Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Earth-2: Society #20 Review

Title: Earth-2: Society #20
Story: After the End: The Final Fate of Earth-2
Characters: Huntress (Helena Wayne), Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Fury (Donna Troy), Hawkgirl (Kendra Muñoz-Saunders), Flash (Jay Garrick), Superman (Val-Zod), Commander Steel (Henry Heywood III)
Creators: Dan Abnett (writer), Vicente Cifuentes (artist)
Publication Date: January 2017
Available In: Print | Digital

Summary: The fight for the new Earth-2 continues as the heroes on Team Power Girl continue their battle against the Ultra-Humanite's army of Sandmen. Underground, Team Huntress learns the existence of the new Earth's "governor" that calls himself Central Control. Together with her two male companions, the Huntress goes on the hunt for Central Control and end the conflict once and for all. Central Control, however, has no plans to be defeated so easily. Seeing that the new Earth's heroes are out to get him, the Ultra-Humanite prepares to unleash his most dangerous weapon yet: the imprisoned Alan Scott, aka the Green Lantern!

Review: I committed this year to becoming a more objective and less reactionary reviewer. Admittedly, I do not know how to review the comic this month, and that is mainly due to the fact that we don't really learn anything new this time around that we haven't learned already from the previous issues. The only exciting reveal that we got this month was learning the final fate of Alan Scott, but even there isn't much to say on this front because all we got was a page confirming he is still alive and that he is in the hands of the Ultra-Humanite. We can, at best, speculate what the Ultra-Humanite plans to do with Alan based on what we saw earlier, but that's pretty much it. I imagine we won't be seeing him in action until next month.

The rest of the issue is basically continuing the previous plot threads established in the last three issues. Team Power Girl is still battling the Sandman army and the people of this new world are just now learning about the existence of Superheroes, kind of like what happened in Geoff Johns' first story arc for the New 52 Justice League, but without the actual apocalypse. Team Huntress knows the enemy they are facing and they're going off to fight him.

My only complaint on Team Huntress' side of the story is the same one I had last month. I strongly feel that Helena should be the character occupying the lead role as the more experienced hero of her group, and as her father's legitimate successor. I don't feel think "Dick Grayson" should be written like Bruce Wayne as the character who has zero training from Bruce himself, and with less than one year of experience. Narratively speaking, those character developments do not make sense for him at all, but they make perfect sense for Bruce's own daughter, Helena. Once again, I felt that the lines Dan Abnett gave to "Dick" should've gone to Helena, and the lines that he gave to Helena should've gone to "Dick."

At best, I'm assuming that because these are probably "Dick Grayson's" final issues before this series concludes leading Justice Society Rebirth or a new launch of the Earth-2 title, Abnett is probably trying to make his final story arc count in a way that's profound and meaningful. I just wish that his "making it count" wasn't coming at Helena's own expense, and in a way that unwittingly perpetuates gender inequality in storytelling, namely in the form of removing the actual female protagonist from her own family legacy in favour of a man. I know that Abnett isn't responsible for this development since the "New Earth-2 Batman!" gimmick is entirely on editorial, but the way he's executing this narrative isn't course-correcting on this problem either. As I stated in my previous posts, I'm desperately hoping for Justice Society Rebirth to completely course-correct on this issue by reinstating Helena Wayne as her father's legacy as the Huntress and his actual successor moving forward.

On the art front, we got a new artist this month with Vicente Cifuentes on both pencils and inks. I was honestly hoping Dan Abnett could get one story arc with one artist from beginning to end, but I guess that just wasn't meant to be with this title. Fortunately, Cifuentes' art style is similar enough to Bruno Redondo's that the sudden change in artist is not too noticeable, effectively maintaining visual continuity. Cifuentes (who served as the inker on previous issues) continues to use of the same aesthetics as Redondo, and this is helped by the fact that he still working with the same colourist, Rex Lokus. Cifuentes is a bit more detailed in his artwork whereas Redondo has a "cleaner," less busy art style, but the use of light and shadow between the two artists is still similar.

Other than that, it seems like next month will be the actual climax of this story, so I'll probably have more to write about then. This issue honestly felt like a continuation of the last issue, so there isn't enough here to make this issue stand out on its own.

★★★☆☆

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