Here it is, the first books of the second wave of DC’s New 52 have arrived. With them comes a book that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for, the first issue of James Robinson and Nicola Scott’s Earth 2. The New 52 has been one of the industry’s worst kept secrets since its inception, with leaks coming months before official announcements and creative changes being outed left and right before word comes from DC. Earth 2 managed to avoid all, remaining cloaked in secrecy up until release. Is this the book I’ve been waiting for, is it better than I could’ve hoped, or is it Cry for Justice all over again? Keep reading to find out!
I love this book. If I could only buy one comic a month, it would probably be this book. This is the template that big super hero team books should aspire to follow (are you listening Justice League?). This book as a strong premise, terrific art, and characters that have more depth after one issue than many characters in other New 52 books have after eight issues. Before I get too deep into this review I’m going to warn that MAJOR SPOILERS are coming up, so if you haven’t read the book and want to go in completely unaware, then take the praise I’ve already heaped on the book and just go out and read it already, then come back.
Ok, I assume you know what you’re getting yourself into. This book starts out mirroring the events of the first arc of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s Justice League. The earth is under attack by invaders from Apokolips and it’s up to earth’s greatest heroes to put an end to it. Sounds familiar right? The major heroes of this world, Superman and his cousin, Supergirl, Batman and his daughter, Robin, and Wonder Woman aren’t just coming together for the first time, so we don’t have the “get the team together” story beats from Justice League. We’re dropped into the middle of what is to be the final battle against the forces of Apokolips, one where Batman has devised a plan to defeat them once and for all. They succeed, of course, the good guy always wins, but it’s at a cost, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all lose their lives in the battle, and Supergirl and Robin are accidentally transported over to the main DC earth. That’s right, in the first issue Robinson kills off DC’s three biggest characters. This clears the way for a new generation of heroes, and this is really what Earth 2 is all about.
One of the defining features of the DCU is the emphasis on legacy. There will always be a Batman, a Green Lantern, a Flash, the person wearing the costume isn’t as important as the idea they represent. This is why since the 40’s there have been at least 6 different people carrying the Green Lantern mantle and 4 Flashes. But now things are going to work a bit backwards. As revealed in this issue, the heroes of Earth 2 are none other than the original Golden Age heroes from the 40’s, Alan Scott (GL), Jay Garrick (Flash), and Al Pratt (The Atom). So if you didn’t know beforehand, this is DC’s Justice Society book. Since I’ve really gotten into comics I’ve become a huge fan of the JSA, reading books like Kingdom Come and Geoff Johns’ most recent run on the series. Alan Scott especially is one of my favorite comic book characters ever. Also expect other JSA-ers to show up, such as Hawkgirl and Mr. Terrific, who will find a second life after his much maligned and recently cancelled solo series.
On art is Nicola Scott, one of the most well-known female artists in the industry and one who is quickly rising through the ranks. After popular runs on Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and Teen Titans, this is easily Scott’s biggest project to date and she hits it out of the park. Will a style somewhere between Ivan Reis (who is also handling covers) and George Perez, Scott’s art here is some of the best you’ll find in superhero comics. She can handle grandiose battle scenes with loads of characters spread across two pages, but she also nails the smaller character moments, like when Robin begs for her father not to follow through with his plan, or when Jay Garrick reflects on where his life has taken him. Credit goes to Trevor Scott and Alex Sinclair as well, as their inks and colors really mesh with Scott’s pencils to make an amazing finished product.
Objectively, I’ll admit that this book might not be for all comic fans (although if you don’t there might be something wrong with you). Some people wont like this because the Big 3 are swept under the rug in the first issue. But if you’re looking for something that’s a little less mainstream, and a lot different from what you’re reading over in Justice League, then give this book a shot. You’re getting an entire universe’s worth of stories in one single book. In my opinion Earth 2 is doing all the things that the New 52 should’ve been doing from the start, by telling big, game changing, new reader friendly stories that wouldn’t have been possible before the reboot. There is so much potential here, I cannot stress enough, BUY THIS BOOK.