Earth 2 #2
There it is and there it was, the kiss that had fired up such a furor in the fanboys comes and goes as if it were nothing, without fanfare. In theory I would say this was an ideal depiction, that treating the men’s embrace as mundane ( or at least as mundane as a man kissing a woman in the same situation would be ) ultimately makes for the more progressive step(That it is directly preceded by a racist Asian stereotype is either awesome humor or horrible hypocrisy depending on awareness). In practice however I’m not really sure if that threadbare approach was entirely intentional or if the scene was actually aiming for greater impact and missed.
Then again I’m also not really sure who the man that Alan Scott was kissing is or for that matter who this Alan Scott is, nor do I really know what either of them have to do with an alternate take on the Flash mythos or the besting of Wonder Man by Witty Man, let alone the massive battle of last month’s issue. There may well be a million mothers out there that are worried about whether this issue will confuse their child’s sexuality but me? I’m more concerned with how confusing it is narratively; It’s the plot closet that it has put me in.
I’m only just now getting an idea as to what Earth 2 is actually about, or at least I’m starting to form a theory; it will probably take another few months before I know for sure what it’s story really is, as ridiculous as that sounds. The epic action of its first issue was used to sweep the last game from the table – table-a rasa as it were – while this second installment starts setting up a new one, putting out new pieces for us to play with and a board for us to play with them on; but it only gets a part of the way, the result resembling more of a half-built puzzle than a board game.
That’s just a structure though, the actual story? So the usual superheroes are all dead and the world has lost not only its security ( and it seems the danger that they brought with them) but its entire sense of wonder with them. Though of course eventually a new enemy advances, one nefarious enough to necessitate fate reawakening the heroes hidden inside the people of this place; so we get the birth of a second wave of superheroes, starting with the Flash. His origin here is original, -Hermes, last of the living gods leaves him his power of speed as he lies dying down on Earth – but the character is a little too underdeveloped at this stage for me to say that I much care about the change, the characters’ and the comics’.
Similarly it is a different world in which he first finds himself acting heroically – as a number of illustrative cityscape splashes show us this is a world where Waynetech gets bought out, all powers are feared and rats are our number one enemy – but it’s not an instantly interesting one. Though it is certainly changed the place lacks a clear and compelling hook that expresses this, one really great idea to get us intrigued in all the little ones. Though maybe this is there and I just missed it, because again there are a few panels dedicated to describing the world but then that’s it, one of the five other plots takes over; there is simply too much going on elsewhere to give it the time required.
The book’s breaking point and premise are both the same exact thing: whereas other comics tell the tale of only a single person, this one is attempting to do the same for an entire planet. An admirable idea maybe, but a near impossible one to achieve, especially in the limited space of single issues. I often find month to month reading to be an unsatisfying way to experience a story, but here it is also an actively damaging one; Avatar wouldn’t have sold so well if it came out in minute long DVD’s and I daresay that this is the same basic thing.
So I’m dropping this book, but not because of quality: Scott’s art is still strong here – if not as noticeable without the hordes of horrors to depict – and Robinson seems to have a grand story planned for the series, I just plan on reading it in more reasonably sized chunks so that I can better see it for what it is meant to be, because this current format is crippling it. Piece by piece the puzzle of the plot is all going to come together, but I’m not going to be able to care about moments like the kiss or the cliffhanger that follows when the story comes in such small segments. I could never get the appeal of correspondence chess though either, so know that it is the pace of playing that I am quitting on and not the game. Now I patiently await the trade.