Monday, July 1, 2013

Earth 2 #13 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

One of the challenges of this series, at this point, is essentially an excess of a good thing:  Robinson has done so much successful world-building that you begin to feel like a student of Chinese history trying to remember which dynasty came first.

For example, I remember learning somewhere that the firepit in Brazil was idiosyncratically less dangerous than the other ones, but I can't remember when we gained that piece of information or why it was presented to us.  Similarly, I remember, of course, that Terry Sloane destroyed several cities in "Earth 2" #0 as a way to set the stage for Darkseid's defeat, but I was surprised to learn that he used Apokolipsian technology to do so.  (I originally though that he used nuclear bombs.)  At some point, though, you've just got to shrug your shoulders and trust Robinson that he's building off information that you do already have.  Otherwise, you'd need to start reading all the previous issue in order before reading each new one just to have a hope of keeping all the various intrigues straight.  At 14 issues, that's a lot of reading.

Along those lines, Robinson yet again asks us to indulge him as he uses a long-winded speech by a minor character to deliver the background of Captain Steel.  It works, though only because I was intrigued by the parallels between Captain Steel and Cyborg.  If you weren't similarly intrigued, you probably started to skim fairly quickly into Khan's narration.  However, the background information is necessary to feel the full impact of the reveal that comes on the last page, since you need to know how indestructible (and not given to emotional outbursts) that Captain Steel is to appreciate how powerful the Red Lantern must be.

In all honesty, though, I'm more intrigued by Kendra's exploration of Sam's death and the revelation that he may have had something to do with trading in Apokolipsian weapons.  Robinson has done great stuff since the first arc, but I think that it might be time to return to the Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl, if only to tighten the focus a bit before the story gets too unwieldy.  He's got some great material with this Sam mystery, so it would be a logical hook.  We'll see where he goes with it.

Avenging Spider-Man #22 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

With Spidey's swerve to the lethal, Yost logically brings in Frank Castle to give him some pointers.  Despite liking the issue for the most part, I'll admit that it feels a little rushed, with the Punisher's appearance distracting from the clever core conceit of Otto confronting a Hobgolbin-fronted Mysterio.  (Otto is obviously surprised at first, given that Mysterio is in his prison for Sinister Six members.)  But, Yost is clearing the decks for the soft re-launch of this title, so I'll forgive him.  With Slott now adopting a tone for Otto more consistent with the one that Yost has used throughout this run, it'll be interesting to see if these titles play more in tandem than they have previously.