Thursday, July 5, 2012

EARTH 2 #3

STORY: James Robinson
ART: Nicola and Trevor Scott

Whoa. That was honestly my first reaction at the end of Earth 2 #3. While the first two issues dealt mostly in grander exposition while dipping into character introductions, this month has James Robinson pulling out all the stops to reveal more about how Earth 2 operates, how it's similar and different from the main DC universe, and to give more character development, no matter how corny it gets.

If I have any complaints about Earth 2 thus far, it would have to be the stiff dialogue. I'm still on the fence deciding if Robinson is intentionally putting a cheeky spin on the writing to mirror the style of the original 1940s comics more closely, or if he's just stumbling in these early issues that are so chock-full of plot to bring readers up to speed that it's proving difficult to pen more in-depth narrative. More than likely, it's a bit of both - Robinson has built up Earth 2 into this crazy awesome big new world that has so much to explore that he wants to give readers as much as he can, which is not a bad thing. The only reason it flops a little is due to it's quick pace. It's a common misstep that mars a lot of good ideas in the very early stages: writers rushing through an origin to get to bigger and more in-depth arcs. That's all well and good for these creators who have their characters planned and rounded out in their heads, but it can be frustrating for readers who want to see a more realistic approach to how a person comes to grips with gaining unwieldy power.

Let's start off with the Flash and Hawkgirl. That's right - Hawkgirl makes her official debut as a messenger for the new superhero still learning how to control his super speed. Throughout their conversation, Hawkgirl (we don't yet know what her real name is, she makes an effort to point out) drops hints about future events; Dr. Fate is explicitly brought up, she mentions that Jay needs to be better trained, and that she had a somewhat unusual past year - a point I'm hoping Robinson will revisit in the future. This meeting is pretty light on actual plot development, focusing more on broader ideas that will be playing a role in the future of the series. While there's nothing wrong with that technique, this whole section feels very dry and set-up.

The rest of the issue is dedicated to the origins of Earth 2's Green Lantern, an undertaking that probably should have been stretched out over a few issues, but nonetheless gets the job done and gives Alan Scott something to think about for the future. As Alan wakes up, he is confronted by a talking green light that begins spouting nonsense about the guardian of Earth and the such. Alan takes the logical route at first - believing the head trauma is causing him to hallucinate - but very quickly has an about-face and accepts the unknown. Alan Scott has traditionally been a very straight-laced character, so it's a little odd to see Robinson apparently throw out the old and give us a totally new Alan Scott that seems to have the psychological strength of a seasoned CIA agent.

The third main point Robinson brings to Earth 2 is the idea that Green Lantern's power comes from the energy of the Earth, similar to Swamp Thing. The connection is made even more explicit with the introduction of the Grey, Earth 2's equivalent of the Rot that's currently plaguing both Swampy and Animal Man in the main DCnU. This revelation is an excellent example of how dedicated DC has become to creating a shared world, even crossing into other universes.

Nicola and Trevor Scott's art this week is a bit mixed. The Flash/Hawkgirl panels are fantastic, while the Green Lantern pages look like Alan is wearing Hollywood makeup and talking to a green screen, which I don't even know how they could pull off. Overall, I'm still very invested in Earth 2. Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkgirl are enough to entice me to keep reading, and the promise of the Atom and more of Earth 2's (Solomon?) Grundy is too much to resist. Robinson gets a 'pass' this month on the character dialogue simply because the first two issues were so good, this may just be a hiccup.


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