Thirteen creators juggle half a dozen story threads with a surprising amount of cohesiveness in “Earth 2: World’s End” #3. Headed up by writer Daniel H. Wilson with Eddy Barrows and Tyler Kirkham among the team of artists, this issue continues to chronicle another attack by Apokolips on the multiverse’s second most popular world. A couple of surprises are tossed in that keep this issue and the storyline from feeling solely like a very small part in a series of events connecting the dots between present day and the happenings in the companion “Futures End” weekly series.
Wilson takes on a tough task: making an assault from Apokolips seem like a fresh idea, after the recent storyline in the ongoing “Earth 2” series that featured an attempt at domination by Steppenwolf, who’s from Apokolips, which itself was an aftereffect of the invasion that devastated the planet years earlier after an invasion from, yes, Apokolips. The persistence of the notion is perplexing, and the writers don’t really have anything fresh to wring out of it. Mutated humans take the place of parademons, perhaps, but the remake is otherwise the same: the world’s heroes are once again fighting Apokoliptian hordes.
On its own terms, regardless of what’s come before, it’s not bad for standard superhero fisticuffs; a trio of possessed heroines taking on what passes for Earth 2’s world’s finest duo nowadays is fairly engaging, and the overall situation around the world carry a decent amount of tension. The writers keep the various storylines all orbiting around the story’s central premise, so the array of characters and locales don’t make the issue seem as scattered as it easily could have been. Still, it all feels more like a diluted, weekly dose of what writer Tom Taylor, and James Robinson before him, have done with so much more intensity in the monthly series, and it doesn’t really offer anything new to readers of that comic, arguably the most likely audience for this one.
The credits don’t specify which pages were drawn by whom, and the artists largely succeed in not only combining for an attractive looking issue, but for making the transitions between art teams from page to page largely transparent. The one page sequence featuring Dick and Barbara is a rare exception, with a courser and less refined look than the surrounding pages; certainly not weaker by any means, but noticeably out of place nonetheless. Ardian Syaf and Jonathan Glapion’s cover features a dynamic shot of Hawkgirl and Doctor Fate, who are only featured briefly in the story, but regardless make for an eye-catching cover. The lengthy list of creator names, while rightfully listed and thankfully in a smaller font, is a distraction by being eye-catching for the wrong reasons; there are more names listed here than on most DC Comics panels at any major comic convention.
“Earth 2: World’s End” #3 is a perfectly acceptable issue in a perfectly capable storyline, with strong art enhancing a decidedly average story.