“Earth 2” #16 serves as James Robinson’s swan song from the title and he goes out in grand fashion. After the crude interruption of Villains Month (truly the one shots associated with “Earth 2” did nothing but interrupt the flow of this story), readers are given one last shot of world building from Robinson and artist Nicola Scott. Unfortunately, this final installment sets the world on fire and tries to mold things through the flames, resulting in a mess of open-ended stories for the next writer to trim up.
That’s not to say Robinson does a bad job with “Earth 2” #16. Instead of properly sewing up a book as though it were headed towards cancellation, Robinson continues to write the story threads of his newly-revived Earth 2 characters as though he were going to continue in “Earth 2” #17. The end result is a story that is filled with revelations, resolutions and conflicts that don’t find a satisfactory conclusion. Furthermore, Robinson is unable to properly check in with all of the characters he set in motion, so whatever becomes of Mister Miracle, Barda, Batman, Hawkgirl and Red Tornado will be the work of the next writer, not Robinson. The story itself is intense and action-packed, but knowing this is it for Robinson drapes “Earth 2” #16 in a heavy shroud of sadness.
Nicola Scott answers Robinson’s call to arms, drawing insane amounts of detail as the forces of Steppenwolf repel and destroy the members of the World Army in the skies and on the ground. The first five pages are full pages, no individual panels to detract from the widescreen action of the battle. Colorist Pete Pantazis magnificently keeps up with Scott, giving blood, sweat, tears and battle damage to both sides of the battle. Dezi Sienty’s letters tell the story cleanly, adding captions from Steppenwolf and embedded reporter Lee Travis in conjunction with the attacks, layering story detail on top of visual detail. Nicola Scott, inker Trevor Scott, Pantazis and Sienty fill “Earth 2” #16 with rugged detail and ample opportunity for the characters to shine. Scott’s characters are as brilliant as they have been all along. Additionally, her choreography is crisp and her storytelling is topnotch. “Earth 2” is a more solid title with Scott on the art chores, as she has just as much invested in building this world as Robinson.
James Robinson has built an amazing world on “Earth 2” with a lot of help from Nicola Scott. As he leaves this issue, however, Robinson doesn’t put the toys back where he found them, choosing instead to leave them scattered all across DC’s sandbox. It’s a damn shame the writer won’t stick around and that readers were not afforded the luxury of a complete tale from Robinson. The final reveal of Brutaal, the remnants of the World Army and the mission of the Wonders is left undone, waiting for someone else to try and piece together the vision Robinson was so diligently assembling. Readers could finish the threads their own way, presuming they know the story Robinson might have told, but from here, we will only know what Robinson intended if he comes forth and reveals it himself. “Earth 2” #16 gives readers one last look at the enjoyable, growing universe Robinson and Scott have constructed before it shifts to the direction of a new writer.