By Todd Allen
After one of the most obtuse PR campaigns in recent history, Earth-2 has finally come out. So has its companion book Worlds’ Finest. How were they? Let’s have a look.
Earth 2 was a particularly big mystery, due to the lack of straight answers you could get about it. No one at DC would tell you the plot. They wouldn’t tell you the villain and when you saw Parademons in on the preview covers, writer James Robinson denied it was related to Darkseid. (Strangely, while Darkseid isn’t on panel in Earth-2 #1, he’s definitely named-checked as the cause of the trouble over in Worlds’ Finest, so I don’t know if that’s a red herring or a plot point.) You got dancing around when you asked about charcters.
Without getting too overly spoiler-y, this is the premise of Earth 2: What if Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman (and their sidekicks) were the only superheroes to pop up, and what happens when there’s something bigger than they can handle?
Issue #1 is, effectively, a 40 page prologue. As you could guess by the cover, Apokolypse invades. Bad things happen. Robin and Super Girl go through a dimensional portal, so they can end up on [DC still needs a proper name for the dimension their “New 52” comics take place in] and have their adventures in World’s Finest.
Along the way, we meet Alan Scott, Al Pratt and Jay Garrick. None of them have any powers at this point, but it’s clear they will become a slightly different variation of legacy heroes in the next couple issues. Don’t look at this as a Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman title. It may have been a little disingenuous to be using their character designs to promote the series.
With issue #2, the real series will begin. It looks like the Flash will get his powers (and an awful, awful costume).
It’s utterly silly to put a cone of silence over a book to try and avoid spoilers in the set up of the universe. Spoilers that are pretty obvious if pick up the comic and lightly flip through it. With all the promotional prattle about Superman being ready to kill, I flipped through it, thought “blood, blood, oh is that what they’re worried about, blood, blood” and almost didn’t pick it up. The book isn’t really about blood, blood, blood. It’s just setting the stage. Good art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott. Let me specify this is a bloodier version of Robinson’s traditional voice, not like what was coming out in Justice League a couple years back.
A medium recommendation, though this will probably need 1-2 more issues to see where it’s really going. The set-up of Scott/Pratt/Garrick suggests a character driven “learning to be a hero” arc, but we’ll see.
Then you have Worlds’ Finest. This one is absolutely a character-driven book. There’s a little bit of a “Lost” story structure going on here. George Perez and Scott Koblish are handling the art on the present day portion and Kevin Maguire is handling the art on the flashback portions. Which is to say, we periodically get glimpses of Earth 2 and how the ladies managed to arrive on their… current Earth.
This issue was also primarily a set-up issue. You find out what the current circumstances are. You get a glimpse of where they’re trying to go. And then trouble shows up. Nothing particularly complicated going on, past the flashback structure, but well executed and enjoyable.
The question is going to pop up, “can you read these books separately?” Right now, I’m not sure. The reason I’m not sure is there’s a reference to Power Girl having dated Mr. Terrific with a reference to see Earth 2 #2 for more on Mr. Terrific. I don’t know that you have to read both books, but if you buy both, make sure you read Earth 2 first or those spoilers DC was so worried about will be blown for you. I suspect Levitz has recapped enough of what you need to know about Earth 2 and I think most of the Huntress/Power Girl Earth 2 hijinx for the near term will be over in an issue or two, if they’re not already exited that title.
Of course, eventually, you know the ladies will find a way back to Earth 2 and a cross-over is likely. I’ll go ahead and recommend Worlds’ Finest as well done light superheroics. You’ll know by the end of the issue if you want to come back or not.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.