Wednesday, May 30, 2012

EARTH-2 #1

“The Price of Victory”

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Pat McCallum


Five years ago, Steppenwolf led an army of Parademons to Earth-2, thus beginning the Apokolips War.  Soldiers of the world united to beat back this unstoppable force, and humanity was only freed with the eventual sacrifice of the world’s greatest heroes – Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.  Today, a new evil is coming to Earth-2, and the next generation of heroes including Al Pratt, Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, must rise up to confront it…


Page 1:   Okay, let’s just get a few continuity notes out of the way…

Until it’s explicitly stated otherwise, I am assuming that this issue takes place shortly before the events depicted in Justice League #1.   Thus, Darkseid and his forces invaded Earth-2 before they attacked and were defeated on the mainstream Earth (are we still calling it Earth-1?). 

The evidence for this?  First of all, it seems that super-heroes debuted several years earlier than on Earth-1, proven by the fact that Batman has a teenaged-daughter and Supergirl has presumably been around for a while.  But it seems that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, along with Robin and Supergirl, are the only heroes on Earth, and they did not form any sort of organized team, at least one that was acknowledged in this issue. 

Second, after Robin and Supergirl enter the Boom Tube at the end of the conflict, they appear on Earth-1.  A headline on a copy of the Daily Planet reads, “Cops Pursue ‘Man of Steel,’” with a photograph of Superman as he appeared in Action Comics #1 underneath.  This indicates that the two heroines arrived before the events of Justice League #1, and have been operating under the radar for the past five years. 

Finally, in Justice League #6, Superman, upon being rescued from DeSaad and Steppenwolf by Batman, says, “The images they pumped into my brain.  The death and torture Darkseid’s spread across a ….Multiverse.  I think I saw…me.”  I’m assuming that Darkseid’s torturer showed the Superman of Earth-1 how his Earth-2 counterpart died in an effort to break him. 

Okay, moving on…

The creepy winged guys are Parademons.  They first appeared in Justice League #1.  This would now be their first chronological appearance. 

“Attacking from out of ‘tubes’ of energy and light.”  Those would be Boom Tubes, the method of transportation for the New Gods.

Pages 2-3:  

First appearance of Superman of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in Action Comics #1.  Real name Kal-L/Clark Kent.  Possesses the standard Kryptonian power set of superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, senses, invulnerability and flight. 

Two things to note.  One, traditionally, the Superman of Earth-2 was named Kal-L, as opposed to the Kal-El of Earth-1.  Although his full Kryptonian name is not stated in this issue, that’s what I am going with until I am proven wrong.

Also, the Earth-2 Superman has been shown in the past to be powered not by yellow solar radiation as is his Earth-1 counterpart; rather, his powers stem from his Kryptonian heritage.

First appearance of Wonder Woman of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in All-Star Comics #8.  Real name Princess Diana of Amazon Island.  Possesses superhuman speed, strength, agility and accuracy as well as the ability to glide on air currents. 

It's unknown if this Wonder Woman has an alter ego to exist in "Man's World" like her Golden Age counterpart did.  

First appearance of Batman of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in Detective Comics #27.  Real name Bruce Wayne.  Possesses a genius-level intellect, a master detective, the peak of human physical condition and a master martial artist with access to high tech equipment. 

Page 4:  Note the differences between the three heroes here.  Superman is concerned with protecting everyone.  He’s consumed by the cries of those he has sworn to defend.  Wonder Woman, however, is overwhelmed by her thirst for vengeance, and just wants to kill as many Parademons as she can.  Batman, meanwhile, is focused on the tower.  He’s the strategist, and nothing will get in the way of his mission. 

Page 5

The circumstances of Lois Lane's death have yet to be revealed.  Also, it is not yet known if she and Clark Kent were married on Earth-2, as they were in the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-Two.  

“Revenge for a fallen sister…For Amazon Island.”  Note that on Earth-2, Wonder Woman’s island home is called Amazon Island, as opposed to Paradise Island on Earth-1. 

“You took what I was and look what you’ve made me.”  Into a bloodthirsty warrior who’s only thought is of battle. 

Page 7:  

First appearance of Robin of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in Detective Comics #38 (of Robin) and DC Super-Stars #17 (of Helena Wayne).  Real name Helena Wayne.  Highly-skilled fighter, martial artist and marksman. 

Anyone else find it creepy that Superman is admiring Wonder Woman in the middle of their last battle?

All joking aside, he is admiring the fact that she can be so focused despite the loss of her people at the hands of Darkseid’s forces, and he wishes that he could be so clear-headed. 

He might also be commenting on the fact that Wonder Woman appeared in Sensation Comics during the Golden Age of comics, but I somehow doubt that…

Page 8:  

First appearance of Supergirl of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in Action Comics #252 (of Supergirl) and All-Star Comics #58 (of Kara Zor-L).  Real name Kara Zor-L.  Possesses the standard Kryptonian power set of superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, senses, invulnerability and flight. 

