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.
If there’s any “sense of entitlement” going on here it’s that we should expect a new series to be advertised “correctly.”
After reading the first issue, I can possibly see why DC would want to keep the details under wraps. The mistake they made was probably in thinking “well, we want to keep an air or mystery about this title, but we can’t just say nothing, so lets just hype the shit out of this one cover image.”
I think calling the campaign obtuse is accurate, because there was a sense of “we need to talk about this book so people will buy it, but we can’t say anything about it.” Clearly not an acute strategy.
My thanks for the kind review. I was very happy to hear positive responses to our hard work from around the web, and the praise is much appreciated. The successful launches of Worlds’ Finest #1 and Marvel Super-Heroes Magazine #1 (made just for kids and sold in both the direct market and newsstands and grocery stores across the nation) on the same day give me renewed hope for the future! Thanks everybody!
The really good one of the New 4 this week was “Dial H”! Be nice to see some publicity for that…
Jesus, when is Batman Inc starting up again?
Earth 2 #1 reminded me a lot of Starman #0.
So that’s a good sign.
I REALLY hope Dial H is a hit! It sold out at my comics shop, while they still had plenty of copies of Earth 2 and World’s Finest. But they usually always carry more copies of superhero titles.
Honestly I found the Dial H title a bit hard to get into (and I’m a huge Vertigo fan, so I knew what I was walking into.) It was just well, confusing. I get the overall direction, but I think it could have been better executed. Nowadays, a book can live or die by the first issue. If a book is too obtuse I think fans might drop off fast. Which is unfortunate, and something I hope doesn’t happen with Dial H.
Earth 2 was really cool and I’m not even a big DC fan at the moment. Looking forward to future issues.
Still have to read Dial H.
I really enjoyed Earth 2 and World’s Finest. Like, *really* enjoyed them.
It was a moronic PR campaign because it focused so heavily on the Big Three, but they fucking bite it in the first issue. The promotions gave us no sense of what the frigging series would be about or why we should buy it.
Some dynamic action to close the first issue with the nu Steppenwolf. Killing off 2 key characters in the opening pages, not so much.
When I read it, I thought Kara (in between being Supergirl and Powergirl) had dated Mr. Terrific in his New 52 title, doing some corporate espionage in her attempt to find a way home.
Of course, there’s lots of questions left unanswered… what are the origins of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl/Powergirl, Robin/Huntress? Who is Robin’s mother? Why only these five heroes?
Dial H was interesting, but a bit light.
Even cooler was the New DC 52 FCBD issue, teasing “Trinity War”!
Certainly going to be interesting to see where “the new 6” show up on the top selling list.
Just based on my LCS Earth 2 and Worlds Finest should do well.
@ Marco – a spoiler alert would be appreciated.
“It was a moronic PR campaign because it focused so heavily on the Big Three, but they fucking bite it in the first issue. The promotions gave us no sense of what the frigging series would be about or why we should buy it.”
Yeah, thanks for that…. some people just need to be punched in the head.
What I want to know is hoe long these first arcs are going to be?? I’m over this decompressed crap. I plan on picking up Earth 2
why did that send??? What I was going to say:
I plan on picking up Earth 2 – but if its another 8 issue arc (or longer!), like so many of the other DC series I’m bolting!
“what are the origins of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl/Powergirl, Robin/Huntress?…”
Christ. Really? You needed the origins of these heroes told AGAIN?
“Christ. Really? You needed the origins of these heroes told AGAIN?”
That’s part of the fun of Earth-#…
…and part of the reason for the New 52.
Did we need Grant Morrison retelling Superman’s origin? (Twice!)
Did we need Mark Millar or Kurt Busiek or John Byrne or John Cleese retelling the origin?
No, they’re not necessary for survival. But it is fun to wonder!
I had totally stopped reading DC’s except for Frankenstein, but I liked the 1970s JSA stories and always give their next incarnations a try. These were…the best since the 70s! I’m surprised to say that, but they really were. To me DC should always have a permanent alternate earth in its universe…but really just one. Please.
Okay, not more blogs. Gotta work!