Amazonzia has fallen. The Avatars are presumed dead. Holt and Miracle’s venture mitigated by Apokolips. Deathspawn has destroyed most of Earth. With all hope seemingly lost at this point, it does really feel like a good time to give in – but should they? United We Stand addresses this very issue in very poignant and evocative manner.
United We Stand plays out much like a civil war between the wonders where one faction wants to go down with the ship (in this case the planet) while the other wants to focus on saving humanity by abandoning Earth. “If we go down, they come with us. Guns blazing. They want to rule our planet, let them rule ashes–” asserts Batman, who heads the former faction. While Captain Steel, who represents the latter faction, responds with an inspiring “It is easy to die. The far harder thing is to live… and do your damn duty” which I would think is to protect and safeguard humanity. In more ways than one, this confrontation between Steel and Batman draws from Marvel’s Civil War storyline – nothing wrong with that – with both sides having legitimate reasons for believing the way they do. However, Steel’s description on how Yolanda endured torture while being used by Apokolips and still wanted to fight for humanity is one of the most inspiring things that the New 52 line has churned out. Sure there have been many awesome moments, but none quite like this. Yolanda’s sacrifice is one that embodies the true and pure heart that humans are capable of.
Following the events of Pride’s Fate, it would be naïve to think that all is resolved between Khalid and Nabu. Skeptical of Nabu’s intentions, Khalid questions the merits of using the Helm of Fate given how it almost brought at end to the planet when in the hands of the Apokoliptians. With the help of Hawkgirl, Khalid remembers who he truly is and helps him overcome his fears. This throwback in my opinion was the highlight of the book. Seeing their origin story again but this time with a little more details made their partnership and rise to becoming the new generation of wonders brought so much nostalgia. Even though it only lasted for a few scenes, the writers and artists managed to capture what Robinson and his team did during his run and ended with Nabu delivering a rather cryptic message.
It is undeniable that United We Stand is an important story that needs to be told – when all hope is lost, believe in humanity. However, this story also marks the end of the Earth 2 title which unfortunately makes this somewhat disappointing. Earth 2 (Vol 1) started off with amazing arcs centered on specific characters but when the war begun in Earth 2: World’s End (Vol 1), everything just fell apart. It would have been nice to see the series return back to its roots with just the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl since it really was these three that started off this series. With the Alan Scott presumed dead, they could have at least made Flash and Hawkgirl an integral part of the story rather than the wind beneath the wings of the other characters.
United We Stand, while satisfying, wasn’t exactly the ending readers would probably be hoping for but it does serve as an important story. With the Earth 2 series coming to a close in the next arc, one can only hope that it will do that entire series justice and deliver unexpected and heartfelt moments that made this series one of the best in the New 52 repertoire.