Graphic Review: Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering

Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering collects issues one through six of the monthly series. In an alternate universe, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and their allies are wiped out in a war with Apokolips. Years pass by as humankind repairs itself. They’ve grown accustomed to a world without heroes.

Just as life is getting back to normal, a new threat rears its ugly head in the form of a powerful entity calling itself the Grey. A fresh group of “New Wonders” must rally against the evil force’s champion, Solomon Grundy. Can Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkwoman, and The Atom put aside their differences and defeat this destructive enemy?

It’s nice to go to a place every once in a while where our familiar super heroes don’t have to follow any set rules they’ve been tied down to through continuity or tradition. Earth 2 is a world where anything can happen at any time. My only complaint is that after getting me excited with the first issue and its inclusion of Batman-related characters, they were never to be seen again. Couldn’t they have found a way to keep the female Robin alive and thirsty for vengeance against her father’s killers and all other criminals?

You can tell writer James Robinson is having a blast penning stories in a universe where there’s no rule book to follow. That’s made apparent as he kills off the three big guns of the Justice League right off the bat. If there was ever a hint the book was going into uncharted territories that was it. I also found it interesting the way his storyline mirrors that of the Swamp Thing and Animal Man titles. Just like in those books, a good entity of nature is raising an army to fight against a bad entity of nature.

Artists Nicola Scott and Eduardo Pansica’s styles blend well together. Their work isn’t so different from each other’s as to cause a distraction while reading Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering. They know how to balance detail in each panel. Sometimes there’s a lot to look at, while other times details are kept to a minimum.

Sixteen pages of extra material is contained in Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering. They include character design sketches, variant cover art, and penciled pages. Much of these are presented in their original black and white forms.

Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering provides a great escape from the “real” continuity of the DC Universe. If you’re looking for a place to “let your hair down” and enjoy some unpredictable action from familiar-yet-different faces, this is the place to go. You really never know who’s going to pop up and what their place will be in this strange alternate world you’re visiting.

Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering is available in a hardcover and Kindle edition.