Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Earth 2 #21 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I know!  A non-Spidey issue!  Can you believe it?

Taylor uses this issue as a way to regroup after the events of the last few issues, with each side trying to get a bead on the other.

I thought Taylor did a great job in reminding us that this Batman isn't our Batman through Lois mentioning that our Batman was a tactical genius and imply that this Batman may not be.  In highlighting that, Taylor reminds us just how hopeless of a situation the team is facing.  If that weren't enough, though, Superman cutting off the Atom's arm and smacking him with it -- a moment that Scott really sells for all its ridiculousness, showing the arrogance of Superman in the process -- reminds us just how steep of a challenge they face, even if they had the hope that the full tactical genius of Batman would give them.  Underlining both the hopelessness and the challenge, Taylor has the top 1% try to flee in  a space ark.  Though Superman makes them pay for their lack of faith in the world that made them, Taylor reminds us just how much trauma this world has suffered, since the ark was built after Darkseid's last destructive trip across Earth.  In other words, the heroes have a lot of reason to panic.

By the end of the issue, Taylor has prepared us for the next phase of the conflict.  Sato getting in touch with Khan (and Khan getting in touch with Atlantis from his secret base in Amazonia) seems to offer hope...until Bedlam reads Sloan's mind and discovers the existence of the Kryptonian.  It's a constant back and forth, hope and challenge:  every time you think that the inhabitants of Earth 2 might be able to win, Superman and his allies seem poised to snatch that victory from them.  It's why this series is so exciting; each development has been carefully established before it comes to fruition.  Dan Slott could take lessons from Taylor in how to focus on tactics to create suspense.

*** (three of five stars)

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