Friday, June 8, 2012

Earth 2 #2

Ah, here's the issue that reveals the identity of the major star at DC who is now gay.

Yep, they went the "hero on Earth 2" route, meaning it's an alternate version of the hero in the mainstream DC Universe - though the character is the original hero from the 1940s, in a sense (and no, I won't say who it is - no spoilers here).

For those who came in late, Earth 2 is set on a parallel version of Earth. Set in the modern day, it's a world with only five heroes - Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Supergirl and Robin (Batman's daughter) - the first three were killed during a battle with the forces of Apokolips, and the last two have been shifted over to Earth 1 and the pages of World's Finest.

So now it's time to assemble the new Justice Society, and first in line is Jay Garrick, who encounters the dying god named Mercury, who offers him the gift of speed (and a redesigned costume).

I'm torn on the costume - love all of it except the helmet. The new one is more practical (it's essentially a motorcycle helmet), but I loved the old Mercury cap he wore - I'll miss it.

Writer James Robinson is really kicking the story in gear, as he introduces two different versions of Mr. Terrific (sort of), and sets up another origin for next issue. He also teases a menace that's coming that only a team of heroes can stop.

I really like the artwork by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott - it has a nice organic feel to it, similar to the work Rags Morales is doing in Action Comics.

And yes, the issue features the shocking "guess who's gay" scene, which feels somewhat forced, but works fine for what it is.

I suppose it may draw more readers to this fine title, and that's certainly a good thing. I should probably be outraged that they've made such a significant change to a Golden Age character, but it only superficially changes the character anyway, so what the hey.

Still, a solid comic that keeps getting better. Highly recommended!

Grade: A-



Robby Reed said...

You wrote: "gay hero ... and no, I won't say who it is - no spoilers here."

You don't seem to realize that this comment exposes the "gay GL" thing for what it is -- it's not a courageous political stance, it's a cynical device used to get publicity.

It may please some because it's politically correct, but they will not buy the comic.

So we lose decades of GL's back story, his fun romantic rivalry with Harlequin, and his two hero children, Jade and Obsidian -- all for the sake of a politically correct stunt. They could have simply invented a NEW character, but that would not serve their purpose -- getting publicity -- since Archie's Kevin Keller beat them to it by a mile. Not to mention Northstar.

They chose Earth-2 GL on purpose so they could get publicity and make people think Hal Jordan (who just had a flop movie) is gay, and at the same time claim, oh no, it's all a zany mix-up.

I don't see how using homosexuality as a marketing tool for publicity is a good thing.

Coming soon: Transexual Super-man/woman.

Chuck said...

Robby, thanks for your comments (love your Silver Age comic, love your blog)!

For the record, I agree that this was a publicity stunt (just as Action Comics #9 was - but it failed while this one at least got DC some coverage, for whatever that's worth).

I certainly have no problem with DC introducing a gay character (or several gay characters), but I don't care for the idea of changing established characters just for publicity purposes.

I'd like to think that there's an Earth-GA out there where the original Justice Society gathers around a big round table and swaps stories of their adventures, fighting the Nazis while hiding their secret identities from their girlfriends.

I like the "Earth 2" comic, but it's not my JSA - these are just new characters with familiar names and powers.

Robby Reed said...

Don't sweat it -- the sales bump DC got from their "New 52" stunt is over. Their book sales are currently "leveling off," aka "bombing" again. Their books simply are not connecting with the comic buying public.

They'll soon have to reboot everything again. Maybe they could call it the "Newer 52." Featuring "Earth-3," the all-gay earth. And "Earth 4," where DC is Marvel.

They must be praying that "Dark Knight Rises" and "Man of Steel" will help sales, but traditionally movies don't effect comic sales.

Many businesses that are failing would reverse course in some fashion. DC's response is to do the same thing over and over and over. Isn't that supposed to be the definition of insanity?

At this point DC Comics exist only to generate TV and film properties, but DC can't even seem to do that. It's sad to watch a once-great company wither and die. Oh well, we still have the fantastic OLD comic books, as your great site reminds us all.

BTW Chuck -- I, Robby Reed, love your site and read it almost daily!

Chuck said...

What a wonderful comment - I may have to put that one on the banner. Thanks, Robby!

I've just been reading about the fact that DC's sales are back (mostly) to the pre-"new 52" level. I always assumed they'd "reboot" back to the "real" DC Universe if the "New 52" tanked - though I don't think they're ready to admit it yet. Well see.