Friday, July 5, 2013

Spotlight: Earth-2, Vol. 1

Well, time once again for a recommendation. Today, let's delve into the still hotly debated New 52. Speaking of the number "2," let's put the Spotlight on....

And now, a spot of backstory. Back in the forties, DC published their characters like the Flash, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Wildcat, etc. in their own comic series. These heroes would then join forces in a comic called "Justice Society of America" as the titular society.

The Average Joe can only name three, maybe four of them without help.
Then the sixties came along, and for various reasons which would take too long to explain simply, we got a new Flash, a new Green Lantern, etc. etc. These heroes formed the Justice League. These are the guys you're probably more familiar with.

Why is Flash smirking? Why does Wonder Woman look shocked? Answers on a postcard to DC Comics.
Now, they explained this by saying that the older heroes actually existed as comic books within the comics. In fact, 60's Flash took his name after reading a comic featuring the 40's Flash. Then along came the story “Flash of Two Worlds,” where the two Flashes teamed up.   

This was the original "Kirk meets Picard" situation.

The explanation changed, and now was that the original characters lived in a different reality, called Earth-2, and that the newer heroes, and Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and others lived in the universe called Earth-1. For various reasons and stories and whatnot, the 40’s characters became the predecessors of the newer heroes when the fictional universes were merged.

Basically, the 40's heroes and the 60's heroes existed in parallel realities to each other, until they didn't.

Well, with DC’s New 52 reboot, we got a new multiverse with, you guessed it, a new Earth-2. What’s my opinion?  To be completely honest, this may very well be one of my favorite comics to come out of the Reboot.
I love this cover.
Earth-2 begins with the Earth-2 versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman fighting the invasion of Earth by the forces of Apokalips, the same as how the latest Justice League series began. In this reality, however….. 
Okay, listen. I have never meant this as much as I do right now. Spoiler. Alert. You don’t even know. Look, I’m not even going to give you the option of reading the spoiler. It’s that spoileriffic. Basically, 5 years later, the world is still rebuilding from the victory over the forces of evil. And a new age is beginning.  

All the classic characters are there. Jay Garrick is wondering what to do with his life. Alan Scott’s working to rebuild the world. Al Pratt‘s working for the US Army. One by one, they all end up in their familiar roles.
One of the things that I really like about this series is the attention to detail. Look close enough, and you can see references to familiar elements and characters, like references to a boxer named Ted Grant, who you might know better as Wildcat. Or Jay’s girlfriend going to work for Tyler-Chem. Or the appearance of Terry Sloan. Or Commander Dodds and his squadron of Sandmen.
The art is amazing. Utterly amazing. I can’t see anyone not liking this artwork, it’s just that gorgeous. I will admit, though, I wasn’t a fan of the character designs at first. But Superman’s “S” is actually a nice throwback to a more classic “S” (like in the Man of Steel film), Wonder Woman gets a costume that I actually prefer to her “official” new one, Batman… well, looks like Batman. I wasn’t a fan of Jay’s costume not having the helmet of Mercury, I was wishing that Green Lantern’s costume had a bit more red in it. As weird as that sounds.   

Doesn't sound crazy, now, huh?

But now? I’m sold. These costumes aren’t meant to be the old ones. They're new costumes for new versions of the characters, and they make sense to be what they are. Green Lantern is green, Flash gets a windscreen, Atom gets camo.

Hawkgirl's blue, but I'm not sure why.

The threat is nice and large, and it’s defeated in a very clever way.
And yes, let’s get this over with, Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth-2, is gay.   
What do you want me to say about that? He’s gay. Gay gay gay. Gay. A homosexual.

Before anyone gets on my case...
While everyone was freaking out about that, I met it with a big "So what?" It’s Alan Scott’s business, not mine. Not to mention that the only reason a lot of people freaked out was because news outlets just said "Green Lantern," not "Alan Scott," leading people to believe that Hal Jordan was going to be revealed as gay, despite his ongoing relationship with Carol Ferris. To be fair to the 7 people who still cared after the Alan Scott reveal, it's been mentioned that this means that Jade and Obsidian (his children before the reboot) will never exist now, seeing as how… you know, you need a female to actually create babies.   

I guess.

But you know what? I say let this story be judged on its own merits. This should not be compared to the Justice Society, because these are not the seasoned veterans that resulted from over 60 years of publication. These are rookies. And you know what? That’s an interesting story to tell.  And let the story be judged not for what it changes, or for how it compares to what came before, but for what it is, what it exists as. And now that I’ve said that, it will keep getting brought up every time I complain about something being different.
All in all, I highly recommend this series. Even if you know nothing about the original Justice Society, this series will still keep you entertained and amazed. 

Next time, we’re Spotlighting…. 
You know, I really have no idea. I guess we'll find out.

Final Thoughts
Why do the covers seem to have the recurring motif of characters going "Oh, god, this is painful"?
Burning alive....
vs. eaten by Dire Rats. 

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