James Robinson is finally getting to talk about Earth 2, and while he's not giving much away, there's one thing that's abundantly clear:
This is not your father's Earth 2.
The comic, which Robinson is launching in May with artist Nicola Scott, will tell the story of heroes first emerging on the alternate Earth. It will focus on heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash — but the people wearing those costumes may not be the same as the more familiar heroes on the main DCU Earth.
In our interview, Robinson revealed that:
- This is a complete reboot of the Earth 2 concept.
- Earth 2 has a "five-year jumping on point like the main DCU Earth" for its superhero story.Earth 2 #1 - The story of issue #1 begins with a few characters (including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) who are "gripped" in a dire situation. But then an "event" happens, and "out of that conflict," some familiar faces begin to "take the mantles of superheroes in the future."
- Jay Garrick is the "everyman" through which readers are introduced to the world of Earth 2. While the name Jay Garrick may be familiar to older DC readers as the elderly Golden Age Flash, in this comic, he's younger, as seen in our exclusive art for the cover of Earth 2 #2.
- Alan Scott and Al Pratt are also key characters in the story of Earth 2.
- Robinson said: "It isn't the Justice Society. It's Earth 2. So it's going to be a whole world of different characters."
- The comic also introduces different versions of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, but Robinson said Earth 2 is an "ensemble" book, and doesn't just focus on the Trinity. (For previously released information on those three Earth 2 characters, see our summary here.)
- The first issue also includes Helena Wayne as Robin, and Karen Starr as Supergirl, before they somehow end up on the main DCU Earth as Huntress and Power Girl (as seen in the current Huntress mini-series and May's World's Finest).
- The differences between the main DCU Earth and Earth 2 are not traceable to one easy explanation (such as, "they lost the war").
- Fans of Wally West and Donna Troy should not expect to see them on Earth 2, because Robinson said he doesn't know what the plans are for those characters.
- Although Parademons show up on the first variant cover to Earth 2, don't expect to see Darkseid (keep reading for Robinson's cryptic explanation of that).
- DC and its writers have a tough time figuring out what to call the main DCU Earth. Robinson originally used terms like "Earth One" and "Earth Prime," but Newsarama inquired with DC editorial and was told that Robinson should have used "main DCU Earth." This is the second time a DC writer accidentally used the wrong name for the main DCU Earth in an interview with Newsarama.
What follows is the transcript of our discussion with Robinson about May's Earth 2.
Newsarama: James, it feels like this is less a reinvention of the old Earth 2 and more like a reinvention of the DCU in general, but just on a different Earth. Is that the right interpretation?
James Robinson: Well, this book is definitely a reboot in the vein of Grant Morrison's Action Comics or Geoff Johns with the new origin of the Justice League. It's one of those books. It isn't a soft reboot, like Green Lantern or Batman.
Nrama: What's the world like? From the teases we've seen about Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, it feels like this world is darker. Is that the correct assumption we should make from some of the images and descriptions we've seen?
Robinson: It isn't darker. It's just taken a different turn based on key events unfolding differently than on [the main DCU Earth]. And as the series progresses, you're going to see that, while it isn't a completely different world that's so alien to us that we can't recognize it, or even a world with a gimmick, kind of like the old Earth X where it hadn't won the war. Those kinds of things, which are very easy and pat to put down.Earth 2 Superman This is an earth that in some ways is very like [the main DCU Earth], but in very key important ways, it's also very different. And obviously, I can't reveal too much now, but by the end of the first issue, I guarantee you you'll get a sense of how this world is different and then how it's familiar at the same time.
Nrama: I think the big question is, does it match the five-year-old superhero timeline on the main DCU Earth? With Helena Wayne running around as an adult, we get the feeling that superheroes have been around a lot longer on Earth 2.
Robinson: I don't know. If you think about her age in the Robin sketch and her age now, I don't know if it's accurate to say that they've been around longer, but they've been around for five years.
If you compare her age now as the Huntress to the age she is as Robin in that illustration, it's safe to say there's a five-year jumping-on point like [the main DCU Earth], but it doesn't necessarily imply to me that they've been around longer than that.
Nrama: Are you saying it's less than five years old?
Nrama: OK. Well, there's a lot of speculation that the "lost" characters from Teen Titans might show up on Earth 2. Is there any hope for fans of characters like Donna Troy and Wally West that they might show up on Earth 2?
Robinson: From what I gather, based on the panel interviews that Dan [DiDio] gave recently, I believe that DC has plans for those characters. I'm not sure what the plans are for Wally West and Donna Troy, to be honest with you, if there are any at all. I have no idea.
Nrama: Then let's talk about what you do know. What will we see in issue #1 of Earth 2?
Robinson: Well, you're going to see the status quo of the superhero community on Earth 2, which are the characters that DC revealed last week. And you're going to see them in a pretty extreme situation that has gripped the world at that time.
