Say…it’s Wednesday! That means it’s time to check out…
So today, I bought a single western comic and a manga volume it feels like I’ve been waiting forever to get, so let’s start off with Earth 2 Annual #1.
Despite what the cover would suggest, this book is not solely about the new Batman. Instead, during the first half of the book, we catch up on The Atom, Al Pratt, as well as taking a look at his survivor’s guilt that he’s going through. He goes on a mission where he allows himself to be captured so that he can have a chase in giant form after a criminal, Henri Roy, piloting a giant robot through the streets of Phnom Penh, all the while wishing Captain Steel could be here instead. Thanks to a little help from the new Batman, who was creeping in the shadows nearby, Pratt loses his own pursuers and brings down Roy, who was sold out by his son, Henri Roy, Jr.
Back with Batman, we seem him in Colmenar Viejo 72 hours later, fighting a supervillain named Mister Icicle, who is either Earth 2 Mister Freeze, meaning James Robinson is really taking this ruling of his to not have an active character on Prime Earth appear in Earth 2, or he’s a revised Icicle. Batman manages to bring him down and interrogate him for some info regarding his boss, Kanto the Assassin of Apokolips, before…um, I’m not sure if he just knocked him out with those close-range explosives or if he just straight up murdered this guy. And before you say it, yes, I know the Golden Age Batman killed people, and so it would technically match up if Earth 2 Batman’s replacement did so, but my own modern views on who and what Batman should be just screams in the back of my head “BATMAN DOESN’T KILL PEOPLE!”. Other than that, I have a suspicion that this Batman might be Jean-Paul Valley, but not 100% sure.
And finally, in the last few pages, we see Mister Miracle and Big fucking Barda cleaning up monsters in the ruins of Gotham City, looking for the new Batman. Seems Big Barda has actually gotten to enjoying fighting giant monsters, and is not looking forward to going against Steppenwolf again, but it seems she’s not getting a choice in the matter, as Fury decides to jump her from behind. Overall, awesome stuff, which makes me all the more sad that James Robinson is leaving the book in a few months. 😦
Yugioh 5D’s Volume 4. Yes, I collect this manga series. Yes, I loved the show. Sure, the card games on motorcycles was kinda weird, but the characterization was great, the stories were engaging, and here is no different, except that they removed Speed Spells (thank goodness) and made it more like a race. In fact, if you read my Sonic 5D’s fanfic (that I will EVENTUALLY get back to, really), you’ll see the Duels are based a lot on how they work in the manga.
Anyway, in this volume, we see that Yusei Fudo is trying to win the tournament he’s in while also trying to save his friend, Sect, who has fallen under a dark power. To do this, he realises he must obtain the very same type of card Sect received: A Duel Dragon. Naturally, the Jewel Flare Dragon Stardust is a dead ringer for Stardust Dragon, only it’s LIGHT Attribute and has a different effect. In the end, Jack and Kalin begin their duel, only for them both to wind up with their Duel Dragons out on the field at the same time, giving us just enough action for us to want to see more, and then leave us hanging until November…dicks. lol
Anyway, that’s all for today. Next week, we once again travel to Earth 2 to see Captain Steel traverse the Fire Pits, we follow The Movement in their battle against the Coral City Police force, and Harper Row gets in on the action in Detective Comics. Ja né!
- James Robinson Exits “Earth 2,” Leaves DC Comics (comicbookresources.com)
- Who Is The New Batman? (geek-news.mtv.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Say Hello to Batman in DC’s “Earth 2 Annual” #1 (nerdist.com)
So with the past few Earth 2 issues being the introduction of Doctor Fate to the heroes, I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the Justice Society of America, or JSA for short. People that have only been reading comics since the reboot or are otherwise limited on comic book history may have no idea what the JSA is, so allow me to put it in very basic terms: The Justice Society of America is the original superhero team. Period. Before the Justice League, there was the JSA. As such, pretty much every single superhero team, be they the JLA, the Teen Titans, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, whomever, they all owe their existence to this team.
First appearing in All-Star Comics #3, the original founding members were Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Hourman (Rex Tyler), and The Atom (Al Pratt). Notice something interesting about that team? No Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. Now, they joined eventually, but even then there were issues regarding their involvement and how much they could be shown.
As time went on and various changes were made to the backstories of DC characters, and the creation of characters like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, it was eventually revealed that the JSA and the Golden Age heroes that made up the team were of Earth 2, an alternate Earth within the Multiverse. Meanwhile, the JLA was composed of heroes from Earth 1, then New Earth after Crisis on Infinite Earths, and now Prime Earth after Flashpoint. But through all that, the JSA has (for the most part) consisted of Earth 2 heroes.
