Comicscape: Earth 2 (Mania.com)

By:Joel Rickenbach
Date: Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Source: Mania.com

Why only introduce one new world when you can introduce two? When DC launched their New 52 universe just over a year ago, the idea was to wipe the slate clean, start fresh, unchain themselves from decades of broken and convoluted continuity. Writers couldn't just jump on to a new book without doing thesis-paper-level research, and god forbid something you wrote didn't jive with a story from 1962 that had already been retconed 27 times. I never envied the DC editors and writers sitting on the dais at a comic con panel. I remember watching Dan Didio trying to explain to a room full of of DC faithful the reading order for Final Crisis and Batman RIP. He had charts and everything, but the assembled masses were still full of blank stares or utter disappointment. There are some who will tell you, if read in the proper order, and during the correct phase of the moon, those stories are a masterpiece, but the fact that they are so entrenched in so much twisted continuity, it may as well not even matter. Grant Morrison referred to his Final Crisis as "The comic book equivalent of flipping through the channels.", and that's exactly how it read, but the larger problem was DC comics as a whole began to feel that way. Now, this was not by accident- multiple earths/dimensions is a DC hallmark. Couple that with storytelling that has its eye on the golden and silver ages, rather than the future, and you have a recipe that the diehard DC fans kept alive for decades. That's not a condemnation, there's plenty of styles in the comic world to go around, but DC's continuity was reaching critical mass, and they decided to break out the brooms, hence the New 52. But here's the fascinating thing- during DC's latest round of title rotation (read: canceling the lowest selling books, and launching new ones in their place), they debuted another universe- Earth 2. So, the question is- after unifying your books under one banner, is it wise to start mucking about in an alternate universe already? 
 
Here's the refreshing thing- Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are dead. The first half of Earth 2 issue #1 details the final battle between the "Three Wonders"  and the invading forces of Apokolips. The iconic three give their lives to save Earth 2 from countless Parademons, and their general, Steppenwolf. Their sacrifice works, five years into the future, Earth 2 is returning to normal, and the deceased holy trinity are worshipped like gods. In fact, it is a god who descends upon Earth 2 to spark a new era of heroes. Trading Greek mythology for the Roman flavor, the god Mercury falls to earth like a shooting star, and encounters a college age Jay Garrick. He proclaims it's time for a new age of wonders, and before he crumbles to dust he imparts his power to young Jay.  Now Jay has a new look, and he's fast. Really fast. Alan Scott is the CEO of a large multinational corporation. He has a deep respect for the fallen heroes that saved the planet, and an ever deeper love for his boyfriend, Sam. So much so that he has a surprise for him on their getaway trip to Hong Kong. While on the train, Alan takes that big step, and produces a ring, asking Sam for his hand in marriage. It's a sweet moment that is ever so fleeting, as the train explodes a second later. Somehow, Alan is alive, and possibly delusional, as a ghostly green flame hangs in the air in front of him, even stranger is that it begins to talk. Much like the god Mercury, this flame is searching for someone worthy, and it believes it has found that person in Alan Scott. All it needs is an object from Alan to focus the power he is about to inherit. Fittingly, Alan chooses the engagement ring he was going to give Sam. The ghostly flame claims the ring will harness the power of a lantern, and crafts it into a very familiar shape... As the first few issues progress, we are introduced to a new Hawkgirl, a new Atom, and the first villain to Challenge these new wonders- the grey man with the power to decay-Grundy. The old version of Earth 2 was DC's sandbox for the 1940's Justice Society of America characters, who they eventually folded into their main universe. Whether these Earth 2 characters ever merge with the New 52 proper remains to be seen, but the origins and formation of the JSA is certainly the focus of this book.
 
 
There's a lot to like here. Instead of the JSA being the heroes from a bygone era, they are the beginning of a whole new age; a complete reversal from their old DC counterparts. Even more surprising is that the set-up for Earth 2 is actually more interesting than the main New 52 universe. Earth 2 already has a history to mine, and current state that is refreshing compared to the blank slate that is essentially the New 52. Writer James Robinson has done in one book what 50+ others haven't really accomplished- truly giving us something new. It's very smart to take a reboot, and use it to usher in a second age.
 

