The saga of the rebooted Earth 2 continues in “A Confluence of Wonders.” The Nu Grundy lays waste to Washington, DC, screaming for “the jade champion.” Gathering to oppose him (it?), are Hawkgirl, Flash, Green Lantern, and Atom. However, nothing can be as simple as “new heroes gather to fight a new evil.”
It seems there is a history between Hawkgirl and Atom– they not only know each other’s real names, but Atom spends more time being concerned with arresting Hawkgirl than fighting Grundy. Atom is apparently an agent of “the World Army Court,” and they want Hawkgirl. Atom is referred to as “Al” as we saw before, and Hawkgirl is “Kendra.” The action is basically a lot of fighting against Grundy, Flash and Hawkgirl experimenting with his powers, and then Atom dropping out of a plane, growing to immense size, to land on Grundy and capture Hawkgirl. Considering Grundy regenerates several times this issue, I’m sure he’ll be attacking Atom for stepping on him within the first few pages next issue.
There were a few things I liked here: Hawkgirl helping Flash work out his powers was well done. The art throughout is great, but I’d expect no less from Nicola Scott. The scene of a military recovery team finding the unconscious Al Pratt, laying on the ground inside a giant hand print, was particularly striking. Kendra teasing Jay about not having a code name was a nice touch.
The fight was nothing special, heroes smash bad guy over and over and he heals, unharmed. The odd connection that let Flash, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern home in on Grundy is left unexplained, hopefully to be cleared up later. Atom’s new costume is, in my personal opinion, the worst of the lot so far. Combat boots, fatigue pants, what looks like Damage’s old shirt, wrist guards and a helmet over a full face mask. Atom seems to have not only gained Atom Smasher’s power of growth, but also some kind of energy powers flare around his fists. It’s truly ugly. It’s also a shame that, so far, GL has done nothing various flying bricks like Superman, Captain Marvel, etc, can’t.
Since we saw the “Trinity’ die, I suppose these new heroes must take their place. Green Lantern seems to be taking Superman’s place– all we’ve really seen him do is fly, and exhibit great strength and invulnerability. Given Alan Scott’s position of being head of a major communications company, I’m betting he becomes the public face of the new heroes, as Superman is often shown as. Hawkgirl is serious, a skilled detective, and seems to be keeping secrets, which I suppose nominates her for Batman’s replacement. Of the three we’ve spent the most time with, that leaves Flash as Wonder Woman, which so far I really don’t see. He doesn’t represent any ideal or message that I’ve seen so far.
This issue sparked another question for me. It seems everything that shows up as new and menacing is suspected of being from Apokolips. I get the war left deep scars, physical and emotional, but really, everything is from Darkseid’s evil? If that’s the automatic presumption, it makes me wonder: are there no super villains on this world? It seems all we’ve heard about are the dead trinity and the lost sidekicks in Worlds’ Finest. With no villains, what did these heroes do? Did Superman go after muggers like Batman? Did they restrict themselves to natural disasters? This seems to be something they’ve not remotely touched on, and it makes me curious.
Overall, this isn’t a bad issue, but there do seem to be a lot of negatives here. I’m hoping a bit more gets cleared up as we go. I’m intrigued enough to keep going for now, but this book is far from secure on my pull list.