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I have always enjoyed the Elseworlds imprint stories that publish well known heroes in one-off non-canon tales. These what-if stories let the writers do interesting things–take risks–with juggernaut characters that would be unthinkable in the mainstream continuity. Sometimes, history stifles creativity. That’s why I’m happy with Earth 2 – The Gathering feeling like an Elseworlds story, with the DC universe anchors of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman killed off in the first act.
Earth 2 – The Gathering’s disrupts the established order as it explores a world missing its bedrock superheroes–no Supes, No Wonder Woman, no Batman. Instead, Green Lantern, Flash, Hawk Girl, and Captain Atom run the show. It’s an interesting premise that makes this DC universe feel intriguingly fresh as the characters get remixed origin stories to keep the plot tightly focused. There’s no Oa, Thanagar, Speed Force, and all the baggage that implies. Everything’s trimmed to keep story moving quickly and the spotlight on Earth (excepting the Apokolips alien invasion plot device). Despite some minor unevenness in the art, Earth 2’s story captivates, keeping you engrossed. It’s one of the strongest, freshest DC stories I’ve read in recent memory.
- Writer: James Robinson – Co-creator of Starman with 20+ years of writing experience and known for his Elseworlds series The Golden Age. He’s worked on stuff published by pretty much every major comics imprint.
- Head Artist: Nicola Scott – She drew Wonder Woman for DC Rebirth and did her own series, Black Magick, under the Image Comics imprint. Earth 2 was her “mainstream breakthrough” apparently.
- Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
- Inkers: Trevor Scott, Sean Parsons
- Colorists: Alex Sinclair, Pete Pantazis, Tony Avina
- Letterers: Dezi Sienty, Carlos M. Mangual, Travis Lanham
- Cover Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis
- DC Comics
Ratings & Reviews
- Goodreads Rating: 3.99/5 (3,007 votes, 164 reviews)
- Amazon Rating (Affiliate Link): 4/5 (95 reviews)
- Comic Book Roundup Aggregated Score: 7.8/10 (based on reviews of issues 1-6)
- This isn’t the regular sprawling DC universe and that’s a good thing – Robinson and Scott reimagine the DC universe without Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman. The world feel fresh, with its own unique backstory built. The Flashpoint universe is comparable–familiar, but different, with more narrative risks taken. The plot remixes retro and contemporary stories–you have a Jay Garrick Flash with a Golden Age influenced costume. Earth 2 avoids bloating the universe with non-Earth forces, reimagining origin stories to keep the action focused around Earth. There’s no Oa or Speed Force involved with Green Lantern or Flash’s origin stories here. The plot plays tighter and faster.
- The art is good, but the quality can be uneven and there’s a heavy hand with the glow effects – The poses are dynamic and scene compositions filled with action and technical detail in many scenes. However, some panels have a jarring lack of detail in secondary areas, while some faces are drawn with different levels of care just a few pages separate from each other. The most notable example is Solomon Grundy’s face losing detail in a key panel, but Hawk Girl’s awkward proportions while holding onto Flash and Green Lantern’s legless looking appearance on his first flight also bothered me. The other nitpick is a distracting Michael Bay overuse of light glow/bloom effects. I’m not saying the art is bad, it’s just little flaws that stand out.
- Flash and Captain Atom are stand out characters, with other characters receiving more questionable treatment –
Flash is likable–just an innocent kid who’s trying to figure out his powers and place in the world, with solid character growth into the role of hero. Captain Atom starts as a regular US Army grunt, but when you connect the dots of his origin later on–standing next to a nuke as it goes off–it feels genuinely cool. He’s likable for being a regular soldier trying to follow orders, come to terms with his powers, and be a force for good, a simple fighter. Green Lantern comes off as kind of an arrogant jackhole with a disposable husband who dies as quickly as he’s introduced while Hawk Girl gets almost no backstory. In terms of power levels, Superman dying from some scrub parademons and Solomon Grundy having world ending existential threat power feels a bit off though Grundy’s power buff is necessary to make him a credible threat.
This review is part of the Quick Reviews series. Quick Reviews are concise with standard formatting (and spoilers) that you can read in a about minute to get the gist of our thoughts.
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