 

There's another book that falls under the Earth 2 banner, but in a very different way- Worlds Finest featuring Huntress and Power Girl. There were a few other heroes fighting alongside the Earth 2 trinity, they just don't have statues and holidays dedicated to their memory. Helena Wayne (daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, formerly Robin, now Huntress) and Kara Zor-El (cousin to Superman, formerly Supergirl, now Power Girl) were prepared to give their lives for Earth 2 as well, but at the moment of destruction they were sucked into a portal, and found themselves on the New 52 earth. In the five years since, they've adopted new names and monikers on their quest to find their way back to Earth 2. What I like about this book most is it's an all-female team up with the added alternate world twist. In fact, its even a twist on the previous Superman/Batman book, with a gender reversal. The banter between them is nice, and I'd actually like to see a little more of that, and a little less of the typical, giant radioactive monster fights. Speaking of the action, another boon for this book is the dichotomy between the uber-powered Power Girl, and the street smart detective prowess of Huntress. Writer Paul Levitz finds ways to make them both viable in a fight, to which I say "bravo".

 

My take away from these two books is- if the New 52 hasn't been your cup of kryptonite, then maybe take some time to visit Earth 2. It's nicely contained to two books, and you can really just read Earth 2 if you want your otherworld kicks. They're pretty as well, Earth 2 artists Nicola and Trevor Scott put out some nicely detailed pages, the panels with the god Mercury particularly stick out. And the tandem of the legendary George Perez and Kevin Maguire are a nice visual mixture as we bounce between flashbacks and the present. The books aren't perfect, there's still that DC reliance on the golden age feel, and as a whole I think the publisher has a dialogue problem, but Earth 2 is an enjoyable place to be, and has enormous potential. Launching a second universe so soon may not have been the right choice, but when it outclasses your main marble, it can be a decision that's hard to argue.

New Comic Book releases for 10/3/12:

12-GAUGE COMICS
Anti #2 (Of 4)(not verified by Diamond), $3.99

3D TOTAL PUBLISHING
Digital Painting Techniques Volume 4 SC (not verified by Diamond), $49.99

ABRAMS
Carter Family Don't Forget This Song HC, $24.95
Hello Kitty Hello Art HC, $35.00
Sex Press The Sexual Revolution In The Underground Press 1963-1979 SC, $40.00
Star Trek The Next Generation 365 HC, $29.95
Star Wars Art Illustration HC, $40.00
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ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
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Hereville How Mirka Got Her Sword GN, $9.95

ARCHIE COMICS
Archie #637, $2.99
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Betty And Veronica Friends Double Digest #229, $3.99
Life With Archie #23 (Francesco Francavilla Variant Cover), $3.99
Life With Archie #23 (Fernando Ruiz Regular Cover), $3.99

ASPEN COMICS
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Fashion Beast #2 (Facundo Percio Regular Cover), $3.99
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Ferals #9 (Gabriel Andrade Regular Cover), $3.99
Ferals #9 (Gabriel Andrade Gore Cover), $3.99
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BARRON'S EDUCATIONAL SERIES
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Doctor Who Black And White Audio CD, $24.99
Doctor Who Uncertainty Principle Audio CD, $14.99
Doctor Who Masters Of Luxor Audio CD, $27.99

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Garfield #6 (Cover A Gary Barker), $3.99
Garfield #6 (Cover B Gary Barker), AR
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Hypernaturals #4 (Cover B Wesley Craig), $3.99
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Planet Of The Apes Cataclysm #2 (Cover B Gabriel Hardman), $3.99
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War Goddess #10 (Renato Camilo Regular Cover), $3.99
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Zombie Movies The Ultimate Guide SC (2nd Edition), $24.95

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Inside HBO's Game Of Thrones HC (not verified by Diamond), $40.00

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Cinefex #131 (October 2012), $12.50

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CrossStar #3 (not verified by Diamond), $3.99

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Star Wars Omnibus The Clone Wars Volume 2 The Enemy On All Sides TP, $24.99
Star Wars Omnibus Rise Of The Sith TP (2nd Printing), $24.99

