Thursday, December 4, 2014

Not Really Off Topic: Extended Review For Earth 2 # 29

The comic books these days seem to be getting very philosophical and theological. I guess there will be a series of NOT REALLY OFF-TOPIC reviews over the next few weeks. I'll have at least one more this week or next.

This is a review of DC's EARTH 2 #29. Earth-2 is still one of my favorite books, though its stock has dropped as it has become more and more all about Apocalypse and Darkseid's quest to take over Earth-2. This has caused the storytelling to get a little repetitive, but the art work and the character development is still very strong, and I like many of the characters the book deals with. This issue was particularly good, and it continues some very strong theological themes I've found in other Earth-2 books (see here:

The apocalyptic themes I have noted in other reviews of other Earth-2 issues are made plain and explicit here. This issue quotes from the Book of Revelation quite a bit. I find it quite satisfying that these themes are being made plain here. Earth-2's versions of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon (who on Earth-1 are Robin/Nightwing and Batgirl respectively) are trying to keep their family intact and alive as the world is bombarded by the forces of Darkseid. Human beings, in this darkest of hours, are exhibiting the best and the worst human nature can produce, though more the latter than the former, as the heroes find out in this issue.

Grayson has already encountered quite a few Christians who believe what is happening to Earth-2 represents the End of Days. Now, he encounters satan worshipers who deliberately seek the favor of 'the beast' as they proclaim the failure of God and the triumph of the forces of evil. They see direct parallels between themselves and those who are said to 'worship the beast' in the Book of Revelation. They see power and control and they want to side with it, in the hopes that it will spare them.

Coercive power can inspire fear, and fear can lead to worship. But in the final analysis, that worship is misguided as the leader of these satanists soon learn. For that which has the power to destroy you quite often will, in the end. Those who worship coercive power, and worship themselves, are worshiping their own doom. They are simply feeding the crocodile, hoping that they will the last to be eaten.

As I aid in yet another review like this one ( ), a dominant theme in EARTH-2 is 'hidden hope'. Hope, like the God it reveals, is something that at least always begins as something hidden. Our hopes explode, seemingly from nowhere. Hope is always God making a way where there appeared to be no way. Hope may seem weak in the world, but by its very nature, by the very invitation to look forward, it gives use the power to de-emphasize and marginalize the evil that so often seems dominant. Grayson and Gordon are, ironically, the very hope they seek to find in the world.

Grayson says at one point that given the cosmic scale of what is happening around him, his agnosticism is waning. And well it should. One cannot remain on the sidelines as cosmic scales of good and evil surround one. In Grayson's wavering agnosticism one is reminded of another Revelation passage:

Revelation 3:15-16"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." 

What hope does a world like Earth-2 have, surrounded by such terrible evil, if there is not some force for good of greater authority than Darkseid?

Storyline: 4 Stars
Dialogue: 4.5 Stars
Pacing: 3.5 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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