Earth 2: The Kryptonian Review and Story Recap By Deffinition
Earth 2 started off terribly. From the outset I hated its aesthetic, characters and seemingly pointless plot. I’m happy to say that my opinion did a complete 180 upon reading Volume 3 and since then the series has really upped the stakes. Now two for two in terms of good books vs bad, Volume 5 has the potential to swing the majority in terms of quality either way. After seeing the cliffhanger at the end of Volume 4, I am completely hyped going into this and cannot wait to see how the Evil Superman narrative concludes.
So, intro out the way, let’s dive into Earth 2: Volume 5.
“He’s hiding a Kryptonian”
Opening on the evil Superman destroying the World Army, this first issue packs one hell of a punch. I loved watching the Megalomaniacal Man Of Steel lay waste to the world and the sheer brutality that the character brings to the book elevates it above most. Severing The Atom’s arm with his eye lasers and the using the decapitated limb to slap the giant, he feels truly unstoppable and as an antagonist he is head and shoulders above the others that have come before him in the run.
Realising that they must use their own Kryptonian, Val-Zod, as a weapon, Batman and Lois Lane begin to train him. I absolutely love how at the core of this story is a house of El vs house of Zod motif. Still enduring to this day the rivallry lives on no matter what the dimension and its a nice touch that shows the complexity of Taylor’s writing.
Learn To Fly
Teaching Val to hone his powers, we are treat to a captivating moment when the new Superman learns to fly. Soaring through the air it perfectly captures all the grace and fun that was depicted in Clark’s First flight during the ‘Man Of Steel’ film and it allows you to fall in love with the reimagined character.
It’s brilliant that Tom Taylor was able to find such a suitable replacement for the original Superman and I think even hardcore fans of the Blue Boy Scout will lap this up. Appearing African American, the creative team have managed to embody a minority with a superhero that they can relate to and the diversity that now sits within the work, majestically places it as one of the best in the New 52.
“Mom, Dad, it’s Lois, she’s alive”
Interrupting the flight, Evil Superman arrives to destroy his only threat. Realising that she has to provide a distraction in order to save her new apprentice, Lois steps forward to remind Clark of the life he used to live. Flying to the Kent farm we get a touching moment where the family are rejoined as one and Nicola Scott uses subtlty within her pencils to administer the clear fear that the Kent’s wrestle with when seeing what their son’s transformation. Eventually confronting their son over the monster he has become we get a showcase of just how powerful principles can be and the words uttered by the parents shake the Superman to his core.
Taylor manages to accomplish a lot in terms of dynamics within the plot and it was brilliant to see a more human moment enveloped within all of the action.
Striking the perfect balance the team manage to mix in the thrilling with the dramatic and tonal juxtaposition is used to ensure that there is something here for everyone.
Setting off a nuclear bomb in Gotham (hilariously named Protocol Azarael), Batman and the team flee to Amazonia. Frustrated by the destruction, The Dark Knight takes it out on the newly discovered Kryptonian and fans of an older (grumpier Batman) will definitely lap up this characterisation. Attempting to shake him out of his pacifist apathy, Batman and the team want Val to become the man that they know he can. Due to this, Volume 5 can be viewed as a coming of age story one that showcases a level of maturity and respect towards teenagers and instead of painting them out as whiny brats, depicts them as heroes. Fighting the fear within, Val dons the symbolic ‘S’ and seeing him step into the role of Superman is a triumphant moment that made me cheer with joy. Volume 5 was at this point, officially the best Earth 2 book out there.
Launching an attack, The Heroes take down the Evil Superman and a new Justice League is formed. A fitting end to the book that puts all of the new Supers on a pedestal that they have been destined to arrive at since book one. We end on a reading epilogue and mind bending journey with Mr. Terrific as we see what could come down the line.
This series gets better with every Volume and Earth 2: The Kryptonian sets a precedent of paramount quality in its storytelling. If you’re as in love with the Earth 2 universe as I was by the end of Volume 4 then you will adore this book. Concluding all of the setup in the prior five graphic novels, this delivers in a spectacular way. Now one of my favourite runs in The New 52, Earth 2 manages to add new ideas to the canon and allows us to view the superhero archetype in an enthralling and diverse manner.
Whilst not perfect, there is very little to fault here and all members of the creative team bring their A game in this wholly satisfying book.
Earth 2 is the best in the series yet and that’s why it gets a…