DUELING REVIEW: Earth 2 #4

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The Multiverse continues to evolve and with the introduction of Green Lantern, The Flash, and Hawkgirl, it’s time for The Atom to make his appearance. Matthew and Stephen dive into the issues in this week’s Major Spoilers Dueling Review.

EARTH 2 #4
Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Nicola Scott and Eduardo Pansica
Inkers: Revor Scott and Sean Parsons
Colorists: Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Earth 2: Having lost the love of his life in a tragic train crash, Alan Scott became Earth 2’s Green Lantern. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl and The Flash test each other’s powers as The Rot takes hold in Washington D.C.

MATTHEW: This issue opens with another quick origin recap, this one of “Captain Pratt,” who for the benefit of those in the cheap seats, is almost certainly The Atom, Al Pratt. The Flash and Hawkgirl are all drawn to the center of the Rot incursion, finding an angry gray monster (Solomon Grundy) who continues to cry out for the Green Knight. Cue Alan Scott, in a very New 52 Superman-inspired armor to pit the green against the gray (just like in the Civil War, assuming one is color-blind.)

STEPHEN: We’ve seen the gods get involved in giving The Flash his powers, it looks like the hand of something big was involved in The Atom’s creation. Too bad we don’t learn more about that here.

MATTHEW: That’s the problem with a large cast, especially one that is getting multiple origins. We barely know anything about Hawkgirl, and Flash and Green Lantern’s origins are a bit hazy in the middle, as well…

STEPHEN: Also, is it just me, or are there a number of grammatical and spelling errors in the issue that should have been caught before the book made it to the printer?

MATTHEW: There are certainly grammar issues, and Rodrigo’s proverbial “Wall O’ Text” is in full effect in these pages.

STEPHEN: My biggest complaint with this issue is the same problem I had with the last, James Robinson’s dialogue feels so…broken. Like — wait. That’s kind of hard… to follow… ya get — where I’m… coming from? It flows better when read out loud, but I don’t know too many people who read their comics that way, save those those whose lips move when they read; those people creep me out.

MATTHEW: Being someone who hears the voices of the characters in his head as he read, I wasn’t as bothered by it, but Robinson does engage in some quasi-Hemingway sentence fragments, and a number of lines only make sense if you do read it aloud. And you’re only creeped out because you think they’re talking about you. It’s the same reason you dislike groups of people speaking other languages while you’re around.

STEPHEN: Overall I’m not totally disappointed with the story, but it feels very much like the first six or so issues of the Justice League series. At this point, unless something spectacular happens, I’m in for two more issue, and then this will be a digital edition, only when I feel like purchasing it book.

MATTHEW: I’m not disappointed with what story we’re given here, but there’s an issue with portion size. We don’t know what, precisely, is the Atom’s deal, other than it entwines with Hawkgirl’s likewise unexplained backstory, and as charming as The Flash and Green Lantern are in certain sequences (there’s a clear effort to establish Alan as this world’s greatest archetypical hero), I just don’t feel like I know enough about the characters (save for the 80 years of now-moot stories I’ve already read.) Both of their powers are magical in nature, and give them immediate motivations, apparently, but the plot seems to be a shark, moving forward lest it die.

STEPHEN: I mentioned this about another DC title I reviewed recently – why are there so many artists on a single book? Has the monthly release deadline hit the creators so hard that they have to bring in others to help finish the issue in time?

MATTHEW: The New 52 made a guarantee that the books would be on-time. If you make a rule that must not be broken, you better be ready to bend over backwards and not break the thing.

STEPHEN: Do the multiple artists work in this issue?

MATTHEW: Honestly, until you mentioned it, I hadn’t realized that there WERE multiple artists involved, so make of that what you will.

BOTTOM LINE

STEPHEN: Though I get where Mr. Robinson is coming from, and the art is well done, overall, I’m rather bored with this story. It doesn’t have the gee-wiz factor that the emergence of heroes in a world that needs heroes should have. Best I can do is give this issue 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

MATTHEW: The Flash follows a trail of Rot this issue, while Green Lantern’s magic draws him right to where he’s supposed to be. Those plot devices were a bit obvious, and I’m still kind of in the dark about lots of things here, probably by design. While I enjoyed the issue more than, say, The Ravagers, I can’t necessarily sell this as a great title yet. The pieces seem to be all there, but I’m still on the fence, and can’t give Earth 2 #4 more than 3 out of 5 Stars overall. The JSA lover in me wants to embrace this book fully, but I’m finding a little bit of ‘Cry For Justice’ syndrome in these pages, and don’t want to get burned that bad again.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

ROBOT OVERLORD: Two similar opinions from two nearly indistinguishable meatbags. It’s no wonder that they’re so easily hypnotized with cartoons and fermented hops.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