DC's 'Second Wave' launches with the first issue of EARTH 2. This will be a spoiler free review.
The level of shock value in this book is tremendous, but EARTH 2 #1 is much more than just "shocking;" it's good. It is serious, and sad and poignant in parts. The pacing is heightened because it's war-time, but Robinson doesn't sacrifice dialogue to get everything he wants into this issue. The book opens with a narrator at the very start, but his identity is not revealed until the final few pages of the issue. This is war, and everything points to that. The language, the level of self sacrifice, the perseverance -- this is the story of the big three going to war together, with the knowledge that each of them has lost absolutely everything in their lives worth fighting for. In between punches we see their internal dialogue reveal their struggle -- they are in tremendous pain, and it is heartbreaking. Everything sets the tone of "all out war" in these first few pages.
If you read the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE back in September, and have been following the series then you will notice some similarities in plot points in this first issue of EARTH 2. Like the JL book by Johns and Lee, EARTH 2 also launches five years in the past and the focus of the issue is on one fateful day -- the day the Apokolips War ended. All I will say is that war does not end without some casualties.
The art in this issue is absolutely beautiful. When artist Nicola Scott teamed up with Gail Simone for WONDER WOMAN, I absolutely fell in love with her work; so it's certainly a pleasure to see her illustrate the big three here. Scott captures the movement, agility and sheer raw emotion of these characters in each of her panels. When we see apocalyptic war portrayed in comics, the panels often feel rather cluttered. To demonstrate that there is a lot of stuff going on, the artists need to pack a lot of "stuff" into the tiny panels. This usually results in the book appearing rather cluttered and all over the place -- but not here. Scott maintains the focus of each of her central characters (be it Diana, Superman or Batman) in each action packed scene.
Some of the dialogue is a little bit flowery. I think the most unconvincing was the scene with Batman and Helena. I don't know if I was really convinced that he sounded like Batman. I do, however, think that Robinson had a great grasp on the rest of the characters in this issue.
I thought it was interesting to see this story launch five years into the past, just like the JUSTICE LEAGUE series did. It's interesting to see how much more mature these characters are compared to the way they are, act and work together in the New 52 JUSTICE LEAGUE. I enjoyed this book a lot. In fact, I liked it better than the relaunch of the JUSTICE LEAGUE series we saw last September. I loved Nicola Scott on this book, and really liked Robinson's work here. I think it's a solid start to a new series that takes characters we haven't seen in the current DCU, and breathes new life into them (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick). The next part I will put in the spoiler box, so you have been warned.