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Earth 2 #15.2 – Solomon Grundy Review: Bored on a Monday

I don't entirely get why DC is deciding to highlight their villains so much when the fabric of the "New 52" is still in its early stages. Take Earth 2, which centers on the Justice Society of America, for example. Since the series began after the first "New 52" titles and writer James Robinson has unfolded the stories very slowly, the entire team STILL hasn't been assembled. So it seems like a strange time to interrupt with Desaad #1 (Earth 2 #15.1) and Solomon Grundy #1 (#15.2). Still, I was curious about this issue because it was written by Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT). Unfortunately, there is nothing interesting about this story, and Earth 2 #15.2 is one of the most boring comics I've read in a while.

This version of Earth 2 began in issue #1 with Solomon Grundy showing up and sucking the life out of everything on the planet. It was the threat that made Green Lantern, Flash, Atom and Hawkgirl (younger than they'd been in the old DC Universe) meet up. The ability to drain life out of things made Grundy a more formidable foe than his older versions where his super strength and invulnerability were his primary attributes. This issue ventures to tell the origin of Solomon Grundy while also showing us what happened when he initially arrived on Earth 2.

Earth 2 splash

The problem is that nothing that Grundy does in the present is compelling whatsoever. He drains the life out of some random victims. He kills flies unlucky enough to hover near him. The climax of the issue (if you can really call it that) is the revelation that if Grundy is blown up, he will reconstitute himself. That might be a cool ending were it not for the fact that this is a clearly known ability of Grundy. It would be like ending an issue of Flash with the reveal that Flash runs fast. Also, anyone who's read the first issues of Earth 2 knows what Grundy has done. It's comparable to writing a scene of a movie where the character wakes up and brushes his teeth. It doesn't further the story. We already know that Grundy kills things!

Earth 2 Grundy

So if nothing new happens in the present half of this issue, there's got to be something worthwhile in the origin part, right? Not so much. We're shown a man named Solomon who lives with his wife, Pinney, and baby. Pinney has some terrible dialog that paints her as southern because she says, "Mistah." We're told very little about Solomon and Pinney. Suddenly, we see Pinney rush from the office of Mistah Henry's slaughterhouse, where she's apparently been sexually assaulted. It appears to be forced because of a torn dress, but she also says "Never again." Pinney kills herself with a slaughter knife in front of her husband, Henry and the rest of the workers. Solomon apparently goes crazy because not only does he subsequently murder Henry, he also murders all of his innocent co-workers. Seems like it would have been a good day to call in sick to the ol' slaughterhouse.

So the Solomon Grundy backstory is pretty rote and uninspired, too. Really, no one in this entire issue does anything interesting. No one seems to have motivations or really any substance besides filling out the story. Although Green Lantern appears on the cover, the issue ends before any hero shows up. Kindt threads in the Grundy nursery rhyme, but that's such a signature of Grundy that it really doesn't do anything unless you have never seen Grundy before.

Earth 2 15-2 cover

So perhaps this issue is for the "new reader," who is unfamiliar with Grundy. The problem is that this reader would be familiar with Grundy if they read the first arc of Earth 2. If he/she didn't, why would they buy this issue? Furthermore, even if this is a reader's first exposure to Solomon Grundy, he doesn't do anything dramatic or awesome. He comes across as dark in the most wooden way. I've never missed the "Solomon Grundy want pants, too" version of this character so much.

The one positive in Earth 2 #15.2 is the art of Aaron Lopresti. While it's not the most dynamic or exceptional art, Lopresti does draw very well. His Grundy evolves from skinny skeleton figure to menacing monster. His illustrations in the origin part of the story indicate that he'd be quite good doing the art for a horror comic. However, just as poor art can sink a good story, good art cannot rescue the lack of story or character presented in this issue.



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