Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Point/counterpoint on the singular Earth 2

Let's put our heads together and start a new country up

Let’s put our heads together and start a new country up

It’s been more than a year and a half — 19 issues and an annual — but the New 52 version of Earth 2 still feels like a work in progress.

The series began with the last battle of an Apokoliptian war that claimed the lives of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, which was followed soon afterward by the debuts of “wonders” (not “marvels,” no sir) like the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. To a certain extent, each was meant to remind readers of the heroes of the original Earth-Two, where Superman and Lois Lane met in 1938 and married in the early 1950s, and where Batman and Catwoman saw their daughter Helena become a successful attorney. When everything started getting organized into a Multiverse in 1961, Earth-Two became the home of DC’s Golden Age characters, including Jay Garrick’s Flash and Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. Indeed, for more than 70 years Jay and Alan were part of DC’s first generation of superheroes, serving as inspiration for the many who followed.

Not so with the current Earth 2, where Jay and Alan are themselves inspired by the heroic sacrifices of that world’s Trinity. On one level, Earth 2 is a way to reintroduce those characters in a present-day context, breaking them down into more basic forms and building them up through a series of fiery trials. Talk about a “never-ending battle” — in Earth 2, war is never far away, whether it’s the reminders of past devastation or the dark portents of new tragedies. Originally I thought this might be writer James Robinson’s way to evoke the world-at-war atmosphere of the 1940s, but now I’m not so sure. Current writer Tom Taylor may simply want to put the “wonders” through a pretty rigorous series of tests. Now, that in itself has become a well-worn DC trope (Geoff Johns personified it some 10 years ago with his updated Reverse-Flash), and it’s not one of which I am especially fond. It has tended to emphasize the “testing” more than the eventual triumph, so it threatens to become a trial for the reader as well.

And yet, like Caleb appreciating the Taylor-written Injustice: Gods Among Us,I have looked forward to each new issue of Earth 2. It’s definitely not the original. Sometimes it’s barely an homage to the original. However, it needs to be its own thing, and this week I’ll tell you why.

SPOILERS FOLLOW for recent issues of Earth 2.

4

3

2

1

Currently, the heroes’ main trial is emotional as well as physical. The new issue (#18) finds Superman himself — apparently not dead, but now an agent of Apokolips — inflicting more damage on one group of good guys, while Batman — a new one, as the original is apparently still dead — recruits another group to fight him. Naturally, this sounds like Injustice, where Batman fights against a tyrannical Superman, but in light of Taylor’s recent CBR interview, I suspect the similarities stop there. For one thing, Taylor seems to suggest that Supes’ relationship with his wife Lois — who was also thought dead, but who Taylor brought back as the android Red Tornado — will hold the key to ending his reign of terror. Taylor even calls Lois a “beacon of hope,” which is a nice way of encapsulating what she means to her super-hubby and relating it to what he meant to the world.

Issue 18 also brings new versions of established characters, including one introduced in the old All Star Squadron, and a very familiar member of Superman’s supporting cast. Another very familiar DC character makes his first (I think) and probably last appearance in the series, in a scene that distinguishes the new Batman from the original.

If that sounds like things aren’t all that happy-scrappy on Earth 2 … well, they’re not. Taylor told CBR that while things may get better eventually, right now “[i]t’s a very new world, but already it’s very established and already it’s broken…. It feels like an entire world of people that are reeling, just waiting for the next terrible thing to happen.”

Now unlike Caleb, I haven’t read any of Injustice, because its main plot points all seemed too, too dark — “none more black,” one might say — for me. Beyond the extreme melodrama of Superman being tricked into killing his own wife and unborn child, the things I heard all sound like tragedy for its own sake, and therefore not very enticing. Moreover, the Injustice series seemed to be of a piece with the perception that DC still needs to infuse its superheroes with “realistic” calamities so that yes, they’ll come out stronger in the end. That applies to Earth 2 as well, because it’s free to discard whatever Golden Age touches it no longer “needs.”

