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Subj: Earth-2:Society #19 - The Brand New Day.
Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 at 08:59:54 am EST (Viewed 959 times)
It scarcely seems worth considering Issue #19 of Dan Abnett's Earth-2 resuscitation given the news that the title comes to a complete abrupt end come #21. The end was long anticipated, but that it comes just as Abnett manages to take charge of the titles direction and skillfully steer it into a remarkable about face in its tone and setting is without doubt one of the saddest sequence of events I have seen this year in comics.
From a mandate of three years of nihilism and deconstruction of a world that was barely even established in the first place Abnett's success, and it IS a success, in restoring a tangible air of reality, optimism, and hope to the series comes largely from the fact that there was nothing left to do with the title regardless. Three years spent burning the rich imaginative world introduced by James Robinson and Nicola Scott had left nothing but a hollow shell of a series, which meant a writer like Abnett was never in any danger of experiencing the editorial mismanagement and meddling that his predecessors had to endure and service. But then this is all irrelevant at this point. With only two more issues to go before certain oblivion for this series and its world none of its four year run matters in the slightest anymore as we know that in the coming year something altogether different and removed is destined to replace any claim it had to be a modernday take on the Justice Society of America...
But in spite of the futility of it all I must still congratulate both Dan Abnett and artist Bruno Redondo on making a fine effort to restore some of the energy and bright wonder that first marked this title out as one of the few genuine successes of the 2011 New-52 push. As this latest issue opens up it is a very different sight, tone, and setting that greets us to the one back in this volumes first issues with their dystopian futurism and bleak dark cathederal-like environments. Finding themselves in a reborn Metropolis that is both familiar and strange the surviving heroes of Earth-2 are forced to adapt to this unknown new place and Dan Abnett has some small fun in returning to the original ethic of James Robinson's vision for a bright upbeat utopia setting. How peculiar it is to see the one-dimensional superheroes taking on the trappings of secret identities, with Val Zod opting for a familiar look of suit and glasses it seems the mantle of Superman comes with certain requirements whatever the earth. But as the bright sunny world in which the heroes find themselves adjusting to seems as remarkable to them as it is to us the reader the contrast as we follow the Batman, Huntress team as they are spirited away below into the dark sewer systems seems entirely in tune with Val Zod's perceptive observation that appearances aside this seemingly wonderful new chance at a world hides a sinister aspect. As we learn of the nature of this new reality so too do we learn that something wicked does indeed lurk just out of sight, and in doing so perhaps we see some hint as to what Abnett's longterm themes and directions for the series might have been if only time and sales had been more kind to the title.
Despite the readers sense of resigned inevitability now in the air the sheer upbeat optimism being generated on the pages of Society #19 by Abnett and Redondo & Co is a heady experience for the loyal reader of Earth-2. Perhaps I am being far too generous in my praise in all of this I admit, and yet despite its evident thinness as a title and concept Earth-2's appeal came initially from the strength and inherant potential of its cast of characters. That potential was grossly squandered, and yes Dan Abnett has barely managed any advancement on that front, and yet given the challenges in simply devising a means to reinvigorate a dead-en of a series one can hardly cast accusations on that front. And yet if we looked at this current issue as a signpost on his intentions for the cast it seems clear that the choice in reformatting the series and introducing a hidden authoritarian control to the running of society Earth-2 might well have been taking a far more conventional superhero formula to drive itself along, with our heroes being forced by their circumstance to work hidden away in secret identities, and their superhero selves being their proactive offense against their amorphous unseen foe, of superheroes versus the system. In that Abnett's approach to the EARTH-2 reinvention might well have been the very thing that should have been there all along... alas, now too little coming too late.
Yet brief as it is, slight as it is, these last days of the title and its curtailed renaissance are nevertheless a fitting way in which to depart the world introduced back in 2012. With some of the same lustre and optimism being restored the title regains some small respect as it heads off into a final sunset....
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