Earth 2, Volume 2: The Tower of Fate collects the zero issue of the series, along with issues 7 through 12. The zero issue gives us a look back at the struggle between the Trio of Wonders (Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman) who lost their lives saving the Earth from Apokolips along with some other heroes that we don’t get to learn the fate of, like Robin and Supergirl. It opens up the volume, a far better place for it than after issue 4 when it previously came out, and hints at other Wonders before continuing the blistering pace of non-stop action and devastating consequences that has endeared the series to its followers.
The artwork is superb and is even better than what we saw in the first volume. Thomas Giorello’s work on the zero issue is stunning, and Nicola Scott has a great eye for detail whose work throughout the volume is top notch. We get to see more of our new wonders and Robinson weaves a compelling backstory for them; Hawkgirl in particular is a strong female lead that is a really welcome, interesting voice in the series. If the first volume was about giving birth to some of the core wonders and bringing them together by force and necessity, the second volume is all about giving each of them some dedicated page space to explore their backstories and to examine them and who they are.
The old school, Golden Age feel that took some getting used to in the first volume is still present, if more subtle in terms of dialogue and general overtness, but it’s in the origin stories that Robinson really shows his writing chops. These interesting, supernatural/mystical-style origin stories for some of the characters harken back to some really interesting stories and ideas and is an obviously perfect fit for the writer given his past work.
While I find myself wishing that the stories were actually set in the 40s, the modern-day mash-up is equally, perhaps even more, compelling as I have no idea what Robinson is going to throw at us next. This volume not only gives us a more in-depth look at our new heroes, but also expands the setting and solidifies the vibe of the book. The introduction of some new characters unfortunately also comes with a great deal of exposition, but the payoff is worth it and adds an additional layer to setting, even if it feels slightly rushed. The final arc of the volume is suitably epic and sets up even more destructive changes to come.