Indeed, I’d have been perfectly happy if Earth 2 had been the version glimpsed briefly at the end of 52, and in a JSA Annual written by Johns and penciled by Jerry Ordway (who drew the Earth-Two-centric All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. ‘way back when). This would have appealed tremendously to my primal nerd instincts, since a) it would have grounded the New 52 more firmly in the Nu-Multiverse established by Infinite Crisis and seen in detail at the end of 52; and b) it would have allowed at least one New 52 book to draw expressly from the publisher’s Golden Age output, as Robinson did to great effect in Starman. Among the shiny streamlining of the other superhero books, it would have helped Earth 2 (and its companion Worlds’ Finest) stand out.

That said, although I’ve always liked the idea of Earth-Two, I find it hard to get into those Golden Age stories. Without getting too much into the nuts and bolts of the old Multiverse, suffice it to say that for someone who grew up with a lot of Earth-One and a little of Earth-Two, the latter was more of an alternate setting than an inspiration. Not that I haven’t enjoyed those characters or their adventures, or that I don’t appreciate their place in comics history, but to me, the Golden Age is a distinct thing — a collection of stories which someone like Robinson or Roy Thomas could shape into fertile soil, and harvest new tales therefrom. Earth-Two was the place where the first issues of Action, Detective, Sensation and Flash “really happened,” and where those characters could grow as old as their stories. Honestly, in that respect I was somewhat offended by the end of Infinite Crisis, since it featured fanboy stand-in Superboy-Prime beating to death a character who, for all intents and purposes, was Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s original Superman.

Still, that Superman was at least one step removed from the one introduced in June 1938. In fact, all the Golden Agers of Earth-Two were products of extrapolations which imagined what they’d look like and how they’d act 10, 20, or 50-odd years after they supposedly retired. Those creative teams had to deal with a pretty well-defined world, so I can see the appeal of starting from scratch with Earth 2.

And yet, even though it’s set up to emphasize the characters, in Earth 2 the world itself remains the star. While the old Earth-Two depended on a history that could be explored and farmed, the new one is still being formed. In comparing Earth 2 to Injustice, Caleb mentioned that the latter felt more like an Elseworld, or what DC used to call an Imaginary Story, even though it’s part of the regular New 52. Although I don’t really disagree with that, I will say that the Elseworlds and Imaginary Stories existed to make particular points about the main-line continuity: this is why Superman can’t marry Lana Lang; here’s an aging Batman coming out of retirement. Earth 2 is different because at some point, it’ll have to contend with main-line continuity. (Tangentially, it already does, in the form of Worlds’ Finest.) I don’t expect the “wonders” to be called the Justice Society any time soon, but I’ll be disappointed if that’s not in the works.

I’d even go so far as to say that Earth 2 could show readers the future of the main DC-Earth. Consider: for decades, DC has needed a flexible timeline to keep its characters perpetually youthful — but part of the point of the original Earth-Two was that those characters could age. Eventually, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman faded into the background, in favor of Power Girl, the Huntress, and the rest of their generation. Although Earth 2 was a little more drastic in removing its Trinity, the point remains: What do you do when your biggest characters are off the table? What happens when the Superman you knew no longer exists? If Earth-2 can function without those characters, maybe the main DC-Earth can as well.

While that’s not at all likely, Earth 2 can still be instructive. By the time these versions of the Justice Society meet their main-line counterparts, they might just be stronger characters for having lived through all this horror. The Golden Agers who teamed up with the Justice Leaguers in the pre-relaunch days seemed more mellow about their greatest-generation status, but they’d had more time to deal with it. Earth-2′s “wonders” will be different from Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, and company not just in costumes and origins, but in perspective.

The knowledge that Earth 2 is free to “test” its characters a lot more rigorously — because they’re not the first-team anymore — does give the book a certain grim tone. It’s not that Robinson, Taylor, and penciller extraordinaire Nicola Scott aren’t respectful of these characters, but there’s no obligation to treat them as elder statesmen. That’s a bit hard for me to accept, since that treatment could also honor the creators who originally introduced these characters — but by and large, these characters have been separated from those creators for decades, and as much as I’ve enjoyed their post-Golden Age appearances, at some point they would have lived on only in period pieces.

