Thursday, 7 June 2012

Earth 2 #2 review

This issue looks set to sell well after the publicity surrounding the new Alan Scott's sexual orientation. But the news that the latest Green Lantern is gay is probably the least interesting thing about this comic. All that happens with Alan is that he's reunited with fella Sam in China, and has a surprise for him. Oh, and something cliffhangery occurs on the final page.

But really, that's next issue stuff. This issue is choc-full of enticing events, most of them centred on Jay Garrick. Last month he came across a strange figure, fallen to Earth. Here he realises he's meeting the Roman god Mercury. The deity has a warning for the world, and figures Jay's the guy to pass it on. So, in his dying moments, he imbues the student with godly speed and suggests he runs from the arriving authorities. Soon Jay is discovering just what he can now do, helping people and gaining a new name in the tried and true manner - via a misunderstood comment. Having trouble stopping, Jay finds himself in Europe - where another costumed figure is waiting.

And wandering around the back streets of Jay's city, a stranger mutters in foreboding manner.

Elsewhere, Mr Terrific crosses the dimensional barrier from his own Earth and quickly realises he's on a parallel world. He's immediately met by someone we might expect to be his biggest ally. Or rather, confronted by ...

Writer James Robinson serves up a satisfying meal here, fleshing out Jay and Alan, to whom we were introduced last issue, and bringing Mr Terrific into the mix in a compelling scenario. And yeah, Alan's scene with boyfriend Sam, sweet as it is, is the least interesting aspect of the book. 'You're turning me into a sap, sir.' Alan jokes to Sam. But he is - it's not a gay thing, because a similar scene with Alan and a girl would be just as dull. Still, I suspect the point will soon be moot.

As well as his personae, Robinson fills in more details of this world. We begin to see how the Apokolips invasion five years previously - which killed Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman - has changed daily life. For one thing, there's a World Army on the lookout for alien warlord Steppenwolf. And scarier yet, vicious Apokorats - Boom Tube stowaways - remain on Earth to terrorise humanity. Plus, the opening spread provides such tidbits as a takeover of Waynetech, a tribute to one of the fallen heroes and news of boxer Ted Grant's latest bout.

It all makes for a story that's as fascinating as it is entertaining. And once more, penciller Nicola Scott matches Robinson's creativity, her luscious lines making the story easy and exciting to follow. Her heroes exude nobility, while the villain Mr Terrific meets is sinister even in a sharp suit. And speaking of suits, Jay Garrick's new look isn't a match for his classic togs, but after a few panels I was liking it for itself. It's an interesting marriage of Jay's street clothes - a tracksuit - and Mercury's godly headwear. In a nice touch from Alex Sinclair (or co-colourist Pete Pantazis) Jay's super-suit, when it reverts to his regular duds, keeps the colours of The Flash. And Trevor Scott embellishes with style, bringing the right tone to settings as diverse as the US, Poland and China.

In just two months Earth 2 has become my favourite DC title - its blend of tradition and today, with a splash of futurism, is what the New 52 should be about.

24 comments:

  1. Well it's nice to know this comic is doing well now after an average opening issue. Maybe I'll check it out when it hits trades.

    Out of curiousity, this week begins the Before Watchmen mini-series, with the first one being Minutemen by Dwayrn Cooke. Will you be checking out any of these titles? The ones by Cooke (Minutemen like mentioned and Silk Spectre) are probably the only ones I'm interested in.

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    1. I nearly bought Minutemen today (we're behind in the UK this week due to the Diamond Jubilee - thank goodness for digital) but passed. I may put a future collection on my Amazon Greed List. I'm not chomping at the bit for Watchmen sequels - I enjoyed the series but have never gone back to it. Too many ruddy pirates.

      I can't imagine circumstances in which I buy a Rorschach or (ugh) Comedian book.

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  2. I liked the first issue, but this one (the first to really focus on our core characters) really blew me away. I particularly liked the identity of Mr. Terrific's nemesis. Some great stuff going on here, and from the other books I've read so far, it's my favorite of the week. (Tho' Action had a lot of great stuff, too.)

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    1. I've not tot to Action yet Rob (Jubilee late blah blah), but am looking forward to it.

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  3. I hope wildcat is the same kind of person he was and not a were-cat

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    1. I hope Dr fate appears on earth 2 though

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    2. Absolutely! In the classic mode.

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    3. Do you think wesley dodds will appear as sandman

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  4. Exploring this world and the various re-interpretations of Golden Age characters is really enjoyable, in a way the Earth-1 stuff (or New Earth, or Earth-52, who knows) just isn't offering.

    In a strange way, it makes me feel the same way All-Star Squadron did in the 80s when I really knew nothing about the Golden Age of comics. Not sure I can explain it exactly.

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    1. Maybe it was that mix of vague familiarity and anything-can-happen?

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    2. I think it's discovering a new world that references really old comics..?

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    3. All of which reminds me - my new super-cheap digital edition of Roy Thomas' Alter-Ego is ready for download. Highly recommended, along with Back Issue.

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  5. Is Jay wearing goggles? A tribute to Johnny Quick, perhaps (of the old pre-Crisis Earth-3, that is)?

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    1. Good spot, Jonathan! I hope at some point Jay goes retro and chooses a look familiar to us.

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  6. Much, much better than I expected--although if James Robinson goes the expected, massively foreshadowed route with Green Lantern's origin next issue, I'll have to reconsider this series. One "Cry for Justice" was more than enough for my lifetime, thanks.

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    1. JUSTICE!

      Sorry ... heh. I can't see James Robinson going there - too obvious. More likely, Sam won't want to leave China.

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  7. I picked up issue 2, after missing the first one. I think I can get behind the idea of an ongoing "Elseworlds" JSA. And Nicola Scott's art is simply stunning.

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    1. Definitely, search out that first issue. Do you do digital?

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    2. I do indeed. That's how I'll pick it up!

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  8. Great issue - this Earth 2 is turning out to be quite a fine thing, indeed. But, OH lose the goggles! Just creeps me out.

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    1. You want a helmet too, admit it Karl!

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  9. Well... I liked the interaction between Alan and Sam. It felt natural to me, which is what it needed to be. Sam felt fleshed out and like a real character unlike Marvel's non-hero gay marriage character Kyle. The relationship between Alan and Sam seems real, genuine and as if they actually love each other. Unlike say.. Nortstar and his beau who seem like strangers who talk like friends, but really have no spark or draw to each other, mostly b/c Kyle is a cardboard cut out of a character and not a real one.

    Anyhow, loved the issue. I'm hoping Sam pops up one day as the devastatingly handsome, mildly harmless, but utterly distracting Harlequin.

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    1. I wouldn't say we saw enough of Sam to consider him fleshed out, but I've no doubt James can sort that out before too long. And that's a great notion as regards a Sam Harlequin - please!

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