A world without empathy is a difficult world for heroes. What is existence without hope? Is it true that hope is only humanity deluding itself? That is exactly what the people of Earth-Z believe. How will the Crisis Command grapple with this new revelation? Is this world still worth saving? Can it even be saved? Frontier seems to believe so, but what does the rest of the team think? This week’s issue of Commanders in Crisis sets out to answer most of these questions, and sadly, the answers may not be as positive as one might hope. Spoilers for the first four issue of Commanders in Crisis ahead.
At the end of the last issue, we not only learned that Frontier is not actually from Earth-Z, but that she was hiding an even darker secret from the rest of the group: that this world is one without empathy. No one cares about their fellow person, unless it aids their selfish desires. This issue follows each member of the team as they struggle to accept and move passed this revelation.
The issue immediately begins showing just how little people care, with a paramedic smoking without a care, despite being called to assist in a car crash because he is “still off the clock.” The next few pages show just how affected each member of the team is. Prizefighter, Sawbones and Originator continue to help the world in their own way, thinking that their small actions might change something, but it seems they are just trying to distract themselves from the truth.
Seer takes time away from being a superhero to spend time with the friends she has made since coming to Earth-Z. Seer learns from them that there will always be selfless people willing to help others. This reinvigorates her hope for the future, but it is unclear if she is willing to work with Frontier again.
Meanwhile, Frontier is forced to face the facts that she may be handling this crisis alone. Her many secrets have made it hard for anyone to trust her.
Davide Tinto and Francesca Carotenuto’s art does an excellent job on selling the hopelessness the team feels throughout this issue. Each of their backgrounds makes it difficult for them to give up, but the people around them are forcing them to reevaluate their outlook on the world. The colors are particularly vibrant this issue, allowing each small change in expression in Tinto’s artwork to pop. The two feel like a perfect match, especially in the issue’s more exciting moments.
If the people aren’t willing to help each other, why should they be willing to help them? However, throughout this issue, each member of the Crisis Command pushes past this thought process, keeping the hope within themselves while acknowledging that the world is bigger than their actions. Steve Orlando has a firm grasp on what makes each of these characters tick, allowing the story to flow naturally despite the Crisis Command seemingly being no more. This issue takes a step back and allows our characters to grow separately from one another. I know there will inevitably come a moment where they must reunite, but for now I am enjoying their solo adventures as they reflect on who they are and what they can do.