(a) Nicola and Trevor Scott
I try not to talk about happenings in the comic book industry when analyzing individual issues because the editorial going-ons don’t necessarily have an effect on how people read the story. Many, many comic book fans follow creative team changes, editorial edicts, and daily news that affects the comic books they love, but there are also many fans who don’t do that at all; they go to their local comic shop every Wednesday, pick up their books, and read them. So when I review comics, I review the story and the art, not the ‘behind the scenes’ situations that have affected said comics.
Unfortunately, James Robinson has pushed me to mention the news of his leaving Earth 2 after issue 16. When the story hit the news cycle, Robinson made it quite clear he was not happy with how his run on the title ended, as he had plans for the characters through 2015 (I think). Thus, readers became a bit more excited for Earth 2 in the past few months because these are Robinson’s last issues to affect this parallel universe as much as he can before he leaves. Instead of getting some of the best issues so far, Earth 2 #15 is easily one of my least favorite.
Instead of going out with class, Robinson seems to be shoving in as much information as he can in this penultimate issue to his nearly two year-long run. The amount of internal monologue in Earth 2 #15 is staggering, and quite possibly more than the rest of the issues put together. It’s hard to do internal monologue well, yet I was sure Robinson of all people could pull it off. Apparently, I was wrong. The Flash is an interesting character in his own right, but there’s no reason why he needed to narrate the entire issue with his thoughts. It’s frustrating because this issue is all about a war between the World Army and the forces of Darkseid’s stranded general, Steppenwolf. There doesn’t need to be a lot of narration because it’s quite obvious what’s going on and who’s doing what. Even when Flash is doing something that could easily be put into context with dialogue between two characters — like when he’s running various soldiers to safety — Robinson falls back onto Jay’s inner thoughts to explain the situation. It’s hard to read.
Earth 2 #15 is an example of what desperation can lead to: mediocrity. And I really have no idea if James Robinson was desperate to get his storylines out there, but that’s sure what it seems like from beginning to end of this issue. It feels like Robinson panicked when he realized he only had two issues left, so he started adding more plot lines and characters as quickly as possible. Remember how Mister Miracle and Barda showed up for a single panel (with no dialogue) back in April, then again for two pages in Earth 2 Annual #1? Yah, I know: it’s been a few months. Robinson drops readers back into their tale with little warning and expects readers to remember what was happening to these two characters and just accept that it’s being brought back into the fold. The worst part is, nothing actually happens to them. Their whole sequence is just their fight with Fury, Steppenwolf’s Amazonian warrior.
There’s just too much going on in Earth 2 #15. So many characters and so many plots are continued, established, or expanded upon that it’s jarring when Robinson switches gears. Plus, each sequence is small, so a lot of info is packed into a small amount of space making it feel claustrophobic and stuffy to read. I really like Earth 2, but this issue is a total bust.