REVIEW: ‘War for Earth-3,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

WAR FOR EARTH 3 #2 - But Why Tho

War for Earth-3 #2 is the last part of a crossover published by DC Comics. Written by Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson, art by Kieran McKeown, Dexter Vines, Ariel Olivetti, Júlio Ferreira and Brent Peeples, colours by Matt Herms and letters by Simon Bowland. Amanda Waller and a cabal of her Suicide Squad invaded Earth-3, either killing the Crime Syndicate or recruiting them to her team. Rick Flag had tried and failed to stop her, so went to the main universe and brought with him the Teen Titans and the Flash. In this final issue, Flag’s group tries to take Amanda Waller down with his team of heroes and villains alike. But to do that they need to work out a plan for Ultraman. 

The plot of this issue is an explosion of chaos. Another bumper chapter, there is a lot to wrap up and conclude. With people fighting everywhere, the location jumps frequently between the various stages of the battle. In a way, the multiple layers to the way it works well due to the different plans being enacted. There are a ridiculous amount of twists and revelations inside as individuals get in the way of others trying to make moves. Whilst some are set up and hit with power, there are so many that the cohesion of the story starts to slip. The insanity of the fight dilutes this in what is a truly brilliant combination of ridiculous moments, inventive use of powers, and constant elevation of events. But after that’s over, the twists keep going and it eventually makes the head spin. To the point where any sense of finality is tainted due to the dizziness felt after reading.

The characters and the dialogue are another example of this series’ over-the-top nature being both a blessing and a curse. The cast was whittled down through the crossover through brutal murders, but they were replaced with newcomers and even bigger characters. The vast number of figures included adds unpredictability to the interactions between fighters. And the dialogue is awesome in that there is a blending of voice and styles. Hopeless and Thompson are borrowing characters from other books and ensure that they speak like they are from different worlds. The Earth-3 villains have this arrogance that no one else possesses and their longing for violence is always prevalent. The exploration of Ultraman is awesome. Not only does it present him as the ultimate villain of the entire comic, but the writers give him an attribute that may make him more contrasting to the classic Superman than any other version. Superman wants to help whoever he can and as many as he can, caring deeply about those he saves. Whilst Ultraman doesn’t care at all about the humans, actually considering them a burden to look after.

But in a similar fashion to the plot, the constant twists and switches of allegiances can challenge what we know about the personalities of the characters. Some of those involved suddenly develop a desire to destroy people that they were just fighting alongside. Motivations become skewed and the way some character arcs are just obliterated instantly can be jarring, even though that is a common occurrence in Suicide Squad books.

The art manages to be fantastic and helps keep track of the carnage unfolding before our eyes. Whatever the situation, the different artists are able to conjure it with brilliance. In the opening battle, the choreography is spectacular. Whether it be a double splash page where everyone is fighting everyone or a page where just two people are in conflict, the level of detail and intensity remains the same. Switching the artists as War For Earth-3 #2 allows for a change in the atmosphere whilst keeping the extra-large issue fresh. And yet the four artists involved have similar enough art styles that you don’t get whiplash from the changes.

The displays of all of the different powers and technology are epic. The level in which the chaos gets to matches that of this particular Earth. But there is enough time for some moments of tense confrontation, not just constant, loud, violence. There are also aspects that could be seen as comedic, drawing a smirk amidst the explosions.

The colours are clever and stunning. There is a perfect blend of muted shades with bright and vibrant tones. There is a light blue sky behind all of the fighting when outside, but on the ground, the colours are either very rich and powerful or dull and shrouded in shadow. This is fitting with characters that either have elaborate costumes and powers or are darker and less extravagant. They can exist in the same panel without one being out of place. The lettering is very easy to read. The SFX is understated and effective, underused instead of flooding the fight scenes with too many.

War for Earth-3 #2 is an ambitious finale. The creators went into this final part of a dimension-spanning crossover with a lot to wrap up. And at first glances it was living up to expectations. The battle was cohesive but over the top and intoxicating. The characters have identity and the consequences of every action was severe. The revelations were welcome because they completely flipped the story. But the constant mind games snowball quickly and the focus slips, from the comic and myself. The climax of a collection of multiple tales should be satisfying, and that was not achieved in the latter states of this book.

War for Earth-3 #2 is available where comics are sold.


War for Earth-3 #2
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TL;DR

War for Earth-3 #2 is an ambitious finale. The creators went into this final part of a dimension-spanning crossover with a lot to wrap up. And at first glances it was living up to expectations. The battle was cohesive but over the top and intoxicating. The characters have identity and the consequences of every action was severe. The revelations were welcome because they completely flipped the story. But the constant mind games snowball quickly and the focus slips, from the comic and myself. The climax of a collection of multiple tales should be satisfying, and that was not achieved in the latter states of this book.