Earth 2, Vol. 3: Battle Cry series opens with a bang and a hook that pulls you in right from issue #13, and keeps us enthralled all the way up to issue #16. James Robinson’s writing and Yildiray Cinar’s art, which only appears to have gotten even better since the previous volume, is made even better with the brilliant coloring in the issue. Which is not to say that Nikola Scott doesn’t live up to the artwork of the previous volume because she knocks it out of the park and continues to be a big draw to the series and for good reason. Despite this volume being almost completely dedicated to intense action that ends up being a great excuse to have Scott draw page after amazing page of dynamic art, the annual also provides some welcome character and world building, which I felt really rounded out the volume.
More wonders come out of the woodwork and volume 3 is when the overarching plot that Robinson has been setting up throughout the series really begins to take shape. The gloves come off when the wonders of Earth 2 go to war. The gore factor gets turned up a notch and the clichéd filler lines for villains rear their ugly heads now and again, but the story remains interesting and even Robinson addresses the clichés with humor. Yet more new reveals are interesting but characterization takes a break in this volume as plot becomes the driving force. Issue 15.1 is also collected in this volume, which also hurts it in my opinion; it messes with the pacing and just feels out of place, not to mention it starts out with the villain throwing a shark out of the water and onto the beach. I don’t even. Anyway, the actual series proper more than makes up for it, but I found myself wishing that 15.1 wasn’t included at all or, if they’re going to break up the story regardless, why not also include 15.2, a far stronger issue and one that is apparently only available to Earth 2 readers via the single issue.
The volume closes with the biggest reveal of the series so far and having already set up some other wonders sure to be explored in the next issues. While the actual earth of Earth 2 does not appear to be able to catch a break, all the conflict and creative freedom that has allowed Robinson to tell fun, action-packed stories with beats that change the scope, perspective and outlook on Earth 2 is still here, even if it’s the last volume that will have Robinson on it. Before he leaves, he introduces two main staples of the DC universe in dramatic fashion, and bestows the series to Tom Taylor with his departure from DC comics after issue 16, but he leaves it ripe with possibility and with a few hooks already in us, all Tom Taylor need do is continue to reel us in!