With the reboot, much of DC’s past was altered or flat-out erased, meaning the Golden Age heroes and the JSA were no longer in canon…That is, until May 2012, where Earth 2 got its own book. The story has actually presented several interesting spins on previous stories. First off, Earth 2’s heroes were initially the Wonders of the World, made up of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Robin, Catwoman, an unnamed hero, and Mr. 8 (Terrance Sloan). However, as battles against the forces of Darkseid went on, Catwoman was murdered, and in the final battle, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all killed, with Supergirl and Robin getting lost in a boom tube and sent to Prime Earth, where they’ve since become Power Girl and Huntress. This massive sacrifice saved the world. A few years later, however, the world is threatened again, and now new heroes have to step up.
Apparently the group, when they finally become a group, will drop the America and just be known as the Justice Society, but like hell if I won’t call it the JSA for short anyway. So, with that said, let’s take a look at the heroes who have appeared so far who will likely form the JSA when the time comes.
Easily my favourite Green Lantern active currently, Alan Scott is an openly gay media mogul (and no, not in the I’m Super way, grow up) who dedicated his work to the Wonders. Like his Golden Age counterpart, Alan gains his powers following a train explosion. What’s different is that he himself was on the train with his fiancée, Sam. Also, in the original version, the power came from a green flame that fell to Earth as a meteor. In this version, the green flame is crafted from The Green, having chosen Alan to be The Green’s champion. The green flame can take any form that Alan can imagine, focused through the engagement ring he used to propose to Sam. In addition, his strength is heavily enhanced, and he is granted the power of flight.
Being a fan of the Justice League cartoon, it’s always a treat to see Hawkgirl. During an expedition to Egyptian ruins in search of Nabu’s tomb, an incident caused a pair of wings to be permanently grafted to her back. She is currently hunted by the World Army, who seek to capture her for…um, reasons. It’s not completely clear why. Anyway, she’s a master of various firearms, be they pistols, crossbows, or even rocket launchers. Personally, I prefer not to see my DC superheroes using guns, but considering the first major enemy of the group was Solomon Grundy, I’m not gonna make too big a deal.
No longer does he just resemble Mercury, the New 52 Jay Garrick was actually granted his speed by the Roman God, who was the last of the Gods to survive the battle against Darkseid’s forces. Jay lacks confidence and control of his powers, and thus occasionally makes mistakes. However, he nonetheless strives to be a hero, using his super speed to out-move his opponents, as well as enhanced speed healing to recover from wounds inflicted should he get careless.
The survivor of an atomic blast, Al Pratt has become The Atom, able to alter his size however he chooses. He is a sergeant in the World Army, and obviously one of their most dangerous soldiers. In addition to his size changing powers, he also comes complete with an atomic punch, effectively making his punches minor atomic blasts.
Not much is known about this version of Red Tornado, other than that she (yes, SHE) is an android that the government has yet to manage to get to work. If she functions anything like previous versions of the character, we can expect that this Red Tornado will have the ability to generate winds strong enough to get her flying, enhance speed, and create storms.
A close associate of Hawkgirl’s, Khalid Ben-Hassin was hired to find Nabu’s tomb. While Kendra was grafted with wings, Khalid found the Helmet of Fate, which houses the very essence of Nabu along with his powers. This has the backlash effect of leaving Khalid in temporary bouts of insanity after removing it, though. He sought to keep the helmet far away from anyone, sending it to the Tower of Fate, but was forced to find it again. Inspired by Flash’s actions, Khalid made the choice to use the helmet, becoming Doctor Fate. He now possesses Nabu’s mastery over magic, including astral projections, teleportation, telepathy, phasing, telekinesis, and MUCH more.
Again, not much known about the New 52 versions of these two. All that’s known is that they’re currently in the ruined city of Gotham, on the run from Steppenwolf. I do see that Big fucking Barda has her Mega-Rod, which packs enough power to leave even Superman reeling. Other than that, I would expect Big Barda to retain her superhuman strength and endurance, and Mister Miracle to keep his Batman-levels of equipment and gadgets and his escapology skills that even Calvin Rose can’t measure up to.
Now this guy is a HUGE mystery. NOBODY knows who the new Batman is. There has been speculation, though. We know that it’s someone important to the Batman mythos, but that it’s likely not anyone currently active on Prime Earth. So with that in mind, my guess is that it could only be…
Okay, for realsies, I’m thinking it’s Jean-Paul Valley. Think about it, when the mainstream Batman went down with a broken back and couldn’t continue as Batman for a while, he had already made plans for Valley to replace him. It only makes sense that the Earth 2 version of Batman would make similar plans should something happen to himself and to Helena.
Anyway, I think that covers everybody so far. Here’s hoping plenty more awesome heroes of the olden days show up to join the eventual reformed JSA. Ja né!
- ArtsBeat: Graphic Books Best Sellers: ‘Earth 2’ at No. 1 (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- NICOLA SCOTT Redesigning Superhero Life On EARTH 2 (newsarama.com)
- BREAKING NEWS – Green Lantern is Gay (costumesupercenter.com)
- Interview: James Robinson (Still Won’t Tell Us) Who Is The Batman Of ‘Earth 2’ (geek-news.mtv.com)
- ECCC: Secret Origins with James Robinson (comicbookresources.com)