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Member Since: Thu May 07, 2009
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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 39,965
Subj: Re: Earth-2 #24 - The Resistance Grows.
Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 11:38:08 am EDT (Viewed 489 times)
Reply Subj: Earth-2 #24 - The Resistance Grows.
Posted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 11:15:31 am EDT (Viewed 572 times)

I'm not certain if this is where Robinson would have ended up, as I thought the draw of this Earth 2 was that there would be no Trinity, and the focus would fall on the second tier heroes and heroines. Silly me. \:\) That being said, I'm glad you've continued to review ( a most excellent one at that) Earth 2, and just as glad that I stayed with it. It's has dragged for since Brutaal's appearance, but there seems to be something bigger occurring here: actual team-building and an authentic one at that. Similar to the N52 JL, the budding JSA is thrust together by extreme circumstances, but their scenario reads as genuine, with an earnest need for working together and transforming into the gestalt that they must be. I honestly didn't expect this from Tom Taylor, but I'm happily surprised, entertained, the whole lot.

    Having evacuated the Batcave Batman, Jimmy Olsen, Doctor Fate and Val-Zod arrive on Amazonia, hidden from the world by the Olympian Gods this is the remaining safehouse of the World Army. With a dead Red Arrow recrimination can now begin as to who is responsible, and here Tom Taylor delivers some strong moments of character that dismiss any idea that Earth-2 is now nothing but a reworking of his Injustice:Gods Among Us. Ever consistent in his view of the world Batman blames Val for his pacifist indoctrination, here is a man with near Superman levels of power and he failed to act. It is an effective accusation to make and one that any version of Batman would make in this situation, and yet there would still be a cruelty about it, a failure in compassion. A watching Jimmy chooses to side with the victimised Val and confronts Thomas Wayne about his bluntness... it makes for a moment that on the surface is entirely admirable. And yet consider the context and it becomes rather ridiculous, a 13 year old boy is arguing simplistic morality with a grizzled 65 year old who has a skewed view of the world and human nature, while outside the world is perhaps days away from effectively ending, the World Army is gone, hope is fast fading, and yet here we have Jimmy Olsen lambasting Batman for giving the one man who might be key to giving them back an edge a hard time.
    Lecture Thomas Wayne by all means, but please do lecture Val-Zod on the small matter of personal responsibility as well...

Jimmy's "harangue" is probably what Batman needs to hear at this point. Yes, Val needs to get it together, but he's a sheltered young man, who's been thrust into events that he's not quite ready for. To expect him to fight, let alone kill very demanding, and not that far a step from a certain New God in search of the anti-life equation. Perhaps the retort would come better from Red Tornado, as Jimmy seems much older than 13, but Earth 2 is dark enough and Val does need to see that there is something worth fighting for past simply staying alive.

Thomas Wayne's Batman, for me, is less and less a departure from The Batman as a character. Angry, thuggish, and unbalanced, this sort of mental instability has crept into The Batman for years now, with moments of kindness, light, and heroism giving way to the grim, dark avenger who fights against crime . . .and his own friends. Thomas could use a Robin i.e. some light and a reason, like Val, to fight past avenging.

    There is a growing philosophical question in progress concerning Val-Zod - chiefly the question as to whether it is possible to contribute meaningfully to a crisis without resorting to any violence as a resolution? Pacifism is a personal belief, often misconstrued as cowardice but often a product of upbringing. So far we know only fragments of Val-Zod's background but his parents were scientists who rebelled against using force to solve problems, he shares Kal-el's origin so the implication presented may be that this version of Krypton diverges from others with Jor & Lara-el cast in a more militaristic role while the Zod's played scientists. That would be an appropriate inversion for the Earth-2 concept to play with and perhaps explain why Kal-el proved susceptible to the call of Darkseid, but for now the orphaned Val finds himself thrown into a difficult situation that involves a crucial and fundamental examination of his role in this world and the debt he owes those around him. Surrounded by good people, inspirational people, Val now has the death of Red Arrow on his mind and has the awareness to know that he could conceivably have prevented that loss from occuring. A realisation Jimmy Olsen now finds him wrestling with in another fine example of Eddy Barrows ability to both lay out a page and show the characters internal emotional struggle playing out over it.
    Jimmy Olsen's role in this book is as annoying kid and I.T. know-all, with a photographic memory and a near genius level capacity to glean information from online and local sources he is the Wesley Crusher of the new DC Universe. A 13 year old Brainiac with a deeply unpleasant-to-watch high opinion of himself. And now he is playing counsel to the considerable weight on Val-Zod's mind... no doubt as with Batman he means well by this attempt at intercession and support, but coming from someone who is but 13 years old the effect is something altogether unintended - what advice really can any 13 year old give to something he has almost no experience or capacity to fully judge in the first place?!
    Jimmy wants to know what Val is actually wearing beneath his torn pullover, badly beaten by Evil-Superman Val was saved from a further beating by Lois' arrival, but his clothes torn Jimmy is now insatiably curious about the suit underneath. And eventually coaxes Val to reveal his secret - He wears the Superman crest. (To Be Continued...)

Pacifism definitely isn't cowardice, and I believe that it's treated more as naivety than the aforesaid. Anyone who is pushed or placed in the right situation, will defend himself, even if it means killing, is the thought of most. The trouble with a pacifist in comics is that he is constantly being placed in scenes that are at extreme odds with that belief. It's rare in comics that we see a solution to violence which comes from a non-violent source, yet the question of killing continues to abound as if to say that there is only one way to sort things out. The scenarios are consistently crafted towards one solution and questioning any alternatives, for characters that have limitless options . . .especially Superman.

If this was Injustice: Gods Among Us, I wouldn't hold much hope for Taylor's resolution to this quandary, however, perhaps he can sort a way for Val to have that 3rd option, where he can save them all without having to kill half of the others. The key lies in Superman. Both of them.

Earth 2 reminds me of how crucial Superman is to the DC Universe, as he is the foundation for just about everything the DC Universe has come to be, and how dark, dismal, and despondent DC is without that image, that hopeful stance and pose that Val gives us as this instalment ends. I like the idea of Val as Superman for a host of reasons, but mostly because he's familiar to a man I used to know before 2011. ;\) His even nature, the introspection, his need to be non-violent, yet his doubled-fists when he thought Lois was in danger . . .he can be a great hero, he just needs some inching in the right direction.

A fine read and a great review. I even like Val's outfit, but that's next month, eh?

R. I. P. Kato: A good friend to one who has so few
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