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Subj: Earth-2:Society #7 - Impossible Versus Manhattan...
Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 at 11:26:38 am EST (Viewed 1734 times)
Did Green Lantern finally give the discordant heroes of Earth-2 a purpose and a name come the final page of this issue?
After four years it is certainly a bizarre thought that as yet the heroes who roam this series have never officially organised themselves into a united group and neither have they given the slightest thought to establishing a central base and developing a shared mandate. No, four years on and what began as strangers encountering the other has developed into estranged do-gooders who often barely tolerate the other.
Still no Justice Society then. But if the final page of Daniel H Wilson's final issue is anything to go by we may yet see an official Justice Society... or perhaps not. That Daniel Wilson would want to round off his work on EARTH-2 on such a tease and high note is understandable, but in any fair assessment his departure is neither a surprise nor to be regretted. While the direction and decline of the Earth-2 series is not exclusively his fault he still shares the blame for having contributed, and this very issue is a good example of his shortcomings and inadequacy as a writer.
This is the point where it is appropriate to discuss and run through the plot and events of the issue; returning after a short break Jorge Jiminez pleasantly surprises with the delivery of far better visuals and page design than we have so far come to expect, but the challenge for 'Earth-2:Society' is that the premise of the book has never been at all clear, and the plot thus far has been a rambling insubstantial attempt at a thriller which in the end comes down to the barely sketched out Jimmy Olsen and his recent transformation to Pseudo-New God. We barely know Jimmy. In turn we barely know anybody in this book. So perfunctionary has been the characterisation and exposure of this cast. Characters flip their motivations and behaviour at the drop of a hat, even well established ones like Helena Wayne are repositioned to act in ways that are completely contrary to how they have been well established to react. So last isssue when she is bizarrely shown to be yearning for the past and Earth-2 as it was this issue Helena goes the other extreme again and flips back to her original characterisation in not wanting to dwell on the dead past... if we had been given the time and insight into her thought processes this bi-polar behaviour might be understandable, but for at least the last two years now characterisation in Earth-2 has been just like this, lazy and without thought.
So Jimmy Olsen is now dubbing himself "Doctor Impossible", this teenage misfit has the power of a God thanks to contact with a Mother Box and has decided along with Helena Wayne and Red Arrow to use The Genesis Box to transform this world into the Earth they lost to Apokolips. Why they think this is feasable given the surviving population numbers two-million and this world is in another universe, under a Yellow and Red Binary Star system, we can but only wonder. Are they so desperate they cannot see? Apparently so. The heroes of Earth-2 have deduced what is about to happen after unravelling the fate of Terry Sloan, who was killed by Jimmy because he... knew too much? Apparently so. This teen God killed one of the more interesting characters in the Earth-2 mythos, which for this series over the last two years is par for the course - we have watched Commander Khan thrown away, The Atom, Thomas Wayne, even Green Lantern only exists as a mindless Zombie now. Earth-2 has slowly been stripped and diminished of anything that made it compelling and contributed to its success, and at this point one can only believe this vandalism was fully intentional. A deliberate endeavor to limit the success that was threatening the Justice League.
Doctor Impossible has The Genesis Chamber and is preparing to terraform this new earth, but the now Doctor Manhattan-like Green Lantern has been recast in unexplained circumstances to become this worlds 300 foot protector, its avatar. A not unsubtle recasting has seen him become Doctor Manhattan for all intents and purposes, and as his monolithic form bears down on Gotham and Jimmy Olsen one can see faint echoes of The Watchmen as in the gloomy sinister city below the heroes are caught below him in infighting and clashing against Olsen's allies, such as the newly introduced Hourman. But then comes the development that 'Doctor Impossible' and The Genesis Box are a feint, the supposedly analytical and capable daughter of Bruce-Batman-Wayne finally notices that something is wrong and that Olsen has in fact been developing "a Mother Box Circuit", whatever that is, and instead of The Genesis Box this is his trigger mechanism. Why? Well the confused and threadbare plot can only tell us he plans to convert the planet into a giant Mother Box. Why? Why and what does he plan by this? We are not worthy of the answer apparently. After seven issues this is the not unexpected shambles that the plot culminates in, a nonsensical mass fight over the nonsensical scheming of a teenager handed enormous power and duly gone mad. That Olsen has only been with us around two years and barely fleshed out as a character is, again, par for the course for this book. Why should we care.
In a nice brief scene Lois Lane steps forward to stand up for, and comfort, the distraught Helena, Helena and Red Arrow naturally flip back to their senses and one might wonder if it was Olsen influencing them all along, but this is not what the scene suggests. Now united the heroes watch on as Green Lantern and Doctor Impossible clash, two godlike figures whom the heroes can only look on at. The new Batman, Dick Grayson, impresses his tactical and leadership abilities upon events, despite his having no training or obvious credentials to take up such a role previous to Thomas Wayne's death. Grayon was but an up and coming war reporter, now he is The Batman and a capable leader of men as well as tactical genius... in one sense this might be seen as obvious nonsense, but in another I would argue actually it harks back to traditional superheroics, where after some personal tragedy a normal person dons a costume and becomes somethig far more than their mundane powerless normal self. Becoming Batman allows Dick Grayson to develop himself and release inhibitions he might otherwise have repressed.
As Green Lantern withers before Doctor Impossible in come the now reconciled Val-Zod and Power Girl to tip the balance, and rallying the heroes target the Genesis Box and Green Lantern traps Jimmy Olsen in a solid construct of his power where he will be frozen immobile apparently. Just like that. That easy. And as our heroes regroup to take stock it appears the till now unseen citizens of New Gotham approve of their efforts and incomprehensible struggle and with traditional comicbook stoicism instantly forgive the mass destruction inflicted around them... because these are heroes, and heroes are worthy of their faith and trust. All's well that ends well.
From the above rundown I am sure my indifference shines through about this issue and the series in general, a series that has failed to congeal and remotely come close to the promise and quality seen in James Robinson't first year this is a series in terminal decline. Even the promise of new writer Dan Abnett next month does nothing to bolster faith in this books chances. The series and the concept are too damaged and malnourished by now to do much with creatively, but on the positive side this issue does shine thaanks to exemplary work from Artist Jorge Jiminez. Jiminez' page by page visuals are, in their own way, superb to look upon, quite a change from his previous efforts. One page after the other delivers memorable shots, well considered groupings, and for the first time in this book a definite atmosphere, a style, emerges. Perhaps with the more professional and capaable Dan Abnett to steer and guide him Jiminez can help turn this book around in terms of quality and direction, as it is though this book is much like the Teen Titans at present. Inconsequential and increasingly Unloved...