As apocalyptic stories go, Earth 2 has done a great job in setting up the conflict and delivering memorable and stunning plot twists. Approaching the end of its run, Primal Defense is a reminder of the savagery that Apokolips is capable of and dealing with deeper issues that we could possibly experience in a distant future.
The highlight of Primal Defense centers around our Avatars. After being ravaged by Deathspawn and the Furies of Apokolips, they, along with the Parliament of Earth, have reached their limit which results in an unanimous decision to merge into Alan Scott. The Green Lantern of Earth 2 is certainly nothing like his Prime Earth counterpart, but that didn’t stop the writers from taking inspiration from the latter – specifically Kyle Rayner. The merging of the primal forces into Alan Scott resembles Kyle Rayner’s transformation into a White Lantern. While the idea at its core is without a doubt intriguing and was executed perfectly, I would have liked to see his suit change. Given the magnitude of the war, it is certain that majority of our wonders will not be making out of this alive. The artists could have used this opportunity to give Scott a suit that embodies all 5 of the primal forces – it is my belief that this would certainly made the plot more visually interesting.
In more ways than one, Alan Scott is the star of the Earth 2 series hence stories centered around him is always welcomed. The unifying of the Primal Forces in Alan Scott provided the platform for them to finally close the door on the Alan-Sam sub plot that has been hanging around in the shadows since the inception of the Earth 2 series. Imagine having the see your beloved die and miraculously alive some time later with no memory of you, it had to be heart wrenching for Scott. Even though this Sam has stated that he had no memories of his past, his final declaration of love to Alan saying that he will always be with him (literally) breaks the emotional barrier for the series as a whole and serves as bittersweet ending to Earth 2’s greatest love story.
As the super powered heroes give it their all to defend the Earth, Batman & Huntress continue their search for the elusive Oliver Queen. Having these two team up allowed for them to explore a more investigative storyline in contrast to all the climactic arcs that the series has been focusing on. Upon meeting Queen, who goes by the moniker Red Arrow, it is revealed that the original Batman had devised a plan should the Earth be lost and hid the secret with Oliver to execute. Anyone who knows Bruce Wayne knows that he is always planning ahead and this exemplifies it perfectly – who better to save the Earth that Bruce Wayne? The Codex, which contains the DNA of all of the lifeforms on Earth, is the key that would allow the residents of Earth 2 to rebuild, albeit slowly. The fact that the writers chose their direction would hint that there is hope that Earth 2 will survive from this invasion. Granted that this subplot wasn’t as extensive as I would have liked it to be, the investigative elements, the entry of The Codex as well as Helena and Thomas’ amusing love-hate back and forth in their relationship is enough to support this journey.
Remember when I said that the writer’s should have stopped the Grayson storyline when Barbara died? I’m certainly glad that they didn’t as the writers managed to continue the human side of this war in an unexpected way. In a time where hope seems lost and death is knocking on their doors, it is plausible that someone would that advantage of the situation which is exactly what Brainwave did. Using his powers of mind control, Henry King Jr. (Brainwave) sought be become the savior of humanity by hijacking the World Army’s ships. This misguided attempted tackles yet another aspect of the human condition – psychopathic delusions of grandeur of being a savior – thereby adding another dimension to the series. It was really interesting how the writers managed to seamlessly weave this into an already packed series.
Most the sub plots in Primal Defense were strong enough to justify their inclusion into the series, all but Holt and his team’s journey in space. Following the cliffhanger that really got me intrigued, the re-entry of Terry Sloan into the series didn’t add any value to this impressive story primarily due to poor and rushed writing. Given the magnitude of all the other plots in Primal Defense, this one just fell flat – even the twist involving Sloan deceiving Apokolips and saving Holt and the team wasn’t as impactful as it should have been. It is in my opinion that Sloan’s character has run its course in the series and like Amir and Atom, should be killed off or at least cowardly escaped to another dimension which he is definitely capable of. We know he is from another Earth with ties to the New Gods and that he had orchestrated the invasion by Apokolips. There isn’t really anything that they could come up with that could potentially make him any more interesting. That said, this misstep by the writers isn’t bad enough to diminish the events occurring in the other sub plots – it’s merely a passable distraction.
All in all, Primal Defense manages to end off most of the major plots which hints that World’s End would finally be all our wonders converging against Apokolips.