After the vast improvement Primal Sacrifice managed to achieve, there is a lot riding on this subsequent arc to deliver a worthy follow up – and it delivered. With all the things going on and the many divergent plotlines, it is definitely not easy for a large scale series such as this one to manage the numerous characters. Despite the rough start, the series succeeded in deeming itself. All that said, Ravaged from Within officially brings to light the massive problem that I have been concerned about since the inception of this series and that is how far would they go with the destruction of the planet.
It’s no secret that an invasion by Apokolips would definitely bring forth massive devastation but crazy as it may be, there was always this glimmer of hope that the Wonders would find a way to drive Darkseid and his army away. Sadly, Ravaged from Within has all but confirmed that there is no coming back for the residents of Earth 2 with the planet being engulfed by Apokolips.
Following the impressively detailed battle between the Avatars, together with some of the Wonders, and the Furies of Apokolips, Ravaged from Within took the series to a-whole-nother level when the spawn of Darkseid ripped through the Fury of Death and emerged as a devastating and seemingly all powerful beast. This act of savagery, which is by far one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen in all my years of reading comic books, delivered an unprecedented level of shock and awe that truly embodies the threat of Darkseid. While the arc neglected to detail how Deathspawn was able to breach the Parliament of Earth, its ability to single-handedly take down the elemental forces of the planet more than made up for this lack of development. It does make one wonder if this creature is more powerful than the might of Darkseid given that it possesses the powers of a New God and a Martian.
Amidst all the destruction on Earth, Mr Terrific, Mr Miracle and a couple of others venture towards space under the guidance of Jimmy Olsen to locate a ship that could potentially save the remaining survivors of the human race. Relative to the battle between the avatars and the furies, this sub-plot would seem as rather dull. However, contrary to that initial supposition, the writers managed to craft out a rather heartwarming journey which allowed the Apokoliptians (Miracle and Fury) to develop a sense of humanity through their partnership with the humans (Holt and Wesley Dodds). Their willingness to sacrifice it all for the human race allowed the characters to make unprecedented developments which made the story even more emotional that I would have expected. Furthermore, the writers’ decision to end off with a cliffhanger only made the story more compelling.
Unfortunately, the series is not without its flaws – one of which is Helena Wayne. Given the ghastly transformation that she underwent, the decision to revert her back to human form was just confusing. On top of that, the transformation was so abrupt that it was overshadowed by the emergence of Deathspawn. Since the series has already killed off so many characters, it is my personal opinion that they should have let Helena go down as a casualty rather than force this unnatural return to human form with apparently no lingering side-effects, at least none that was mentioned. The arc’s tease of Oliver Queen and the following side-plot detailing their search for the emerald archer does make this direction a tad more interesting, but still insufficient to justify her abrupt return.
Ravaged from Within is by no means a perfect follow up to Primal Sacrifice, however, it does show that the writers are getting better at juggling the multiple storylines and delving deeper emotionally than superficial events.