The basic premise of this event stays the same. We learn that the Keeper from issue #0 is named Telos and, as he announced last issue, he sets his collections of various cities against each other. However, we don't really learn the rules of the game. Does he simply remove the domes surrounding the cities and let everyone fight each other? Maybe? It looks like he may also be gathering each city's greatest hero to fight each other like gladiators, since we see a number of Supermen flying towards him on the last page. But, King and Lobdell (ugh) don't provide further explanation.
The rules of the game aren't the only things that aren't clear at this point. The issue starts with Telos destroying a city that he dubs a failed experiment. It alludes to comments that Cosmic Brainiac made last issue about some sort of mysterious experiments that he was running, but I'm still not sure how they worked. It seems like some cities were left essentially to their own devices, while other ones saw Cosmic Brainiac (and, presumably, Telos) engaged in them somewhat actively. We don't really learn the criteria for that involvement, just like we don't learn why Telos found this city (a Metropolis that chose Batman over Superman, provoking the latter's fury) lacking.
We also unexpectedly get the arrival of the Earth-2 superheroes that we thought died at the end of "Earth 2: World's End" #26. Although it's nice to see them, their presence here is incredibly awkward, with several of them forced to monologue to introduce themselves. For example, Batman declares that he has some "thoughts" on where they are, but he merely states the obvious, that they were teleported from Earth 2 before Apokolips destroyed it completely. In other words, they're not exactly deep thoughts. Moreover, King and Lobdell seem to know little about the characters' personalities. Dick Grayson is suddenly an enraged asshole, punching Batman (who saved his life moments earlier by grabbing him mid-fall from the portal that delivered them on Telos) for implying that they should be happy to be alive, and the Flash is little better. Plus, we don't learn why they're here. Telos apparently meant to save their city, but he acted too late. But, how then did he just magically save them? Even odder, he seems to see that as some sort of sign, deciding to kick off the tournament because of it.
In short: it's all still a confusing mess, and not in a good way.
* (one of five stars)