This week's much anticipated first issue of Earth Two, the first of DC's "Second Wave" titles out this month, came close to being a bait and switch.The cover of Earth Two #1 featured Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. And while those characters featured largely in the first issue's flashback scene, they aren't going to be part of the series going forward.
Watch out, because there are spoilers here: Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman of Earth Two are dead. They were killed in the first issue.
Earth Two, by writer James Robinson and writer Nicola Scott, isn't going to be about the Trinity that was teased in early character sketches. And as Paul Levitz told Newsarama back in January, the Robin and Supergirl on Earth Two were only in the first issue of the series, getting thrust after that to the World's Finest series on the New 52 Earth.
Instead, the Earth Two series will show the formation of the Justice Society of America on an alternate world. It clearly won't be like the Justice League, resembling instead the Golden Age version of the JSA. But there are some definite differences.Fans of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman who picked up Earth Two #1 may wonder: Who are these young people? And what can I expect from a series that focuses on them?
Newsarama has put together a "Who's Who of Earth Two" to guide not only the newcomers, but anyone else who's looking for clues about what's coming next in Earth Two.
Justice Society of America
Who They Were: The Justice Society of America was the original superhero team in the DCU, forming long before the Justice League or the Avengers — way back in 1940. The original team was made up of Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, the Spectre, Sandman, Atom, the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman.
The characters later got relegated to being heroes on a separate "Earth-2," but eventually DC did away with that alternate earth concept and brought the JSA over to the single DC Earth as the original, inspirational superhero team.
Who They Are Now: In this new version of Earth Two, the Justice Society of America is not the first superhero team. Instead, they're a group of new, young heroes that come together approximately five years after the inspirational death of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, and the disappearance of Supergirl and Robin.
So far, it looks as if this new JSA will count among its earliest members new versions of: Green Lantern , Atom, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Mister Terrific and possibly a new Hourman.
What's Coming Up: Over the next few issues, each of these new heroes will emerge separately on Earth Two, and we'll get to read their brand new origins. But Robinson has promised that eventually, they'll become the new Justice Society of America.
"It's definitely an ensemble book with these characters," Robinson told Newsarama.
And what brings them together? According to DC, it will be a "bigger threat to Earth Two than Apokolips" was in the first issue.
Alan Scott: Green Lantern
Who He Was: In the pre-New 52 DC Universe, Alan Scott was the Golden Age version of Green Lantern. He wore a ring that was fashioned from a lantern that was powered by a mystical green flame that fell to Earth in ancient China. Later, that mystical power was called the "Starheart."
Although his origin was tweaked a bit over the years, Alan Scott was always just a tad different from the other science-based Green Lanterns who fly around in their green costumes over on the New 52 Earth.
Who He Is Now: In the first issue of Earth Two, Alan Scott is introduced as a young, good-looking owner and CEO of a major corporation called GBC. He's on his way to China, and he's particularly inspired by the death five years ago of superheroes on Earth.
"[Alan Scott] is a titan of industry and communications," Robinson told Newsarama. "He's a noble, gallant man who will rise to the challenges presented to him."
What's Coming Up: The mention in issue #1 by Alan that he's visiting China probably was a tease of what's to come, since that's the original Green Lantern's point of origin. Whatever adventure he finds in China apparently leads to his adoption of the Green Lantern mantle, which will happen in Earth Two #3.
Jay Garrick: The Flash
Who He Was: Before the New 52 relaunch, Jay Garrick was the original Flash. His origin was kind of strange, involving the accidental inhalation of hard water vapors in his laboratory while he was a college student. As a result of that accident, he could run at superhuman speed, and he wore a shiny, metal helmet with wings.
Although other, younger versions of The Flash emerged in DC Comics over the years, Jay Garrick was still running fast pre-New 52 as an aged speedster.
Who He Is Now: Jay is a 21-year-old who just graduated college, but is feeling a little lost after his girlfriend dumped him. "He's the 'everyman' character that we all like, that we all want to be, want to hang out with," Robinson said. "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."
At the end of Earth Two #1, Jay is sitting on a hilltop in Lansing, Mich., when a fallen god named Mercury falls from the sky. "The Earth is in peril anew," Mercury says to Jay at the end of the story. "A greater evil still, and it needs a hero."
