Earth 2: Society #1. Daniel H. Wilson- Writer, Jorge Jimenez- Artist, John Rauch- Colorist.
The story of Earth 2 in the New 52 has taken many ups and down over the past three years by multiple writers and during different periods. Most recently Earth 2 faced its end in World’s End and while the refugees were trapped aboard the escape ships, one faction of the world’s Wonders were shunted off to play major roles in the Convergence mini-series which ended with all the survivors ending up on a new Earth 2. Earth 2: Society #1 has the task of merging both these storylines into a cohesive tale.
Oddly, the issue begins a year after the end of Convergence #8, and with a mystery. The newest Earth 2 Batman is in a bit of a spot as he is chasing down Terry Sloan all the while lamenting how quickly the New Earth 2 is already on the brink of a new societal calamity. The scene flashes back to Dick Grayson just after the events of Convergence and the crash landing of the Earth 2 refugees. We get glimpse of all the major players and allusions to Terry Sloan’s involvement in this. It should come as no surprise as Sloan was one of the major antagonists in the previous Earth 2 series. When the scene switches back to the present Batman gets the drop on Sloan only to be interrupted by Johnny Sorrow. This interference allows Sloan an opening to escape. Batman fails to stop Sloan from getting away and Batman realizes that Sloan is afraid of something.
The mystery is welcome as is the appearance of Johnny Sorrow. It is also nice to see Dick Grayson in his role as the newest Batman of Earth 2. The notion of legacy has developed further on Earth 2 which was a hallmark of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. It seems like this will be a theme that will be built upon in the future.
While it’s clear that Wilson is juxtaposing an expected hopeful take on new Earth 2 with a surprising reality check to build a mystery, it is quite a bit of a downer issue. The reader certainly wonders what happened to put these folks in such a bad position already, but the lack of character moments really leave the reader feeling unconnected to what’s going on. It’s like a 180 degree difference in approach to Jeff King’s use of the characters in Convergence. The story is Batman-centric already and it seems with all the characters available that there could’ve been more done with them to introduce the concept to a new readers. It certainly didn’t feel like a first issue, but rather part 27 of a 50 part story.
This issue fails to build on the new chance that was give Earth 2 at the end of Convergence. It’s eschewed the hopefulness found in Convergence and thrown the Earth 2 characters back into the fire. Even the landing of the refugees on new Earth 2 is turned into a tragedy. It doesn’t really feel like a new chance, but rather another story of a doomed planet. 2 ½.