In this first volume of Earth 2, James Robinson creates an alternate world and reimagines interesting origin stories for wonders and dastardly villains to set against them. The free reign and creative license means you never know what’s around the corner and makes for a world in which massive, sweeping changes take place every few issues. There are no worries about continuity or preserving a characters’ legacy, or even the world they make their home, that usually weighs down the classic characters. Getting to see Robinson do his thing with such creative freedom is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since Starman so Earth 2 has been a particular treat for me.
The artwork is dynamic and well done; I particularly like Nicola Scott’s cross-hatched shading, but everything is pretty good except for a few awkward heroic poses now and then in the early issues. Also, I don’t really know what the letterer was thinking with the white letters on a green-to-white gradient as it doesn’t make for the greatest reading experience but it’s a choice they stick with.
Robinson’s writing is also solid for the most part, but I found the voice for Green Lantern in particular a bit jarring at first. A few rereads later though, I actually found myself enjoying the dialogue that I previously felt was off. However, I do think that the Golden Age feel it exudes is probably going to be an acquired taste for some.
The pace is brisk and by the end of the first issue Robinson has already cleared away our preconceptions of what to expect regarding Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. Superheroes, or “wonders,” disappear for a time and when they begin to appear again they do so in a compelling way that is a perfect mix of central, classic, concepts and creative ideas. Robinson’s heroes are diverse in their heritage, sexuality, mannerisms, costume design, and every other way that matters. The first volume is all about setting these new wonders up to be played with in the future and we get some cool new villains to match them up against. The stakes are always high in the Earth 2 series and the pacing, along with the fantastic artwork, infuses this series with excitement and potential.