Or – “Jay Garrick Vs. The New York Subway System!”

Why is The Flash fighting a wave of chihuahuas?  What’s the deal with Earth-2?  Has anybody heard something about Green Lantern?  All these questions and more are addressed in our Major Spoilers review of  Earth-2 numero dos!

EARTH-2 #2
Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Alex Sinclair & Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Pat McCallum
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Earth-2:  Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have fallen in battle.  The Huntress (also known as Robin) and Power Girl (also known as Supergirl) have been shuttled into an alternate universe.  Where are the heroes who can save Earth-2?

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (TIMES TWO).

A month or two ago, in the final issue of Mr. Terrific, Michael “Mr. Terrific” Holt found a portal that threw him through time and space.  This issue opens with Mr. Terrific crashing to earth like David Bowie in the middle of Earth-2’s Times Square on the fifth anniversary of the “V.A. Day” (which sounds very ominous.)  What’s even more amazing is that his arrival has been expected, as he is greeted by a handsome young man with a dueling scar, who introduces himself as Terry Sloane.  That revelation had me picking my jaw up off the ground, followed quickly by a curb-stomp battle that pretty much ends before it begins, and I’ll tell you this much:  The winner is called Mr. Terrific.  We cut to the meteor crater in Michigan (seen at the end of last issue) as young Jay Garrick realizes that there’s a man in the bottom of the impact zone.  “I am a dying god,” the strange glowing man intones, “and the task ahead needs living heroes.”  As Mercury’s energies fade, he imparts his powers to Jay, transforming him into blah blah blah we read the cover already, get on with it, Matthew!  I admit, I had my issues with the solicited version of this issue’s cover image and it’s depiction of Jay’s new Flash duds, but seeing Nicola Scott’s version of them in action, all my complaints are washed away.  The new/old/original Flash looks ridiculously awesome, and there’s enough of the old design in play to satisfy my inner continuity geek.

THE PART THAT WE’VE BEEN TEASED ABOUT OVER AND OVER…

This book is a rarity for this era of comics story-telling: a team book that manages to be about a TEAM, or at least multiple characters, as Jay’s story segues seamlessly into that of Alan Scott, a young executive arriving in Hong Kong.  For all the hubbub and hype, the creators seamlessly work in what we need to know about Alan:  communications tycoon, just off a big deal, and extremely relieved to see his boyfriend after a long trip.  For all the showboating about it, the actual reveal works organically (and adorably) within the context of the story, and Alan & Sam set off on a  romantic country getaway… by train (cue ominous musics!)  The art in the entire issue is fantastic, and I really appreciate the facial expressions (Alan’s joy at seeing Sam again, Jay Garrick’s obvious love of his new super-speed abilities) and the depth of character that Nicola Scott provides.  I know that the Big Three gave their lives last issue to help repel an attack from Apokalips, but the references in this issue make me wonder if that’s ALL that happened, especially the response that Jay gets when he starts rushing around in his helmet, which, to be honest has seldom looked better.  There are surprises for both Jay (in the form of another familiar face from the old Justice Society of America) and for Alan, but there’s even a surprise for me, as Alan Scott takes his moment during the train ride to propose to Sam.  In a way, I’m a bit pleased that DC didn’t throw that little tidbit into the media coverage over the last few weeks, as it might seem like they were trying to match Marvel’s recent announcements wedding for wedding…

THE VERDICT: I LIKE WHEN I’M SURPRISED…

Sadly, part of Stephen’s recent predictions about Alan’s origin prove true, which leaves us with three separate (and effective) cliffhangers within the same book.  The world of Earth-2 is shown in this issue to be different from Main-DCU-Earth in ways both subtle and not-so-much, but there is a clear attempt by the creators to differentiate this from the regular world, efforts which I appreciate.  For all the talk about Green Lantern’s reveal, this issue is really Flash’s, as we get his origin, his first heroic acts and the ritual of naming (handled quite well, I might add) while Alan is watching the countryside from his bullet-0rain.  Next issue, though, promises to be the official first appearance of G.L., and I have to say that I hope he keeps his big red shirt and purple cape ensemble intact.  (I don’t expect it, but I hope for it.)  All in all, Earth-2 #2 is a good book, one which builds on the first issue’s bombast with character work and brilliant art, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  The biggest complaint that I find about this one is that there just wasn’t enough of it to make me happy, as I found myself wanting more than the 20 pages herein contained.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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21 Comments

  1. June 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    This issue, I still feel ancy on this series, but it was okay. A problem I have is that to me Jay, Alan, et al. have always been the elderstatesmen, and to see a Jay Garrick my age is disconcerting. BUt the art was really good, and the new Flash costume does look much better under Scott.