In that spirit, I appreciate Earth 2’s attempt to detach the Justice Society from its mid-20th Century roots, and transplant the cores of the characters into a new world. The process hasn’t always been smooth, but Robinson, Scott, and now Taylor have made it entertaining. To a certain degree, the original Earth-Two was about sustaining an old world. Earth 2 has a chance to make something decidedly new.

News From Our Partners

Comments

37 Comments

Although it’s a good book, enjoy it while you can… I doubt the E2 book will continue to exist (at least not in its current form) after the big events of 2014 take place. I’m thinking the E2 characters will make they’re way to tue main Earth, ala the CSA.

I left when Robinson did… nothing against Taylor, but this book seemed wholly-cut from Robinson’s vision, and the fact that he (apparently/supposedly) left over editorial interference made me think the book wasn’t going to be worth following. Too bad, really.

I’ve enjoyed Taylor’s issues a bit more than Robinson’s, but I’m bored with Superman and Batman stories and was looking forward to more new idea JSAers. I really hope we’ll see more of the characters Robinson created and more new ones as well, the subtle inclusion of Judo Master was a nice touch. But we’ve already had and lost in 18 issues… Green Lantern, Fury, Mr Miracle, Big Barda, Atom, Red Arrow, Wildcat (not shown, just mentioned), Catwoman… and…. errr, I feel like I’m missing a few from the annual.

I grew up an Earth 2-er, Huntress and Power Girl are my all time favorites. I was surprised by how much I love Worlds’ Finest, despite not liking some of the changes, and I just hoped for more of that type of character work in the Nu52′s Earth2. So far it’s just felt like flipping through action packed wikipedia pages introducing one new IP after another. (exaggeration) And now we’re focused on Superman, though with an awesome twist on the Red Tornado/Lois Lane thing… errr, I’m conflicted.

I highly doubt the title will cease.

In fact, I think more multiple earth titles are possible, and probable, IMO.

For a relaunch and a new direction, DC always seems to be relying on the same old thing. Grim and gritty, testing heroes, nostalgia, will they/ won’t they love triangles. Mysteries of WHO is behind that mask, YOU will be shocked, large events with filler and my favorite EDITORIAL EDICT. I want something new. Not a way to reset and tell me the same old stories. Nikola Scott’s art is gorgeous.

I wouldn’t mind an Earth where the old-school JSA still existed in their original forms.

Dropped the book when Robinson left.

DC’s original Earth-2 (created by Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox) was ingenius, innovative and unique, something no other comics company could do. It’s a shame DC editorial ruined it.

Is there a word that combines the words “reboot” and “diarrhea”? Because DC has that disease.

“I was somewhat offended by the end of Infinite Crisis, since it featured fanboy stand-in Superboy-Prime beating to death a character who, for all intents and purposes, was Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s original Superman”

Quoted for truth.

I thought they were called “Wonders” because Wonder Woman was the first hero.

The thing that I am not liking now–though we’ll see how Taylor resolves it–is that Robinson left a LOT of plotlines hanging. Off the top of my head:

- What was Terry Sloan’s master plan?
- Why did Sloan intercept Earth-1′s Mister Terrific, and how did he hypnotize him?
- Who is Commander Khan’s father?
- Who killed Mercury, and why?
- What was the mystery force that gave Alan his powers? (Issue #3 implied that it was once human.)
- How did Hawkgirl get her wings? (We got a glimpse of her origin, but not the whole thing.)
- What is the Red Lantern?
- Who is Fury’s father? (Not sure if it’s important, but to my knowledge, none of the E-2 spinoff books like Worlds’ Finest or Superman/Batman #1-4 gave us any info on Wonder Woman’s kid.)
- Who was the 8th of the original wonders?
- Who is Batman? (Yeah, we know this one will be resolved soon.)

I’m sure I’m forgetting others.

To top it off, Robinson gave us hints that Ted Grant and Rex Tyler were out there and would eventually show up in the story. I worry that these will be pushed out as the Superman war heats up. My larger point is that the situation right now reminds me of the state of the X-Men comics in the 1990s: so many plot threads and mysteries were added, and then writers were swapped and they’d go years without resolution. When they finally did wrap up, it was so far later and so beyond the original writer’s intent that it never felt satisfying.

