"Earth 2" #2 is getting a little bit of attention due to the much-anticipated introduction of a gay superhero, but due to all of the sensationalism, what people are overlooking here is the world-building James Robinson performs throughout the entire issue. Alan Scott appears on four pages for a total of seventeen panels. We learn he's in a semi-committed relationship with a young man named Sam, who -- like Alan Scott -- is a successful businessman. Beyond that, Alan Scott is still being defined, much like Jay Garrick was at the end of "Earth 2" #1.
Speaking of Jay Garrick, the character gets to dazzle readers in the spotlight of this issue. Questioning his future, Jay is given a chance to forge his own destiny in the form of miraculous powers that give him extreme speed. He shows off a bit in this issue as Robinson crawls into Garrick's head, allowing the reader to revel in the newfound abilities (and outfit) right alongside Garrick. In the hands of other writers, this could collapse or come across as way too hokey, but Robinson has positioned Garrick in such a manner as to make a seemingly logical transition and a certainly entertaining adventure. It's equal parts Percy Jackson and Dash from "The Incredibles" filtered through Robinson's writing.
Nicola Scott answers the call to visually distinguish Garrick from the myriad Flash characters that have come before and she does so in a manner evoking portions of the uniforms worn by John Fox, Jay Garrick and Bart Allen Impulse. Trevor Scott's capable inks help solidify Nicola's art for this story and colorists Alex Sinclair and Pete Pantazis drench the interiors in wonderfully bombastic yet traditionally heroic shades from the bright red of Flash's top to the vivid green of Alan Scott's polo shirt. The dust rising from the crater Garrick encounters is almost tangible and the lightning that crackles around him when he utilizes his powers is nearly audible.
Anchored by solid lettering from Carlos M. Mangual, the entire creative team here adds to the expanding new mythology of the emerging Wonders of Earth 2. The first scene, which spans four pages, reintroduces Michael Holt, who happens to meet Terry Sloan. We're also treated to hints of Ted Grant and Tylerchem (or Tyler-Chem) with even more teases sharp-eyed fans are certain to discover. The rest of "Earth 2" #2's journey covers East Lansing (Michigan), Hong Kong and Poland, introducing the reader to the notion of Apokorats, the ongoing threat of Steppenwolf and a winged wonder armed to the tips of her feathers in Poland.
Taken in the context of Marvel's supremely-hyped Northstar story, the Alan Scott segment has more gained publicity than it probably deserves, but in reality it is just as understated as the introduction of Mikaal Tomas during Robinson's critically-acclaimed "Starman" run. Alan Scott just happens to be gay, just as Mikaal is. Mikaal was not solely defined by his sexual orientation and apparently Alan Scott won't be either. Where Scott's story goes from here is anyone's guess, at least until next month. I'll be checking in to see what happens to Alan following this issue's cliffhanger, but I'll also be coming back to meet newly re-imagined characters and concepts and to further marvel in James Robinson's and Nicola Scott's construction project.
Of the recently released "Second Wave" from DC, I was ambivalent about this title. I'm keen to the creative team, but the heroes I grew up with were the Justice League, not their Earth 2 counterparts. Sure, I enjoy a good Justice Society adventure or All-Star Squadron tale, but my preference steered towards "my" Earth. With this book, however, Robinson and Scott celebrate the building of the world, giving both long-term and new readers just cause and ample opportunity to join in along the way.