Hey, remember Earth-2?
No not that one.
Not that one either.
There it is! Wow there’s a lot of Earth-2s… Anyway, Earth-2. After Flashpoint came and went and created the New 52, the Justice Society no longer existed in the main universe, as heroes only existed for a few years (until they didn’t but don’t worry about that). DC’s history no longer existed the way it used to. So DC in 2012 came out with a new series, Earth-2.
Remember Marvel’s Ultimate Universe? For those who don’t or have never heard of it, it was a line of comics Marvel made that were meant to be a more modern retelling of the origins of their heroes without the decades of continuity. It was pretty successful! Until it wasn’t. Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because New 52’s Earth-2 book is very similar in concept. The JSA and Earth-2 have been linked since the Silver Age, so it mad perfect sense to make a book about them with the New 52’s new direction for the DC Universe. In this version of Earth-2, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all die in an invasion from Apokolips, the home of Darkseid. And in their death, new heroes rise to take their place, in the form of the all new, all different JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERI-….
Oh yeah they’re called the Wonders of the World in this book. Meh, it’s a nice name for a team. JSA for life though. But yeah, a pretty solid premise for a whole new retelling of the Golden Age heroes. Now for the execution…
The Wonders start out strong, we get a solid lineup with Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl in the first arc, and their first enemy is Earth-2’s Solomon Grundy, an Avatar of the Grey, a force of death an decay in the DC canon. Alan Scott, the Green Lantern, on Earth-2 is the Avatar of the Green, a force of plant life and greenery. Yeah he has light powers… and his power comes from plants. Huh. Okay then. Anyway, it was a decent start. And then we’re introduced to Dr. Fate, who is the least changed design wise since, well, Dr. Fate’s design is just really, really good and shouldn’t really be changed. Oh but Thomas Wayne is Batman like in Flashpoint, also Lois Lane on this Earth becomes Red Tornado, and then we meet Val-Zod, the new Superman, and also Jimmy Olsen aka Dr. Impossible and Mr. Miracle who is from Earth-2 now, and Fury, Wonder Woman’s daughter and- okay you probably get the idea now, THERE’S SO MANY PEOPLE INTRODUCED SO FAST.
That’s the biggest problem with the execution, unlike the Ultimate Universe which had many different books that focused on individual heroes, Earth-2 is just Earth-2, so it has a lot of ground to cover very quickly. And unfortunately as the book went on, it started to fumble with that. For me it started going down hill around when Dr. Fate was introduced, because they had to explain Dr. Fate’s whole deal with Nabu which is mostly unchanged, only Nabu is more of a jerk than usual, and Khalid, Earth-2’s Dr. Fate, goes insane when the helmet is removed. They had to explain magic, and they introduced Wotan, and Yolanda who is the Avatar of the Red, which is animal based, and it’s just… a lot. And they also introduce Thomas Wayne Batman, no not Flashpoint Batman, though Earth-2’s pretty much the same. On this Earth-Thomas Wayne survived Joe Chill’s mugging and went into hiding, and it took Bruce years to find him, not long after the Trinity died to Apokolips, Thomas became Punis-I mean Batman. And yeah he’s basically just Flashpoint Batman minus Joker Martha. Also something I should bring up about Alan that really rubs me the wrong way is that they killed off his boyfriend in the third issue. Like, making the new Alan Scott gay? That’s cool, that’s a neat twist on things for him, and adds some representation with a big name superhero. But killing off his boyfriend right after he’s introduced is… iffy.
The designs of most of these reinvented heroes are… not the best, if I’m being honest. Like, Alan looks pretty cool, albeit he looks more like a traditional Green Lantern now and not as unique, Hawkgirl looks badass, as I mentioned Dr. Fate’s design is mostly unchanged as it should be, and then there’s…. Jay… Garrick. His design is the worst of the bunch, it’s just so… ugly.
It’s trying so hard to modernize Jay’s classic design but it just… can’t do it. It doesn’t work. Especially that helmet. Now Val-Zod on the other hand, now that is a BADASS Superman suit.
Brutaal. Just… Brutaal
One idea that I loved the concept of but did not care for was the “evil Trinity”. Basically over the course of the series there are new evil versions of the dead Trinity. There’s Thomas Wayne who isn’t evil but he’s a jerk. There’s Fury, Wonder Woman’s daughter taken by Apokolips. And Brutaal, an evil clone of Superman. Brutaal is where a lot of the potential for this series started dying. He represents all the bad parts of the Ultimate Universe-like concept, brutality, over the top violence, edginess for the sake of being edgy. He’s this world’s Bizarro as his final moments reveal, only he has none of the things that make Bizarro cool. At least his death was kinda cool with Red Tornado Lois literally blowing him away as he turns to dust.
Alright this has gone on long enough. Like I said, this was basically DC’s Ultimate Universe for the JSA now that they’re no longer a part of the main universe. The main problem is that it’s one book trying to tell like 12 people’s stories at once and it just can’t do it. I didn’t even mention Power Girl and Huntress who are in the first issue before getting sent to the main Earth during the final battle, or Steppenwolf being there at one point, or how it all ends with Earth-2 just getting destroyed, leading into Futures End and Convergence, 2 of the worst books DC has ever put out in their 80 years of publication (but that’s a story for another time, hopefully not though, those books ******** suck). And much like the Ultimate Universe, this series had a lot of potential that it unfortunately just never reached. Now with Doomsday Clock finally finished, the original JSA and the Legion of Superheroes have been restored to DC canon, so there’s maybe a chance that the JSA and the Wonders of the World meet someday (assuming that didn’t already happen in Convergence, like I said, that story suuuuucks).