Earth 2 answers the question that’s been nagging at me ever since DC’s New 52 reboot: whatever happened to the JSA? As it turns out, they have been living in a parallel world, and they are not yet a team. Sound confusing? It is.
In the old DC Universe, the JSA were thought of as the first generation of superheroes (never mind that Superman debuted earlier than the JSA team members). They were the Justice Society of America, a group of freedom fighters who started their tenure in All Star Comics. They were the original super-team.
Eventually, they disappeared due to a loss of popularity, but served as prototypes for later superheroes. For example, the original Flash was Jay Garrick, a character closely modeled after the Greek God Hermes, shiny helmet and all. After Jay vanished from comic book stands, he was replaced by Barry Allen, a younger, more streamlined hero with a flashier suit and no helmet. He did retain a vestige of his Hermes-look in the form of wing symbols near his ankles.
After an absence of several decades, the JSA were ‘grandfathered’ back into the DCU. They were the only characters at DC to really show their age. Many of the core-members appear to be in their 50s, although the logic in this is hard to define. Batman debuted in 1939 and Bruce Wayne has been in his 30s ever since, while the original Green Lantern Alan Scott appeared in 1940 and now looks 20 years older than Bruce. Go figure.
When the DCU was reconfigured during the Flashpoint event, the JSA disappeared again, not to be mentioned for several months. Fans like myself were left wondering “Will they be back?” and “were they simply erased from the timeline?” Earth 2, the new monthly comic written by James Robinson, suggests they were erased from one timeline, but were supplanted in another.
Earth 2 starts in the most audacious way possible. In the first few pages of issue one, the Batman, Wonder-Woman, and Superman of Earth 2 are killed off in some sort of power struggle with Apokolips. Its only after the Big Three are dead and gone that the JSA members start to get their powers.
There’s a few big changes with the characters we know and love. For one, they’re no longer old. Jay Garrick in issue 1 is a young man again, and so is Alan Scott. That brings us to the second change–the famous one. Once in a blue-moon a comic book event will make the nightly news, and this is one of them: Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth 2, is gay. DC dropped hints in advance that one of their prominent characters would be revealed to be gay, leaving fans to wonder who it would be–Superman, Batman? Alan Scott though isn’t all that prominent of a character, but oh well.
Am I upset that Alan Scott is now written as a gay character? Not at all! If anything, it makes the JSA more interesting, since every superhero team needs a lot of diversity. My one caveat: in the old DC Universe, Alan Scott was father to two characters: Obsidian and Jade. Obsidian I could live without, but Jade was one of my favorite heroines of the DCU. Since the new DC started, neither have been seen or heard from as far as I know, and I’m hoping that they will be reintroduced somehow, even if Alan is no longer their father. This will be tricky since both inherited their powers from him (and in the case of Jade, her green skin is due to Alan’s powers).
The big question Earth 2 raises is, will this team continue being the main superheroes for their parallel Earth, or will some sort of crossover event cause them to be transferred to the main Earth? I for one think it’d be more interesting if they stayed on Earth 2, and maybe visited the parallel Earth from time to time to help out in cosmic events.
Earth 2 is one of the few DC comics I have been excited by since the reboot. I’m hoping not having to worry about a shared continuity will allow James Robinson the freedom to come up with something really interesting. Plus, the highly detailed pencils of Nicola Scott are reason enough to read Earth 2.
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What was your opinion of issues 1 and 2 of Earth 2?