Or – “Didn’t These Guys All Used To Be Friends?

The advent of a new age of marvels super-heroes on any world tends to be a difficult process, as seen by the New 52 relaunch last year.  With things in full swing for a second age of mighty heroes (though not THOSE Mighty Heroes) the only thing that might stop it cold is the advent of an angry death god in the middle of it all.

Um, yeah.  About that?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

EARTH-2 #5
Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Pat McCallum
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Earth-2:  The loss of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and other heroes in combat with the forces of Apokalips have left the alternate world called Earth-2 a vastly different place.  Now, other heroes are rising, as a lost god has gifted Jay Garrick with superhuman speed, an alien force has empowered Alan Scott with green life-giving energy, and both Hawkgirl and The Atom have popped up in their path.  There’s also the matter of Grundy, a seemingly-undead creature on the rampage.  Is there even a chance of forming a Justice Society from these disparate parts, or are they doomed to failure from the very beginning?

ANOTHER OLD FRIEND APPEARS IN A NEW FORM…

The previous issues of Earth-2 were a bit scattershot in their focus, giving us the origin of the Flash, the origin of Green Lantern, the sudden appearance of more heroes and an Earth-shattering threat in less than 100 pages of comics.  (As an aside, the #0 issue came at a very inopportune time for this book for me, as well, interrupting the narrative at a very awkward point, and possibly damaging the momentum of a very young title.)  This issue opens in full swing, with Washington DC under siege by Grundy and his undead forces.  There’s an interesting cameo as the President is saved by a man known as “Commander Dodds” and his special forces agents, known as ‘Sandmen,’ while the leader of the government forces convenes with a shadowy special council.  There’s still a lot of missing pieces in the sociopolitical structure of Earth-2, but it seems clear that the World Army has a few tricks up it’s sleeve. We find that Hawkgirl is one of their nascent superhero army (known as “Wonders” in their parlance) and the World Army wants to use nuclear sanctions to destroy Washington, taking out Grundy, The Flash and Green Lantern in one swell foop…

ADRIAN VEIDT WOULD BE PROUD.

Artistically, this whole issue is beautiful work by Nicola and Trevor Scott, especially a sequence where The Flash climbs up the giant-sized Atom at super-speed to punch him in the face.  There is a LOT of talking in this issue, though, which can slow things down for the reading experience, as Khan argues with his superiors, Atom argues with everyone, Flash asks a lot of questions and Green Lantern tries to parlay with the forces of the Gray.  Even Grundy is much more talkative than usual (as well as evocative of the ‘Blackest Night’-era look of Nekron), but things pick up enough at the end for the cliffhanger to have some emotional punch to it.  I’m saddened at some of the story-telling decisions that James Robinson has made in this book (the killing of Sam to give Alan Scott a heroic motivation still bothers me) but the World Council’s decision at the end of this issue makes it clear that no one is willing to play around in a world devastated by the war with Darkseid.

THE BOTTOM LINE: IT AIN’T 1940 ANYMORE, BUT IT’S STILL GOOD STUFF…

As much as I’d like to see some more differentiation between this world and the world of New DCU Earth, this issue picks up the pace a bit, re-introducing Terry Sloan and name-checking Red Tornado and someone known as Captain Steel, but staying mostly on task with the battle against Grundy.  The art is pretty amazing, even where Robinson’s script bobbles the ball a little bit, and the arc is shaping up to something that could be very impressive.  Earth-2 #5 has as it’s greatest weakness the scope of introducing a whole new world of Wonders, but still keeps the focus enough to make somewhat familiar characters interesting, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  I am starting to wonder whatever happened to Michael Holt, but things are at least interesting thus far.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!
Reader Rating

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 3.43 out of 5)

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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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8 Comments

  1. Allen Jones
    October 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm — Reply

    I fully agree with this review. Not perfect, but good enough to keep me wanting to read this book. I actually do like this world better than the New 52.

  2. October 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm — Reply

    “Captain Steel” is probably Commander Steel, another Golden Age hero. One of his descendents became Citizen Steel and was a part of the previous incarnation of the JSA.

    • October 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm — Reply

      That’s my expectation as well, although Captain Steel is a pretty awful name, all things considered.

    • October 7, 2012 at 2:52 am — Reply

      Not a true Golden Age hero … set in the 1940s but created in 1978 and retconned into the JSA in ALL-STAR SQUADRON

  3. October 7, 2012 at 2:56 am — Reply

    Enough to make me drop the title. I hate the way every single story has to earth-shaking or cosmos-shaking. Why elevate Grundy to “Death God?” Bad as the death of Sam origin was, bringing him back like this is worse. And GL just got his powers like five minutes ago. How does he know so much about The Grey and how to enter it and communicate with it?

  4. J_Michael_T
    October 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm — Reply

    I am suffering from major JSA-withdrawal so this title better get me there soon :)

    Michael Holt should be popping up soon if the solicits for future issues are accurate. Looking forward to that… but I want my JSA back… I just gave up on LSH (that was not easy) and I’m barely hanging on to the JLA…

  5. October 8, 2012 at 7:47 am — Reply

    Seriously liked this issue. Its no blockbuster title, I couldn’t agree more. But there is definitely enough going on to make it interesting. And lets be honest, this is the closest DC has ever gotten to an ultimate line, without the crap. You can tell Robinson definitely enjoys the original incarnations and in my opinion, cares enough to make sure the modern versions make sense. Definitely will keep me buying.

  6. October 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm — Reply

    meh

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