Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Earth 2 #2

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Nicola Scott
Company: DC Comics

To get it out of the way, as this cover, when it was first solicited, bugged me. The design for the new Jay Garrick felt overdone and not as sleek as a speedster should. I will now travel back in time to 3 months ago and smack myself with a Iron Gauntlet, as in practice, the design works. The helmet still throws me a bit, as the Mercury Helmet has been the one defining attribute for the character for so many years, but Scott's look gets put through its paces and doesn't flinch.

Now that that is out of the way, let's talk story. Robinson amps up the fun and cool factors with this second issue, which in many ways one-ups the first. Serious and clever, the story here focuses mainly on
the creation of this world's Flash. Robinson's Garrick is a very approachable character. The self doubt that he feels is something that a lot of people can relate to and in making him our eyes and ears for this new and ever changing world seems like an apt choice. The way that he gains his powers here, in a lot of ways, is reminiscent to how Hal Jordan originally got his ring. Jay meets this Alien/God and is asked to take up power for the betterment of mankind, to shield it from an oncoming darkness. It's a great scene and the dialogue isn't cheesy.

In fact, the dialogue throughout feels genuine and never strays into the cornball area that can sometimes happen. Robinson's dose of realism melds perfectly with the more superhero aspects, especially in the handling of Alan Scott and his love interest. The relationship isn't overdone or feel like a stunt. It feels human. Another writing tool that Robinson puts to good use is the classic "info dump." Used poorly and such a thing can slog and pull down a book's momentum, but when used well, it really makes a title sing. The splash page of Earth 2's New York City is chalk full of crunchy information to take in and creates a rich background that also plants seeds for potential story items down the road. It's a great scene that is beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful, that's a word that I might use to describe Nicola Scott's artwork. Her line work straddles that imaginary line of detailed/hyper detailed, but never strays into the land of so detailed that it becomes distracting to the story that's being told. In that regard, she and Robinson really have a good vibe going. The pacing that they've set it methodical and character driven, yet it always zooms forward. Scott's pencils remind me a little of George Perez in many ways. Her handling of Jay Garrick's powers definitely stand out here though, giving him not simply super speed, but allowing his movements to feel almost more gymnastic based. It's a great visual, and certainly one that is not regularly associated with The Flash.

Robinson and Scott bring the excitement. This is a new world, a new sandbox to play in, and there doesn't seem to be any rules that are set in stone. That's an exciting prospect for a creator and so far, it's definitely working to their advantage.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this issue as well, like you, even better than the first one. I'm with you on the costume, I like it a lot, sharp and dynamic, but miss the old helmet. That said, the new helmet, might grow on me.
    Loved the pacing of the issue, everything that went down was interesting, which was no small part do to the Scott's dynamic visuals.
    One part where we might differ is I was not quite as sold by Alan Scott's relationship, I thought the love interest's introduction was a little clumsy, too much of the all together overused, wife/girlfriend wanting to spend more time with busy hero trope, but cast with a male. That said, I didn't not think it was terrible and it was just one scene, I'm just hoping that the cliffhanger doesn't lead where it seems it might, cause that one's been overdone too.