Too Many Long Boxes!
   
     
JLA Casebook

JLA: Earth 2

by Mark Gillins

A few months ago: There I am sitting at the console, surfing the web. The new buzz at Comic Book Resources is the recent announcement concerning JLA: Earth 2, not only the first hardcover graphic novel in the current run of JLA, but also the reintroduction of the Crime Syndicate of America in current DC continuity. I'm immediately interested and do some further reading to attain more detail, and then I see it: 25 bucks?! It just didn't seem worth it to me. However, Christmas was coming up quickly, so I took advantage of the situation and put it on the top of my list in attempt to maintain a complete collection of the current JLA series. Christmas Day came, and there it was, wrapped in plastic and waiting for me to rip it open. After I had opened all my other presents I sneaked away to my bedroom and started reading, only to discover.

25 dollars is well worth it!

Well, actually, it depends on your circumstances, your seriousness as a collector, and the future of DC's stories.

If DC doesn't come out with another JLA story in the future that deals with this, then I don't know if that makes this story worthy of being in hardcover format. One of the things that made this such a great read was knowing that it was the kickoff for more and more stories to come. If Earth 2 and the Crime Syndicate aren't used anymore, then this story becomes kind of pointless and one of those things that you never see referred to in the regular series, like "DC vs. Marvel", as if it's been erased from continuity altogether.

Another reason I wanted it so much was because I'm lucky enough to have every JLA comic that has come out since Morrison started the series, so in order to maintain a complete collection I needed this comic. Those of you who really don't care about having it may not need to spend 25 bucks on ANY new comic. So the only torture you really put yourselves through is the long wait for the soft cover edition to arrive in your local shop while avoiding all those who would give away the story.

And then, of course, if the only 25 bucks you have is used to pay the rest of the rent that month, you should leave this alone. But, of course, that's a given!

The wraparound jacket shows Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman of the Crime Syndicate looking up at the reader, and below them is a reflection, showing their Earth 2 counterparts: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The back cover shows the other two CSA members, Power Ring and Johnny Quick, along with their counterparts, Green Lantern and The Flash. In the top left are the reflections of Martian Manhunter and Aquaman without CSA counterparts (because they stay in our world throughout the story). The only thing I could have wanted more was perhaps a CSA logo where the JLA logo normally would be (the JLA logo isn't even depicted).

You take off the jacket, and there, inscribed on the cover is a picture of a reversed Earth - all the continents are mirrored reflections of our own.

As for the story, well, I know that a lot of people still haven't read it because they're waiting for the soft cover to come out, so I'll keep it to a minimum so as to not chap anyone's hide.

It rocked, though! Grant Morrison really knew what he was doing in this one. Great twists and turns, and it even made me think a little. A world where good and evil are opposite of here - Luthor is one of the only people on the planet who is fighting for truth and justice while Ultraman sits on the moon and destroys anyone or anything who gets "out of line" (to his level of standards).

The book kicks off with Alexander Luthor escaping the CSA's world and entering our own. It is here that he locks up our Lex Luthor and seeks the JLA's aid. The JLA agrees to assist him in his plan to travel to Alexander's world, assault the CSA and turn their world into a "good" one in a 48 hour period of time. However, technicalities and complications arise as the laws of "Hypertime physics" take play and make the JLA rethink their intentions as the situation turns from good to horrible - WITHOUT the CSA's help!

One thing I had never known before was that Earth 2 is actually OUR Earth! I don't know if that's what it was like in the old story, but in the current one our reality is the one referred to as "Earth 2" while the CSA's is "Earth 1". Just something I found interesting, because I would have thought that people would be more self-centered and would have had all of Hypertime revolving round OUR reality.

Another great aspect of the story is the guest-starring of a major villain (I'm not going to give away who it is!). At first it seemed out of place that this villain would still be a villain in the CSA's reality because everything is opposite, but near the end of the story he encounters the JLA and the manner of his mirrored-ness makes perfect, complete, creative sense. It was simply amazing how Morrison worked in this villain's role in the story. Heh - I sound kind of stupid getting all excited about it when I can't even state his name yet.

As for the art, Frank Quitely did a beautiful job! Some of the best art I've ever seen done in a JLA one-shot! Johnny Quick's speed is powered by a drug he injects in his arm, and whenever it runs low in his system he turns into a mumbling idiot. Quitely's job of portraying Quick shooting up the speed drug and becoming charged with power is amazing. He also does a great job of displaying the power that both Green Lantern and Power Ring hold - the energy surging from their rings jumps right out of the pages!

My only complaint in all of the art Quitely pencilled is his portrayal of Wonder Woman and Superwoman on some of the pages. They look like men! No, different from the "Howard-Porter-Wonder-Woman-man" that a lot of fans whine about - Diana looks very unattractive here. It's not chunkiness, it's just her jaw and her hair.. mainly her facial features. Partially the way she is built, too, I suppose. Just something about her makes me think that she shaves her arms, chest and face every day along with her legs.

Definitely a 9 out of 10, 10 being perfect. Great art, great story, and pretty much everything it's been worked up to be. Hopefully DC does something with this concept again sometime in the near future, perhaps as a DCU summer crossover or just in the pages of JLA itself. It would be great to go further into Batman's cleaning up of Earth 1's Gotham City or seeing the JLA fight the CSA head on a little more. And once again, definitely worth the 25 bucks if you can't stand the wait!

 
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