Over the first five volumes Earth 2 followed the superheroes of an alternate Earth who’d developed five years after that world survived an invasion from Apokalips. The opening chapter of World’s End recaps the cost of that and much of what’s happened since, taking place before Earth 2: Collision. It reintroduces alternate versions of Earth’s heroes, some very similar to their more famous counterparts, others very different.

World’s End was first published in weekly instalments, Daniel H. Wilson’s overall plot interpreted by himself and other writers, while Scott McDaniel supplied layouts for the assorted pencillers. The method followed the technique DC first introduced with 52, where there’s an end prepared, but a lot of pages to fill before arriving at it. The benefit is the scope to follow a very large separated cast over continuing small scenes, and the possibility of allocating recurring artists to characters, but the drawback can be that what they’re doing is ultimately just filling space. Thankfully the occasions when that feeling occurs are restricted, one being keeping some of the more powerful heroes away from the main action. An awful lot of time seems to pass elsewhere while they’re wandering tunnels. A plot following Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson also seems to be going nowhere, but eventually develops into something interesting with the introduction of a third well known face.

Eddy Barrows and Jan Duursema supply the sample art, but it could be any one of a dozen others who have variations on their clean superhero style, some more keen on background detail than others. Jorge Jiménez and Tyler Kirkham, following Green Lantern, are the exceptions, Kirkham looser and wispier, while Jiménez has a tight European cartoon style, all windswept hair and people often leaning to one side. Paolo Siqueira draws the entire final chapter and can be magnificent, yet is prone to the wildest distortions.

It’s the alternate versions of the Female Furies, rebranded as the Four Furies of the Apocalypse, who cause most trouble in this opening volume, able to convert others and lay waste to vast areas. While there’s plenty of thunder, surprises are all too few. However, a good one ends this volume, having us reconsider what’s been behind the devastation Apokalips is causing on Earth. The conclusion awaits in the even bulkier Volume 2.