Manufacturing Multiversal Appeal ( Earth 2 and World’s Finest)
Though the cynical comic book fans out there have been saying that it was for sales – and thus a failure given the current return to a status quo – DC have insisted that they went through the recent reboot to simplify their series of superhero titles, the complexities of continuity too much for new and novice readers. The direction that they are taking this second wave of titles – replacements for those that floundered commercially – would seem though to subvert this message, for they bring with them a return to that very state of cross-series serialization that the company was trying to clean off its slate by splitting DC’s precious, pristine New U into Earth One and Earth Two.
On the surface then it seems a strange step to take this early on in the game, however upon reading both of the books that explore this extra-dimension I realized that it actually makes a whole lot of sense. See, summoning a new world into existence is almost a reboot into itself, it’s another opportunity to start at the first stage and find a new audience; they’re letting us into the labyrinth of alternate worlds on the ground floor and for a new fan like me – one who would love to hear this stories, if only i were able to follow them – that is actually a fantastic thing.
Of the two books the aptly titled Earth 2 is the trunk title of the newer U, the spine of what is sure to be a whole new series of books, while World’s Finest – the title now a nice pun as the ‘world’ in question is a different one altogether – will serve as the connective tissue to our own U. Both have heavy structural roles to play in the arch-narrative, strange then that neither of them are safe or standard first issues, both take big risks and move at a most rapid pace; they let you in but expect you to keep up.
E2 for example starts at the finale of a last arc; we watch as their world is very nearly destroyed and their versions of our heroes slaughtered. Earth 2 is essentially then an action epic in the true sense of the term; Nicola Scott packs every page and panel with a ridiculous amount of detail, her battles are not representative, we don’t see one alien that stands in for one hundred but the whole damn battalion as they charge. Where the story goes from here I have no idea. I do wish that they would have hinted but the intrigue is interesting enough on its own.
While the world of this book is barely different from our own at this stage – their heroes changed only cosmetically from those that we know – there were two that caught my eye: Robin and Supergirl. While Supergirl seems much the same – I wouldn’t really know as I haven’t read her before – the Robin here is not only a woman but the daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle and that heritage combined with her unique character made her one of the best things in the book. Unfourtunately though they won’t be in this book anymore and that’s because they are sent through to our Earth to star in World’s Finest.
WF is another book that starts in fast forward, we enter literally five years after their mysterious teleportation. Pacing aside though this is the much quieter book and as such I preferred it; E2 is all plot but Finest finds the time to simply let its characters live. Normally Huntress and Power Girl aren’t characters that I care anything about but these iterations are excellent and so this extra time is essential.
Robin/Huntress has elements of both her parents; she’s sly, sexy and has a strong wit but she is also sort of shy, she seems reserved, only opening up when alongside her more precocious girlfriend. Supergirl/Power Girl on the other hand is extroverted and displays a charming confidence and self assuredness without ever coming across as cocky. Together they click, bringing out the best in one another. The story arc of this series is a little more predictable but thats perfectly fine since their relationship is at the core of the comic thus far and the superheroics are secondary as they well should be.
Marvel has had some success recently serialising their films, the recent release of The Avengers the culmination of this, and it feels as if DC are doing something similar here and Earth 2 is their Avengers. To truly follow this story you need to be reading all of the books, they tie into each other intricately; there is even a callback in the first Finest to the second issue of Earth 2, a comic that won’t even be released until next month! Then on the final page Finest goes and links itself to Dial H, creating yet another connection. As someone who enjoyed spotting the Easter Eggs in the Marvel movies I find this all very charming at this early, whether or not it will end up tiring or too much to take I don’t know, but I’m along for the ride until then and can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t be.