Bennett and Johnson again do a solid job of using this series to delve into the background of some of this event's otherwise faceless background characters, as they initially did with the Furies in issue #28. I was particularly surprised by how well they handled the White (Sam's) and the Red's (Yolanda's) stories.
You can feel Sam's heartbreak in just the six pages that we see him, since he's dealing with the aftermath of his death and, more profoundly, his loss of Alan. Bennett and Johnson also indirectly address some mysteries about Sam. We're told that his soul is of unmatched purity, answering a long ago question (from issue #13) of whether he was engaged in shady weapons dealings with Apokolips' forces. (Likely no.) I'm not sure if we'll ever pick up that story, so the revelation that Terry Sloan likely killed him for leaking information about the Boom Tubes to Jimmy Olsen is probably going to be the final word on his death. Moreover, the authors confirm that Sam, in theory, doesn't remember who he is; his utterance of Alan's name in "Earth 2: World's End" #8 implies that his love for Alan is sufficiently strong to keep him connected to Alan despite his role as the Avatar. It actually helps amplify the impact of the sequence here, because Sam is true to his word that he'll always remember Alan. By the end of these six pages, we have Sam as a full-fledged character for the first time since this series began, and I'm a happy camper for it.
Similarly, Yolanda goes from a faceless brute to a real person, accepting a blood curse in place of her primo hermano. I definitely found myself wanting to know more, like why Yolanda and her cousin have essentially been left to their own devices. Yolanda exposits that she thought that their university's work/study program would be the answer to their problems, but we don't learn why we have those problems in the first place. It's also unclear why she feels so compelled to protect him. My guess is that these two questions have the same answer, and I would love to see that story explored more. Again, it's impressive that the authors got us to feel that way about her in just seven pages.
Unfortunately, the story about the Avatar of the Blue made little sense to me, feeling just like a jumble of words and images. But, they can't all be winners. If you're enjoying "Earth 2: World's End," this issue is a solid contribution. If not, well, you probably should just skip reading this series for a few months.
*** (three of five stars)