Earth Two #3

It’s that time again…

Previamente en la Tierra Dos!!!!!

The cliffhanger of the last issue concluded with an explosion aboard the train carrying Alan Scott just as he was proposing marriage to his significant other. This is where the story picks up and deals with Scott’s transformation into the Green Lantern of the Earth Two. The scene is pretty grisly. The train is wreckage and Scott is more the worse for wear. While searching for his lover Sam he confronted by vast green flame which speaks to him and heals his grievous wounds. The precise nature of this energy being is unclear, referring to itself vaguely as a “spirit of the earth.” While a more concrete exposition on its nature and purpose might have been preferable Alan Scott’s abilities have always required a fairly long-winded explanation, being a distinct animal from the other Green Lanterns of continuity and often prone to retcons. As such, the green flame cuts right to the chase. A great evil lurks on the horizon and Alan must take up the mantle of Earth’s defender to thwart its ambiguously nefarious ends. Also Sam is dead.

Yep, barely a whole issue in and Alan Scott’s brand new groundbreaking gay romance has already been put in the fridge. To say it seems like a cop out would be an understatement. There was so much more potential in that relationship than just cashing in one half of it for artificial pathos points. That being the case, I’ve always said that this kind of thing can avoid being gratuitous if it at least manages to carry meaning later on when its full arc is resolved. This remains to be seen, but I have confidence in the creative team on this one. The cover image above, morbid though it is on close examination, conveys a great deal of emotion that we haven’t yet seen out of Alan Scott but that at the right moment in the story could be leveraged to great narrative effect.

Meanwhile, Jay Garrick the Flash is still getting a handle on his new abilities when he runs into a familiar face. Or not so familiar in this case. First time superhero meeting antics ensue: they talk, they quarrel, they have a dust up, and they shake hands. They also name drop another potential member of the new Earth Two Justice Society, bringing the total roster of characters to appear or to be referenced to seven (I’m honestly still waiting for my personal favorite to show up). Finally, the plot at last moves forward as we are introduced to a terrifying new vision of classic villain Solomon Grundy.

No, he didn’t get any pants.

Writing wise, this issue has… problems. I love James Robinson, but he badly needed an editor on this one. There’s a glaring number of dialogue exchanges that just don’t… work. Mostly it’s just clunky and in need of a coherent voice, but in at least one panel I am certain there is a line missing somewhere because as written what is said literally does not make sense. I understand that writers are under a lot of time constraints on these scripts, but if Robinson has as much love for this project as he says I wish he’s take a little more time to check his work.

Nikola Scott’s artwork remains stellar and a big draw. The conceptual redesigns of Grundy and Hawkgirl are amazing in my opinion. Easily recognizable while still being unique creations.  I’m less enthused with the new look of Flash and Green Lantern. The task of updating Jay Garrick’s intentionally anachronistic helmet is difficult, but the space age look they’ve gone with makes it difficult for me to take him seriously. Green Lantern by contrast feels a little too similar to the look of the mainstream Lanterns. One of the things that always drew me to Alan Scott was the way he stood out from the lineup, and I was hoping an update to his costume would look similar to either his Kingdom Come or Sentinel portrayals. That said, Nikola Scott may not have had much say in the characters’ new looks. As such, I’m willing to give her credit for the ones I like and brush off the ones I don’t.

I think it is actually this very reimagining, which I was rather wary of at the outset, that is keeping me continually engaged in this exercise. I’m beginning to think of the series as something similar to the Ultimate comics, the new Star Trek continuity, or even the new take on the Star Wars universe that this kid is very excited for. The process of adaptation has always been of great interest to me, and I feel it is this same preoccupation with distilled myth-making that pulls me through page after page of Earth Two.

Now, to devise a cocktail called the “Parallel Universe…”

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