Speed Force
Robinson Leaves on a High Note…Review of Earth 2 #16

earth 2 16 coverThe battle is on with Steppenwolf and his forces.  Can even the new Wonders of Earth 2 stand against this threat?  Things aren’t looking so good for our heroes, as James Robinson pens his last issue of Earth 2.  This issue has more action than all the previous issues combined…and the reveal at the end is a HUGE shocker!

LIGHT SPOILERS ONLY

The Wonders are continuing their fight against Steppenwolf.  But, even with a healing spell from Doctor Fate our heroes may not be up to the task.  The Flash, the Atom, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate and Sandman combined just aren’t getting anywhere…and that’s before Brutal steps in.  The action is big in this issue, and the payoff is a HUGE cliffhanger.  I can’t say more here without being far too spoilerish…but wow!

James Robinson reminds us once again why this series has been one of the very best of the New 52, ending his run on a terrific high note.  This issue ties up a lot of loose threads from the very beginning of the series while setting the stage for a lot more to come.  Nicola Scott’s pencils and Trevor Scott’s inks are once again stellar – the look of this series is consistently exceptional, with great colors from Pete Pantazis.  I will truly miss Robinson’s work on this series…but at least we have been given a truly great story to end this run.

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Attack! (Review of Earth 2 #15)

earth 2 15 coverEarth 2′s new Wonders are taking the fight to Steppenwolf…but things aren’t looking so great for our heroes.  Just how powerful are the forces from Apokolips?  The answer appears to be all too clear in the latest issue of Earth 2!

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD

This issue starts with Jay Garrick trying to remember just what hit him…and the rest of his team.  Brutaal, the Beguiler and Bedlam have proven to be more than a match for the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom and Doctor Fate.   The fact that everyone is still alive is amazing…and a bit puzzling.  Meanwhile, we get updates on Hawkgirl’s investigation into Sam’s death and Mr. Miracle and Barda’s fight against Fury…and things are simply not going our heroes’ way today.  In the end, one more Wonder makes an appearance…but who is this new Wonder fighting for?

We still have James Robinson (for now) on this title – with another excellent story.  Nicola and Trevor Scott on pencils/inks and Pete Pantazis on colors give us excellent artwork throughout – the battle scenes are outstanding in this action-packed issue.  I can anticipate some concerns as to how easily our heroes are beaten down…but this story is far from over, and I’m looking forward to how this is resolved as the arc moves ahead.  Earth 2 remains one of my favorites titles in the New 52 – and this story is no exception.

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Heroes Rush In…No, Wait! (Review of Earth 2 #14)

IMG_0639This issue of Earth 2 is action packed with plenty of drama on many levels, and we have the opportunity to learn a lot of lessons here.  Enthusiasm and early success can lead to just a bit of impulsive decision-making…and even great intentions can lead you into trouble.  The new Wonders of Earth 2 are taking the battle straight to Steppenwolf…but is that the best plan?  We get the first part of that answer here, in issue #14.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

Alan Scott is a true leader, with all the resources at his fingertips that his business acumen has gained…not to mention the power of Green Lantern.  His idea is to win the public trust by getting ahead of the World Army, and taking the war straight to Steppenwolf before anyone else arrives.  They certainly have great power on their side…but is this the wisest move?  Flash, GL and Doctor Fate take the fight to Dherain…but are they the first to arrive?  And, what will Steppenwolf’s response be once he realizes he is under attack?  The battle scenes are amazing here, and our Wonders learn they are in a bit deeper than they may have realized…

James Robinson is still writing for this issue, and this is once again a stellar script for one of my favorite series in the New 52.  Nicola and Trevor Scott continue their exceptional work on the pencils and inks with Pete Pantazis on colors.  This group of Wonders is well worth the read – be sure to add Earth 2 #14 to your buy pile!

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Jay Garrick Loses a Good Friend – Robinson Departs Earth 2 and DC

20130520-063633.jpg As most fans are aware by now, James Robinson has announced in a series of Tweets that he is leaving Earth 2 and DC Comics. This marks the beginning of some uncertain times for Jay, Alan, Kendra, Khalid, Al and company. This has been a consistently excellent series, one near the top of my pull list for some time. The fact that it has done so well is testament to Robinson’s talent as a creator, and he will be sorely missed. There is certainly time for DC to try to make this right, as they previously have done wih Gail Simone on Batgirl…but just in case this is a good time to say a few words about James Robinson’s excellent run on Earth 2.

Earth 2 has been both a critical and sales success, with Robinson taking on one of the most difficult and controversial changes in the New 52 – the complete redesign of the Justice Society.  Robinson took the Golden Age Heroes who for years had literally been the elder statespersons of the DC Universe and made them young again, placing them on a parallel Earth for the first time since before the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths in the 1980s.  In doing so, he revamped both the look and origin stories for characters long cherished by DC fans, with many fans (including myself) waiting for the results with skeptical eyes.  What we got was something truly special, and something that has been one of the great success stories of DC’s lineup.

Jay Garrick in particular had caused some early concern.  The initial drawings released to the public didn’t cast the new uniform in the best light, and while the first issue allayed that concern with a very interesting new look it also cast Jay as a bit of a slacker who couldn’t keep his life together.  Yet, over the issues so far we have seen Jay grow as both a person and as a hero.  Jay Garrick didn’t ask for his powers, but he didn’t shirk the responsibility that came with them.  And, he is still growing and becoming both a true hero and a leader.  Jay as the everyman hero has become a great character in this series.

Even the change that generated the most news in the mainstream media, revamping Alan Scott as gay, was handled expertly by Robinson.  We find an Alan Scott who is noble, brave, truly heroic, and a strong leader who happens to be gay.  It is one part of who he is, not merely a stunt to generate controversy or sales.  In remaking these characters, Robinson has taken the best of their Golden Age and Silver Age qualities and reshaped them to fit the sensibilities and realities of today.

I could go on and on about the characters created for this series, from the great Hawkgirl to the wonderful new Doctor Fate, to the new Al Pratt and the new Mr. Terrific (who doesn’t seem so interested in “fair play” at the moment, if you are following the storyline).  This is a series that I didn’t want to like, didn’t want to believe in…yet James Robinson won me (and a lot of other fans) over with his excellent storylines and characterization.  He has proven that writing matters, that good writing can make most any character compelling, and that a good story is always worth reading.

I’m still holding out hope that something can be resolved a la Gail Simone and her return to Batgirl.  If not, DC will have the very difficult task of finding someone who can effectively continue James Robinson’s excellent vision for this team and this series.  Jay Garrick and company have lost an excellent friend…and so has the DC Universe.  Wherever you go, Mr. Robinson, we will anxiously await your next work.  Thanks for a great ride with Earth 2!

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Review: Earth 2 #1

Earth 2 #1 was better than I expected, certainly better in terms of an introduction to a world than Justice League #1, though there were still elements that I found problematic.

One of my big worries about the book had been that DC Comics’ Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman would overshadow the more exclusively-Justice Society characters like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. They’ve solved this problem neatly, and in the process given the book a bit more of a hook than it would have had otherwise.

I’ve seen the issue described as a prologue, and it is, in that most of the issue takes place five years before the main series picks up. But it’s also a finale: The first 20 pages or so are really the concluding chapter in an apocalyptic war that changed the face of the world. In fact, if Earth 2 does well enough, I can see DC telling the story as a 6-issue miniseries, though the final issue really ought to be a reprint of this story plus an epilogue.

I like what I’ve seen of Alan Scott so far. I haven’t seen enough of Al Pratt to decide. Jay Garrick…well…I’m not terribly thrilled at what’s become of him, but let’s see what we get in issue #2.

On to the spoilers!

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James Robinson Talks Jay Garrick’s Earth 2 Origin

In a spoiler-filled interview at CBR, Earth 2 writer James Robinson talks about the DC Trinity, the Justice Society…and the origin of Jay Garrick, hinted at in this week’s issue and coming up in issue #2.

Spoilers for Earth 2 #1!

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In Earth 2, Jay Garrick gets his powers from the Roman god Mercury.

One of the things that you are going to see about Earth 2 is that it’s not a magical place or a sorcerers’ world, but it does have a slightly metaphysical feel to it. Science doesn’t work exactly the same as it does on Earth Prime. With that in mind, I wanted his origin to have a slightly metaphysical element to it. And also, the only flaw with Jay Garrick in his entire career is that his origin of inhaling hard water is so vague and ill-defined, it must have been made up on the spot by the writer. This is the one thing that I’m changing; he actually gets a mantle passed to him by a dying god.

In a way, I like the fact that it almost mirrors, as a mythical version, the science fiction origin of how Hal Jordan got his powers from a dying Green Lantern. It’s sort of the same thing, but obviously with Jay Garrick, what makes him special is that he isn’t a cool test pilot that is born without fear like Hal Jordan — he’s a unsure 21-year old college graduate that is thrust into this amazing and fantastic world and has learn how to be a superhero over the first arc of our series.

It’s an interesting choice. It’s true that Jay Garrick’s origin is rather weak (though better than the Golden Age Whizzer getting his powers through a transfusion of mongoose blood), and I do like the explicit link to the classical speedster who inspired the original Flash’s look…but I’m not so sure about what appears to be a random selection. Did Mercury choose Jay Garrick as his successor? Or was he simply nearby?

We’ll find out in Earth 2 #2, on sale next month.

News Flash! Jay Garrick’s Earth-2 Redesign Revealed!

Newsarama has revealed the new Jay Garrick design with the Earth 2 #2 cover in this interview with James 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.

The description of Jay himself sounds okay, but I think the costume is a horrible move. Over on Twitter, Greg paraphrased Barry Allen in The Dark Knight Strikes Again: “folks don’t know the difference between ‘old’ and ‘classic’.” The rest of the interview doesn’t do anything to help the concerns I raised yesterday about this this book and alternate reality being his only home in the New 52.

So what do you think? Is this a great redesign? A terrible one? Good for some Flash, but bad for Jay Garrick?

Jay Garrick redesigned for the new Earth-2 book by James Robinson. From an interview at Newsarama:

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.

Jay Garrick redesigned for the new Earth-2 book by James Robinson. From an interview at Newsarama:

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.


DC has started releasing information about its October comics this week, including several miniseries launching in the second month of the DC relaunch.  Among them: James Robinson’s 12-issue miniseries featuring The Shade, as reported by CBR.
The Shade is probably more associated with Starman these days, but he started life as a Golden-Age Flash villain, one of the trio whose place in DC history was later secured by appearing in Flash of Two Worlds.
Even though he only made one appearance in the Golden Age (as compared to the many tines Jay Garrick fought the Thinker or Fiddler), the Shade is the oldest Flash villain to survive it. The only older themed/named villain, the Threat (All-Flash #2), was a one-off who died in his first appearance and never returned.
THE SHADE #1Written by JAMES ROBINSONArt by CULLY HAMNERCover by TONY HARRIS1:10 Variant cover by CULLY HAMNEROn sale OCTOBER 12 * 1 of 12, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US * RATED T+
James Robinson returns to the world of his acclaimed STARMAN series with a new 12-issue series starring the antihero known as The Shade! An attack at the Starman museum kicks off a globe-hopping, centuries spanning quest that will irrevocably change The Shade’s life, and ultimately shed light on his true origin! Artist extraordinaire Cully Hamner (RED) kicks off the series, and upcoming issues will feature art by such luminaries as Darwyn Cooke, Javier Pulido, Jill Thompson, Frazer Irving and Gene Ha!
Original Post

DC has started releasing information about its October comics this week, including several miniseries launching in the second month of the DC relaunch.  Among them: James Robinson’s 12-issue miniseries featuring The Shade, as reported by CBR.

The Shade is probably more associated with Starman these days, but he started life as a Golden-Age Flash villain, one of the trio whose place in DC history was later secured by appearing in Flash of Two Worlds.

Even though he only made one appearance in the Golden Age (as compared to the many tines Jay Garrick fought the Thinker or Fiddler), the Shade is the oldest Flash villain to survive it. The only older themed/named villain, the Threat (All-Flash #2), was a one-off who died in his first appearance and never returned.

THE SHADE #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by CULLY HAMNER
Cover by TONY HARRIS
1:10 Variant cover by CULLY HAMNER
On sale OCTOBER 12 * 1 of 12, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US * RATED T+

James Robinson returns to the world of his acclaimed STARMAN series with a new 12-issue series starring the antihero known as The Shade! An attack at the Starman museum kicks off a globe-hopping, centuries spanning quest that will irrevocably change The Shade’s life, and ultimately shed light on his true origin! Artist extraordinaire Cully Hamner (RED) kicks off the series, and upcoming issues will feature art by such luminaries as Darwyn Cooke, Javier Pulido, Jill Thompson, Frazer Irving and Gene Ha!

Original Post