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Comic Book Review: "Earth 2 #4: A Confluence Of Worlds"
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Is Earth 2 more interesting with or without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman?
The Second Age of Wonders is underway for DC Comics New 52 in the fourth issue of Earth 2. “A Confluence Of Worlds”, written by James Robinson with art by Nicola Scott, Eduardo Pansica and Trevor Scott, brings together the world’s new superheroes for the first time in a haphazardly joint effort to stop a new (and yet seemingly old) enemy, Grundy. Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl), Jay Garrick (The Flash) and Captain Albert Pratt (The Atom) all meet on the battlefield against the Gray Knight with confusing and surprising results.
“A Confluence Of Worlds” begins in Papua, New Guinea, five years ago, with a massive explosion of atomic proportions. The World Army converges on the blast zone. They’re hoping to find some Apokoliptic technology that the World Army Brass can reverse-engineer in case of a second invasion. However; in the rubble of the blast, they only find a single human man: Albert Pratt, unconscious, yet seemingly uninjured despite the atomic blast.
Five years later, Captain Pratt (AKA The Atom) is being sent on his first American mission: to investigate the turmoil happening in Washington D.C., and save the capital. Down in the center of the U.S. capital, Grundy is devastating the National Mall, calling out to the “Jade Champion” to face him.
In Poland, Hawkgirl (Kendra) and The Flash (Jay) are confused about the dying foliage around them. At first, they start blaming each other for the dying plants, but Hawkgirl figures out that it’s something else. They start following the rotting earth back to its point of origin: America.
Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, Green Lantern (Alan) is flying at super speed to get to the source of the trouble. He can feel it; it’s like the earth got sick and he’s drawn to the “cancer”. He notices that his ability to fly happened somewhat naturally, like he just knew he could fly without thinking about it.
Back at the National Mall, Grundy to destroying everything and everyone in sight as he cries out in disgust that the Jade Knight hasn’t appeared.
Hawkgirl and The Flash arrive and start battling Grundy. Hawkgirl blasts Grundy in the face, knocking a hole in his head; it begins to reform. They’ve mange to save some the soldiers fighting the unstoppable gray monster by distracting him, but now the two of them have to try to defeat him.
Hawkgirl tells Flash to run; he’s not trained well enough to face him. She’s tells him to save the bystanders while she fights Grundy the best she can. He tells that they are in this fight together; he’s ready to battle that thing.
Hawkgirl ignores him and flies off to fight the Gray Knight. But she only manages to anger Grundy more. He grabs her by the throat and is about to kill her, when he feels the approaching presence of his “counterpart”: the Green Lantern.
Green Lantern arrive in a green blast and starts fighting Grundy. The Flash begins rounding up and saving the surrounding survivors / spectators. In the background, on a large monitor, runs the news saying that they are seeing the “beginning of a new era of wonders”.
Captain Pratt, high above the capital in a drop ship deploys out of the back of the plane.
Down below, Green Lantern tries to use his imagination to create “weapons” with his new power like the green flame told him he could, but it doesn’t seem to work.
Suddenly, The Atom (in Giant form), descends on Grundy with a great crash, knocking him into the ground, and burying him. Hawkgirl recognizes Pratt and tells him that she won’t go back alive. He tells her too bad and grabs her in his giant fist. He turns to The Flash and Green Lantern and tells them both to stand down or they will have to take HIM on.
This issue’s story mirrors the main universe of DC’s New 52; it shows that the world, no matter which world, fears what it doesn’t understand. Even when it is clear that the heroes are trying to help others and save the day, the powers-that-be view them as threats that need to be captured and studied for weaknesses (see Action Comics #1-8 for Superman’s origins). Although it is never stated or explained in this issue, it appears that Albert Pratt, having atomic powers of his own, works to contain others with supernatural and superhuman powers on behalf of the World Army. It makes for an interesting subplot that was started in the second issue of Earth 2 with Mr. Terrific. It will be fascinating to see how this plotline is dealt with in the coming issues.