As some people have commented, the New 52 universe feels scarcely populated. DC’s strategy has been to focus on their handful of iconic characters from which they plan to spin-out stories that brush in the details of the universe. This strategy, while successful in many ways, has come to the detriment of many beloved Golden-age and legacy characters. James Robinson begins to rectify this with a new Earth 2. This universe, one of the new 52 universes, which is to be the home of Power Girl and Huntress (though, as their popularity would dictate, they were quickly jettisoned to the main DC Universes and their own series, World’s Finest, in the first issue of the Eponymous Earth 2 series) as well a new JSA. Or at least something that bears a semblance to what we have known as the JSA.
Traditionally the JSA were the first crop of super-heroes to appear, mostly around WWII, in the DC-verse. Publisher’s have always had an uneasy relationship with character origins that were historical situated, specifically the ageing issues that they inevitably lead to. Previously DC had utilized the Earth 2 concept as a way to explain away the discrepancies of such historical situated origins. As a result, Earth 2 stories have a pretty lengthy and developed publishing history. Those who were expecting a modern update of these stories will be severely disappointed. Earth 2 is as different from Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, or even Post-Infinite Crisis Earth 2 (which, although editors went out-of-the-way to make clear was not the same earth, was in fact a very clear homage) as imaginable. Whereas the JSA had been treated as the forbearer of the JLA for a while now, Earth 2 is re-imagining them as a group heroes who fill the vacuum left after the catastrophic destruction of the JLA.
I think that unlike virtually every other person on the internet, I enjoyed this issue much more than the previous. It was difficult for me to enjoy the novelty of the first issue because it was so damn dissonant with my what I imagined. I was expecting something more in the vein of Geoff John’s Power Girl mini. But beyond the hang-ups imposed by my own expectations, the first issue had a large number of shortcomings. The invasion of the Putty-Patroller-motif is such a played-out apocalyptic trope. I know the Darksied plot were merely a plot device to establish the status quo but I don’t feel that’s an excuse for its creative failings. Mercury’s conversation with Wonder-woman was painfully ham-fisted. The death of Wonder Woman, Superman, were all pretty lame. Okay, so not Batman’s. But a bad-ass Batman-suicide-mission practically writes itself.
With the world-building out-of-the-way in the first issue, the second issue has a lot more time to let its characters just inhabit this strange new world, which is so open-ended that it has such immense possibility.. Which is not to say that this book is perfect. The first ten pages are pretty rough. I don’t know what’s worse actually, the inscrutable Terrific-Man tie-in or another painful Mercury scene (hopefully the last). However, after that the books gets pretty fun and a plot seems to be slowly gaining momentum.
- I don’t love Scott’s art work, in general. At best I find it to be serviceable generic-DC art.
- Although people might complain about the cheese factor, I actually think the Apokorats was a pretty intelligent sub-plot. Of course an inter-stellar invasion would travel with a vermin infestation that human’s are exactly equipped to deal with.
- Earth 2 might not resemble the previous Earth 2 but with its slight technological advantage it sure resembles Fringe Earth 2.
Final Grade: B
World’s Finest 2
Like my fellow writer Cal C, I really wanted to like this book. I also wanted to like the Huntress mini-series that preceded this series also written by Levitz. Try all i want, I find this series overwhelming dull. Most of the book is a fight scene between the girls and some radioactive metallo/monitor knock-off with some flashbacks thrown in. It ends how it began: Huntress and Power Girl getting their ass handed to them by an unremarkable D-list villain. Although the script doesn’t exactly sparkle, the art for the present-day sequences, which comprises the bulk of the book, is absolutely life-less. George Perez is credited as the penciller while Kevin Maguire is credited as the artist. Its pretty clear that Perez did only lay-outs for the flash-back sequence but did tight-pencilling for the present-day stuff as those passages illustrate his trademark cluttered-style. The flash-backs are nicely minimalist which is a nice breadth of fresh air (made better because they’re not colored by Hi-Fi). I am sure I would like are from these flashbacks if they were more than just conversational vignettes.
- Everything about how Power Girl is being drawn in the present-day sequence is terrible, down to her stupid new costume.
- What the hell is happening at Gotham Bank.
- I hate this: