Now that we are more than 9 issues into the DC New 52, much of the novelty has worn off of the initiative. Some titles got canceled (Mister Terrific and OMAC being two of the most significant to me). DC introduced a “Second Wave” which released a small group of new titles – whether this was planned from the start or was a backup for if/when titles were canceled, I have no idea. I have to believe that there was going to be an Earth 2 in the overall scheme from the start. So, when DC released this first issue of the new title Earth 2, I was not surprised, but I was interested.
Part of the driving thrust of the New 52 was to engage new readers and diversify the titles. Earth 2 is not a new creation – it has a long (and sometimes difficult) history in DC Comics. Earth 2 first appeared in the 1960s in the Flash and All Star Squadron titles. Since then, this alternate/parallel universe has been used for a number of purposes throughout the DC line. From the 1970s onward, however, most of the purpose of Earth 2 was to showcase the Justice Society – or Justice Society of America. As usual, everything in DC Comics usually stems from Flash, oddly enough, and not Superman or Batman. So, Earth 2 was really designed to explain concepts and history surrounding Flash (in all his personas). I wondered: how does DC “introduce” the difficult concept/history of Earth 2 to new readers?
True to form, all Crises in the DC universe (and they are always in a crisis) center upon Flash. However, readers actually liked the happenings and characters in the Earth 2 universe. Therefore, the Justice Society became a style of the Justice League of Earth 1. The Justice Society has had a variety of incarnations, members, writers/artists, and titles. It was only a matter of time, it seemed, when DC would re-introduce Earth 2 as part of the New 52.
Now, I became enamored with Earth 2 in the 2000s when I read the Justice Society of America title. I consequently went back and learned more about the make-up and history of the Justice Society. However, since the New 52 is really supposed to be a hard reboot, I wanted to approach this new title as if none of the past mattered. I wanted to read this new title as if there had never been an Earth 2 or a Justice Society. The creative team for this title is starting with writer James Robinson with Nicola Scott drawing. Robinson said a number of things related to this reboot in an interview with Newsarama.com in March 2012. He made these points:
- This is a complete reboot of the Earth 2 concept.
- Earth 2 has a “five-year jumping on point like the main DCU Earth” for its superhero story.
- Jay Garrick is the “everyman” through which readers are introduced to the world of Earth 2. The name Jay Garrick may be familiar to seasoned readers as the elderly Golden Age Flash, in Earth 2, he’s younger, as seen in our exclusive art for the cover of Earth 2 #2.
- Alan Scott and Al Pratt are also key characters in the story of Earth 2.
- It isn’t the Justice Society. It’s Earth 2. So it’s going to be a whole world of different characters.
All of these new reboot ideas seem fantastic – and perfect for a new reader. Also, I think Robinson is a solid choice for a writer – he is well-versed in Justice Society work – since he has already written dozens of issues in that line. However, I do worry a bit because I do not want Robinson to fall back on what he used to know and do with those old Justice Society titles. I want new, better, exciting, and different. He’s a proven writer and I think he is familiar enough with the Earth 2 concept that this could be a really great title. He is paired with Nicola Scott – of whom I am a big fan. She is a “newer” penciller – we first met her work in 2004.
The cover for issue #1 was done by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado – it’s busy as all get out, which I do not like. However, I do think it is an explosive way to start the title. I just wish it was a little less cluttered. And I am reminded of the lovely delicious covers that Alex Ross did for the Justice Society of America – I need to remember, this ain’t daddy’s JSA. This is new and improved and exciting Earth 2! The taglines on the cover help with that: A Different World! A Different Destiny!
Anyway, the story starts with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman battling aliens of some sort – and losing! Batman seemingly sacrifices himself for the world in order to implant a computer virus into the enemy. And he has a daughter, but most importantly, he’s emoting all over the place! I believe the majority of the issue is actually couched in a narrative done by Alan Scott, who is GBC’s Owner and CEO. He has made a documentary of the great battle that has scarred the earth. We meet Jay Garrick, too, who has a surprising encounter with who appears to be the god Mercury!
Overall, I feel the writing is very good. The art looks nice too, although there are some frames that are really busy. The frame wherein Wonder Woman is attacked by the enemy called Steppenwolf is of note – though I am not sure if I like it or not. I like the framing and the background and Steppenwolf. But Wonder Woman’s face bugs me for some reason? This is a minor complaint, though. The writing for her is good, she is given a real warrior/badass personality and it’s nice.
Yes, this world does seem different. And exciting. I am very interested in what happens next and the creative team seems to be doing well. I have some reservations about the artwork, but nothing major and nothing that would prevent me from recommending this issue. I cannot wait until the next issue is released and I have high hopes for the title.