  2. June 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    Once I got over my grief stages at losing the elder statesmen, I was able to enjoy this. It looks like Robinson at his finest >whew<, and Scott's art is spectacular. Without all the hype, the Alan Scott reveal would have been a seamless delight. I still hate Jay's costume (why give up maybe the only unchanged costume from the 40s?) but Nicola does make it work. And in a world of coincidental intersections, the proposal (did Robinson know about Marvel's plans when he wrote it?) takes second place to Terry Sloan as implied Ozymandias in my book…

  3. Armaan
    June 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    Waitaminnit.
    Mr. Terrific lost.

    wait, is Terry Sloane another Mr. Terrific?

    And while I love this comic and everything in it, the new Flash Helmet is the one exception.

  4. June 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm — Reply

    I kinda wish we would have seen Jay develop that look instead of it magically appearing. I was also kind of hoping that he would get Mercury’s real helmet and then modify it.

    As for Alan Scott’s dud, I bet he will be in his Kingdom Come costume. It certainly looks like it on the Earth #3 cover.

    I will say I’m enjoying the JSA way more in this book than I have in years.

    Oh, and can anyone explain the rats to me?

  5. JoeM
    June 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm — Reply

    I’m enjoying this. The world building is fascinating. There is a lot of bad stuff going on under the covers on Earth-2. I mean, there are Apokorats in Lansing?!?
    Being from Michigan I’m not sure what to make of Jay’s hoodie. The colors look like University of Michigan, but that M isn’t right for any of the universities. And being from Michigan that’s a pretty important thing to worry about. Maybe it’s a highschool I’m not familiar with. Or maybe Earth-2 just has a different universities in Michigan. Oddly enough, I’m more worried about that then Jay’s new costume.
    Which by the way, I like more after seeing this issue.
    Thanks for the review!

  6. Firefox
    June 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm — Reply

    I am sorry but Earth 2 doesn’t interest me, I haven’t read any of the new 52 DC and this whole gay angle definately doesn’t interest me. I think it is a publicity stunt and I agree with alot of parenting groups that children read these books and they don’t need to be bombarded by the “gay agenda” all the time. We get enough of it in real life to have it also in our escapism comic world. Sure I did pick up Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1, and they mention that one the of heroes is a lesbian. That’s the thing about that title compared to the others, the others want to shove it in your face while Before Watchmen have it as a passing thought, as of right now, who knows about the future books in the series.

    • allen
      June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm — Reply

      Oh great! Someone who can clearly define the “gay agenda!” Enlighten me!

    • June 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm — Reply

      With all due respect, Firefox, living in a country where my civil rights are put up to a vote on a regular basis, I relish the “escapism comic world” to borrow your phrase. Seeing a place where people who fight for justice and equality actually represent a broad spectrum of humanity helps me feel just a bit more like I belong in the world. As a child, being “bombarded” by messages of acceptance would have done me a world of good and might just have made a few of the kids that made my life miserable a bit less secure in their bullying. Just sayin’.

    • June 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm — Reply

      …..wow. It’s amazing how people can feel victimized by having ONE or TWO or THREE characters in a cast of otherwise entirely heterosexual characters. Straight characters can get married and have relationships left and right but when gay people do it it’s shoving it in your face? Wow….using comics to escape to Straight-topia?? I just…. Are comics just for you then??? WHAT?

    • brainypirate
      June 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm — Reply

      You get “enough of it” in your life? Really? Well, it’s my entire life. I have to live it, 24/7. So excuse me for “intruding” on your world.

    • Kevin Flythe
      June 8, 2012 at 10:14 am — Reply

      Firefox, I don’t think you have to worry too much about children reading Earth 2, because as we all know comics aren’t FOR kids anymore, and they definitely aren’t marketed to them (the situation with Archie Comics may be a little different, as they’re more prominent on newsstands, generally perceived to be all-ages titles, and I believe One Million Moms objected to the gay wedding issue being displayed in a Toys ‘R Us, a store that DOES target kids). If you are objecting on a religious basis, I can relate, being a Christian. I ask that you read the article at this link:

      http://global.christianpost.com/news/archie-comics-applauded-for-promoting-same-sex-marriage-66791/

      …specifically what Drew Dixon of Christ and Pop Culture has to say about cultural differences. If you are objecting on some other basis, well, I dunno what to say. I do agree that this and the Northstar wedding seem like publicity stunts, especially given current events, the political climate, it’s an election year, etc., etc. However, there’s another part of my mind that informs me that these story decisions had to have been made way before the North Carolina Marriage Amendment was passed, before President Obama announced his support of gay marriage, etc., so I wonder how much we’re just projecting onto this as it may be mere coincidence.