And then from out of that conflict, you'll also see other familiar faces as they begin to get caught up in the dramas and begin to take the mantles of superheroes in the future.
The characters that you're going to see in issue #1 will be Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and Al Pratt.
And then obviously, as the series unfolds, you'll see other characters still.
But the point of this book is that it isn't the Justice Society. It's Earth 2. So it's going to be a whole world of different characters with things going on in different parts of it, obviously all coming together as the plots coalesce and these plots arise.Earth 2 Supergirl But it's definitely an ensemble book with these characters. You know, people want to see Jay Garrick. They want to see Alan Scott. And you're going to see them front-and-center in this book as much as anyone else.
Nrama: That's interesting to note. Because images we've seen so far from Earth 2 — the variant cover for issue #1 and the sketches — have all been focused on the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But you're saying that it's not just about those three? That there are superheroes all over Earth 2?
Robinson: What I'm saying is that, as the series unfolds, events happen that, in the future, you will see superheroes around the world. Yes.
Or rather I should say, you will see different characters in different stories — all of them part of the big picture, which is our ongoing dramas on Earth 2.
Nrama: DC has given us a cover for issue #2, which reveals Jay Garrick. What can you tell us about his character in the Earth 2 comic?
Robinson: As the book unfolds, Jay Garrick is very much our point of entry to the world. He's the "everyman" character that we all like, that we all want to be, want to hang out with. That's kind of the role he was in the original Earth-2, and I think it suits him well. He's the likable guy, the one you care about.
Nrama: What about Alan Scott?
Robinson: Alan Scott, as you'll see in the first issue, is a titan of industry and communications. He's a noble, gallant man who will rise to the challenges presented to him.
Nrama: And you mentioned the character we know as the original Atom, Al Pratt. What's he like as we meet him?
Robinson: In the first issue, Al Pratt is a solider who is also everything that you want Al Pratt, this tough little fighter, to be. And yet he is faced with an impossible task and rises to the occasion.
Nrama: We've been introduced somewhat to this Earth 2 version of Superman. He's "mourning" Lois Lane. Was she killed? Or did she just die?
Wonder WomanRobinson: Um...
Nrama: Does that matter?
Robinson: Well, I'm never going to be quoted by the comic book press that the death of Lois Lane doesn't matter. I'll tell you that right now.
Nrama: Good idea.
Robinson: So instead I'll say, the events of her tragic death are not something that we actually will be showing, but they are something that drives Superman on in his actions in the comic book.
Nrama: And it sounds like Wonder Woman has the same sort of drive because she's lost people close to her as well, correct?
Robinson: More importantly, she's the last Amazon, so she has her heritage that she carries with her. It isn't just that she's lost her sisters and that whole world, but also that she has this sense that she has to carry on for all of them, and be even stronger and even better for all of them.
Nrama: The description we saw of Batman talks about him choosing to kill to save his own daughter. And his daughter is Helena Wayne, the Earth 2 Robin, correct?
Nrama: Yes. But it hasn't been revealed that Batman is Bruce Wayne under the mask — only that he's a Wayne. Assuming you can't reveal who's under the mask, what are this character's motivations for being Batman? Is it the same as the Batman we know?
Robinson: At this point, that isn't explored. His origins are much more mysterious. But he has put his web of intelligence and crime-fighting abilities out throughout this world, so he's very much his own version of the Batman on [the main DCU Earth]. The big difference is that he has a daughter he's trained to be Robin and to pass on all of his skills and talents to her. And of course, we'll get to enjoy that with the able talents of Paul Levitz [in May's World's Finest].
Nrama: Right. Will we see the Helena/Robin and Karen/Supergirl in your comic?
Robinson: In the first issue, you will see them in the book, yes.
Nrama: So if Helena and Karen are in your first issue, but then on the main DCU Earth after that, I get the feeling that there's a very important "something" that happens at the end of your first issue, and that leads to the World's Finest book and the rest of your story in Earth 2. Is that correct?
Robinson: There's a lot going on in the first issue, yes. And it's a really, really good final page.
Nrama: You're being more than a little cryptic, James. It's hard to understand what's going on in this book.
Robinson: Yeah, I wish I could speak with candor. But in this instance, it's a bit of a knife walk, I have to say.Earth 2 Batman Unfortunately, for everything that I don't say, there are a million theories and concepts, and people get angry because they don't know what's going on. This is a very tricky book to promote.
Nrama: Then let's just finish up with a question about this threat we've been shown from the first issue. It's obvious from the variant cover — which showed several Parademons attacking — that the "event" that happens in issue #1 is related to Darkseid. Right?
Robinson: No. It's related to Apokolips. And that's all I can say. It's a very subtle but very important difference.
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