Earth 2 #6 is the end of the first story arc involving the heroes of an alternate universe, and also a nice checkpoint to where the series is. In only six issues, Earth 2 has established itself as one of the best of the New 52. This issue proves just how committed writer James Robinson is to keeping Earth 2 fresh and inventive. Not just in the overall plot, but also the ending, which is not what you would expect.
Earth 2 #6 pits great action against great character development. As Green Lantern battles Grundy with the help of The Flash and Hawkgirl, readers get the first taste of the political side of Earth 2. On one side is Sloan, a man who launches missiles that will kill millions just to wipe out Grundy. On the other side is Commander Khan, the man who wants to give the new “wonders” a chance to defeat Grundy on their own. This is an Earth that was reduced to rubble by a super villain and has been without heroes for so long that they no longer believe. Robinson establishes this political situation and you know it’s going to come into play later.
The second thing Robinson establishes is the depth and strength of Green Lantern. At first, I wasn’t sure about the idea of this Green Lantern getting his strength from the power of the Earth. It seemed a little too Swamp Thing to me, but Robinson makes it work. I love how this Green Lantern, after just losing his lover, overcomes a false bliss being offered up by Grundy’s powers of death and decay. It shows how much strength of spirit this Lantern has. Later, when Lantern uses his ring to take out the missiles and stop Grundy, we get an idea of how powerful he is.
Finally Robinson establishes the placement of Hawkgirl and Flash. The former is the tactician of the group, the power player who establishes the design of the attack. The latter, Flash, is the spirit, the power of youth and the belief in idealism. These three would make the a wonderful base for an Earth 2 JSA, but right at their pinnacle of celebration, Green Lantern refuses the Flash and Hawkgirl’s offer of a partnership and, in that panel, Robinson throws more drama and intrigue at us.
Helping this staggeringly good issue is art from Nicola Scott. Her ability to create mood and subtext through her pencils is wonderful. The way the Grey of Grundy’s power is illustrated, its sharp contrast to the Green, adds a lot of depth to the story. Scott also has a great sense of movement and scale. When Green Lantern stops the missiles, the work is huge, and when Scott is establishing the speed of The Flash, she uses small, quick panels. Highly detailed, solid faces, Scott’s art is just as much a necessity to Earth 2 #6 as Robinson’s art.
Anyone looking for the absolute best in comics should look no further than Earth 2.