"Earth 2" is a phrase at DC Comics that holds a great deal of import, something that James Robinson and Nicola Scott certainly knew when they began to tackle this comic. Back in the day it was the parallel world where the older Justice Society of America characters still lived, characters that are no longer around in the re-launched DC Universe. "Earth 2" #1 steps forward to try and fill that gap with a new parallel world where the Justice Society characters are alive and well... only in this case, like most of DC Comics now, it's a re-launch of those characters too.
"Earth 2" opens with a "five years earlier" jump into the past, in what at first looks to simply be a world where Geoff Johns's and Jim Lee's "Justice League" #1-6 went horribly wrong for the heroes with only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman left to fight off the hordes of Apokolips. Robinson plays out that confusion well, waiting until almost a quarter of the way through before we meet Batman's daughter Huntress and we get the first inkling that no, this is a very different world indeed.
What you might not expect even more, though, is that "Earth 2" #1 is set almost entirely in the past. It's around the two-thirds mark that we finally see the battle against Apokolips come to an end and it's only then that we can start meeting the first cast members of "Earth 2." With seven pages introducing three main characters (and two of them only get one page each), it's the one big weak point of "Earth 2." Robinson spends so much time explaining what happened to the familiar heroes of the main DC Universe that there's barely any time to learn about the characters that we're going to read about in "Earth 2" #2 and beyond.
I am delighted to see more art from Scott, whose absence from a monthly series at DC had been noted at the start of the re-launch. Some of that time was clearly spent on drawing the Earth/Apokolips war scenes, with dozens of parademons and mass destruction on almost every page. Once the dust settles, though, Scott gives us a clean-cut, iconic look for her characters. It's rather fitting for the "Earth 2" cast, and it serves as a nice contrast to what we have in the first two-thirds of the comic. Scott's art has been missed on a monthly basis by many (including myself), and it's great to see her back.
"Earth 2" isn't off to a bad start, but it does make me wish that we'd had a little less of the history lesson (for characters doomed from the start, no less) and more of the main characters of the title. It's good enough to read a second issue, but hopefully the pace will pick up a bit more there.