Thursday, May 10, 2012

Earth 2 #1 - A Review

A week having passed since this issue came out, I think I can now safely discuss it without having to worry about spoilers.  There's no way I can really discuss this issue without giving away some major information.  So if you haven't read this issue yet but consider my opinion a factor in whether or not you should pick it up, I say you should pick it up.  James Robinson has set up something really special here and Nicola Scott's pencils make any book worth buying.

Those who aren't afraid of spoilers, for whatever reason, continue on after the image.

Well played, DC Comics.  A masterful fake-out.  Didn't see that coming at all and you deserve full credit for pulling this off in this day when advance previews make it hard to do anything truly surprising in a comic book, let along a first issue!  And releasing all the character designs as James Robinson talked about the reality of this Earth 2 and how this Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman would be different from the main universe?  Technically true but totally misleading at the same time?  I tip my hat to you for playing us so masterfully.
For those who haven't read the book yet, let me explain: the first half of this issue depicts Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman sacrificing their lives to drive off an alien invasion.  In the resulting wave of destruction, Supergirl and Robin (Bruce Wayne's daughter Helena) disappear and are presumed dead.  The world is now safe from the menace that threatened it... but also lacks any superheroic protectors  Or does it?  For even now the winds of fate are blowing around three men - a soldier who is short in stature but strong in heart, an idealistic media mogul and a college graduate seeking direction.

This is a brilliant conceit on Robinson's part - to avoid the problems of readers confusing one version of the holy Trinity of the DCU for another by using the most obvious and most forbidden solution.  By killing off Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, he has given himself a truly clean slate to work with.  One has to admire Robinson for his daring if nothing else in attempting to do something truly new with this book, even as he draws upon DC Comic's rich past.

The only downside is that with moments like this - in which we find out that the death of the entire Amazon nation save Wonder Woman has spurred the Old Gods to fight the New Gods in defense of mankind - I wish we'd gotten to see a little bit more of this war!  I know no comic could possibly be half as awesome as the image of the Roman Pantheon fighting Darkseid in my head.  But if anyone could pull that off, it would be Robinson and Scott.

Scott's pencils are as strong as ever and while I wish we'd seen her on a regular monthly title before now, I have to say that this book was worth the wait for us Birds of Prey and Secret Six fans who have missed seeing Scott's work every month.  The character designs for the beloved heroes of this world are great and it's a shame that we'll probably never see them again after this issue.  Then again, this is a comic book and never is a shorter time than you think.  Still, I think I speak for everyone when I say I can't wait to see what the upcoming heroes are going to look like.

Bottom line - get this book.  It's going on my pull-list and it should be on yours too.

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