Monday, January 13, 2014

Earth 2 v1: The Gathering HC

Holy. Cow. Guys, you might want to sit down for this. At one point in this collection, Jay Garrick actually rescues some innocent bystanders. He complains that he wants to be fighting big bad Solomon Grundy, but he does it. And then, after the fight, he calmly states that he had to help fight the bad guy because “That makes us heroes, right? We do the right thing.” This is in a DC Comic? What the what????

These guys are actually acting like heroes, putting themselves at risk! There is no over-explanation of the costumes. There is no rationalizing or embarrassment about super-heroics. This is straight-up a new continuity of heroes.

James Robinson does what SHOULD have been done in the new 52. This is a new take on character you used to know. This is an Elseworlds that can admit it. Alan Scott is very different, heck; the ring he gets is coming from Swamp Thing’s “Green.” But he still acts like a hero. And overconfident, somewhat jerky hero, but his heart is in the right place.

Hawkgirl has ties to the “world army” along with the Atom and Mr. Terrific. There are lots of hints about shared history and secrets, but the story stands fine on its own. Most of all, Hawkgirl retains her tough edge while still being an approachable, fun character. She and Jay Garrick are buddies by the end of the book.
In the world of Earth 2, heroes are called Wonders. There were only 5. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin (Huntress), and Supergirl (Power Girl). They all died fighting off Steppenwolf’s invasion of parademons a few years before the main characters show up. Now it is the time for the next generation of Wonders to step up. The government has some. Some are popping up randomly. And it seems that Mr. Terrific is coming over from the new 52 to join up too.

I can’t state how refreshing it is to see a new continuity treated like a fresh start. I miss the old JSA terribly, but these aren’t those characters with their morals downgraded. Same names, similar powers, but these are re-imaginings. That is a lot easier to take.

Everyone’s suits have been updated to look sleek and post-modern, but the art has a different feel than the rest of the new 52. Even with Jim Lee designing some of the costumes, Nicola Scott does an absolutely fantastic job making everything still look heroic. Her alternate Wonder Woman just makes me pine for a better-looking version of the character in the new 52.

James Robinson isn’t reinventing the wheel like he did on Starman, or even the recent Shade series. He’s just delivering a solid super-hero title that is high on action and drama. This is a GOOD representation of what the new 52 should have been.

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