When the second wave of DC’s New 52 titles were announced, the ones that immediately caught my eye were Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest, particularly the former, as I was excited to see what James Robinson had up his sleeve. I was hoping he’d do a great version of the Justice Society of America, which would serve as a palette cleanser to the disappointing first arc of Geoff Johns / Jim Lee’s Justice League. This issue did not in any way disappoint me, as it managed to tell a great story, seed future plot developments, and leave some mystery in the air, all in one issue, and showed just how to handle an invasion from Apokalips properly. For all my disappointments regarding what Justice League ended up being, Robinson showed how great it could have been, if he had been writing the book.
The first few pages of this book set-up a familiar premise; Earth is being besieged by parademons coming forth from Apokalips as part of an invasion force, and it’s up to Earth’s most powerful heroes to stem the tide, work together, and successfully repel the invasion. Robinson has a great handle on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, giving the reader just a taste of their relationship with each other, their strong teamwork skills, as they do what needs to be done to save their world. Reading their struggle was a joy, because Robinson nails their individual voices so well. Robinson turns everything on its head, however, as the invasion is successfully repelled, but at great cost to the world and its heroes. Robinson picks up the story a few years later, as he starts weaving the very different origin stories for some very familiar characters, such as Alan Scott and Jay Garrick.
This is how you launch a new book, you jump right in, dazzle the reader with fantastic characterization, you allude to storied histories between the characters, but don’t belabour the point or drag it out . This is a fast-paced first issue, setting the pieces into place, and giving the reader a story that runs nicely parallel to the events in Justice League #1, yet much more enjoyable and satisfying.
Nicole Scott supplies the artwork here, and it is absolutely gorgeous stuff. I first became acquainted with her artwork on Secret Six, and she’s the perfect choice to illustrate this action-oriented first issue. Her depiction of the action and intensity of the first half of the issue is spot-on, and is similar enough in style to compare nicely to Jim Lee’s work depicting a very similar invasion during the first arc of Justice League.
I can’t wait for the next issue to drop, to see what Robinson does next with this world he has built himself to play with, to see what characters show up, how they end up becoming heroes, and what villains they’ll have to contend with. I don’t think I’ve been this excited by a New 52 book before, and the next issue just cannot come out fast enough! Highly Recommended!