Monday, July 13, 2015

Earth 2: Society #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

If you read the sneak peek that appeared in late May, then you're probably as confused as I am.  In the pages contained in that issue, we saw a team composed of Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Power Girl rush to prevent the Huntress, Jimmy Olsen (now called Dr. Impossible), and the Red Arrow from activating the Genesis Machine, using it to wipe clean the life on New Earth 2 and replace it with lifeforms that existed on the original Earth 2.  However, this issue covers a time well before that confrontation happens.

Instead, this issue focuses mostly on the time after planetfall.  With Telos and his influence over the world gone, Dick Grayson finds himself paralyzed again.  From his viewpoint on the newly terraformed New Earth 2, he watches the twelve ships that fled the original Earth 2 arrive, thanks to the message sent to them from Green Lantern at the end of "Convergence" #8.  However, they weren't meant to land, meaning that they crash into the planet.  Terry Sloan, on TSS Overwatch-One, narrates that the people that survive this crash landing will form twelve different cities, to be ruled by the "Overwatch-One."

In the present, a year after planetfall, it doesn't appear this plan is going so well.  Gotham is the same den of scum and villainy that it was on Earth 2, with Batman noting to himself that every ship carries some rats.  He's in pursuit of Sloan, but he's got to fend off his own (unidentified) pursuers.  We also learn that Dick hasn't found his son yet, since he pauses in his pursuit to see if a kid getting mugged by two men is his son.  Meanwhile, someone named Johnny Sorrow is also after Sloan.  Sorrow tries to grab Sloan, but Batman intervenes, announcing that Sloan is wanted for "crimes against society."  Sloan notes that he is Overwatch-One, but tells Batman that Overwatch has been compromised.  He uses a rocketpack to flee, but not before he asks Batman if "he" sent him.  Failing to capture him, Batman wonders who possibly could have scared Sloan so badly.

Despite deviating from the sneak-peak story, this issue is a solid enough start.  It doesn't blow your mind or anything, but it does a good job of establishing the current status quo without answering so many questions that you feel like you have nothing left to .  We still don't know how Dick has regained use of his legs or where the other heroes are.  (All we learned in the sneak peak was that Val appears to have retired.)  We get a hint that Alan has lost his humanity.  It's clear that the politics of New Earth 2 are complicated, but we're going to have to wait to get more information.

But, I actually have high hopes for Wilson answering those questions.  The Apokolips storyline dominated virtually the entire run of "Earth 2;" I actually have problems remembering the stories not related in some way to Darkseid.  In that way, this series actually feels like the first time that we're really engaging with these characters on their own terms.  It's almost like the last series didn't happen.  Given how that series started with an amazing burst of creativity but ended with a depressing jumble of chaos, maybe it's not a bad thing to view the past as the past.  In other words, I'm hoping that this issue is the fresh start that we need to enjoy this setting in the way that it was originally intended.  I'm going to dare to hope.

*** (three of five stars)

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