Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering

Collecting Earth 2 #1-6

Writer: James Robinson

Artists: Nicola Scott, Eduardo Pansica, Trevor Scott, Sean Parsons

DC Comics, $22.99, color, 160 pages

I realllllly want to like this book, but I'm having trouble doing so -- at least so far.

Earth 2, the revival of the old Earth-Two, which was itself a revival of DC's Golden Age, has to be a little different than its predecessor since that predecessor has been incorporated into the overall DC Universe. And Robinson takes that opportunity to make them really different.

For one thing, this planet isn't like ours. It was invaded by Apokolips, which was only turned back by the sacrifice of the three superheroes of the planet, the "Trinity of Wonders." That would this Earth's Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, all dead now. (Robin and Supergirl got shunted out of this dimension to ours in the climactic battle, and are now Huntress and Power Girl, starring in Worlds' Finest.) There are fire pits where some major cities used to be, much of the population is decimated and there's a "World Army" that is presumably an arm of a world government, although individual governments (like the U.S.) still exist. Still, this Earth no longer resembles ours.

Into this world comes a new generation of heroes, at least two of which the result of higher powers predicting a greater evil to come. The power of the Earth has been invested in arrogant billionaire Alan Scott, and Mercury -- the last of the Greco-Roman gods -- dies giving his speed to slacker/loser Jay Garrick. There's a Hawkgirl, who has escaped in some fashion from the World Army, and is pretty prickly. The Atom, a World Army soldier who somehow gained the power to grow big and have glowing hands during the Apokolips War, has been sent to re-capture Hawkgirl and is such a tool he never questions orders. There's a Terry Sloan on this world ("Mr. Terrific" in the Golden Age), who is a bad guy, and captures this world's Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt (who briefly had his own series). There are also "Sandmen," led by Wesley Dodds, who are some kind of teleporting secret agents for the World Army. Ted Grant (Wildcat in the JSA) has been mentioned, but it appears to have been a boxing reference.

I think that's all they've introduced so far in this, the first part of the traditional "bringing the team together" story. Of course, traditionally the team would be formed by issue #6, but in this era of decompression, there's no team yet -- or even one on the horizon. None of these folks even get along at this point, at least those that have met (which isn't many).

So this book isn't a story. It's the beginning of one (although four of them do meet, and defeat, this world's Solomon Grundy). And that's not my only complaint. The other one, and the really big one, is this: I really don't like any of these people.

I really want to like them, because I've loved the Earth-Two characters since I was introduced to them in 1963. But these guys, while carrying forward the names, just aren't very likable. Maybe that will change when the gang eventually gets together and forms a team, but as I say, that's not even on the horizon.

Let's hope something like that occurs in Volume 2. So far, I'm not very happy.

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Yeah, I dropped the Earth-2 book pretty quickly. These aren't the characters I loved, and hold no interest for me.

This story moved at such a glacial pace I just couldn't take it. Also, I thought every one of the costumes were terrible.

I agree. You'd think in a world recovering from worldwide war, the JSA uniforms would more resemble military uniforms. One of the latest trends in costuming at Marvel is more practical outfits, like military boots and web belts, and I think that works very well (and makes superheroes less garish and childish-looking).

I'll get around to Power Girl's initial outfit in my Worlds' Finest review. But trust that my reaction was not good.

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