By The Mighty Monarch 30 Comments
It's trying too hard. It's trying too hard to be two different things. The final nail in the coffin, the moment of realization came when I saw Earth 2 Superman's design. It looks cool and all, a little too stylized to work for the Earth 0 Superman, but pretty cool. But it's the worst of the Earth 2 designs, especially considering the description.
I've said a lot of things about the prior Earth 2 designs, good and bad. A Batman who kills kind of guts the entire 'mood' Earth 2 used to convey, and many fans assumed would convey. It was an awesome design, but not an 'Earth 2' design. Supergirl's gave me no strong feelings one way or the other about 'Earth 2', but looked kind of nice. (As a design. The art style was bad.) Robin's gave me exactly what I was expecting to feel from 'Earth 2.'
That said, all of this can be thrown out the window because 'NEW 52!' However, this line of thinking can only go so far. It's been confirmed to include classic JSA characters like Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott. THIS is why Earth 2 WILL go for a certain degree of what it used to be. Jay Garrick and Alan Scott are characters who rely on nostalgia far more than others. When I was a new reader, it took me a while to grow accustomed to them, and actually develop any interest in them whatsoever. Because I KNEW they were relics. They were the outdated prototypes for Wally West, Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner; etc. They're appeal relies on nostalgic value more than their current counterparts. This isn't to say they should be eliminated or that they're not interesting, but its much harder for new readers to latch onto them because they have the newer, more hip and modern versions more readily accessible and out there. Earth 2 is a universe for old fans. There's no two ways around it. Thus, they definitely have to keep a certain degree of nostalgic 'Golden Age' style to it, because Earth 2 is a series for the people who already want it. It isn't meant to reach for new fans as strongly as the rest because of what it is.
So why does this make Superman's design so terrible? He looks too young. He's slim, sleek, hair gelled up, etc. So why is Lois Lane dead? If she was murdered, it's the final nail in the coffin, and it will mean the failure of Earth 2 as a series. Because if Lois was murdered, Bruce is willing to kill, the Amazons are all dead; it means this is a darker and edgier universe. Which would be fine IF IT WASN'T EARTH 2. Because we know we're getting Jay Garrick and Alan Scott and such, Earth 2 already has a bigger hand in the 'old fan' pool then it does the 'new fan' pool. But if its all darker and edgier, a lot of the 'old fan' pool will dry up. I'm willing to give it a shot no matter what; I'm not saying it won't be good if its darker and edgier. The problem is that it wont SELL as well as it should because it's trying too hard to balance nostalgia with new ideas. New readers want new ideas but not the retro characters. Old readers want the retro characters, but not the darker and edgier stuff because it goes against the very core of the retro characters.
Lois being dead could have worked, but Superman would need to look OLD. Gray hair and such; essentially THE SUPERMAN OF EARTH 2 FROM INFINITE CRISIS. Why? BECAUSE LOIS DIED OF OLD AGE. Superman outlived her, but in a world that old fans assume and want Earth 2 to be, this would make Superman more of a wise old 'Morgan Freeman' man, but if she was murdered, he's going to be more brooding and short tempered. He'll have lost his anchor to his humanity. And more importantly, we already have a more brooding Superman over in Earth 1. But this Superman looks FAR too young to have outlived Lois Lane, so the best thing we can hope for is her dying of natural causes.
LONG STORY SHORT: I'm not saying Earth 2 will be 'bad' because of all these darker and edgier things. True it won't be the 'Earth 2' many people want, but it doesn't mean it will automatically be bad just because it isn't exactly what you want. But it DOES mean the series won't have a strong chance at escaping cancellation because its trying too hard to reach for 2 audiences, will alienating both of them at least a bit. James Robinson is great, and he seems like he'd be a great fit for this series. But it wont be able to achieve very strong sales because a lot of old fans won't want to give it a chance, and a lot of new fans I think won't stick with it. I've defended the intelligence of New Readers in the wake of a lot of old fans saying the Multiverse would be hard to understand. But I do think they'll be confused by Earth 2. The premise seems like its leaning more towards the Ultimate Marvel Universe. New Fans will see a very similar and familiar Trinity, but then a radically different Green Lantern and Flash. These two ideas just don't mix well, and there won't be a strong following.
EDIT: Take all of what I said, and tone down the enthusiasm a bit. I don't feel like going into each and every sentence to tweak it to specifically reduce the intensity of my conjectures. The Optimist convinced me of a greater potential. (Not that I ever personally thought the series would definitely be bad.)
There is a story to be told, apparently one which requires the conflicting ideologies of a more violent tendency within the Justice League that could run in conflict with the more classic portrayal of golden age heroism.
^ Any old fans who doubt the integrity of Earth 2, take a look at this. ^