On the first day of Christmas……VAL ZOD !!

In celebration of the season, the Comic Book Evangelist presents over the “Twelve Days of Christmas” his favourite single issues of the year 2014. These are comics that have not made my top ten titles list, but have released issues during the year that have blown me away, had me roaring with laughter or quietly crying with emotion.

Kicking off with the First Day of Christmas, we have the “partridge in a pear tree” which was Earth 2 #26. This book was released in August and was the best birthday present DC could possibly give me !
Earth 2 #26 was the culmination of all the plot points Tom Taylor had been setting up since he took over the title in November 2013 with #17 – the cryptic clues of Dr Fate (okay, they are mostly rambling clues, but they were cryptic nonetheless) , the mystery of evil Superman, the new Superman Val Zod taking centre stage and just how the rag-tag group of heroes and decimated World Army would defeat the renewed Apokoliptian invasion . It was one hell of a culmination !! With the always amazing Nicola Scott on art duties, the issue had so many jaw-dropping moments I ended up in accident and emergency ! Here are the few I am willing to mention (I do not want to spoil the big reveal, as doing so will deny you the pure joy and wonderment felt when you get to the reveal in the issue):

Marella, the Aquawoman, defeats the Apokoliptian general Bedlam not with force but smarts. Marella can control water, and uses this ability to expand the water in Bedlam’s brain, basically giving her hydroencephalus and knocking her out. In doing so, Marella freed other heroes from Bedlam’s control and victory is thus ensured.

Alan Scott using his powers to HOLD THE EARTH in order to stop it from being sucked into a Boom Tube. This was a great image, reminiscent of the panel in Crisis of Infinite Earths in which the Spectre holds the Earths apart and the old Earth -One & Earth-Two crossovers in which he did the same thing !

Best of all, Val Zod – the new Superman – stepped up in the coolest way: he held to his pacifist beliefs even when taking a severe beating from the evil Superman (who of course characterised Val’s pacifism as weakness), and won the fight without throwing a punch ! This is the coolest thing I have seen in comics for a long time. Usually pacifist characters “realise” that violence IS the answer and take down the villain with a well-aimed punch, sword thrust or bullet. By having Val Zod continually try to appeal to Superman’s better nature whilst defending himself and others (by the way, there is nothing contradictory in a pacifist defending themselves in a non-violent way) he not only won the fight but won the battle by proving that you do not have to fight fire with fire !

Val Zod became, in the space of three issues, my favourite character of the year and one of the all-time favourite characters ! Thank you Tom and Nicola !!


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