Wednesday, November 7, 2012

REVIEW: EARTH 2 #6


(w) James Robinson
(p) Nicola Scott
(i) Trevor Scott

Earth 2 #6 completes the first arc from James Robinson, as well as cements the series as one of my favorites from DC's 'New 52'. It's taken seven months (counting September's "Issue Zero"), but we finally get to see the conclusion of "The Gathering", as the TPB will be named upon it's release, and it's pretty awesome. Robinson has been doing a lot of heavy lifting in this premier arc -- introducing a whole new parallel Earth, re-imagining fan favorite characters for a modern age, and crafting a story that unites both of these ideas into a cohesive narrative that's better than a lot of the 'Earth 1' titles.

This issue is titled "End Times" for good reason. Of course, we have the main problem going down in Washington D.C. with Grundy -- avatar of death -- laying waste to the four new wonders -- Green Lantern Alan Scott, Flash Jay Garrick, Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders, and Atom Al Pratt -- while simultaneously sapping the life-force from the ground and destroying every major city around the globe. Over at the World Army headquarters, past turncoat Terry Sloan (see Earth 2 #0, true believers!) has been given executive power to deal with the Grundy situation, so he's launched nuclear warheads at the Capital. Add to that Green Lantern's astral journey into the Grey, leaving his body vulnerable to attack, and all in all, it's a bad time for everyone but Grundy.

At the end of Earth 2 #5, Alan Scott had entered the void of the Grey and was immediately taken psychological prisoner by a construct of his dead fiance, Sam, who died at the end of Earth 2 #1. While Alan's resistance to the Grey's influence might seem rushed and/or lacking, the speed at which he comes to his senses says a lot more about Alan Scott as a character than it does about the narrative flow -- the sequence isn't quick because Robinson didn't write it well, it moves fast because Alan Scott is a smart man who has the added power of the Green at his literal fingertips. It's the same reason "You honestly thought my sadness at my lover's death would be the opiate of my defeat?" doesn't sound so awkward because it's coming from an intelligent man who -- as evidenced by this sequence, amongst many others -- carefully chooses his words before speaking.

Grundy's defeat is really of little concern because we always knew the new wonders would have to walk away victorious. Of course, we technically know this about any given villain in any given arc of any given comic book, but there are different kinds of defeat when it comes to massive, Earth-threatening enemies such as these. Some, in the case of Angel in Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force, lead to bigger consequences, while others, such as Grundy's defeat here, aren't meant to alter much else. The Grey is all but nullified, and the world is being healed by Green Lantern's light. Things pretty much go back to normal aside from the fact that there's a new avatar of the Green, a man endowed with the speed of Mercury, and a girl with hawk wings just out and about.

Flash attempts to solidify their team relationship before Alan Scott abruptly puts an end to that nonsense. You see, Green Lantern is bigger and badder than any of those other mutha's, so why would he hang around with them? He doesn't. Alan leaves Flash and Hawkgirl in the dust to figure out what their next move is. It's a gangsta move.

Seriously, though, Earth 2 #6 is one of the best issues of the series to date. While that's not a huge catalog of issues with which to compare, it's still an a success. In interviews, Robinson has stated that the series is titled purposefully so that he would be free to build his second Earth without being forced to focus exclusively on the forming Justice Society. Sure, most of it will be about them, but the potential for world-building is huge. Earth 2 #6 points to how much Robinson is committed to those ideals going forward. It's a fantastic issue.

GRADE
8.5/10

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