Earth 2: James Robinson, Nicola Scott, Eduardo Pansica, Trevor Scott, Sean Parsons, Alex Sinclair, Tony Avina, Travis Lanham, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis
We get another old hero reintroduced in this issue, and the rampage of an iconic villain, who gets a major overhaul on his character and motivation. In fact, both of these characters are pretty different, from what I know. Which one do I think improved from this change, and which suffers? Let’s find out.
The issue begins with the birth of Al Pratt’s powers. Now, those unfamiliar will not know that Al Pratt was the original hero called “The Atom,” and eventually joined the JSA. He actually didn’t have superpowers, but was just a short tough guy until he gained super-strength and radiation resistance. Still, even after becoming super-powered, he never had size-changing abilities. That was Ray Palmer. So, it looks like the New 52 Atom will be an amalgam of preboot characters Al Pratt, Ray Palmer, and Pratt’s son, Damage, Grant Emerson. This, I think, is pretty interesting, and a welcome change for the character.
Solomon Grundy makes his big debut in this issue as well. He looks pretty different than before, despite the dead, white skin, and is actually pretty sentient. Instead of being relatively brainless, and always spouting his nursery rhyme (which I always liked), he’s this universe’s Avatar of the Gray, which is this universe’s version of the Rot. He constantly shouts about the Jade Knight, and the Green Knight, in reference to the new Green Lantern…which is apparently this universe’s version of the Avatar of the Green (Swamp Thing). He apparently doesn’t even go by “Solomon” Grundy, but just “Grundy.” That’s okay, honestly, but the way he mixes speaking somewhat intelligently with speaking about himself in the third person is a bit unattractive.
Jay has a bit of growth here, as well, when he finally gains his name of “The Flash.” It’s given to us really stupidly…but I guess I’ll take it. Jay hears someone he rescued say he thought he heard Jay say it to him. Seriously?
I have mentioned, so far, how much I liked the new character designs…and I have to say this DOES include Grundy. He looks like a psychotic butcher or something. Definitely a plus. Atom looks great too.
It looks like Atom’s ready to kick some Flash-and-Lantern-butt, which is kind of a bummer…as I’ve said before how I’m tired of in-fighting, but it looks like, since Atom’s with Earth 2’s World Army, it actually fits story-wise.
The dialog has places where it just feels way too old-school and awkward. Especially the bit where Hawkgirl and Flash are talking about his speed powers and how his body creates a field to protect from air friction. How can Hawkgirl postulate about Flash’s powers like that without knowing one thing about him? It makes no sense.
But the art is very good. I’m definitely a fan of Scott’s art. Eduardo Pansica is also credited as penciller, but I’m not sure what parts he helped with, as everything looks very much like Nicola Scott’s work. The colors are fantastic as well. Just look at that opening page!
Earth 2 #4, the verdict: This book finally feels like it’s coming along, with all the characters finally coming together. We’ve now seen a lot of Hawkgirl, but we still don’t know a lot about her. The mystery of this character is definitely intriguing, and I can see myself going further through the series without finding much more about her. We do know, however, that she’s known as Kendra. Possibly Kendra Saunders, then. I do have to wonder to myself, though, how interesting is a Hawkgirl going to be without a Hawkman? Not to say that a female can’t carry on by herself, but these two had a very rich history. The “Justice League” cartoon seemed to do okay with just Hawkgirl, so we’ll see. It helps that she looks totally different from Hawkman.
(Photo Source: IGN)