There’s been a lot of controversy and hemming and hawing ever since the announcement of Earth Two (previously known as Justice Society) a few months ago. One complaint I heard a lot, especially from Tony “G-Man” Guerrero of Comic Vine, was the worry that this would complicate a universe that DC had set out to make easier for new readers with The New 52. He and others contended that the idea of another Earth with another set of heroes would be too complicated for new readers. I take issue with that on two points. First of all, the idea of multiple dimensions is pretty common in American science fiction. I’ve seen it everywhere from kids’ shows to rated R movies. Also, multiple dimensions are a staple of comic books. Anyone who spends a little time with conventional comics will come across the concept. So I don’t see how it would cause too many issues.
Second, now that we’re nine months out, it’s pretty clear that The New 52 had nothing to do with making things easier for new readers. All the books I picked up other than Action Comics expected you to already know about the characters - this was especially true with the Batman family of books. In fact, in World’s Finest which spins out of Earth 2 and will be reviewed by my colleague on Player Affinity, Kat “Comic Uno”, there is a quick panel on the first page that resolves some of the continuity issues with pre-and post-New 52 Huntress.
Another internet controversy over Earth 2 was the leak that Lois Lane is dead in Earth 2. James Robinson, the writer of Earth 2, is on Comic Vine’s podcast pretty often and he said it would all make sense once the issue came out. Lois wasn’t being “fridged”. Was he right? And just what is up with this Earth 2?
First of all, James is right - the Lois Lane thing is completely irrelevant. Because it’s right on the second page of this comic, I’m not going to consider it to be a spoiler to tell you that the Earth 2 Superman doesn’t make it past this issue. It had been leaked that a lack of Lois would allow him to actually kill....but that made it sound like he was going to finally kill Lex Luthor or something. Nope, just parademons. And that brings us to the first great thing about this issue.
It starts off with essentially the same conflict as Justice League. And James Robinson is essentially asking us two questions: 1) Would it make a difference if Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern weren’t around? and 2) What would happen if things became a lot more dire than they were in the regular universe? So it has a great feel of perhaps Darkseid attacking all Earths at once and while he was defeated in our Earth, perhaps things went a little better on Earth 2.
It’s also interesting to see how Robinson mashes up the old Earth 2 continuity with his own thing. Helena Wayne is still Bruce’s kid (probably with Selina based on the Huntress mini-series that ended a cople months ago) but Bruce isn’t the Gotham police commissioner and Dick isn’t Batman.
If I have one criticism of this issue is that it’s not just a setup issue, it’s a setup issue in which all you’re learning is the prologue. At least, as this first issue reads, it’s not setting up the dynamic between Earth 2 Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman like Justice League was. So, it could have all just been a flash-back panel to the real first issue.
That criticism aside, I really enjoyed this issue. The dialog seemed right. The art and fight choreography didn’t leave me feeling lost. And I enjoyed it a lot more than the Justice League. I think the biggest thing that might keep me from enjoying the book to the maximum is that I don’t really care too much about the DC universe. So I don’t know if I’ll appreciate the differences between the origin of, say Earth Prime Flash and Earth 2 Flash. But I definitely intend to get issue #2. So if you didn’t pick up Earth 2 on Wednesday, grab it when you go to your shop this Saturday for free comic book day.