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Batwing #13, $2.99
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Earth 2 #5 (Ivan Reis & Joe Prado Regular Cover), $2.99
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Green Arrow #13, $2.99
Green Lantern #13 (Combo Pack Edition), $3.99
Green Lantern #13 (Ivan Reis & Joe Prado Regular Cover), $2.99
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Justice League Of America The Rise Of Eclipso TP, $16.99
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Smallville Season 11 #6, $3.99
Stormwatch #13, $2.99
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Sweet Tooth #38, $2.99
V For Vendetta Book And Mask Set TP, $24.99
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Game Trade Magazine #152, $3.99
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Red Sonja #69 (Walter Geovani Regular Cover), $3.99
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Voltron Volume 1 The Sixth Pilot TP, $19.99
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Galaxy Man #3, $3.99

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Reel Terror 100 Year History Of Classic Horror Films SC (not verified by Diamond), $16.99

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HUMANOIDS PUBLISHING
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IDW PUBLISHING
30 Days Of Night Omnibus Volume 2 TP, $29.99
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Doctor Who #1 (Cover A Mark Buckingham), $3.99
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G.I. JOE A Real American Hero Volume 5 TP, $19.99
Love And Capes What To Expect #3 (Of 6)(Cover A Thom Zahler & Jerry Ordway), $3.99
Mars Attacks Classics Volume 2 TP, $19.99
Percy Crosby's Skippy Volume 1 Complete Dailies 1925-1927 HC, $49.99
Picture Of Dorian Gray HC (Illustrated Prose), $17.99
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Black Kiss II #3 (Of 6), $2.99
Bloodstrike #31, $3.99
Danger Club #4, $2.99
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Hack Slash #18 (Cover A Matt Merhoff), $3.50
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Harvest #3 (Of 5), $3.50
Hell Yeah Volume 1 Last Day On Earths TP, $9.99
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Walking Dead Compendium Volume 2 TP, $59.99

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2048 Volume 1 A Story Of America's Future GN, $19.95

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Fairy Tail Volume 21 GN (not verified by Diamond), $10.99
Fairy Tail Volume 9 GN (Kodansha Edition)(not verified by Diamond), $10.99
Ghost In The Shell 1.5 Human-Error Processor GN (not verified by Diamond), $17.99

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Age Of Apocalypse Volume 1 The X-Terminated TP, $16.99
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Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3 Dr. Octopus SC (Young Readers Novel), $6.99
Avengers Academy #38, $2.99
Avengers The Bride Of Ultron HC (Premiere Edition), $29.99
Avengers The Bride Of Ultron HC (Premiere Edition)(Direct Market Variant Edition Volume 104), $29.99
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Avengers Vs X-Men #12 (Of 12)(Adi Granov Avengers Team Variant Cover), AR
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Avengers Vs X-Men #12 (Of 12)(Jerome Opena Sketch Variant Cover), AR
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Avengers Vs X-Men #12 (Of 12)(Jim Cheung Regular Cover), $4.99
AvX Vs #6 (Of 6)(Jim Cheung Regular Cover), $3.99
AvX Vs #6 (Of 6)(Stuart Immonen Fight Poster Variant Cover), AR
Criminal The Deluxe Edition Volume 2 HC, $49.99
Daredevil End Of Days #1 (Of 8)(Alex Maleev Regular Cover), $3.99
Daredevil End Of Days #1 (Of 8)(Dale Keown Variant Cover), AR
Daredevil End Of Days #1 (Of 8)(David Mack Variant Cover), AR
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Defenders #11, $3.99
Disney Fairies Magazine #9 (Disney Publishing Worldwide),
Halo Fall Of Reach HC, $49.99
Man-Thing Omnibus HC (Ariel Olivetti Cover), $125.00
Man-Thing Omnibus HC (Frank Brunner Cover)(Direct Market Variant Edition), $125.00
Marvel Now Avengers Pin (Promotional Item), AR
Marvel Now Uncanny Pin (Promotional Item), AR
Marvel Previews #110 (October 2012 For Products On-Sale December 2012), $1.25
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Comic Reader #3, $3.99
Marvel Zomnibus HC, $125.00
Minimum Carnage Alpha #1 (Clayton Crain Regular Cover), $3.99
Minimum Carnage Alpha #1 (Mark Bagley Variant Cover), AR
Minimum Carnage Postcard (Promotional Item)(per Marvel Comics), AR
Muppets #4 (Of 4), $2.99
Road To Oz #2 (Of 6), $3.99
Spaceknights #1 (Of 3), $3.99
Spider-Man Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut HC (Premiere Edition), $29.99
Spider-Man Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut HC (Premiere Edition)(Direct Market Variant Edition Volume 105), $29.99
Twelve Volume 2 TP, $15.99
Uncanny Avengers #1 Skottie Young Lithograph (Promotional Item), AR
Uncanny X-Force #32, $3.99
Uncanny X-Men #19, $3.99
X-Men Bishop's Crossing HC, $49.99

