Review: Earth 2 #1

EARTH 2 #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott
Released: May 2, 2012

Reading note: Earth 2 #1 should be read prior to Worlds’ Finest #1

The multiverse returns! To fanfare or dread, depending on how you feel about pre-Crisis DC. But this is not your parents’ Earth 2. Completely reimagined by James Robinson, the creator most responsible for bringing the JSA back to the DCU with his series Golden Age, this Earth 2 is a world recovering from war. The story feels like a really good Elseworlds book (which Golden Age was as well) and not a What If…? type tale, though that element exists.The heroes of Earth 2 have existed for much longer than the five years of Earth Prime. When the parademons attack, paralleling the first arc of Johns’ Justice League, it is a much more mature Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman there to battle them.

Robinson has a broad canvas to work with. Aside from sections of Worlds’ Finest, Robinson is the only one playing in the Earth 2 sandbox right now. The challenge is that this isn’t a Justice Society book. If you are looking for the JSA, move along, there is nothing to see here. Robinson is reinventing all of these characters from scratch and so far we have only secret identities and code-names in common with their pre-Flashpoint selves.

The strangeness of this is that, for example, Jay Garrick is bring reinvented seemingly with elements of Wally West and Barry Allen – characters who were inspired by the original Jay. It makes my head hurt just trying to sort out that loop. I have no particular nostalgia for the JSA, however I wonder if there is a real value in making generation 4 heroes out of generation 1 names (and little else).

The art is incredible. Nicola Scott has hit something truly special with this book. Movement, action, pathos, and two page spreads that don’t feel like pinups. Her eye for layout is supurb and it’s a joy to take in this art as she helps invent this new world. I have some concerns about the direction of the book, but the art is no part of that. I look forward to seeing Scott play in a world with no rules.

One unique point that had me heading to Twitter after reading this, Earth 2 #1 is the only debut title from the New 52 that does not feature an appearance by the mysterious Pandora. The other three Wave 2 books we’ve seen this week do have this hooded woman search game, but not this one (unless someone leaps in to prove me wrong). My only thought is that Pandora is limited to Earth Prime. I will assume regardless that it is a story reason to have her absent. More to come.

The Verdict: 8.0/10

Keith is the co-host of the podcast We Talk Comics


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