Review: EARTH 2 #22

EARTH 2 #22
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 2, 2014

Earth-2-22-Spoilers-Superman-vs-Batman-Val-Zod-2The Green Lantern reawakens after the devastating blow delivered by Superman at the end of the Dehrain War, but the Man of Steel may have bigger problems on his hands. The earth avatar and a Kryptonian refugee he knew nothing about are one thing, but the Batman — that’s a problem. Little does Darkseid’s minion know that he’ll have to face a far more emotional threat before encountering the Dark Knight once again.

Tom Taylor continues his fascinating run on Earth 2, splitting his time pretty equally between action and character moments — so much so that this issue reads very much like the best of both worlds. It’s been a pretty difficult balance for any writer to achieve with so many characters to handle and fresh worldbuilding to be done, but a groove seems to have been found here, amid a large bit of chaos surrounding Kryptonians both old and new.

Val takes center stage — not surprisingly, given the title of the arc — and we get to see the best of the other characters through his experience of the world. Lois’s deep compassion, Batman’s dark pessimism, and Jimmy’s youthful naiveté are all more on display for their adjacency to this fresh new hero, than if they were out on their own. Perhaps most telling, though, is the contrast between the young man learning to fly for the first time and his otherworldly forbearer, who has fallen to such a degree it’s hard to imagine him ever getting back that optimistic exuberance.

Taylor’s pacing is sharp, leaving space for Nicola Scott to truly spread out some of the best moments of the issue. Val’s first flight alongside the Red Tornado is right up there in emotional resonance for me with Spider-Man’s first swing on a web-line. Not only does Scott capture that pure joy borne out of trepidation unwarranted, but is able to impart all of Lois’s humanity in a metallic façade that could otherwise seem cold and distant. These characters are the perfect combination of smart, heartfelt writing with art that just captures their soul on the page.

And before it gets away from me, let me just say: Va-va-va-voom, Alan Scott. Thank you thank you thank you, Nicola, for giving us what is probably the hottest shot of a male hero all year — and damn the extra shadows! As much as I want to see The Green Lantern back in action, I’m absolutely going to savor this quiet moment for the month.

Another great installment for Earth 2 that seems to have finally found that perfect balance of character and movement, issue #22 is a great reminder that the core of this title is the genuine heroism (and yes, optimism) of its protagonists. Month in and month out, this book has burrowed just a little bit deeper into my heart and brain, such that I no longer worry about what it should be or was meant to do. I luxuriate in all that it is. And count the days until the next one.

The Verdict: 9.5/10



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