Page 9:  

First appearance of Al Pratt.  Historical first appearance in All-American Comics #19.  Sergeant in the United States Army.  I wonder if there’s any significance to the fact that he and his unit “lugging an atomic weapon through the jungle”?

Yeah, probably not…

Page 11:  My main question at this point is how and why did things get so bad on Earth-2?  Darkseid’s invasion of Earth won’t get this far on Earth-1, so what is the key factor in repelling the forces of Apokolips?  Is it the fact that Clark, Bruce and Diana are pretty much working alone?  Are Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Arthur Curry and Victor Stone that important to turning the tide of the battle so that Darkseid never gets a strong foothold on Earth-1? 

Pages 12-13:  Note that on Earth-2, Wonder Woman and the Amazons worship the Roman Gods; on Earth-1, they pray to the Greek Gods.  If I am not mistaken, the Golden Age Wonder Woman, whom the Wonder Woman of Earth-2 is based on, frequently encountered the Roman versions of the Olympians. 

As for who these Roman Gods are, let’s give a little rundown of those that Mercury mentions, along with their Greek counterparts…

Mercury, messenger of the gods; god of commerce and thieves (Hermes)
Bacchus, god of wine, celebrations and ecstasy; patron god of the art of theatre (Dionysus)
Apollo, god of light, knowledge, music, poetry, prophecy and archery (Apollo)
Neptune, lord of the seas, earthquakes and horses (Poseidon)
Vesta, goddess of the hearth, domesticity and family (Hestia)
Jupiter, king of the gods of Olympus; god of thunder and the sky (Zeus)
Minerva, virgin goddess of wisdom, handicraft, defense and strategic warfare (Athena)
Mars, god of war, violence and bloodshed (Ares)

Who knew Mercury was so self-aware?

Page 15:  First chronological appearance of Steppenwolf.  First appeared in Justice League #6.  An expert military leader and tactician frequently armed with an electro-axe and a cable snare. 

It's nice to see Steppenwolf doing something other than standing around and laughing maniacally with DeSaad.  Like killing people and stuff like that.  

Page 16:  What is that device that the Parademons are attaching to Superman’s head?  Whatever it is, it can’t be good…

You know, because it seems to rip Superman apart and all…

Page 17:  “We’re soldiers, American soldiers, you hear me?  We fight!  We get it done!”  Gotta give it to Al Pratt, he’s got a lot of heart. 

Page 19:  

This scene remind me of when an aged Batman reassures Carrie Kelley with  compliments of "Good soldier.  Good soldier." in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  

Image from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns hardcover.  

With Batman’s death, all three members of Earth-2’s trinity have (seemingly) sacrificed themselves to save the world.  I saw “seemingly” because, with the exception of Wonder Woman, there aren’t any bodies to be found. 

Page 20:  I’m glad that James Robinson refrained from filling this page with any dialogue.  It doesn’t need it.  Robin’s wordless anguish is enough. 

Page 21:  

Never trust anyone just hanging out in a Boom Tube.  It never ends well...

As mentioned in the editor’s note, Supergirl and Robin next appear in Worlds’ Finest #1, where they arrive on Earth-1 at the beginning of that world’s age of super-heroes.  

Page 22:  

First appearance of Alan Ladd Wellington Scott.  First historical appearance in All-American Comics #16.   Owner and C.E.O. of Gotham Broadcasting Company. 

My favorite thing about Alan Scott is the name…specifically the “Ladd Wellington” part.  It cracks me up to no end. 

“Then will you ask the pilot our E.T.A. to China?”  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, a mystical “green flame,” really a meteor fell to Earth thousand of years ago, landing in ancient China.  A lamp-maker crafter the metal from the meteor into a lantern, and it was this lantern that, in 1940, came into the possession of Alan Scott, who fashioned a ring from the material and became the Golden Age Green Lantern.

So….I wonder if something similar will be happening to Alan Scott on this trip to China?

Pages 23-24Italy has been ravaged by the forces of Darkseid.  It kinda makes the country look a bit like Apokolips, what with the fire pits and all.   

Page 25:  Along other schools, Lansing, MI is the home of Michigan State University

First appearance of Jason Peter “Jay” Garrick.  First historical appearance in Flash Comics #1.  College graduate with few, if any, career prospects.  Yes, our Mr. Garrick is, for lack of a better word, a slacker.  A loser might be a better, of not more, harsh, word. 

First appearance of Joan Williams.  First historical appearance in Flash Comics #1.  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Joan went on to marry Jay Garrick.  Not sure if these two lovebirds have that same bright future ahead of them…

Getting this job at Tyler-Chem is huge for me.”  I presume that this company is owned by Rex Tyler, the hero from a former timeline/continuity/multiverse known as Hourman?  

Man, that Joan really doesn’t pull any punches with Jay, does she?

Page 28:  Mercury returns after five years away.  You know, Mercury reminds me of some Golden Age hero from some other Earth or timeline, now doesn’t he?

“For the Earth is in peril anew...A greater evil still…”  An evil greater than Darkseid, and what, can I ask, is that?  And, could you say, that it warrants being called…a crisis?