Today, Peter and Shelby are discussing Earth-2 1, originally released May 2nd, 2012.
Peter: We have officially reached the Second Wave of the New 52. With it, we see the reintroduction of the DC Multiverse, and thus alternate versions of some of our favorite super heroes. We begin here with Earth-2 #1, which will then lead us into the rest of this brave new world.
This book begins a lot like Justice League #1. It starts with a flashback to 5 years ago, and some meddlesome Parademons. It turns out that on Earth-2, the forces of Apokolips invade, and the forces of the world fight back in a united front. The war wages for some time, and the world has lost all of it’s super heroes except for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl (Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman), and Robin (Batman’s DAUGHTER Helena). After some time fighting against the forces of Apokolips, Batman figures out a way to take all of the Parademons down, and out for the count. He must upload a virus to one of the Beacon Towers, that will deprive the Parademons of both energy and orders; they will literally fall from the sky. It also wouldn’t be Batman if he didn’t have a back up plan — nukes — straightforward and effective.
As our heroes head into the lion’s den in Metropolis, Superman and Wonder Woman fight the masses of Parademons in order to give Batman the time he needs to upload the virus into the tower, which will relay the signal to all the other towers: taking them all down at once. As the battle ensues, Kal and Diana buy Bruce time, while Helena watches Bruces back. Diana is visited by the Roman god Mercury, who leaves her with a cryptic message. Meanwhile, Kara escorts the nukes in South America.
As Bruce infiltrates the tower, his comrades fall in battle around him. Superman falls to a mass of Parademons, and Wonder Woman is stabbed through the back by the Parademons’ commander, Steppenwolf. As Bruce uploads the virus program to the tower, he tells his daughter that he will not be coming back – in true Batman form he omitted that this would be a suicide mission for him. After the smoke clears, Kara and Helena rush into a mysterious portal, hoping to avenge the their fallen family-members. (SPOILER: check out World’s Finest for the rest of their story!)
We flash forward to the present. Alan Scott, who has been narrating the story so far, reflects on the war as he speeds in his plane to China. We then move onto to Lansing, MI, were a young Jay Garrick says goodbye to his college girlfriend as she leaves for her new job and new life. Bummed out, Jay sits alone, reflecting on how he fucked up in college, and is graduating a nobody. He’s moments away from wishing on a star until he discovers it’s actually the god Mercury crashing to a land behind him – with dark tidings!
Oh man, what a way to kick off the Second Wave. I think that this was a great way to set up the new story line. This book spent the perfect amount of time on the flashback that sets it all up. Unlike Justice League, which drags it out over several issues, Earth-2 gets right down to brass tacks. It becomes very clear from really early on that this is not your old JSA, which I love. The story is such that it essentially says, “Here’s what happened” and then “Okay, got it? Good. And now for something completely different.”
James Robinson has a really great voice set up for Alan Scott in the flashback sequence. It’s very clean and to the point. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see his character change a little bit, since he was so worried about sounding like someone would just likes the sound of his own voice.
Historically Alan goes on to become the original Green Lantern. It would be very interesting to see how these character traits will play into his role. Similarly, the new portrayal of Jay Garrick (who goes onto become the Flash) comes off a little emo as he broods on a hill, drinking a beer, lamenting and wishing on stars.
We will hopefully see a very interesting character transformation from Jay’s current state, into a super hero.
I love how dynamic the portrayal of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are in the flashback. They are each treated differently, and their inner monologues reflect this intensely. Superman is dwelling on what happened to Metropolis, and by extension Lois, which were both destroyed as a result of the Apokolips War.
Wonder Woman, who lost all of Amazon Island in the war, comes off as as a one-track, KILL KILL KILL.
Batman, is as usual, calm and collected and right on track with the mission. His monologue is short and to the point, no frills.
I’m a little disappointed that these amazing characters where fleshed out the point they were, and now we won’t see them again. Between Robinson’s fantastic writing, and the art of Nicola Scott, these three are made awesome in 19 pages. I am, however, plenty excited to see both Alan’s and Jay’s rise to fill their shoes, in what I am assuming will be the next step for superheroes on Earth-2. I am thoroughly impressed with the first issue of the Second Wave, and so far have no qualms with the reintroduction of the Multiverse if it is going to continue to be this good.
Shelby: It takes a bold man to, in the first issue of a new title, kill Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Robinson, man, you leaped into this feet first with your eyes closed, and I gotta say: so far so good. Peter was right, this issue dives right into the story. It probably helped that I’ve already got background with the Parademons, but honestly I don’t think I needed it. The story telling is crisp and to the point. The action is clear, and super exciting: the final battle, flipping back and forth from Bats, to Supes, to Wonder Woman, back to Bats. It felt like the climax of a movie, when everything is happening and you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see how it turns out.
That’s not to say this is all action, no emotion. Far from it, there are a lot of very geniune moments in this title, and I think a lot of that is due to Scott’s art. The tearful goodbye between Batman and his daughter? Come on, when have you ever seen the cowl look so tender?
I am excited for this title. I don’t know much of anything about the JSA; my knowledge of Jay Garrick and Alan Scott is limited to “the OLD Flash and Green Lantern,” so I’m excited to learn more about them in this new universe. Wasn’t Hawkman a part of the JSA? And The Atom? Because those are two characters I really like, and would love them to be a part of this title. What a great, fun start, I can’t wait to see where this will take us.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?