Thursday, 2 August 2012

Earth 2 #4 review

Five years ago, soldier Al Pratt was caught in an atomic weaponry experiment. Today, he's the secret hero of Earth 2's World Army and about to go public. The Rot champion, Grundy, is destroying the world's ecosystem and the Atom plans to stop him.

Before he gets to Washington, Hawkgirl and the Flash are on the scene, she attacking Grundy with a laser crossbow, he getting members of the public out of the way. And they're joined by the one Grundy has risen to destroy, the Earth's 'Jade Knight', Green Lantern. But three against one doesn't mean an easy win, as Grundy keeps regenerating from attacks, and two of the new heroes have problems getting the most out of their powers.

When the Atom does parachute into the battle, he's not what longtime readers might have expected - and there's existing bad blood between him and one of the other heroes.

It's all going terribly well. Not for the heroes, obviously, but for readers. With Atom debuting this time, and everyone in the same fight, we're a lot closer to the formation of a Justice Society than we were. The differing personalities are creating sparks, even if some of writer James Robinson's dialogue could benefit from his reading it out loud before committing it to the page. Grundy, for one, is equal parts Rot - dig that maggoty tongue - and exposition machine. So far as the bigger story is concerned, there's a real sense Robinson has things planned out nicely, with characters and plot points ladled out at a satisfying rate. And as with the Atom this time, he always has a surprise or to ready to land.

The cover's implication that we get Hawkgirl's origin proves specious, though we do learn that her name is Kendra and see how handy she is with that space age crossbow. Her sending the less-experienced Flash off to do rescue rather than frontline work comes across as sweetly protective where it could seem patronising, and Jay's reaction suggests a foundation for romance. The all-new Atom is military to his bones. And the determination of Green Lantern is inspiring.

Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott have help with the pencils and inks this issue, with Eduardo Pansica and Sean Parsons swapping in on a few pages. It's difficult to see the join, with the whole book fitting the style laid down by the two Scotts in this series' opening three issues. The heroes look vital, Grundy frightful, while the super-action convinces. The visual for the Atom that debuts here is strong, being distinctively superhero - or, as they say on Earth 2, 'Wonder' - but with military stylings suited to Al Pratt's status as a serving soldier.

It seems appropriate, therefore, that I salute the creative team for another fine issue. Keep 'em flying!


11 comments:

  1. I just wonnder where dr fate will show as well as wildcat

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    1. I think James Robinson said Wildcat is showing up in the second arc. And as a Fate has been mentioned, it shouldn't be long before the good Doctor shows sup.

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    2. but will he have his classic look though

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  2. This is probably my favorite new 52 book right now; there's so much to find out about Earth 2, so I open it eagerly for every tidbit.

    I love the new Hawkgirl... she's a blast. And Jay is really coming into focus as a fun everyman character to follow.

    Can't wait to see what's next. I think I heard Robinson hint that Fate and Wildcat are both slated to appear in the next arc. But I'm dying to see more of Terry Sloan, in particular!

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    1. According to James Robinson on this week's Comic Vine podcast, that's Terry on the front of the zero issue, Rob. Can't wait to see more of him!

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  3. Hello Martin,
    I finally picked up Earth 2 due to the recommendation in this review and I enjoyed (use your power wisely ;-)) with some reservations... The claustrophobic feel of the "New 52+" is a real problem for me so I wasn't over-joyed by the fricking "Rot" turning up here, it's as if every show on a network was in a perpetual crossover - the World's a Big Place so it doesn't make sense for everything to be so tediously linked (and it places a limit on self-expression, which leads to the "mulch effect", mm "The Rot", indeed!) plus the DC *Universe* is even bigger. Also the story felt a little slight and the characterisations similarly so. However, that said, I enjoyed it for what it was; the explosive entrance of the New Atom shouted "COMICS!" which was nice even tho' I could do without the de rigueur military connection, while the art is bold and colourful. Not bad at all.
    Always nice ti see you at Colin's weblog too :-).
    Regards, Robert

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  4. Hiya Robert, lovely to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed the comic. I'm also less than delighted with the Rot on Earth 2 - bad enough it's filling several hundred issues of.Animal Man and Swamp Thing, without another comic filling its pages with dying plants and animals. Still, I think it's a short-term deal for the Earth 2 book. Hope so!

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  5. Nice review Martin!
    I'm digging this series as well. I initially picked it up because I wanted to try some books that usually I wouldn't be into so I gave this one a shot, and it's got me wanting to get the next issue.

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  6. I dig "Earth 2" with almost no justification. I do enjoy the art, but I find the plot cliche and shallow...but, regardless I love it! Oh, well...just one of those oddities I suppose.

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    1. Yeah, I know that feeling, sir - sometime a book just grabs beyond all reason.

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