Despite having dropped the title (financial cuts… OUCH…), this book is one of the strongest from the New 52. It really is something else, something much more “workable” than a current New 52 book. Because it’s Earth 2, not Two.

This book will continue to be released and I am sure that we may see new Earth 2′s titles to come. It’s a good universe, with good characters and good stories. For the art, anyone has her preferences. So, I have no fear to see this “not so little” book to be cancelled.

I wish Earth 2 would just focus on Flash, GL, Fate and Hawkgirl. I really liked how the series began. Then they started throwing in so many characters and now it seems to have found a way to revolve around Superman and Batman AGAIN. As if those two don’t already get enough spotlight in other titles. Sure, they’re different versions of the original, but it’s still Superman and Batman. The reason I picked up the series in the first place is that it promised to tell a story of a world where the Trinity isn’t around anymore. I hate how DC always lets everything take a backseat to those 3 characters when they really could (and should) develop other heroes much better.

I absolutely loved the old Earth 2 stories (All Star Squadron, etc) as well as the JSA series. The idea of the elder mentor that would guide the next generation was very appealing. Plus I would still get excited whenever the generations would team up. The series connected modern readers with the Golden Age and was a wonderful way to honor DC’s rich heritage. This was all lost with the New 52 version of Earth-2. Perhaps this is fine for new readers but I can’t help but miss my Alan Scott and Jay Garrick :’(

I look at Earth -2 the way I look at the New 52: They’re both Plato’s shadows on the wall, looking like the real thing but being something else entirely. The fact that they have the same names as some characters I used to love is a mere coincidence.

Although I’m enjoying the book as written by Tom Taylor (with the art by Nikola Scott) I lament not having Robinson continue his story. As big a Robinson fan as I’ve been since Starman, it’s doubtful I’ll be following him to Marvel. As to Earth 2, I’ll be around at least until the Batman reveal. Last page of #18 makes the book and instant classic. Already boarded and double bagged.

I love Earth 2. To me, of all the books to come out of the New 52, I feel Earth 2 realized the potential of that promise the best. It was a true reinvention of the classic heroes we know, and while they are very different in some ways, in other key ways they are still recognizable. I was disappointed that James Robinson left the series as I think he was building to something incredible that we’ll never get to see.

I did try the first post-Robinson issue and I’m doubtful I will continue because of it becoming a Batman-Superman story again… Burned out with the ‘New 52′ being more like the ‘New Big Two’ instead.

- What was Terry Sloan’s master plan?

See Ozymandias in Watchmen.

- Why did Sloan intercept Earth-1′s Mister Terrific, and how did he hypnotize him?

They’re naturally similar. Not opposites besides their race.

- Who is Commander Khan’s father?

Not important

- Who killed Mercury, and why?

The Black Racer. Darkseid’s agent who hunts down speedster types.

- What was the mystery force that gave Alan his powers? (Issue #3 implied that it was once human.)

The green. Earth 2′s version of the Swamp Thing/earth lifesource.

- How did Hawkgirl get her wings? (We got a glimpse of her origin, but not the whole thing.)

Egyptian curse. Robinson said he planned to bring back the reincarnation angle, but placing Hawkman and Hawkgirl on two different earths.

- What is the Red Lantern?

This one has been left dangling.

- Who is Fury’s father? (Not sure if it’s important, but to my knowledge, none of the E-2 spinoff books like Worlds’ Finest or Superman/Batman #1-4 gave us any info on Wonder Woman’s kid.)

Steve Trevor. That’s Lyta Trevor.

- Who was the 8th of the original wonders?

Mr. 8 is Terry Sloane’s Earth 2 identity(He isn’t Mr. Terrific on Earth 2, he’s Mr 8)

- Who is Batman? (Yeah, we know this one will be resolved soon.)

Thomas Wayne, as indicated by the DC Collectibles action figure character profile. He appears to be powered by the Spirit of Vengeance, making him the new Crimson Avenger as well.

Nice article. Pretty cleanly sums up my feelings regarding the series, (and to some degree, the whole of the New 52).

At some point, some switch was thrown in the DC machine that equates “Alternate Earth” with “Wholesale Slaughter”. The minute a new earth is introduced, the rebooted/new copies of characters are killed nastily, seemingly holding to some weird “it’s okay, it’s not the main continuity/these characters are shadow versions of real characters” fragility.

