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Earth 2 #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott and Alex Sinclair
Lettering by Dezi Sienty
Published by DC Comics
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
It looks like second time is the charm — at least, it is when it comes to DC and Earth 2 #1. And if you think that it's a little too early for yet another new universe in the wake of The New 52, you might be pleasantly surprised by James Robinson's remix of the DC mythos. Familiar yet unencumbered by years of continuity, there's a specific tone and direction that this series takes that I'd say, just on first blush, actually feels like a stronger launch than Geoff Johns' Justice League.
Robinson starts off smart by establishing that, on Earth 2, everyone knew who the Big Damn Heroes of the DC Universe were — Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — and shows us what makes them the best of the best. Superman, unlike his current New 52 incarnation, is defined by his reverence for life, and even Wonder Woman's violent, Wolverine-esque characterization is later tempered by an almost daughterly love for her Amazon pantheon. It's that sort of deeper world underneath the surface that lets Robinson have his cake and eat it, too, in a way that I think The New 52 has avoided to a self-conscious and even self-destructive extent — it alludes to a deeper history of the DCU, a bigger world than we know, one that we'll all uncover and discover together.
It also doesn't hurt that Nicola Scott is on art. She's got that dynamic Jim Lee composition and sleekness to her characters, but she also has that clean line of Ivan Reis and even a hint of that George Perez pop to the expressions and sheer scale of action on the page. Despite a stint on Wonder Woman, Scott's been an overlooked artist for awhile, but she's definitely earning some wider recognition here. Perhaps most interesting is the tone Scott's work takes, especially with colorist Alex Sinclair — even an extinction-level conflict with Apokolips is tinged with a swollen red, but at the same time, the clean heroes represent an optimism and hope that says maybe Earth will survive without a scratch. While that doesn't exactly wind up being the case, Sinclair's blue skies at the end of the book foster a sense of a new beginning, of a new age of true DC heroism. It's been missed.
Perhaps James Robinson's greatest trick in Earth 2 is that he manages to engage readers even as he spends most of the issue playing with characters that we likely won't see again. Like DC's best epics — think Kingdom Come or JSA — Robinson and Scott's Earth 2 is about living up to legacies... but it isn't solely defined by them. There's a new pantheon being born on Earth 2, a new history, a new generation of hero. This may be the relaunch we were all waiting for.