Earth 2, penned by James Robinson with art by Nicola Scott, presents an alternate Earth to the main DC Universe, with different versions of DC characters, different costumes, different personalities and different origins.
So Robinson has all that to do, plus building similarities of that Earth to the one current DC fans know and love, making tweaks and creating a history of Earth 2 that led to those changes.
“There are some books that you get where you feel it’s worth the time and it strikes a chord with you creatively that you want to invest that much time,” Robinson says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity and something I’m very happy to be a part of.”
The concept of multiple Earths has been a part of DC lore for decades. While the Justice League of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman has long been the main superhero team of Earth 1, the Justice Society of America — a group that first debuted in comics in 1940, predating the Justice League — was the major heroic force of Earth 2 before various story lines brought them all together.
When DC relaunched its superhero books last fall, a JSA title wasn’t in the first wave — Robinson instead had more time to work out Earth 2 and craft a book that featured a whole heap of alternate heroes, the main ones being Jay Garrick, the Flash, and Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern. (Plus, Robinson says, it would be better to spring a new Earth on new comic readers after getting used to the main Earth.)
That pair have been linchpins of the Justice Society for years, but this is a definite reboot of that world and those heroes, Robinson says.
“These are characters who are very different, but at the same time I’ve really tried to take pains to distill the personality of the original version of the Jay Garrick Flash and Alan Scott Green Lantern and bring them into the present day as younger guys.”
As fans will see beginning in the first issue (available in comic shops and digitally Wednesday), Jay Garrick is an “honest, open, likable everyman” who will be the readers’ point of entry in Earth 2, the writer says. He gets greatness — in this case, the powers of the Flash, who on the main Earth is Barry Allen— thrust upon him, and transitions from having a comfortable existence to entering the “big scary, crazy world of Earth 2.”
Alan Scott, though, was always a more dynamic figure. “He was this green knight who stood up to protect the people, this gallant hero,” Robinson says of the counterpart to the main Earth’s Hal Jordan.
“The Alan Scott of Earth 2 is a type-A personality, a go-getter,” he adds. “When the decision comes, ‘Do you want to be Green Lantern?’ he’s like, ‘Hell yeah! I’m going to save the world! If the world’s in danger, I’m that guy.’ “
Robinson is taking his time to show the origins of the two while also introducing other characters yet keeping their backgrounds a mystery for now. All the main heroes from the Justice Society of before will appear, including shrinking do-gooder Al Pratt (aka The Atom), winged warrior Hawkgirl and master pugilist Wildcat.
“I enjoy writing those characters,” Robinson says. “Hawkgirl, too, has a distinct personality, and a brusque, fun way of handling situations and handling Jay’s lack of experience.
“We’ll actually get the fine points of her origin and some of the other characters a little bit down the line as flashbacks and revelations.
Earth 2 also features a version of DC’s trinity of major superheroes — Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all featured on the cover of the first issue. They’ll have more supporting roles, but more importantly they act as inspiration for the other heroes, Robinson says.
“They aren’t going to be at the forefront of this book but you will definitely get the sense of them in this world in one way or another.”
The first five-issue arc of Earth 2 will feature a major DC bad guy, whom Robinson teases as “instantly recognizable and equal parts a Justice Society villain and an Alan Scott Green Lantern villain.” And in the first year, the writer will introduce a brand new Earth 2 heroine, some new Earth 2 villains and a fresh supporting cast.
Robinson doesn’t want to just rely on rebooted versions of old Earth 2 characters, though. “What’s fun is to try and create some new characters you haven’t seen before that hopefully readers will respond to. We can build on that and make the Earth 2 universe exciting and diverse as well as having those elements that are familiar.”
Earth 2 will tie into another of the second wave of new books, Worlds’ Finest. That title, written by Paul Levitz, features two heroines from the alternate Earth, Huntress and Power Girl, stuck in the main DC Universe. There will be an acknowledgment of them in Robinson’s title, though, with flashbacks of their time as the Robin and Supergirl of Earth 2.
There will be other easter eggs, hints and clues of the relationship between both universes seeded in Earth 2, and in this bit of epic world building, it was also important to Robinson that he not create something so “science-fiction different” that it seems completely alien for readers.
“There is definitely aspects of it that are very familiar — familiar in terms of our world and familiar in terms of the main DC Universe,” the writer explains. “However, there are other things that happened in the past that have changed that world and made it distinct and different, both in terms of its landscape, countries that might not be there anymore, areas of the world that are changed and different, and also just the way people go about their lives in the day-to-day comings and goings in America and civilized countries.”
Robinson has talked with Levitz as well as Justice League scribe Geoff Johns about planning large-scale crossovers between worlds, but that will all come later, Robinson says. First, he wants to focus on Earth 2 and build up his Justice Society there — even though it may be that only in concept for now.
“The name will take some time,” he says. “I want to really have readers get to know and like these characters and really see the formation of this team and how it comes together so that hopefully they’ll be invested in it and this new Justice Society will be something they feel a part of.”