Capeless Crusader Reviews EARTH 2 #1
I have to start this review by confessing that the DC Multiverse has always held a special place in my heart. The very first comic that I ever purchased, at a small hole-in-the-wall store in Wrigleyville, was "The Flash #305." It was one of many stories that had Barry Allen crossing the gap between realities to meet up with his counterpart from the original 1940s series, Jay Garrick. So from the very outset of my life as a comic book fan I have been well acquainted with DC Comics' history of using parallel Earths as a place for stockpiling classic characters and out-of-continuity stories.
That said, "Earth 2 #1" from James Robinson and Nicola Scott is NOT your father's Earth-2.
The events that we see to begin the story very closely parallel what has been happening in the main Justice League title, with Darkseid's Parademon hordes invading the Earth. The difference here is that it appears that the only heroes attempting to fend off the invasion are Earth 2's versions of the classic DC "Trinity," as well as their heirs, Supergirl and Robin.
Given how the invasion played out over on the main Earth of the New 52, it was apparent from the beginning that this wasn't going to go well for our heroes.
The story alternates between scenes of the Trinity battling Darkseid's forces in a last-ditch attempt to close the portal between Earth and their home world, Apokolips, and brief vignettes introducing us to the updated versions of characters that fans of the original Earth-2 will recognize as nascent members of the Justice Society.
Al Pratt (the original Atom) is shown leading a platoon of soldiers through a jungle as they attempt to destroy a beacon tower that helps keep the portals open. There is also a "Harper" in the platoon, suggesting that Robinson may pull in the classic '40s character, Guardian.
There are some brief scenes that cross over with the Perez/Levitz World's Finest, showing us what are essentially the same scenes but now placed firmly in context.
Alan Scott is also introduced. Fans will know him as the original Green Lantern, and he retains his traditional role as the head of a major broadcast network, somewhat updated with respect to technology.
The re-imagining of Jay Garrick is possibly the most intriguing bit in the story. The classic tales portrayed him as a brilliant young student and artful suitor of the woman who would eventually become his bride. This story shows him as very much lost, incapable of keeping his girl interested, and honestly a bit of a loser. His origin, which was one of the more ridiculous in classic comics, also gets a serious revamp, though it would spoil the surprise to say exactly how.
Even had I not been a fan of alternate Earths before this book would be well on the way to changing my mind. It's continuity-free, beautifully drawn by Nicola Scott, and has just enough of a dark edge to make it seem almost more adult than the mainstream DC universe.
This book is very much a stage-setter. DC has the chance for something brilliant in their hands. The series is essentially an entire universe to play in for James Robinson, a terrific writer who has earned the opportunity. By clearly distancing themselves from the traditional Earth-2 concept, they have opened up a vast world of possibilities. These are the characters with the longest-running legacies in DC comics, and their reinventions prove to be artful, interesting, and devilishly different.