Thursday, October 9, 2014

Extended Comic Book Reviews: Earth 2 "World's End' #1 Earth 2 # 27

It has been a while since I've done an extended meditation on a comic book, as I've decided to only write them when there is sufficient foundation for theological, moral or philosophical reflection. Today, I'll be looking at the two most recent EARTH 2 offerings from DC comics, which form a continuous story from EARTH 2: WORLD'S END #1 to EARTH 2 #27.

Both books include some greater insight to the EARTH 2 universe before the death of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, as well as exploring in more detail the ongoing battle against Darkseid's forces. As Power Girl and Huntress return to their home universe from an extended exile to Earth-1, the past is brought to bear on the present as Lois rediscovers her daughter (Power Girl) and the New Batman his granddaughter (Huntress). WORLD'S END #1 really has a lot of implicit reflection upon the Trinity, focusing on the original Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in that light.

In point of fact these three characters have been called the Trinity in the DC world for a long time, and for good reason. Batman is very much the planner and architect of the Justice League. He is the master strategist, working behind everything that happens, but hiding in the shadows as his direct involvement must remain limited. This is very reminiscent of the role of the Father in Christian theology, as Creator and mysterious architect of destiny.

Superman's connection to Jesus Christ has been explored in detail on this blog before. In the context of the DC Trinity, Superman is the most directly involved, living as a caring father and brother to humanity.

Wonder Woman, the feminine member of the DC Trinity can roughly be seen as an analogy to the Holy Spirit. This is especially apt given her Lasso of Truth, since the Holy Spirit is often called the Spirit of Truth or the one that will lead us into all truth. Given my own affinity for identifying the Holy Spirit as a more feminine divine experience, I think the analogy is very apt.

You see a lot of this kind of reflection in WORLD'S END, as the spirit of these three figures tower large over the Earth-2 heroes of present day. We learn more about their personal lives and the roles they played in the world.

The really interesting part of all of this theological reflection is about how a family is more than the sum of its parts. The reconnection of Lois and Batman with their children and grandchildren, offers the writer a chance to explore what family really means. Thomas Wayne failed his son, and now has a chance to make it up for it with his grand daughter. Lois has died and come back to life, and now has a connection with her former life through her rediscovered daughter. The new Superman has found a kindred spirit and a connection to his Kryptonian past in Power Girl. There is definitely a sort of cosmic note of hope in all of this, as these reunions take place within the context of the ongoing war against Darkseid's minions.

One insight within the Trinity is simply that there is a cosmic significance to family. No doubt, family structures and the need for community is a part of the evolutionary process, but for a Christian this tendency towards connection, towards community, is not the result of purely random forces, but an outgrowth of the fundamental nature of the Ground of Being. God exists as a loving community, and so the universe tends towards communal structure. Even the fact of gravity itself, that things attract and pool and organize, is not simply 'the way things are' but a reflection of the nature of God. The very binding together of the universe, the fact that things hold in communal shape, is the result of the simple fact that God is love, and love requires more than one person to be operative. The Trinity has cosmic consequences and we see it everywhere.

Many cosmologists have spoken of a tendency toward attraction and connection within the universe. For a non-Christian, this is seen as just 'the way things are'. But seen through the lens of Christian experience, we know that these are actually sign posts to the nature of God.

In Earth-2 you have old families reunited and new families developing (the exchange between Hawk Girl and Flash is fantastic), and one gets the sense that this is the foundation for hope in a nearly hopeless universe.

Aesthetically, these books have it going on. I simply love the Earth-2 world and we have a whole series of books expanding that universe that came out this week. I couldn't be happier. Learning more about these favorite characters of mine, especially Alan Scott, is very exciting. The art is solid in both books, the storylines are fantastic, and the dialogue works. World's End was a slightly better book than issue 27 of the main Earth 2 storyline, but it is almost impossible for me not to treat them as a unit. So my reviews below deal with them in an overall sense:
Storyline: 4.5 Stars
Dialogue: 4 Stars
Pacing: 4 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment