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Subj: Worlds End #25 - Come The End.
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 at 08:05:45 pm EDT (Viewed 1012 times)
I forget some species need constant reminders... that Apokolips is inevitable."
Yet another installment of the painfull and drawn out agonies of the once vibrant Earth-2, indeed the penultimate installment, and the challenge of how to discuss a series with such a narrow plot and little in the way of coherent or deep characterisation.
Looking to the positives what impresses me about the series is the consistently high standard of art and rendering, with its football sized team of contributors there is inevitably occasionally disjointed presentation on the visual side but last week saw the impressive and ever evolving talent of Tyler Kirkham served to us and this week we have... well, it's complicated. Scott McDaniel is charged with supplying the breakdowns for the issue, and an impressive effort it is too, but with a corking SIX finishers what is surprising is just how even the issue is overall. Editors Mike Cotton and Rickey Purdini deserve full credit for assembling such a harmonious and professional team of artists for the issue, indeed for the series, the carnage is relentless but the contributing artists give their best to make events as exciting as possible, and given Worlds End is an unapologetic popcorn munching action romp designed to make the likes of Michael Bay blush, moments for any chararacter subtlety are virtually non-existent anyways.
So The Huntress and Batman have found Oliver Queen, who has a Codex containing a blueprint for every species of plant and animal on earth, a contingency plan of the deceased Bruce Wayne's apparently in case the War was lost those five years ago. Quite why Wayne thought such an extraordinary measure as this was necessary, and who he thought would benefit from it if Earth was overwhelmed is a question left wholly unaddressed. Par for the course for this series. But as a plot device it is exactly what the Doctor ordered for the ragtag remaining heroes and unseen survivors of Earth. Because Terry Sloan has unintentionally offered the survivors a lifebuoy in the form of an escape ship capable of crossing universes... yes, like the Codex we just have to accept this development, Worlds End is not a series built to cope with scrutiny and logic.
With Apokolips feeding on the planet the story is that of survival. And here is where all the best and the worst of humanity is brought to the fore, or at least that is what should be the case, but this book is not concerned one iota with the suffering masses of earth. What the ordinary man is enduring is a matter of no concern for the writers or the publisher, so while Earth-2 has always been a reassuringly traditional Superhero fable this is a series which continues that but also in a sense betrays it. Lessens it. The heroes fight to save the earth yes, but never before has a frontline hero team failed to save their own world, and that sort of monumental undermining of the old fashioned principles of the series is not dealt with in any beleivable way. Their earth is being shattered and burnt before their eyes - and yet for all of the unimaginable pain and loss we see no real emotion at this event. None of the Society of heroes are in distress at this apocalyptic ragnarok, and the lack of plausible reactions is a dissapointing thing to watch as it works to diminish both the gravity of the story and the notion that these events, and this series, actually mean anything...
Still, with Darkseid finally announcing his prescence the stage is set for one last epic confrontation between he and the surviving heroes of this Earth. There are echoes of the initial Geoff Johns Justice League story with the League fighting off the New God to be had here, Val-Zod and Supergirl have confronted Darkseid, Darkseid has easily beaten the passive Val but now has to face the proactive Kara. And what a difference! Passion, fury, and pure selflessness.
Supergirl's determination is perfectly pitched as she battles the ultimate bogeyman, the being who destroyed her family and ravaged her adopted world. A journey from being Cousin Kal's immature covert "secret weapon", to being exiled to another dimension for a full five years with best friend Helena, and now a return to home where she finds her cousin dead. her adopted mom ressurected in some strange new form, and her long missed home now on the edge of following Krypton's burning fate. Yes, Kara Zor-el has passion, and will, and quite appropriately Darkseid is the one to feel its full effect. Futile? Perhaps. But Earth-2 was always a world with the odds stacked against it, indeed it is fair to suggest this end was always going to be its fate, but as James Robinson's initial year with the series showed us it really did not have to be so.
Dick Grayson joins Batman aboard an attack craft to protect the transporters carrying refugees to Terry Sloan's Endurance out in space... how a non-entity like Grayson befriended Batman and earned the right to join him here is not clear, best to move on once more and not dwell on the point. Presumably the explosion that consumes their ship is not totally fatal to both as inexplicably Batman is present for the arrival of the gang to face Darkseid near issues end, but given Grayson has proved to be utterly forgettable as a character one hopes if there is a casualty is will be Thomas Wayne who walks away from the series alive and well, as this is one of the most interesting of the cast and comes with the most potential. Val-Zod though is a more mercurial character, a pacifist is a difficult proposition in a medium where violence and anger has become the fuel driving events. Modern superhero comics simply cannot digest the notion of a hero who would shun violence in favor of a rational discourse, and so Zod's paremeters have relaxed a good deal from his initial introductory issues. Seeing him here confront the living embodiment of evil should be a great moment of two ideologies confronting the other, but that level of thoughtful contrasting is not a thing compatible with this series which is devoted to entertainment in its simplest form. That Zod is dismissed casually by Darkseid is not surprising, but if he is not able to rise and earn the name of the Superman crest he wears then he is in effect a failure. Perhaps Darkseid tearing the crest away from him was a symbolic statement of that.
One interesting detail in this series has been the faithful treatment of Alan Scott. A major ingredient in the story so far Alan's dedication and self-sacrificing nature are entirely in line with the man we meet in James Robinson's debut issue, where we meet a man passionate about the first War's cost and see his determination to help others and never let it happen again. Everything we have seen of Scott since goes back to those early issues. So as the issue ends with him heading off to meet Darkseid and save his world here is a confrontation over three years in the making - Earth-2's most powerful man will make his will known...
For no reason The Green Lantern can suddenly sense not only the Multiverse but feel the "the Multiversal Green". Not only that but he can conveniently tap into this other-dimensional energy. Just like that. This scene is quite typical of the plotting of the series as a whole, with things pulled out of the air and everything existing purely to move the plot onwards to the next point. The bizarre science on offer that Alan Scott refers to as "Lensing" is one introduced earlier as Mr Terrific analyses Mr Miracle's foot discs and learns that they are in fact... well, let's not go there.