Welcome to Earth 2, a new universe where old Golden Age heroes are revamped for the modern era. Over the past ten issues, DC Comics has gradually reintroduced classic heroes and villains into this universe. Without Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman to look after them, these superheroes have branched out on their own. However, with the return of Steppenwolf, do they have the strength to take on Apokolips?
Previously in Earth 2: Jay Garrick a.k.a. Earth 2 Flash, Jay’s mother and Khalid Ben-Hassin are trapped in the Realm of Nabu, courtesy of the villain, Karel Wotan. Wotan and his cabal are looking for the helm of Nabu, which Khalid locked away in the Tower of Fate. The evil sorcerer threatens to kill Jay’s mother, if the Flash and Khalid do not retrieve the helm. With no choice, they are teleported to the Tower where they are met by its guardian, the Great Beast. Meanwhile, Alan Scott, a.k.a. Earth 2 Green Lantern finds out the plane explosion that killed his lover, Sam, was a setup. He seeks Hawkgirl’s assistance in tracking down the real killers.
THE RETURN OF DR. FATE, MR. MIRACLE AND BIG BARDA
James Robinson continues the Flash’s and Khalid Ben-Hassin’s journey to retrieve the helm of Nabu from the Tower of Fate. Although the main focus is Khalid’s transformation to Doctor Fate, the Flash also gets a spotlight since he battles the Great Beast alone. The two characters play off one another very well; the Flash is a timid hero who tries his best with the powers he has, while Khalid is inspired by Jay’s courage in the face of danger. Through his conversations with Nabu, Khalid accepts the helm in order to help those in need but fears for his sanity. It is a great throwback to superhero fundamentals. While Jay Garrick and Khalid search for the helm, Jay’s mother remains a captive of Wotan. Her exchanges with the evil sorcerer are interesting, as she goads Wotan into revealing his obsession with Nabu. I like how Wotan’s back story mixes old elements, such as his reincarnation into different bodies over the centuries, with new elements, such as his skin being green after every incarnation due to a curse from Nabu. These four characters have well-defined personalities and characteristics, making for a great story arc. Similar to other Earth 2 issues, Robinson adds an easter egg or two from the old universe. For example, we learn Khalid’s guardian was Kent Nelson, the original Doctor Fate. Also we get two pages devoted to the return of Mister Miracle and Big Barda. Unfortunately, in a story devoted to the rise of Doctor Fate, the sudden move to Steppenwolf ordering Fury to track down the New Gods seems out-of-place. Their arrival in Gotham City does not contribute to the overall plot so far.
REVAMPED BUT NOT REDESIGNED
Nicola Scott continues to create amazing visuals for Earth 2. From the winding stairs in the Tower of Fate to the ruins of Gotham City, the artist sheds new light into this dreary and bleak alternate Earth. Unlike prominent characters such as the Flash and Green Lantern, there is not much of a redesign for Doctor Fate, Mister Miracle or Big Barda. Still, the battle sequences between Flash and the Great Beast make up for this.
BOTTOM LINE: KEEPS GETTING BETTER
With the arrival of Doctor Fate, DC Comics gets closer to introducing every member of the old Justice Society. After eleven issues, Earth 2 still sustains the momentum it had from its initial release. James Robinson’s story featuring revamped Golden Age heroes is a wonderful read and Nicolas Scott’s artwork continues to be spectacular. I highly recommend following this series, and Earth 2 #11 earns 4 out of 5 stars overall.
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!