MOVIELAND CLASSICS
Famous Monsters Of Filmland #253 (Walking Dead Color Cover), $9.99

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
National Geographic Angry Birds GN (not verified by Diamond), $13.95

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Nobrow Volume 7 Brave New World TP, $24.00

NORTHWEST PRESS
Transposes GN (not verified by Diamond), $19.99

PANINI PUBLISHING
Doctor Who Magazine #451, $8.99

PAPERCUTZ
Geronimo Stilton Hardcover Box Set (Volumes 7-9), $29.99
Smurfs Graphic Novel Box Set (Volumes 7-9), $17.99

PICTUREBOX
Everything Together GN, $19.95
Negron SC, $19.95

QUIRK BOOKS
Tales From Lovecraft Middle School Volume 1 Professor Gargoyle HC (not verified by Diamond), $13.99

RANDOM HOUSE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
City Of Ember HC (not verified by Diamond), $18.99
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REBELLION
2000 AD #1798, $5.25
2000 AD #1799, $5.25
Judge Dredd Cry Of The Werewolf GN, $17.99
Judge Dredd The Restricted Files Volume 4 TP, $31.99
Shakara The Destroyer TP, $23.99

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Phazer #4, $3.99

SECRET ACRES
Understanding Monster Volume 1 GN (not verified by Diamond), $21.95

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Nao Of Brown GN, $24.95

SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Dance In The Vampire Bund Volume 13 GN, $11.99
Dracula Everlasting Volume 2 GN, $11.99
Girl Friends The Complete Collection Volume 1 TP, $17.99
Venus Versus Virus Omnibus Edition Volume 3 GN (Of 3), $15.99
Witch Hunter Collection Volume 2 TP (Volumes 3-4), $16.99

SKYHORSE PUBLISHING
Zombie Cat The Tale Of A Decomposing Kitty, $12.95

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Little Death GN, $14.99
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Cinema Retro #24, $11.99

TIME HOME ENTERTAINMENT
LIFE 50 Years Of James Bond HC, $27.95

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Complete Flash Gordon Library Volume 1 On The Planet Mongo HC, $39.95
Everybody Loves Tank Girl #3 (Of 3), $3.99
Hagar The Horrible The Epic Chronicles The Dailies 1977-1978 HC (not verified by Diamond), $19.95

TOHAN CORPORATION
Megami August 2012, $16.60

TOON BOOKS
Trip To The Bottom Of The World HC (not verified by Diamond), $12.95

VERTICAL
Drops Of God Volume 5 GN (not verified by Diamond), $14.95
GTO 14 Days In Shonan Volume 5 GN (not verified by Diamond), $10.95
Paradise Kiss Volume 1 TP (Vertical Edition)(not verified by Diamond), $16.95

VIZ MEDIA
Little Miss Daredevil The Incredible Race GN (not verified by Diamond), $6.99
Pokemon Black And White Box Set (Volumes 1-8), $34.99
Redakai Conquer The Kairu Volume 1 Invasion Of The Gilfreem GN (not verified by Diamond), $7.99

YEN PRESS
Maximum Ride Volume 1 TP (New Printing), $12.99
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ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT
Charmed #24, $3.50
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Bad Girls #3 (Of 5)(Cover A Pasquale Qualano), $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Bad Girls #3 (Of 5)(Cover B Giuseppe Cafaro), $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Robyn Hood #1 (Cover A Eric Basaldua), $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Robyn Hood #1 (Cover B Greg Horn), $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Robyn Hood #1 (Cover C Stjepan Sejic), $2.99
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents The Jungle Book TP, $15.99

Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him on Twitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.



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