Earth 2 Society 16 is the penultimate issue of the series, which has seen the various characters from Earth 2, and their successors, try to find a way to live on the hollow shell of a new Earth.
Abnett and Hernandez do an excellent job with an issue that is largely one grand fight scene. But by now, all the groundwork has been laid, all the dramatic situations built up. The annual a couple of weeks ago solidified Dick Grayson as the Earth 2 Batman, and re-united him with his son, who had been raised and corrupted by the Ultra-Humanite.
The goal of both the Ultra-Humanite and the various remaining heroes is possession, and use, of Pandora’s Box, brought to the other Earth 2 heroes by Fury, now the Queen of the Amazons, as a peace offering. This magical box has the power to re-create their world properly, but it could also be used in a variety of less than benevolent ways.
The Ultra-Humanite looks great. It’s the now-classic giant albino gorilla form, but Hernandez has added a visible brain to the form, making him look even more frightening and deadly. By the beginning of this issue, he has a host of Earth 2 children, who he has raised and powered, working as his foot soldiers, and also has taken control of the mind of Alan Scott, the Earth 2 Green Lantern.
Most of the cast appears in this issue, although many of the characters only have brief scenes, before getting taken down. Val-Zod, the Earth 2 Superman, appears with Flash, Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate, Power Girl, the Huntress, and the Red Tornado, but its Oliver Queen, Red Arrow, who proves the most useful in one of the major confrontations in the story.
As is common with these climactic tales, we see hero after hero fall, and villains taken down as well. There is a suitably horrible death. And then the big finale. One sort of knows what is going to happen from the very start. The pleasure value is based on how much fun it is to get there. And this issue is fun indeed.
The pay-off is excellent, reminiscent of the conclusion to one of DC’s big crossover series from the 90s. And it sets up the final issue, an epilogue to the whole sad saga of Earth 2.