What's Coming Up: The hat that Mercury wears looks just like the one worn by Jay Garrick in the good old days. So we can only guess that the god will not only give him that hat, but will imbue him with the power of his godly speed. We'll find out the details of Jay's new superhero origin in June's Earth Two #2.
Al Pratt: Atom
Who He Was: Al Pratt was the original Atom, a small guy who got bullied when he was young, but later learned to fight from an ex-boxer. The hero was also a tank commander during World War II in the U.S. Army, and he eventually got super strength to go along with his fighting abilities, including a radioactive "atomic punch."
Who He Is Now: In issue #1 of Earth Two, Al Pratt is a sergeant in the U.S. Army who proves himself heroic in the worldwide battle against Apokolips.
"Al Pratt is a solider who is also everything that you want Al Pratt, this tough little fighter, to be," Robinson said.
What's Coming Up: Robinson told Newsarama that Al Pratt "is faced with an impossible task and rises to the occasion." Whether or not he gets an "atomic punch" remains to be seen.
Other characters- Mister Terrific: The solicitation for next month's Earth Two #2 reveals that Michael Holt, Mr. Terrific, will land on Earth Two. He'll arrive there from the New 52 Earth, where he's been starring in the ill-fated Mister Terrific series that was canceled last month.
Michael Holt's trip to Earth Two was teased in the ending of Mister Terrific #8, the title's final issue. In the story, Michael Holt had discovered a quantum formula that was the "key to travel between universes." In the final panel, he was sucked into some sort of passage.- Joan Garrick: In the pre-New 52 continuity, Jay Garrick eventually married his girlfriend Joan and they became one of the most steadfastly happy couples in the DCU. But these days, marriage isn't cool in comics anymore (as Clark Kent and Lois Lane can attest). So there's a chance readers won't see Joan again, despite her former marital status.
- Rex Tyler: Earth Two #1 had a hint that we'll see a new version of Hourman, one of the founding members of the JSA. When Jay's girlfriend Joan is packing up to leave him in issue #1, she says that she's going to work for "Tyler-Chem." That's a sly reference to the Golden Age hero Rex Tyler, a chemist who developed a pill that gave him superpowers for an hour, turning him into Hourman. Different versions of Hourman arose over the years, including an android Hourman from the future, so what this new Earth Two version of the hero will be is anybody's guess.
Earth Two Society
Earth Two has been described by the series' creators as a modern world with a different social, political and religious context than our own.
"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," Robinson told Newsarama. "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."
A couple things we've noticed already:- United, but scarred world: The set up in issue #1 made it clear that Earth Two's people had to unite to fight an alien force who conquered and enslaved humans worldwide. And while Alan Scott may have insinuated that the world would "recover," there's also a sense that it may be hard to forget, considering there are still burning craters all over the world. Robinson has indicated those scars may come into play again in Earth Two, so we can expect them to hold some importance in future issues.
- Roman gods: In Wonder Woman's origin on the New 52 Earth, she is part of a system of Greek gods. But on Earth Two, the gods were Roman. And while that seems like a minor difference, the role they played in that first issue was significant. The visit by Mercury in Earth Two #1 made it clear that not only did Wonder Woman pray to these not-so-immortal gods for help, but several of the gods fought alongside humans and died defending their world. Considering the role Mercury is playing in the origin of Jay Garrick as the Flash, these Roman gods may show up again in the religious structure of Earth Two.
And last but not least....
Travel Between WorldsNewsarama asked for it when we first heard about the Earth Two comic, and there's even more evidence now that it could happen:
A crossover between Justice League of the New 52 Earth and the Justice Society of Earth Two.
Why not? If Mister Terrific has already calculated a way to travel between the two worlds, and Karen Starr and Helena Wayne have already bounced from one Earth to another, the door is definitely open for more cross-Earth travel. And Brad Meltzer's Justice League #0 already had a tease.
"We knew when we came back with the Second Wave, we had to up the ante," DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told Newsarama. Maybe the publisher will take that poker analogy even further by going all-in with a JSA/JLA crossover between alternate earths.
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