Friday, April 05, 2013

Earth 2: A DC Reboot done right

The obvious topic for this week's post was obviously Disney closing the doors on LucasArts. That's not what I'm going to talk about though. Why should become clear soon. What I'm going to talk about instead is DC Comics' Earth 2.

I've been pretty vocal about my unhappiness with DC's New 52 reboot. I'm not sure if I've ever made it clear as to why though. It boils down to the fact it's a mess. A reboot is a time to clean up, make everything work together brilliantly. Just like Young Justice did. The fact they let Batman and Green Lantern escape mostly undamaged is another factor. Trying to keep some stories in continuity but have details change is an exercise in futility. I stopped reading everything DC. Even Nightwing. Then last weekend I tried Earth 2, and it gets a lot of things right.

Earth 2 is a proper reboot of the Justice Society of America concept. James Robinson has taken the characters and not been afraid to mess them up, give them a whole new setting and status quo, while at the same time also staying true to their core concept.

Here, the world was at war with Apokolips, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, about the only three Superheroes (or Wonders) in existence sacrifice themselves to bring an end to the conflict. Five years later a second generation of Wonders start to appear with the appearance of Alan Scott's Green Lantern, Jay Garrick's Flash and Kendra Saunders as Hawkgirl. Throw in military created Atom and Sandmen, all of which seem to have their own agenda and it's already looking cool.

I can't help but feel that this is mostly down to the fact it's only one book, and not fifty-two all trying to launch at once. Instead of having to balance so many disparate elements, James Robinson is able to  carefully craft the world, and plan how everyone fits in. We now know that DC's reboot was a hastily put together affair, done to increase sales without any real creative planning behind it. The fact Earth 2 is its own world also helps matters, and I can't help but feel that the Wildstorm properties were better left as separate entities, use Flashpoint to do a tie-in reboot of them and a couple of crossover characters or concepts to solidify the links. Trying to get Apollo and Midnighter to make sense in the same setting as Batman and Superman just seems so wrong.

The news of a new Batman coming to Earth 2 has me intrigued. We've still not seen much of Batman's history. All we know is he married Selina Kyle and had a daughter (who first played as Robin and now resides on Earth 1 as Huntress). Was she the first Robin? Or is this someone taking up the mantel with no real connection? And will he be named John Blake because of Dark Knight Rises?

The crossover with Earth 1 I'm less sure about. Mainly because of how dissatisfied I am with the rest of the reboot. Not that it was all bad, I just hate some of the decisions. However, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are some of the best examples of this reboot working. Previously these two heroes are tied together, with elements of their Thanagarian heritage, Ancient Eygptian history and more all vying for control. It was a mess. One of the biggest messes in the entirety of comics. Geoff Johns managed to come up with a version that worked, but it was still a bit of a handful. Here Hawkman is on the main Earth, and has the Thanagarian angle, Kendra's Earth 2 and takes the Ancient Egyptian side, tying her into Fate's back story too. The Hawk's backgrounds are finally clean.

But I'm going to keep going and see if this crossover can make me reconsider some of my feelings on New 52. Earth 2 is definitely worth it.
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