Earth 2 is gone and dead, but thankfully the characters still exist because Green Lantern has kept the world alive; only now the Ultra-Humanite wants to remake it in his own image.
Batman may hold the key to resistance via his son, who was turned into a superhero and aged up (he’s only 6 but looks 16) by the Ultra-Humanite. We find out how they connect in this issue. Is it good?
EARTH 2: SOCIETY ANNUAL #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC Summary reads:
Earth-2’s Batman is Dick Grayson. Does he have what it takes to be a true Batman and follow in the legacy of Bruce and Thomas Wayne before him? Or will he only ever be a stand-in? Beyond anything else, he has one overriding goal…to find his missing son. Is that a job for the Batman…or is it something only Dick Grayson can do? The Wayne legacy is at stake. This is an epic turning point in the history of Earth-2’s Batman.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Dan Abnett has done a great job making each issue of this series accessible, but also intriguing due to the solid character work. It’s also exciting to read this series as anything can happen and anyone can die. It’s not like this is part of the main DCU now is it?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I dig that red Batman!
The cover is a tad misleading, but that’s okay because Abnett does a fantastic job writing key dialogue that bonds Batman with his son. This issue is broken up between the now and the then (which takes place right after Earth 2: Society #15), which allows Abnett to cut back and forth between action and character work. The real trick of this issue is how we aren’t so sure Huntress is going to make it, or if we can even trust Batman’s son. As we cut between Huntress attempting to save Batman’s son from the Humanite soldier and Batman talking to him later, we’re not sure if she’ll make it or if the son will stab his father in the back. This creates some much valued tension that keeps your pulse up even when Batman is getting all mushy about loving his son and having meaning in his life.
This issue serves as an empowering rally cry for Batman who has new reason to live and go on, but also as a reminder that the Batman of Earth 2 usually don’t make it out alive. There’s even a nice summary caption that cues new readers in about Earth 2 which is very helpful to understand the big picture. That’s because this is all about two moments in time, one about Batman coming to a realization of who he is now that he knows he has family, and Huntress attempting to fight a super powered villain.
Abnett also does a good job captioning the book and giving each scene extra meaning. Huntress is only a human being at max ability, which is quite impressive when you consider she’s fighting superhumans. There may be a lot of dialogue at times, but it’s paced well and you’ll hardly notice.
The Ultra-Humanite is giving me Jabba vibes.
The art by Bruno Redondo perfectly captures the darker tone the Batman scenes need. As I said above, there’s a tension in the room since we can’t really be sure Batman’s son is a good guy and that’s in large part due to Redondo’s art. He also draws a mean Batman costume and some Fallout looking equipment in the Bat-Lair that features a super futuristic look. Artist Diogenes Neves brings all kinds of detail and ultra action goodness to the Huntress scenes as she battles the Humanite soldier; his Ultra-Humanite is well rendered, looking quite evil and massive, but dang does he drop Huntress into the story excitingly (and the costumes wow). Neves’ intro to Huntress is a full page splash and it’s glorious. The fight choreography is also very well done.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If it’s the goal of the comic to make us believe in Batman’s son I’m not sure it did a well enough job. He’s very hesitant and odd (he is 6 after all) and while it’s clear Batman is 100% all in to support his son I’m not swayed as to whether this kid is on his side. The cliffhanger is certainly empowering (and reminds me of one of the Batman movies…Forever maybe) and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
There are a few panels where Batman seems to be repeating himself. It’s a minor gripe, but it there are moments where it seems Abnett might be padding things out just a bit too much especially since Batman doesn’t do much beyond talk.
Is It Good?
Earth 2: Society Annual is well worth your time if you dig action and character work. There’s a meaningful conversation about sons and fathers and it’s a must buy for fans of Earth 2: Society.