I wasn’t thrilled with the current take on Earth Two. It’s trapped in a lot of the weaker “shortcuts to storytelling” that DC has taken in the last few years. Making the war one against Darkseid (he’s recognizable, even if we have no idea if he’s the ONLY Darkseid! Is he the same guy who caused FINAL CRISIS? It’s fine…he makes a good action figure and video game boss!), as an old man id rather the war would have been against a modern take on nazis led by…lets say, Per Degaton or Simple Simon, but so it goes. I’d hoped Robinson’s take would be different than “towing the bloodline”, something filled with steam punk-Victorian-meets-retro like STARMAN was, but I can’t chide him for my goofball expectations.

I’ll keep reading, but I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into a slaughter pit in which Evil Superman eviscertes the victim-of-the-week. (This hope is fleeting).

Also, my speculation is that E2Batman is the Earth 2 Bane! (Hides)

Brian from Canada

December 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

If you think DC is shortcutting with wholesale slaughter, you’re missing the entire point of the series and one of the key foundational points of the New 52.

Darkseid’s trans-dimensional. Earth Prime — home to most of the series — is the one world with the strength of heroes prepared to repel him. Earth-2 sacrificed its heroes, but is renewing itself with new wonders because other threats will come. Earth-3′s League fled to Earth Prime, which is why we have “Forever Evil.”

DC’s mission with Earth 2 was to fashion a world with new takes on the classic All Star Squadron. Robinson succeeded in turning Jay Garrick from confident elder to bumbling college kid and Alan Scott from family man to gay idol. Hawkgirl’s changes were more cosmetic: blonde woman to African American (a point emphasized more when Hawkgirl shows up in Savage Hawkman).

But Robinson failed almost immediately after that. Given Mr. Terrific, he left the character on the sidelines to a point you forgot he’s there. Issue 0 focused on the 6th wonder, who’s the sole survivor, but never really picked into the plot. We got more from the Sandmen and new Dr. Fate. And in the middle of all this, a Red Arrow was introduced with no backstory whatsoever.

Why is it such a failure? It’s not Robinson’s fault: there is just TOO MUCH to put into 22 pages. The world of Earth 2 is too textured from its creation — and that’s a GOOD thing. That’s why Grumpy Old Fan has a problem rejecting Earth 2 despite its differences from Earth Two: Earth Two was a hypothetical world that would charm us with its differences but otherwise remain traditional superheroing, whereas Earth 2 is a world with so much difference we don’t have the full time to explore.

Superman’s introduction with Lois and Batman makes me think that DC’s end goal is to establish a League in Earth 2 in advance of the crossover event in 2014. Think about it: they’ll end up with a Superman who’s been evil (the balance between Prime and 3), Batman who’s a different Wayne, representative female character (Fury, whom I suspect will get a revelation of her parenthood soon), different Flash, different Lantern, and now different mechanical hero. The archer and winger hero, along with spell caster, Atom and Terrific, make the Earth 2 world capable of interacting on multiple levels.

[Personally, I hope the crossover is going to do with Desaad trying to get home and opening up the battle between Darkseid, Earth Prime/Earth 2, and (hopefully) merging in the New Gods as well to define the cosmic landscape.]

Quite frankly, I’m glad we got Earth 2. It may not be JSA, but it’s a strong book on its own. It’s done what it’s supposed to, and that’s enhance the overall depiction of New 52, a universe that is still in its infancy and will take a few years to be fully accepted as strong in its own right. If Taylor is the one to do it, other than Robinson, then so be it: but don’t blame the writer’s desire to leave over the addition of a character guide your choice, let the book itself do — because one thing DC and its competition have proven time and time again, the next writer may just surprise you.

I pretty much lost interest when Batman showed up and truly lost interest when Robinson left.

This book is just going to revolve around Batman and Superman, just like every other book they are on. Boring. I was really looking forward to seeing the “Ultimate” take on the JSA characters sans the trinity.

So sad.