      • TaZ
        June 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm — Reply

        Kevin, being from NC I am still surprised that on a national level that anyone was surprised about the Marriage Amendment vote (or gave a rat’s fanny since nothing else in NC other than ACC basketball and Michael Jordan seems to matter to anyone) but I agree with you that these decisions were probably made as soon as DC got wind of Marvel’s plans with Northstar.

        I have no problem with there being gay characters in comics because there’s no reason that in a reality that superheroes (or as they are called on Earth 2, “wonders”) might be gay. That’s simply reality. However, I do have a concern as far as when the number of gay characters starts to be increased simply due to media attention and not a realistic look at what statistics show to be the percentage of persons in the US (where most titles are centered) that identify themselves as being GLB. Then, it becomes a “media rage” more than the “gay agenda”. However, if someone doesn’t believe that there is a “GLB agenda” then you apparently have not talked to many folks that are openly GLB and who participate in active movements and political parties. (And, yes, I have and several of them are family members or work with me and we have no problems discussing it despite my being a conservative on most things…).

        My other concern is that DC had already either established or moved high profile characters in the DC and Wildstorm lines that were openly GLB. John Constantine has spoke about having “girlfriends and some boyfriends”, Batwoman has been openly lesbian since the new character was introduced, as was the current Question. Obsidian (the Golden Age Alan Scott’s son) was openly gay and the original Alan seemed pretty comfortable dealing with that. The Pied Piper became one of the first gay “bad guys”. Apollo and Midnighter moved to the main DCU and in their previous series they were married and adopted a child. Harley Quinn and the second Catwoman were inferred as a couple toward the end of the weird mini-series that focused on Mary Marvel’s boobs. Generally, GBL heroes are nothing new to DCU. Gay marriage for these heroes is (with the exception of the aforementioned now-retconned past of Apollo and Midnighter) something “new” (and both socially and legally debated).

        Simply put, I find it telling that they have used a wedding ring for a gay couple as a lead in to the “Chinese/Train” history of the original Green Lantern. This story angle is more about the issue of the movement to recognize gay marriage than a forwarding of gays in comics, which has already been established. Apparently the “ring” link simply led the writer to the Alan Scott character. Of course, the fact that the original Alan Scott had kids with one of his long time foes makes any character developments along those line interesting.

        • Allen2Saint
          June 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm — Reply

          Taz,
          I don’t know if your comment was directed to my previous post, but I’ll take the liberty of responding anyway. I worked for years in the entertainment biz in NYC. Are there some gay people who coalesce around their rights issues? Yeah. Is there ONE overarching gay lobby that is the hive mind for gayness? No. But I’ve seen a whole lot of unofficial anti gay lobby around, starting from my nephews friends who regularly insult each other as “gay” to oh, I don’t know, every Adam Sandler movie ever made to the many people who trade in that spoken and unspoken plain old bigotry. So, a lobby is ok to me.

  7. allen
    June 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm — Reply

    Wait a minute…Terry Sloane? Is this the case of the “whitening” of a clearly established black character? I thought our current Mr. Terriffic was great!

    • foolsmask
      June 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm — Reply

      No…no it isn’t. If you followed the link you would see that the Earth 2 character is the “original”. Its not taking away from the black character (unless DC killed him in this battle, i don’t know I haven’t read it.)

      • allen
        June 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm — Reply

        I’m old school, so I knew about the original, but I kinda dug the Mr. T from the JLU cartoons. I feel like some legacy characters stick and others don’t. I thought the current Mr. Terriffic was great.

  8. Randallw
    June 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    I have this theory that the engagement ring was picked up in China and turns out to be the GL ring. This issue also clearly had an effect on me because last night I dreamed that he formed a new JSA with two other green ring bearers. although his was yellow.

  9. brainypirate
    June 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm — Reply

    So who would the “crazy” guy that Jay passes in the alley turn out to be. That can’t really be a throwaway moment. Is this the next Dr. Fate, or is there someone else that might fit? Dr. Mid-Nite? (He looked like he might be blind, while still saying “look up”.)

    • TaZ
      June 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm — Reply

      I think the “crazy guy” and others may be plot portents of the “darkness” that Mercury alluded to while passing his powers on to Jay Garrick. However, I do hope that if there is a Dr. Mid-Nite I hope it’s based on the original.

  10. Trey
    June 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm — Reply

    Personally, I hate the new Flash’s costume. It looks rediculous to me. Why would his costume be so different than Mercury’s when it was Mercury who gave him his powers. I don’t understand why he needs to be modernized when we already have that in the Earth 1 series.

    • June 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm — Reply

      The Flash’s costume is really weird, in that it’s designed to be viewed from the side (or at least looks best from that angle.) It’s a brilliant bit of design from the creators…

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