The thirteenth volume of the DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection consists of 2000’s JLA: Earth 2, written by Grant Morrison, and Gardner Fox’s The Flash #123. Is it any good? Read on below.
I‘ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of all the multiple Earths storylines. Marvel Comics has its problems with clones, while DC loves the alternate universes too much. That said, I approach every book with an open mind, so I let JLA: Earth 2 do its best to convince me. Sadly, it doesn’t.
Morrison is a bit hit and miss at times. On his day, he can be absolutely brilliant and deliver an Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Other times, he dreams up misogynist-filled narratives like JLA: Earth 2 and we all suffer. The initial premise of the Crime Syndicate of America, an alternate Justice League who is actually bad on their own Earth, is decent enough—if not an entirely novel idea—but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
For example, Owl Man and Ultraman receive the best arcs here, while Superwoman is nothing more than a piece of meat to be tossed between them. I’m normally not one to hop up and down about this sort of thing, but even I felt shocked and embarrassed that female characters are being represented this way in the 21st century. Superwoman could’ve been written far stronger than being merely a sex toy with porn star dialogue.
Aside from this, JLA: Earth 2 is just the familiar “evil twin” trope that we’ve seen countless times before across different mediums. The plot twist itself is predictable and Frank Quitely’s art is okay but nothing to write home about. There’s just not much to get excited about.
The highlight of the volume is Fox’s The Flash #123, which features Barry Allen vibrating to a parallel Earth where he meets the original Flash, Jay Garrick. Considering it was first published in 1961, it’s a tale that pushed boundaries and set in motion the type of DC stories that we encounter today. It’s a must-read for fans of the Scarlet Speedster.
Overall, this collection proves to be the weakest one yet. There’s more wrong with it than right, and that’s a problem. Unless you’re planning on collecting the whole set, you can give this one a miss.