Reviewing Earth 2 #2 — AKA The Gay Green Lantern Issue

By Todd Allen

earth2 2 Reviewing Earth 2 #2    AKA The Gay Green Lantern IssueThe promised emergence of a gay Green Lantern in the second issue of Earth 2 has been the big news for a couple weeks, except there’s not actually a Green Lantern in this issue.  Oh, hype machine, you were just a hair off-target.  If you plan on reading the issue and haven’t, spoiler space follows….

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That should be enough space.

So, when last we left Earth 2, Superman and Wonder Woman got killed holding off Parademons as Batmen completed a suicide mission to destroy the portals from Apokolypse to Earth, while Supergirl (Power Girl) and Huntress (Robin) got transported to what DC would normally call Earth-1, but can’t because that’s what the new graphic novels are called.  Meanwhile a hapless college student named Jay Garrick find the Roman god Mercury crashed to Earth.

Yes, the first issue was largely set-up.  Guess what, the second issue is mostly setup, too.

Mr. Terrific from the comic that just got cancelled in the “regular” universe pops up on Earth 2 and is confronted by Terry Sloan.  Terry Sloan is the name of the Golden Age Mr. Terrifc, so you’ve got a bit of an Easter egg there, but I haven’t the foggiest idea why Mr. Terrific is dimension hopping.

Jay Garrick is gifted the speed of Mercury before the god dies and warned of both a conspiracy and a force worse than Apokolypse.  So the Flash is born, though he’s not actually called Flash yet.  The origin of the name “Flash” is set up, however.

The yet-unnamed Flash also runs into a new super-heroine who wasn’t advertised as part of the relaunch.

But you were buying this book for Green Lantern?  There’s no Green Lantern is this comic.  Alan Scott, the man who will become Green Lantern is in the book.  We learn he has a boyfriend.  In fact, he and his boyfriend go on a train ride.  Yes, there is a panel of a train coming out of a tunnel, for those of you into film symbolism.  Scott produces a ring to propose marriage to his man… and the train explodes.

Now, you could take an exploding train a lot of different ways… however, since the wedding ring was on panel just before the explosion, I have a suspicion that Green Lantern’s ring will be that wedding ring transformed by… whatever it is that powers it.  In the original origin that’s a magic green flame contained in a lamp that was reformed into a lantern.  If you want to have Green Lantern become an angry, motivated avenging figure… the weapon being the transformed wedding ring of his dead fiance (are you technically a fiance if you get blown up before saying yes?) would fit the bill nicely.

Then again, we don’t know that the fiance is dead.

So where are we with Earth 2?  We’re still firmly in “setting the table” mode.  Next issue will introduce Green Lantern.

It’s still enjoyable set-up, but things are proceeding at a fairly slow, if deliberate pace.

Pluses:

  • For all the hype around this issue, I cannot believe that a gay Alan Scott/Green Lantern was conceived as a publicity stunt.  The Alan Scott character is being established prior to his origin.  The big Green Lantern issue was solicited as issue #3.  There is no Green Lantern in #2.  It’s bad enough you’re having a press conference that Green Lantern is revealed as gay, but he’s not in costume at all.  No, in this case, Green Lantern is revealed as gay and he doesn’t even become Green Lantern until next month.  The hype is exceedingly silly.  This would be a very odd comic to pick up cold.
  • That ridiculous cover image of the new Flash costume is just a poor rendering of it.  Particularly the helmet.  On the inside, the visor is less obnoxious and there are a variant of the traditional Jay Garrick wings on the helmet.  While there is a trail of energy behind them, they sure don’t look like Ant-Man/Giant Man’s antennae, like they do on the cover.  I’m not saying it’s the best costume design I’ve ever seen, but the cover sure isn’t the image I would have used to promote it.

For all the slowness, Robinson and Scott are putting a lot of pieces on the playing board for this series.  I can appreciate what they’re doing and that they’re taking time to develop characters, but I’d really like the actual plot to start picking up soon.  I’m starting to get a “wait for the trade” feeling on this one.

So far, so good, but the jury’s still out until the players are all revealed and we know where this is going.

Comments

  1. I buy most of my DC stories as trades as they work better that way. Sometimes I wonder if the editors and writers at DC think that way too.

  2. Mikael says:

    Fixed: I buy most of my DC stories as trades as they work better that way “for me”.

    I have no problem reading them month to month.

  3. I think your comments re: “the hype” are telling. It’s clear from reading the issue, interviews with Robinson, and the production timetable that no one involved in the creation of Earth 2 intended Alan Scott’s homosexuality as a PR stunt. The hype was manufactured by the blogosphere and DC tried to harness that.

  4. Earth 2 is what the DCnU should have been; rebuilding the DCU for the 21st century. Both James and Nicola are competent storytellers and they will continue to get my $2.99 a month. It’s the only DC book I pick up now.

    And what big two comic isn’t written for the trade?

    You’d think with 7200 Green Lanterns a few would be gay.

  5. Todd Allen says:

    @RJT – I think the hype comes from Dan DiDio blurting it out (or a version of it) when he was in trouble on a panel. Rich Johnston grabbed it and ran with it, then it snowballed into a press conference. DiDio doesn’t blurt out the teaser, none of this hype hits. Even if Rich wasn’t there, this would have bubbled up. DC doing a gay hero is news inside the industry. When they had a mainstream press conference about their Iconic Hero… who’s in an alternate universe… that’s when the hype got silly.

  6. Nick Jones says:

    “You’d think with 7200 Green Lanterns a few would be gay.”

    Considering that most Green Lanterns are aliens, “gay” would realistically be a meaningless concept for a lot of them. I’d rather see an exploration of species that have multiple sexes, have one sex procreating through parthenogenesis, are omnisexual, or something else outside of human experience instead of just lazily slapping our own system of sex and gender onto aliens.

  7. I agree with RJT. This was not conceived as a PR stunt. DiDio was responding to a specific question, national media picked up on it, and DC ran with it after the fact. They would have been foolish not to. Was DiDio supposed to not answer the question honestly? He often answers questions at panels with vague answers teasing upcoming books. His answer to this question was really no different from many other answers he’s given over the years.

  8. CagedLeo730 says:

    DC had a press conference about Alan Scott? When did that happen? You mean press coverage, right? No TV announcements on The View. No “Save the Date”. No “I’m Gay!” variant covers.

  9. Todd Allen says:

    My impression is the blogosphere picked up on it and then DC pushed the news into the mainstream media. It seems partially a reaction to the Northstar news breaking. Take advantage of it? Sure. But what it was vs. what the hype was are two different things. Especially since there’s no Green Lantern in the actual book.

  10. “Considering that most Green Lanterns are aliens, “gay” would realistically be a meaningless concept for a lot of them …”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starman_(comics)#Mikaal_Tomas

  11. joe.distort says:

    ‘Yes, the first issue was largely set-up. Guess what, the second issue is mostly setup, too.’

    and this is why i droppped almost all of these mainline DC books.

  12. >For all the slowness, Robinson and Scott >are putting a lot of pieces on the playing >board for this series. I can appreciate >what they’re doing and that they’re taking >time to develop characters, but I’d really >like the actual plot to start picking up >soon.

    The set-up and slow plot buildup reminds me a lot of JMS’ SUPREME POWER series of several years ago. With each issue, you were introduced to a new character in the ever-expanding cast, or learned a little bit more about previously introduced characters.

    I don’t mind the slow rollout, just as long as each issue can relatively stand on its own, while also contributing to knitting together an overall tapestry, with threads to be picked up later (to kill a metaphor).

    Each issue of SUPREME POWER felt like a satisfying read when I got to the end, and I get that same feeling so far from issues #1 and 2 of EARTH-2.

  13. wake me when Wildcat shows up in this book.

  14. >wake me when Wildcat shows up in this book.

    There was a Wildcat Easter egg in issue #2 (two Wildcat Easter eggs, kind of). ; )

  15. I love this book. It’s so easter-eggy.

  16. reading the review makes it sound like a decent book but since it’s sold out everywhere I’m gonna have to wait for the trade. So really if there are no copies sitting on the shelves for people to pick up later does the media blitz really help the book in the long run?

  17. Josh – When you say “sold out everywhere” I assume you mean “sold out among my LCSs”. We have plenty of copies and none of the retailers I talk to have sold out.

  18. Josh – I just saw the announcement that Earth Two #1 & 2 are sold out, hence your comment, but that’s just from DC and Diamond.

  19. Well, there’s always digital. You can catch up right now.

  20. I just hopped onto digital in the past 6 months and I love it. No more having to worry about sold-out books! Digital comics are never sold out!

  21. Jesse says:

    How can you get past the awful flash helmet…. god the character designs.

  22. GaryArmstrong says:

    Todd AllenI think the hype comes from Dan DiDio blurting it out (or a version of it) when he was in trouble on a panel. Rich Johnston grabbed it and ran with it, then it snowballed into a press conference. DiDio doesn’t blurt out the teaser, none of this hype hits.

    Todd: read the original piece of coverage again; when asked Dan Didio said he had thought that it was already covered that a gay character would be appearing; when someone, i believe bob wayne, said it hadnt been mentioned yet. he then reitereated their changed position.

    hardly a press conference, and if it was intended to be they certainly would’ve put him on the cover

  23. Todd Allen says:

    Gary: That’s not what I’m talking about at all. After the convention, DC started talking about this to the mainstream media.

  24. 2 Issues in and I still say this is by far a better and more interesting reboot of the DC Universe than the new 52 is. I care more about Jay Garrick in 2 Issues than I do the new Barry Allen in 10, with 10 issues of JLA on top of it. Keep it up!

  25. @Todd Allen “Gary: That’s not what I’m talking about at all. After the convention, DC started talking about this to the mainstream media.”

    Then perhaps your piece should say “I cannot believe that a gay Alan Scott/Green Lantern was turned into a publicity stunt” as opposed to “conceived as a publicity stunt.”

    DC only started talking to mainstream media after it was picked up by the mainstream media from Bleeding Cool. DC’s first blog post about it (two days after BC ran their story) lists and links every news organization that published a story about it (except BC), most citing the BC story as their source. I don’t think they have received this level of media attention since the inception of the New 52. Of course they’re going to capitalize on it.

    Also, it’s pretty known at this point that DC doesn’t care for BC, so they probably wanted to funnel the attention of their character back to them and away from BC.

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