Artist Nicola Scott rejoins writer James Robinson on “Earth 2” #9, just in time to deliver a reunion between Jay Garrick and Al Pratt, which involves the giant-sized Pratt, powered up as Atom, smashing through the roof of Jay Garrick’s home. With that scene, Robinson reiterates once more, quite loudly, that this is not your father’s Justice Society of America comic book. This is Earth 2 and there are a whole different set of rules and characters running around.
Robinson introduces yet another one of those characters in the form of Khalid Ben-Hassin, who wields at least a portion of the power of Nabu. Khalid and Hawkgirl open up this issue with a discussion of what has been and what is to come. Robinson crafts a colleague-type relationship between the pair: they know each other, but given a choice might not necessarily want to spend time together. Khalid and Kendra are far from being adversarial, but they’re not super-close. As it turns out, we have met Khalid in previous issues and we learn of the cause in his behavioral upheaval from those appearances. In the course of the tale, Robinson gives us just enough information to tease what he has planed without being evasive. In doing so, the writer balances character development and action sequence nicely, which results in some significant changes and interesting subplots on the horizon. Robinson doesn’t fill “Earth 2” #9 with capes and cowls, but he does provide a nice array of human characters with major challenges in front of them.
Robinson’s meticulous depiction of the characters’ thoughts and words are equally matched and almost eclipsed by the stunning amount of detail that Nicola Scott composes on the page. Scott’s details of Hawkgirl’s hideout are mind-numbingly awesome, from the accouterments on the bookshelves to the weapons adorning her lair. Scott brings an equal amount of interest and flair to the art regardless of location. The crowds on the streets of Lansing, Michigan are just as important and detailed as the Halloween forest-like appearance of the bluffs of Nabu’s dark realm. Scott’s one bobble is that Jay Garrick — who is a college student — has an incredibly youthful looking mother. I have no gripes with that, but if I were relying solely on images to relate the story, I’d surmise that Jay’s scenes are with his sister or girlfriend instead of his mom. The colorists working with Scott do a nice job of staying unified throughout the issue, but the application of the color is unbalanced, coming off with soft applications of shading that look more like airbrush than shadow.
Robinson seems determined to pick up the pace of this next arc, but readers expecting to find a new Dr. Fate christened in “Earth 2” #9 are instead going to find a prolonged introduction to Nabu and Fate as they are reimagined in this post-relaunched DC Universe. This is, after all, a prologue to the “Tower of Fate” story where, presumably, we’ll meet Nabu in full persona and, hopefully, begin to realize the allegiances of the wonders of this new world.