Hey, all. This is D.C. back for another throw down on some thoughts regarding an interesting issue.
I was on Facebook one day, stalking around a comic book page…either Newsrama or All Things Marvel or DC–the latter of which I dropped because I just couldn’t stand the Deadpool oversaturation…A person made a complaint about this comic series:
Earth 2: World’s End. Time for a crash course:
On Earth 2 lives alternate versions of the mainstream DC Universe heroes. The DC New 52 Earth 2 series sees the rise of a new group of heroes–known as “wonders” on this world–after the deaths of Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman during an invasion by Darkseid and his forces from Apokalips. Earth 2: World’s End is just that: the end of the world of Earth 2, when Darkseid returns to reap the resources of this world.
The story is gripping, because it’s title is literal in every sense. These heroes lose the battle.
Correction: they lose the war.
And for some reason, this person on Facebook complained. His rationale for World’s End being a bad story seemed to be rooted in the fact that “Darkseid just gets away with everything.” This person took issue with fact that superheroes aren’t winning.
I wrote back to that person, but I decided to expand on my thoughts here.
My rebuttal to such a complaint is simple: “So what?”
I believed that the Wonders losing against Darkseid made perfect, rational sense. Let’s see:
1. Most obvious reason the Wonders lose:
It’s freakin’ DARKSEID. Lord of Apokalips, the DCU’s equivalent of Thanos. A sinister, megalomaniacal, and immensely powerful god. Darkseid is quite possibly the most powerful god from Apokalips, if not the most powerful of all of the New Gods. A god with, one can only assume, centuries, if not millennia, of life and battle experience. His Omega Beams alone disintegrates his opponents.
To Darkseid (or Uxas, if you’re looking to be intimate with him), his will is the way. His command of Apokalips and its citizens are absolute–barring the occasional subversive and rebels.
On the other hand, we have these people:
2. Next reason why the Wonders lose:
The new Wonders of Earth 2. It’s important to stress the key word, NEW. Let’s flesh these out:
- Huntress (Helena Wayne, formerly Robin) and Power Girl (Superman’s cousin/adopted daughter, Kara Zor-L…or is it Zor-El? I forget these days) are the only veterans of the Wonders, having just returned to Earth 2 by the time Darkseid comes to reap the world.
- How can a human girl possibly hope to content with godly forces? Or a young Kryptonian not fully matured in power, and so reliant on the sun’s rays for power?
- Jay Garrick, the Flash, was an aimless college student who gained the powers of a dying Greek god. He is a staunch optimist, and perhaps the most heroic of the group.
- Can you possibly expect a boy still learning to manage his powers to outrun and outwit a planet of murderous invaders?
- Alan Scott is the Green Lantern, the latest avatar of the plant-life force, the Green. He is arguably the most powerful Wonder to surface in the new age.
- The Green Lantern, for all his power, is still new to it and his true potential. Even if he can realize reach his potential, is it enough to fell Darkseid, let alone stave off the consumption of his world?
- Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders-Munoz) is our very own winged Tomb Raider. She is our Icarus of the story, but never too audacious to go beyond her place.
- What can a winged gunslinger possibly hope to achieve in a war with gods, whose energy beams and weapons can outrun and out-fly her?
- Khalid Ben-Hassin is Dr. Fate, an archaeologist who becomes the tortured host of the domineering helm of Nabu to wield vast reserves of magic.
- Dr. Fate’s internal struggles against his host are a severe detriment to the fulfillment of his powers and a liability in this war. What good is all-powerful magic when you cannot even achieve synergy within yourself?
- The second Batman is Thomas Wayne, who uses the mind-addling drug Miraclo to wage his own vigilantism on crime in the name of his late son.
- Val-Zod is the second Superman, with all his power curtailed in favor of pacifism.
- The Red Tornado is a wind-manipulating construct which houses the mind and soul of Lois Lane, who died during Darkseid’s first invasion.
The vast majority of these heroes are, again, nascent. They are discovering their abilities, and discovering the nuances of their powers, as well as their new place in a post-invasion Earth. How, then, can these Wonders, in trying to master their own abilities and place, possibly hope to contend with a malevolent force like Darkseid and his invaders?
Well, they sure as hell try.
The Wonders try valiantly to stop the Darkseid’s invasion. I very much enjoyed watching the Wonders and the World Army try everything and anything to save their people and their world, even when faced with moments of treachery from within. The heroism of the Wonders and a small handful of humans is the among the brightest of any seen.
At some point, though, the war stops being a matter of trying to win. It becomes a matter of how not to lose. That is when you can feel and see the futility of Earth’s efforts. It’s disconcerting and endearing at the same time.
The Wonders manage to win small defeats in this massive war, but the Wonders are, including new alliances, only about 15-20 individuals.
Twenty tired individuals who have had so little time to fully realize their abilities and strengths, against thousands of invading parademons, and perhaps a dozen warring gods. And Darkseid.
Val-Zod probably would have been Earth 2’s best bet for survival, but he lacks the killer instinct–let alone any battle instinct–and the proper power levels, to help turn the tide. Pacifism in one so powerful is an endearing quality, but not an effective quality in a world-ending war.
Is this person’s complaint a valid reason to find this book lacking merit? Absolutely not, I think. All things considered, I enjoyed Earth 2: World’s End. It does, however, suffer from what I’ve seen from other large events with a large amount of characters doing a large amount of things at once: the story gets a little disjointed. But perhaps that’s how the story was supposed to be, yes? To have the reader feel as jumbled as you’d expect humans–no matter how empowered–to feel when their world is literally falling apart at the seams?
If that’s the case, I’d really have to commend Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson, and Daniel H. Wilson on their efforts.
So, again, I ask…how can one expect such a lofty effort from such righteous, yet learning, individuals? Should the Wonders and World Army been able to defeat Darkseid and to prevent Apokalips consuming their world?
You read it and tell me which option makes more sense.