them... Cohesion is Imminent.
Taken at first glance Society #18 offers only light fare, merely the logical continuation of the situation left from the previous issue's installment - that of a patient waiting game in a timeless limbo with our cast, for some event that a barely heard communication announces will occur shortly. Dan Abnett's focus here is, by sheer necessity, purely on progressing his aims to restore Earth-2 to a point where it can once again become a viable place for hich the readership would want to visit and a healthy homeground by which to operate in for its colourful but perpetually adrift cast. Abnett's urgent goal is to return them to the place they called home and in effect offer al concerned the well deserved chance to start over afresh, in a brighter tomorrow.
Due to the years of appalling mismanagement this series can never be held up as any great example of storytelling or what the Superteam book is capable of achieving, and this is all most unfortunate as when it started out the series was an exceptionally daring and bold update of the Earth-2 concept that had all the potential to do just those very things. And yet when all of the recriminations and rancour are done over what has happened since, and we arrive here here in the present for Dan Abnett's thankless task in taking on the scripters role, for despite my scathing views on the series' handling these last years by the publisher I cannot in all good faith help but sincerely admire and compliment both he and his artist, Bruno Redondo, on their keenness and brave efforts to forge ahead with this very ill series and administer what has turned out to be a rather successful and intriguing rescucitation-in-progress. With the striking visuals of Shadowy Sandmen swooping from above like merciless batmen, to the quieter more subtle moments between characters that is not always apparent on a first reading. Even after nearly five years this cast of characters is such a strange arrangement, neither an official grouping, nor even with any true consensus between them on what it is they stand for. In real terms this remains a series without an identity. But by managing a successful restoration of the true essense of Earth-2 it may be at least that Abnett and Redondo have returned the status-Quo and rationale to where it was those five years ago when James Robinson and Nicola Scott first introduced us to the vibrant new world of Earth-2. And for that they both deserve a sincere congratulation... for what awaits tomorrow may indeed be the brighter tomorrow so long awaited by what few readers this series has managed to retain during the last four years of foolish deconstruction.
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