SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Earth 2” #1, in stores now.
After months of mystery and fan speculation, DC Comics’ “Earth 2” finally hit stores this week, and the title’s debut issue closes with a massive hole in the alternate world, both literally and figuratively.
In a two-page spread by series artist Nicola Scott, Alan Scott looks down upon a massive crater at an undisclosed location from his corporate jet — the lingering result of an epic battle between the parademons of Apokolips and the now deceased DC Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
That’s right. Deceased. As in dead. “Earth 2” writer James Robinson, who re-imagined the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron once before in the Eisner Award-nominated “Golden Age,” obviously wasn’t lying when he told CBR News in March that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman played a very important part in “Earth 2.” He just forgot to mention that part only lasted one issue.
The absence of the Big 3 will not only drive the rise of new superheroes on Earth 2, most notably the title’s titanic triumvirate of Alan Scott (Green Lantern), Al Pratt (The Atom) and Jay Garrick as a massively rebooted Flash, it also results in Bruce Wayne’s daughter Helena (Robin) and Kal’s cousin Kara (Supergirl) unplanned exit from 2 via a some sort of boom tube only to resurface on Earth Prime in Paul Levitz’ “World’s Finest” as Huntress and Power Girl.
Robinson spoke with CBR News exclusively about the gigantic changes to the this new Earth 2’s landscape, sharing his always candid thoughts and his obvious passion and respect for the source material.
CBR News: The big news “breaking the Internet” today is that you killed Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in your first issue of “Earth 2.” Was that your choice or a DC Comics’ decision?
James Robinson: That was at premise that was arrived at. It was me rubbing my blood-stained hands yet again, enjoying killing characters. [Laughs]
The idea is Earth 2 is the world where they won the Apokolips War but it was at the cost of their three heroes. And now five years later, an even greater evil is destined to arrive on Earth 2 at some unspecified point in the future and a new group of heroes — without the guidance of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — have to form and become the epitome of what a hero is.
Alan Scott will step up and become, in his own way, the Superman of Earth 2 in terms of his power and in terms of the fact that he is going to stand and watch over the planet in Superman’s name.
Hawkgirl is going to rise to the occasion. Remembering back to the days that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were in “Detective Comics” and everything else, she is not only a kick ass warrior, she’s also the greatest detective of Earth 2.
This new team of heroes is going to fill the gaps of void that is left with the death of the Big 3. They rise to the occasion and they eventually become the Justice Society of America and save the world!
There is a physical hole as well — a massive crater — resulting from the battle with the parademons as shown in the closing pages of “Earth 2” #1.
There is more than one of those in the world, by the way. Shortly after this interview ends, I will have to reread the issue and submit to DC where we explain how those holes appeared and who caused them.
It’s the first issue and you and Nicola have wiped out half of the expected cast while Helena and Kara vanished via a boom tube, presumably to Earth Prime. Did you know you weren’t going to have these two characters when you landed the series or did their departure arrive organically? And was the Kara in “Mister Terrific” always your Karen, or did that come about later?
The Kara in “Mister Terrific” was always left very vague, in that DC didn’t reveal if she was Power Girl or a new character because we knew it all had to be revealed at the right time. I always knew that Power Girl and the Huntress were from Earth 2 from Day 1, and most people at DC knew this, too. I can’t believe we pulled this off, actually. We managed to keep all of this a secret. All the little leaks and all the little things that people find out and everything else, it’s amazing.
If you look back at all of my interviews, at no point do I ever lie and say, “Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are going to be in the book.” I always say, “They will be an inspiration in the book” or all of these other terms. And no one picked up on it. I didn’t want to lie about it, but at the time, I didn’t want to reveal it. The fact that the whole thing with “World’s Finest” and Power Girl in “Mister Terrific,” we managed to keep all that to ourselves, I am actually quite surprised. And also quite pleased, obviously.
You’re right — you didn’t lie. You just didn’t say they would only be in the title under a single issue.
This is my point. They will be — even though they are dead, their legacy will live on and they will be a big part of the book. I just never said how they would be.
I love Al Pratt’s introduction, and the little we’ve seen of Alan Scott looks every bit as you’ve described him. But the real surprise is Jay Garrick’s new origin and his ties to the god Mercury, which in turn ties his character to the wonder Woman mythos.
One of the things that you are going to see about Earth 2 is that it’s not a magical place or a sorcerers’ world, but it does have a slightly metaphysical feel to it. Science doesn’t work exactly the same as it does on Earth Prime. With that in mind, I wanted his origin to have a slightly metaphysical element to it. And also, the only flaw with Jay Garrick in his entire career is that his origin of inhaling hard water is so vague and ill-defined, it must have been made up on the spot by the writer. This is the one thing that I’m changing; he actually gets a mantle passed to him by a dying god.
In a way, I like the fact that it almost mirrors, as a mythical version, the science fiction origin of how Hal Jordan got his powers from a dying Green Lantern. It’s sort of the same thing, but obviously with Jay Garrick, what makes him special is that he isn’t a cool test pilot that is born without fear like Hal Jordan — he’s a unsure 21-year old college graduate that is thrust into this amazing and fantastic world and has learn how to be a superhero over the first arc of our series.
“Earth 2” #1 by James Robinson, featuring art by Nicola Scott, is in stores now.