Reviewer’s End: Earth 2

I’ll be reviewing every issue of DC’s ‘Futures End’ month, in which every book of the line skips ahead five years to tell a story set in the future of their current narrative. Will the books be good? Doesn’t this sort of wreck the tension of all the current storylines? Why does everybody still have the same costume? All will be found out in what I’m calling ‘Reviewer’s End’.

Earth 2 goes to war in an issue by Daniel H. Wilson, Eddy Barrows, inker Eber Ferreira, colourist Pete Pantazis and letterer Taylor Esposito.

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I didn’t have a damned clue what was going on in this issue. Trapped in a series of different limbos, the book has to tie in to Futures End, Worlds End, AND the current Earth 2 storyline. None of this is particularly explained, however, as new readers (like me) are dropped straight into a random collection of weird events which follow each other in quick succession.

Wilson’s pacing is off-kilter throughout, in that each page seems unconnected from the one before. The story keeps jumping forward without telling the reader, so on one page Mr Terrific walks out of a symposium he’s just given with his lab assistant Sonia, then on the next is immediately forced to go on the run with her. The third page has the villain (who was also at the symposium) reappear suddenly outside Terrific’s lab, with the fourth showing him attacking the lab which Sonia is suddenly now inside. There’s no explanation of the timing of the events, so readers aren’t guided into any of these pages. Things happen at random times, and characters keep reappearing in odd places.

The story also tries to tie in parts of the current Earth 2 storyline – I have no idea what that storyline is – to the issue, which means we have a page of a robot tied up on an island somewhere, yelling about her eyes. No idea. The characterisation of Mr Terrific, as well, doesn’t match the version of him in the main Futures End series, where he’s a major celebrity and pretty egotistical. Here he seems like a fairly bland scientist, without any of that fire in his eyes.

Barrows is a capable artist, of course, and his work here gives each page a consistency and structure – the problem is that the script doesn’t do the same. So whilst Barrows tells the story of a page, and then the next page, and then the next page; Wilson’s writing makes no attempt to connect those three pages together. It’s a frequent mess, with no sense of pacing or overall structure. I don’t even know whether the story here is taking place on Earth 2 or Earth 1. It’s simply not explained. Conflicts are set up here and then resolved without reason.

Simply put: I don’t think Wilson copes with having to compress a single story into a single issue. The issue doesn’t give new readers anything like a coherent jumping-on point, and I’m not particularly sure it rewards long-term readers either. Skip it.

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