I’ll probably drop the book soon and I doubt it lasts through 2014. It’s just turned into more of the same. I liked it because Batman and Superman were dead and we’d get a chance to see the “Earth 2″ heroes. Now we have Superman and Batman again. No offense, but uh, we have like 26 other titles with Superman and Batman plus one that already features a Superman and Batman fighting like this. Green Lantern’s apparent destruction was the biggest “F Off” DC has done to the fans of any book since the stupid Lobo thing (the “fake” one being in Stormwatch but, uh, no one reads that but me I guess). It’s just getting WORSE. Endless forced crossovers, focus on Batman/Superman, wash repeat… The only plus out of it is that I’m buying an incredibly diverse line of comics *from other publishers* now to make up for books that DC has either canceled or destroyed. Oh well, so much for this life long DC Fanboy. :X

I have finally excepted the fact that I am not the target audience that DC is trying to market to. I too, have been a lifelong DC fan, my first book was Super Friends and from there it was pure DC. I was also an Earth 2 fan, looking forward to the annual JLA/JSA team-ups and buying any Earth 2 title or backup I could find. Now, I do not matter and that is fine. DC has no responsibility to me, and I have none to them. My money now goes to either other items or other companies, mostly Dynamite. I have the back issues and trade collections to read and remember and that will probably be all that I will have. I had hoped that Robinson would work the Darkseid attack into WWII, maybe a reworking of Hitler summoning the Valkyries with the Spear of Destiny, having the Trinity fall and the post-war JSA pick up the pieces with the ongoing generation in modern times. Having the heroes being ever-wary of a return of the Dark forces. Oh well, I will enjoy the return of the Pulp heroes at Dynamite.

Supermutant2099

December 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Earth 2 is on so many levels one of the worst books of the reboot. There are to many drastic and unnecessary changes to characters. Everything about the book is dumb and just wrong. I miss the REAL JSA. This not close to it.

Great analysis over the new Earth-2 and how it differ from the old one. Now try to do MC-2 of Marvel Coimics and see what happens there. :D

Brian from Canada

December 8, 2013 at 2:31 pm

@Supermutant2099:

You’re missing the real point on New 52. Comic stores are disappearing. New audiences are going through digital services and don’t want series with long histories when starting. And no one is looking at DC as exciting enough to adapt beyond Batman.

In other words, New 52 is supposed to modernize the characters to fit today’s tastes, with an eye towards movie and TV production. That’s why the characters now wear forms of armour: Dark Knight made it important to understand the realism over the spandex in WB/DC’s world. That’s why the relationships are gone (they are easy to start with). That’s why everyone is younger. And then there’s the inclusiveness.

Justice League Unlimited had to swap out Hal Jordan for John Stewart to be inclusive. Young Justice made Aqualad black Kalder instead of the traditional Garth, and made Artemis a minority (instead of Arrowette). Teen Titans puts Cyborg front and center.

If you look at New 52 Earth 2 through that lens, the characters are appealing to today’s audiences — which, again, is the point of the New 52 initiative. Green Lantern is gay. Hawkgirl is black. Dr. Fate is middle eastern. The World Army is international. The only traditional figures in the whole thing, left unchanged, are Superman and Batman, and it’s now we’ll see how their difference impacts the other characters.

There’s no way Earth 2 is “on so many levels one of the worst books of the reboot.” Blackhawks, Captain Atom, GI Combat, Men At War, Mister Terrific, OMAC, Savage Hawkman, Sword Of Sorcery, Teen Titans… they all have it beat by spades.

Overall I still don’t get the point of Earth 2. Originally Earth-one was an update of Earth-Two, that morphed into the single Earth at the end of CotIE (the current heroes were an update of the original heroes). Now with the New 52, Earth 1 is still an update of Earth-Two and Earth 2 is also an update of Earth-Two. Having more than one update of the same thing deludes the whole updating process.

DC lost the whole point of Earth-Two, which was the world with the original DC heroes.

I’ve read the first Taylor issues and I feel like I’m reading another Batman Superman book. I started this series because of the creative team and the idea that I would be watching a group book without the big 2. I don’t know if I can continue my interest long enough to get through this storyline and get back to the members who weren’t Wonders.

Robinson said in an interview he was going to make Hawkgirl “the world’s greatest detective”; I wanted to see that. I don’t think it’s going to happen now.

Count me in as another one disappointed that this seems to be another DC book just becoming all about Batman and Superman.

My attraction to the title was to see *different* heroes and I was loving the dynamics between GL, Hawkgirl, Atom, Flash and Dr Fate. Now, it’s seemingly turning into just a kind of “What if” comic about an evil Superman and a Punisher-style Batman.

Do people think Robinson quit because editorial were ordering him to focus more on Batman and Superman? It’s a pretty obvious change lately with the last two issues having them on the covers instead of the wonders unique to this series.

So called “diversity” in comics does nothing for me; it all just seems a rather pandering attempt at PR and PC. But neither am I interested in another iteration of Justice League. The whole point of Earth 2 is to emphasize the legacy heroes and second stringers. I think the concept of the original silver age trinity being dead – as a starting point for the series – was the correct approach. You can’t use your company as an IP farm if all your series basically star the same three heroes.

I would accept a JS in Earth 2. They do need a name, and they will eventually get one(just like how Flash got his by accident).

But keeping the narrative going I am enthusiastically enjoying Earth 2. Is a great book. The pace, character development, storytelling, etc fits well into this world and I want it that way. This is a different world, and I want it like this because is just new from what we traditionally wired to accept.

However, like all books, there is good and bad. And is no secret Batman and Superman are back, but I have no problem with it. The timing may have been misplaced but I think the opportunity was necessary. Like in previous stories of Batman or Superman, this is not about Batman an Superman. The whole series has been about the reintroduction of these familiar heroes we have grown to like but to be represented in other variable ways. The Green Lantern chosen by the green is genius; Flash’s speed was chosen by choice and determination; Khalids explored Nabus dungeoun by fate(though coincidentally by his adversary Waton), and so on. What makes Earth 2 a great book is that is not only a superhero book, but stories of superheroes. Just because Batman and Superman are getting the spotlight next don’t mean is the end of the book. It means that the series is more than just Superman and Batman, is about a world.

And I am looking forward to it. From Batmans identity(injected himself with Venom?), to Red Lanterns appearance, the book is a definitive book. And that’s refreshing, to be able to do so much for so little. And the fact that these superhero names are seemingly familiar don’t mean that these are the characters that we know and love. They are not. And I think that’s why is a huge deal to make this book different.

If you’re going to change something you should only do it if what you’re
changing it to is better. There’s some interesting aspects to Earth 2 but
I’m not seeing it as better than Justice Society Of America.

@K

Diversity matters because you can tell different kinds of stories with different kinds of heroes.

An aspect of Diversity that traditional comic books have emphasized very well in the past has been wealth. We have poor characters, rich ones, and every thing in between. If Diversity didn’t matter then all characters should just be middle-class. If we did that, then Bruce Wayne, Jason Todd, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Namor, T’Challa, Aquaman, Lex Luthor, Charles Xavier, (old School) Peter Parker and hundreds more would be vastly different characters. We simply cannot divorce these characters from their socioeconomic backgrounds because it radically alters the very core of those characters. Diversity of wealth makes for more distinct and interesting stories.

If you standardize wealth, then why not eliminate personality diversity? Every super hero should be a law abiding boy scout. How many characters would that change? Countless.

We already have diversity in Superheroes, just not in aspects that we are used to thinking about as forms of diversity. Look at the wealth of stories we can have just by turning two different nozzles (Personality and Income). Now imagine what we could do when we add in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, etc.? Diversity makes for stronger, more varied stories. It will only make the genre and the industry as a whole better.

They lost something with this incarnation. The JSA characters always seemed kind of gritty to me, maybe because they went through WW2. Dropped this a while ago but to be fair I haven’t been enjoy the whole of DC anyway.

From his work on four-issue mini-series The Golden-Age and what he did through the pages of Starman, James Robinson and Earth-Two are synonymous. With him gone from the book and from DC and the fact that the company has let his Starman work fall out of print – from what I understand they stopped the soft cover versions of the Starman Omnibus – I won’t be rewarding DC’s poor practice by buying Earth-2.

They need an “Earth-Two” where the Silver Age characters continued IMO.

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives