Earth Too Soon

Oh, who is this now?

Where does the time go?

It seems like only yesterday we were beginning our blitzkrieg of coverage on DC’s New 52 initiative, and before we knew it here it was, turning six issues old. They’ve already had their first cancellations. Universes grow up so fast these days.

In this decompressed world where we find ourselves, the sixth issue is generally where a book’s first arc ends, so I began the week thinking that I would take a look back at the DC books I tried out when the New 52 dawned and see which ones I had stuck with, which ones had let me down, and so on. You know how pundits whip out scorecards and review the president’s first hundred days? Like that, but with Batpeople.

Before I could do any of that, however, a friend of mine completely sidetracked me with an innocent question: “What is Earth Two?”

The friend in question happens to be the Elusive New Reader, who used the DC relaunch as a jumping-on point into the world of comics, so I reacted to her question about the same way I would if my four year old came home from school and asked, “Daddy, what’s a ‘rimjob’?”

“Who told you about that?! Where did you hear those words? This is all happening too soon. We can talk about this again many, many years from now.”

I was reacting to the Earth Two I knew, the one from my youth, the one I never read in the first place. (When it comes to the DC Universe, I’m essentially an Elusive New Reader myself.) The prospect of me of all people explaining this to the Elusive New Reader seemed like it would send her screaming out of the comic shop and into the arms of Muppet slash fiction or something.

“There was, like, another earth where the previous stories that stopped counting counted, except now the stories that replaced them no longer count, except Batman and Green Lantern seem to be exactly the same as those old stories, except oh, screw it, let’s just go play videogames.”

Luckily, when I took these concerns to Twitter, my mind was put at ease by the friendly, nurturing community we have cultivated there.

Ha! Of course I’m joking. I got slagged off from all sides and told in the most condescending way possible that the thing confusing me wasn’t confusing. Oh, gentle reader, I cannot tell you how much I love it when someone who’s been reading these books for twenty-five years tells a confused new reader how easy they are to understand. The inclusiveness borders on religion. It warms the heart. How could this industry be dying?

Somewhere amid the people trying to argue with me about my feelings, I ascertained that DC is launching a new Earth Two to go along with Earth Whichever One We’re On Now. What relationship it will have to the previous Earth Two, or the previous DC Universe, I have no idea. This, I was informed, was simply an alternate world for telling What If stories.

What ifs? Why don’t we try telling What Is’s for more than one arc before we embark upon these muddy waters?

“But this is a strange new place, where the rules are completely different than on the Earth you know!”

Great. What are the rules on the Earth I know?

I was never a DC reader before this; I thought the New 52 were supposed to be a strange new place where the rules are different. We’re six issues into that world, and now you’re re-imagining things that haven’t been established in the first place. The Justice League isn’t even together yet, and now you’re going to tell me another way they might have gotten together? An alternate world where issues come out faster?

Isn’t this like launching Ultimate Spider-Man in 1964? Are they calling the book Earth Two because they couldn’t come up with a good logo design for New Reader Poison?

It’s not the end of the world. (Either one.) People who like this sort of thing will buy it, and people who find it hard to swallow will keep reading Batgirl or what-have-you. There isn’t going to be a quiz on alternate history, at least until the crossovers start. It’s just a couple more stories in a land of make believe. But it is depressing that, in essence, the first new books announced after the boldness of the relaunch are designed to be marketed to the same 100,000 people who have been buying them for years. They’re back to picking the bones of the existing audience as it ages away, just when it seemed like we might finally be getting past that.

I would love to be wrong about all of this. I would love to be overthinking all of it in exactly the wrong way. A couple of new books (well, newish books) don’t have to be a symptom of some lurking industry sickness. DC has had a lot of success these past six months, and I want to see that success continue. I really love spotting the Elusive New Reader, and I don’t want it to be an endangered species anymore. But this is the kind of thing that makes eyes glaze over, and eyeglaze is a terminal condition for the Elusive New Reader. Just something to keep in mind.


Jim Mroczkowski has come to terms with the fact that he will never get to know who all these Blackhawks are.


  1. I’m one of those people that would tell you it’s not as confusing as you think it is. But hopefully I wouldn’t be so condescending. If someone asked me what Earth Two is I would say, “it’s a parallel Earth in the DC Universe. I guess the universe’s designation is two. Things are similar but different, as they are with parallel Earths.”

    I don’t know DC history all the well. I guess I’m the type of person that can just roll things. A parallel universe is a generic concept. Sometimes people have the desire the know more details than they need to. If Earth Two doesn’t tell you what you need to know starting in issue 1, the story failed, not the concept.

    I did just have one thought though. DC has the OGNs labelled Earth 1. Monthly DC comics are the regular continuity. This is Earth 2. I could see that branding throwing the casual fan off.

  2. “Isn’t this like launching Ultimate Spider-Man in 1964?”

    err….Earth 2 first appeared in 1961. the world kept on turning. QED:)

    there are plenty of wacky scifi concepts in comics that we’re all ok with. just throw Earth2 on the pile. all those kids back then did.

    • Different Earth-2, dude.

      There have been at least three, now. Not including the one in JLA: Earth-2 (which was in fact Antimatter Luthor’s name for the main DCU / New Earth when he first discovered it in his dimension)

      Migraine time!

    • Three Earth-2s? That’s horrible version control.

    • @adrianrigter The world will also keep on turning if DC stops publishing all of it’s comics, but that won’t get new readers on board either.

  3. Yeah, they could have at least waited until the Justice League existed before doing an alternate reality Justice League.

    And while we’re on the subject, if their intention is REALLY to introduce this material to new readers (which, based on every piece of evidence, it is not) the Power Girl/Huntress series should be coming out a year after Earth 2. As you say, Jim, stuff like Supergirl is still ramping up, and now we’re introduced to Not-Supergirl and She-Robin from an alternate reality in whichzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    I’m excited because I am a huge nerd, but a little patience here might have gone a long way to actually getting new readers on board with all this multiverse madness. On the other hand, what the hell do I know?

  4. If the stories and art are good, does it really matter? If it sucks, the books will be cancelled.

    • Series lauded for having good stories and art have been cancelled, Baltika37.

      Personally I think DC should have gone with titling the Earth 2 series Elseworlds or World’s Finest (renaming the Power Girl Huntress series The Dynamic Duo or The Brave & The Bold). As a title Earth 2 just doesn’t grab me.

    • I didn’t overlook that potential outcome Smasher. Good books get cancelled. I’m just making the point that it doesn’t really matter about what came before or after. Just enjoy these things for what they are. If it is a good book, these concerns fade away and are forgotten . . . even if it only runs for 7 issues.

      James Robinson is writing a DC book. Usually that’s good for us readers.

  5. As a New Reader: I am looking forward to iFanboy’s DC Histories explanation of Earth 2.

  6. As excited I am about the Earth 2 books, I do think it’s a bit early to introduce the multiverse. It would have been nice to give the main earth “whichever one we’re currently on” room to breathe and establish itself.

    But I think the notion that another Earth will confuse a new reader is a myth. The idea of a parallel universe is more a common part of pop culture than comic books are. Parallel universes are used in drama fiction to tell stories as well; we all at least know the story behind “it’s A Wondetfull Life” even if we haven’t seen the movie. And the device of waking up in a parallel world where you have to adapt to a new set of rules and history is pretty much the base for every episode of The Twillight Zone ever. So if a new reader seems to be struggling with the idea of a parallel Earth, then maybe you just need to take the books away from them and say, “we’ll then comic books probably aren’t going to be your sorta thing.”

  7. The Multiverse has been an idea that DC has used since they needed a way to get out of the JSA mess in the 50s/60s. So it doesn’t bother me too much that DC is introducing it again so quickly. Considering we have this Pandora lady and Morrison is STILL writing a Multiversity book I didn’t think we’d be excused from it for long.

    Besides, all of these Earth 2 books seem to take place outside of any of the major titles right now. So it’s not like we’ll have to read Batman or Wonder Woman to see these stories any time soon.

  8. That certainly isn’t the post-Infinite Crisis Earth-2, nor is it the pre-Crisis Earth-2.

    Something Barry Allen did in Flashpoint by running very fast certainly futzed with it somehow.

    That’s as well as erasing the Vertigo Earth and the Wildstorm Earth and folding them into the new New Earth.

    Which means that the ominiversal balance established from 52 through Sinestro Corps War and Final Crisis doesn’t work anymore. Which is infuriating, because I was just starting to understand it.

    The basic idea there was that there were actually 53 Earths – New Earth / Earth-0 and 52 parallel Earths resting on top of it in different vibrational planes. We know that this model survived Final Crisis and was still in force up until three issues prior to Flashpoint, because Hot Pursuit was able to show Barry a holographic representation of it.

    That doesn’t work anymore. And since the removal of any one Earth was supposedly to cause a complete collapse of the entire multiverse (or omniversal orarry), why hasn’t it? Is it something to do with Barry and his connection with Final Crisis, or even his ability to vibrate himself into parallel Earths at will pre-Crisis? Please God, don’t make this in any way relate to the Speed Force, my brain will explode.

    Thank goodness Grant Morrison is still in the mix somewhere so he can explain – is the multiverse collapsing now because of Barry Allen, does he now some how have Earth Prime “authoring” powers write things in and out of existence like the pre-Crisis Carey Bates of Earth Prime (and indeed Superboy Prime…. yikes) and if so, does this mean that anything is now reversible.

    And if so, does that mean we can now have Oliver Queen back, please? And can someone please make John Stewart’s character make sense now, he doesn’t have a past anymore.

    • ^ This comment is a perfect example of why as a new reader I have NO interest in any kind of multiverse shit. This is just ridiculous. If any of this earth 2 crap mixes with the DC books I started when the new 52 launched I will drop those books in a split second.

    • *new DC reader*. I’ve been reading comics for about 4 years but never read any DC before the new 52 because it was a continuity nightmare that I couldn’t even start to figure out.

  9. By the way, the passage on Wikipedia which explains the nature of the Power Girl of the post-Infinite Crisis pre-New 52 Earth-2 is the single most convoluted and confusing passage of short text I have read in my entire life.

    It’s Joyceian. It’s like reading a random page from Finnegan’s Wake after taking a non-stop five day binge on Crystal Meth and bourbon with no food.

  10. “Great. What are the rules on the Earth I know” … you mean the Earth we’re supposed to know, or the Earth we should have been told about.

  11. It’ll be fun

  12. Can’t we have books that appeal to us long time readers and books that appeal to new readers? Do all books have to appeal to relatively new comic book readers? I realize that the market needs to grow but shouldn’t the market grow if we let great story tellers tell great stories? I realize that it can get confusing when you become a new comic book reader, but that was one of the things I loved about reading comics as a kid…diving head first into these worlds and discovering the histories of these characters and universes. And that is a lot easier to do now-a-days with the internet.

    Also, I was a little bummed to see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in the first promotional material for this book. I know they were part of the original JSA but I was, and still am, hoping this book will star the JSA characters that we haven’t seen in the new DCU like Alan Scott/Green Lantern, Jay Garrett/Flash, Ted Grant/Wildcat, Wesley Dodds/Sandman, Jim Corrigan/Spectre, etc.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. I want my JSA back, dammit, and I want it NOW. I don’t think we need Supermna/Batman/Wonder Woman in this book, other than to buoy sales by having mostly-recognizable characters on the cover.

      So is this going to take place in the past? Like Golden Age time frame? Will it be modern, but with different generations of characters like the JSA book was? I really don’t know what to expect, but I’m not as excited as I was after seeing that promotional art and reading the solicit info.

  13. I’m really looking forward too Earth 2 and I think we should give newer readers more credit. Google is a powerful weapon against the unknown.

    • No you really shouldn’t give new readers more credit. I along with 5 of my friends are all new DC readers and this shit sounds ridiculous/unnecessary and makes me want to drop any of these new DC books i’m reading that will have anything to do with it.

    • @thompsonlive: I’m not sure you can apply that same standard to all new readers.

    • @conor agreed I don’t speak for all new readers but just judging from my small sample group of friends who are all new DC readers it’s a pretty unanimous opinion and considering the amount of articles like this that keep popping up, I don’t think we are a minority by any stretch

    • @thompson- The great thing about it is you and your friends don’t have too. Not every comic DC puts out is a must buy, so my advice too you is stay picky and vote with your dollar. The good thing is Earth 2 doesn’t have anything to do with the current new 52 universe, This is just a parallel universe that to me is gonna offer ever more great stories. Check it out or don’t check it out, no matter what you win.

    • @thompsonlive: Considering the responses I see to these complaints we’ll just have to disagree.

    • @walterwhite I won’t buy any of the earth 2 stuff but my fear is that DC will force it on me by crossing it into the new 52 books I read or worse make an event about it that forces ALL the books I read to cross over into it which will be soo god damn annoying.

      on a unrelated note I just noticed your username while typing this reply, i fucking love that show

    • @conor fair enough

    • Don’t worry about it bro, I don’t see any big cross overs coming up with the current 52 universe and the earth 2 anytime soon but even if they did just do want I do and just skip the event….I have huge gaps in my Amz Spider-man collection becasue of events.

    • i can speak for the new reader specifically mentioned in the article and say that she doesn’t have a problem with the idea of alternate universes and was simply questioning why this one is being introduced so quickly after the reboot. 🙂

    • If kids can’t be bother to google “who is Paul McCartney” they can’t be expected to google “what is earth-2”

  14. Jimski, I totally get where you are coming from. I think Earth 2 *used* to be easier to understand, when the cast of characters from each universe was radically different, like the cover you posted at the bottom of the article. But this immediately raises questions like “why does Superman have 3 different outfits right now?” I know why, but it seems more a little over-complicated 6 issues in. It makes me feel like we’re starting down the path to a Crisis event by mid 2013.

    All that said, James Robinson on a JSA book? I’m gonna read that no matter how convoluted the lead-up is.

    • That question can easily be answered by someone who knows the answer. You just have to find that person. Is it easier said than done? Maybe or maybe not. Asking questions is a good sign. It means someone is actually curious about the subject. What they do with the answer, I don’t really care. That’s why I like answering questions or correcting misconceptions on message whenever I can.

  15. I think that the simplest answer is better. Earth 2 is a parallel Earth to the main DC universe. You can speculate all you want about how it’s gonna be but it will be new to old readers and new readers alike. Nothing from the past is guaranteed. You can let your bias or preferences through if you want to be an impartial educator to a new reader.
    If that someone doesn’t like the sci-fi concept of parallel worlds, then show them something else.

  16. It would be cool if the Earth 2 this time around is the Flashpoint universe. I would like to know more about that Bruce Wayne and such after reading some of the mini’s.

    No Canterbury Cricket though.

  17. Don’t worry, Jim. You’re not the only one. The following is my post from a couple days ago in a different thread:

    “For years I was extremely confused by DC continuity. Mostly having to do with how the JLA and JSA worked in conjunction with the other. It was a big factor in why I initially started reading mostly Marvel. And then I went and read a whole lot of older DC and finally made sense of it all. It helped my understanding and enjoyment of the current DCU. Now this. And I’m more confused than ever. LOL.”

    If the entire point was to make your universe and stories simpler and for new readers, this by no means makes sense or falls in line with that thinking. No, all it does is goes exactly with the actual target audience of the relaunch, old comic readers who want the same old crap, just with a shiny new exterior. Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the results of the new 52. It hasn’t been a total bomb for me. And it has been a financial hit for DC. But as an overall initiative, all I see is DC marketing the same old stuff to the same old readers with a bunch of guys from 20 years ago writing and drawing it all. The new reader you’re referring to Jim, may passively exist. But he’s not the main target DC is truly making their books for right now. And that’s why you have Earth 2 this soon.

    This book seems to me to be the book to satisfy all of the “What happened to so and so?” questions that die hard and long time fans have been asking since the relaunch started. I’m sure this is where we not only get a JSA or Power Girl, but also characters such as Wally West and Donna Troy.

    So yes, Jim. I agree with your premise entirely. IF we were operating under the premise of DC doing this relaunch for a new audience. But as far as everything I’ve seen to this point, that’s not the case. And following that logic, I guess it’s really not too soon to start telling Earth 2 stories. If you’re running your business under a “More Rob Liefeld is a good thing” mentality, you clearly are not worried about your readership being unable to process multiple Earths.

    • I completely agree with you. I’ve been a DC fan all my life. But, one of the things that I liked about Marvel is that their continuity is a little bit more simpler than DC’s. I was hoping this New 52 would solve that. Now, I’m OK that they’re doing this for old readers and such, I just hope this doesn’t bleed into other books and start a whole new Crisis thing. You’re doing great DC, don’t get ahead of yourself.

  18. Earth 2 is all kinds of simple, and most people that say it isn’t tend to be old fans bringing the baggage of the knowledge they already have to a summary they would give.

    It works like this: Earth-2 is a parallel universe (as someone else mentioned, a concept more common than comic books) where the heroes actually get to grow old and have new heroes take their place.

    I broke that down into a sentence for you. I need someone else to explain to me how that’s hard to understand, without bringing in a billion, “But what about pre-Flashpoint/52/COIE?” questions. Those are irrelevant. These stories should not (and hopefully) are not about them. It’s a straightforward concept that people are muddying with past perceptions. If Earth-2 turns out to be great, that’s the summary I’ll give to new readers to get them excited. They don’t need to know the 60 year (admittedly confusing) backstory that comes with it.

  19. I can see why this is frustrating old readers and confusing to the new, but did anyone expect DC to not make these kinds of moves? This is what the Big 2 do. Milk it. Is it always a good thing? Absolutely not. Most times it ain’t. What are ya gonna do? personally, I’m not buying into this (pun intended).

  20. What I don’t understand is why DC has chosen to roll out Earth 2 so soon. Even if you’re an old-timer reader, aren’t you still learning about this newly rebooted universe? Do you really *need* this second rebooted reality to keep you happy?

    • You can learn about two new worlds at the same time. It’s no different than reading books from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Oni Press, Archie all at the same time.

      People who read comic books are CONSTANTLY separating universes in their heads. Why this particular distinction seems so difficult for some people is bizarre to me.

    • I dunno, sometimes I realise Invincible and the Walking Dead can’t be in the same universe and my nose starts to bleed and I have to lie down. And last week I had to tie Conan into the most recent Chew and I got dizzy.

      No, wait…

    • @conor i think where i’m getting tripped up isn’t from a storytelling perspective, it’s from a marketing one. if earth 2 is supposed to be an alternate space to tell stories that don’t fit in with the current world, and they’re still building the current one, I don’t understand why they didn’t just build the current world so those fit, too.

      i can let go of the idea that bruce wayne is hanging out with batgirl in one book and trapped by the owls in another (and doing any number of things in other titles i’m not reading) without needing separate realities to explain it all. so why does DC think we need earth 2 for supergirl and huntress right now?

    • @Kelly: They don’t want the Justice Society in the primary world, they want Superman to be the first superhero. But there was fan outcry when it was implied that there was no Justice Society in this new DC so they brought back the Earth-2 concept so they can have the Justice Society while still having Superman being the “first superhero” in the main DCU.

    • @conor that is a very rational answer to “what’s the logic behind this creative decision?”. Thank you 🙂

  21. part of me thinks “i don’t want another universe to read” and part of me thinks….”i might like it better” cause not everything in
    the new 52 was a homerun for me.

  22. A good story is a good story is a good story.

    Really, don’t worry about where it takes place too much.

  23. Does the Elusive New Reader not have Wikipedia on their earth?

  24. THe idea of Earth 2 is pretty simple, it’s an alternative universe where things are different than the main continuity being told in the “main” body of the DCU.

    Granted, looking back at all the various versions of said alternative universe is confusing, but the basic premise is easy to grasp. I think this is one instance when fanboys that have been reading for a long time are at a loss because we have read, own and remember the other verisions of those universes and characters.

    New readers should be able to pick it up and say ” whoa this is a cool different angle on those characters”. I know…new readers are the white whale, and the stories havent been released yet so I’m hoping they are all cool.

    But he idea of alternate universes is pretty simple…

    • “New readers should be able to pick it up and say ” whoa this is a cool different angle on those characters”.”

      not to beat a dead horse too much, but we’re only 6 issues in. how is the new reader supposed to know that it’s a different angle when the current one has barely been established?

    • @kelly what if a new reader who never read a comic before picked up Earth 2 could he/she follow it? I bet they could, like Conner said if you read more then one title from a different comic publisher why would it be so far fetched to understand the concept?

    • @walter that’s a different scenario. we’re talking about a new user who picked up several titles at the relaunch – let’s say she’s reading 7 because she is. it’s not a question of whether she/i can grasp the idea of a separate reality, because she/i can. it’s why they’re tossing different versions at her/me while we’re still getting to know the first ones, and whether it makes sense from a marketing stand point.

    • I’m not sure why the idea of a character meeting a different version of themselves is nothing other than a cool concept? How many issues do you need published before it’s okay to explore this great concept?

    • @ Kelly I think that the job of the book is to make people care about the inhabitants of Earth 2. It’s not about comparing and contrasting the characters but the world in general. The story in the book should make you care.
      And they’re actually unveiling a new Earth with 8 issues in. The book is coming out in May so there’s still 2 months of books to continue building the main universe.

    • @hawkboy alternate realities are one of my favorite concepts. i’m not sure how many issues I ‘need”, it just seems a little soon to me as a new reader. many of the books i’m reading are still setting the stage for the character’s first big adventures, so I don’t feel like I “know” them well enough to appreciate what a different version of them would be. while established readers probably don’t feel they need as much before it’s introduced, they theoretically don’t know these characters any more than I do.

      @Leo that’s a good point about the timing. I’m still getting used to the announcing of things month before they occur. by that time most of the books i’m reading will have one or possible two mini-arcs under their belt.

    • @Kelly Maybe the scenario of a character meeting a doppelganger of himself might be a great way for us to learn about him by showing the differences with his alternate version? I dunno, I get what you are saying though.

  25. I enjoy this stuff to no end! Earth 2? Bring it!

  26. Like everything, it’s not confusing once you get to know it. However, I also think this is too soon. Like the artcile mentioned, haven’t even had a present day Justice League story, and we’re going to start setting up a big crossover; I can only guess this is leading to a new Crisis on Infinite Earths. There’s a lot more stories DC could aim for before jumping on that story line.

    This reminds me of Blackest Day. We had the great Sinestro Corps war end with a teaser of other corps and the Black Lanterns. However, instead of exploring all those corps, we looked at a few and jumped right into Blackest Night where the Indigos made their first true appearance. Now we’re finally going to learn who they are long after I thought we should have.

    Whatever the reason, I think this is more driven by the need for revenue events bring in. I’d personally take more time in establishing one world and set of characters before another, adding more depth for those crossover/big event storylines and fan enjoyment, but maybe financial research goes against me.

    I’ll be checking out the Earth-2 stories, mainly because I’m a fan of those writers, and I’ll see how this all unfolds before coming across as too negative (unless I’ve already failed there when that wasn’t my intention.) As PhantomPhrenemy said, “Brign it!” lol

  27. I grasped the Earth-2 concept when I was 6. I’m just not sure what is so complex about it. I don’t see this simple concept as a threat to new readers, nor do I understand some peoples hostility towards it. Some guy posted above he’s a new reader and he will stop reading if they do this? Personally I question what new reader would truthfully feel this way… but if someone is actually deep down angry about a concept he has never even read before… well, here’s an idea. Why not try it first?

    It’s like the people against this concept seem to think you need a Mark Waid like knowledge of DC history to get what is going on when the JLA meets the JSA… you don’t. Just know this new Earth is different… if you want to know more history then ask or google. But It’s been my experience that you rarely NEED to ask or google to enjoy a good DC alternate Earth story. Many comic people get caught up in the thought of not knowing every minute detail of the universe you are in means non-enjoyment. That is simply not the way to go into things.

  28. The whole issue of new readers should be hand fed is kinda silly. It be like movie goers who watched the Matrix for the first time, It’s very confusing at first but in the end it all comes together …people are more intelligent then that

  29. Just one more point… I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and they had an Alternate Earth story in season 2 or 3. I don’t recall tweeners and teenagers across North America being confused by the concept. (Or any age for that matter)

    • Graaaaah it’s not the concept it’s the timing for the last time [brain explodes]

      Great. You saw an alternate earth Buffy story and understood it. What if it had been episode #2?

    • @jimski I’ve pretty much been picturing your brain melting the entire time I’ve been reading these comments. “Parellel universes aren’t heard to understand” isn’t the point, folks.

    • @MaxPower: They go hand-in-hand. If the concept isn’t hard to grasp it doesn’t matter that it’s introduced in the first year.

    • I wouldn’t have had a problem with it….. sure it wouldn’t have been as effective, but it didn’t air one week after the first episode. Nor is Earth Two debuting One month after the DC relaunch (It’s almost a year after). Nor do we live in a vacuum as any new reader is going to be aware Superman existed before August of 2011. The main complaint about this Earth-2 thing is it’s too complex to bother with. That’s what I was addressing, not the main point in your article of timing ( I enjoyed your article… I didn’t agree with it at all, but I enjoyed it!)

    • Conor, you cannot be serious. It doesn’t matter if an alternate version of the character is introduced before the “normal” version of the character is established?

    • I know you posed this question to Conor but speaking for myself the first comic I ever read was a JSA/JLA Crossover and I loved the hell out of it and the characters… so in my case NO it doesn’t matter.

    • @Jim: I’m not sure what you mean. Which character hasn’t been established?

    • @ Conor Maybe he’s under the assumption that characters in Earth 2 will be duplicates of main Earth because of the variant cover. So people assume it’s gonna be just another JLA clone, which I doubt.

    • Conor: Any of them. The whole point of this new initiative– I thought– was to start these characters at ground zero. I am under the impression that I don’t know anything yet about the Justice League or any of its members. These characters have been through less than one story arc and are already being “reimagined.” Can they be imagined a whole time first? Why do an alternate timeline before showing me the actual timeline?

    • @Jim: We’re going to be 8 months in by the time this series hits. I’m not sure how long we need to go before it’s okay to read books about completely different characters on a separate parallel Earth.

    • Assuming 8 issues is an arc and a half, I’m going to say “Longer than an arc and a half.”


    I am the Elusive New Reader that Jim’s article relates to. I am, despite suggestions to the contrary, capable of understanding things that a 6 year old or a tweenager can understand. I am fully and completely capable of understanding the concept of an alternate reality. Jim has known me long enough that this was never in question during our conversation. In fact, the start of our conversation went more like “So, since Earth 2 is that alternate reality that DC invented to tell different, fully legitimate stories while keeping the first reality in tact and just as legit, doesn’t it seem a bit early to be bringing that out if they haven’t even fully defined the first one?”

    Thank you for your time. Please feel free to disregard this and continue to imply that all of Jim’s friends, especially the Elusive New Reader, are idiots.

    • For what it’s worth, I think most people don’t actually think New Readers are idiots. People DO think Hypothetical New Readers are idiots, however. This is largely due to people setting up ridiculous situations that involve horribly poor explanations and it eventually gets to a point where older readers throw up their hands and say, “Then they’re stupid.”

      That having been said, I think breaking it down to, “It’s a what-if world” makes it too simple and in fact, does invite questions like, “Well isn’t it a bit too soon for that?” But if you instead take it out of a vacuum and say, “It’s a world where the heroes were introduced in the years they were created and aged alongside human history, so you get to see different heroes take their place,” then you give it more of a purpose.

      But I’ll admit, more than anything as a kid (I’m 24), I just always liked the idea of a multiverse. I hated that DC got rid of it before I was even born, and now that they’ve finally brought it back, the biggest reason I’m supporting it is that I’m glad they’re FINALLY doing something with what I’ve always believed was an awesome concept, poor timing or not. For those who are new readers, DC “brought back” the multiverse in 2006, and this many years later they’ve YET to do anything substantial with the concept. Personally I think they’ve been too terrified of the (largely imagined and reinforced through false history) stigma that comes with it while Marvel’s got an entire universe that’s been going on for ten years that’s got nothing to do with their main one and no one’s said squat.

  31. Im personally pretty thrilled that Earth 2 is already back. Remember in the now old DCU post-Infinite Crisis/52 we were all saying “okay so there’s 52 universes…now show us some”. But DC didn’t, they said wait for Morrisons Multversity.

    Well now everything is new and we’re getting to read about Earth 1 and 2. I’m ready!

  32. I guess what my last thought means is “I’m fine with the timing of this Jimski…so our brain can melt by itself”. Just kidding man.

  33. It’s not that new readers are idiots. It’s that for the most part, the new readers you’re going after are likely more casual readers. If you got someone who has decided they are all in on the DC relaunch, I highly doubt they’ll be any more confused than the rest of us. But the whole point of doing away with heaps of old continuity was to keep this fresh and new and simple for the interim. Jimski’s point is that we’re still in the new interim phase of this relaunch.

    It’s awesome that people like Kelly above were able to get in on the ground floor and go with it. But if you’re going to make as bold of move as DC did, you’d like to think that the new user friendly period would last longer than a couple months. In reality, you’d like it to last a few years. It’s not about doing stuff to confuse the people who are reading now. It’s about making the future confusing for the readers who decide to jump on down the road. Because all you’re doing right now is seeing to it that you have a whole new set of complicated continuity to replace the old one.

    it’s similar to what happened to the Ultimate universe. It didn’t take long for that to get complicated and in need of multiple reboots and relaunches. The same is going to happen here. And admittedly, that’s a given with comics. It will always be the case. But DC probably could have prolonged the freshness date of this new relaunch by holding back on the Earth 2 stuff for maybe a year or two.

    But like I said earlier, this really isn’t about new readers anyway. It’s mostly about passifying the guy complaining about the absence of the JSA and Power Girl at the DC panel at conventions.

    And with that all said, bring it on! I can’t wait to get confused. 😉

    • I agree that many people (myself included) were wondering what had happened to favorite characters and had been clamoring for a separate sandbox to play with them in.

  34. Looking forward to it. I would also just label it “Elseworlds.” As long as a reader knows how to read the title of the comic he or she is buying there shouldn’t be much confusion. If the concept of this new comic is confusing, they can always just stick with the titles they were already reading. It’s up to them.

    Also, I would think that having multiple Batman (>4) and Superman books in the new 52 would be just as much or even more confusing to new readers. People will pick and choose.

  35. I understand where Jim and Kelly are coming from in terms of how early Earth Two is being introduced. But to alleviate some of their concern, I think it’s important to look at the scope of the two Earth Two titles: Earth Two and Worlds Finest.

    While a lot of Earth Two remains a mystery, it sounds like the main characters are the updated JSA and not necessarily the Justice League. We haven’t met a JSA in the New 52 at this point, so these are new characters. If they’re influenced by Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that even the newest DC readers understand the impact of those key characters from past stories. Even if all three have gotten updated back-stories in their new ongoings, they each remain wholly familiar icons. I wouldn’t say that about Hawkman or even Green Lantern. But it’s true of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. So, I do think its reasonable to introduce alternate takes on those characters at this stage, especially in what I’m 99% sure is a secondary role when compared to a new JSA.

    World’s Finest is a series about Huntress and Powergirl, two castoffs from the Earth Two reality adjusting to life in the New 52. There’s no Huntress or Powergirl in the New 52 aside from these characters. That means there’s not a whole lot of continuity to juggle or make sense of. The characters are lost in a new world, but it’s the same world we’re learning about in the other books of the New 52.

    • So we can’t have Huntress or Powergirl without introducing the concept of Earth Two? This is a thing i did not know, either. I was confused because it sounded like we were introducing the Earth Two versions of those characters *before* their Earth One counterparts, especially with respect to Powergirl.

    • It’s likely the alternate reality heritage that defines their characters in this iteration. Even pre-52, Power Girl was always a castoff from another Earth.

    • Thank you, Paul. I really appreciate this insight.

  36. You know what…I will amend my pro Earth 2 stance slightly. The only thing that can be confusing is we are calling the DCnU Earth 1 and DC published a Superman Earth One last year and has a Batman Earth One dropping in July. Both of those are “new reimagining for the modern world” type of stories….which is what the New 52 is also doing.

    So the timing of those two releases make little sense, at least their Earth One titles don’t anymore.

  37. I look forward to it, mostly because I can’t afford to buy a large number of DC titles, and the Earth-2 heroes are my favorites anyway.

    I’d like to buy just a few titles in this corner of the New 52 and read somebody else’s copy of the rest of it.

    I’m thinking E2, WF, and maybe BoP? That would be about right.

    Although the WF teaser did not excite or entice me. It looked dated.

    So who knows, maybe I’ll save some cash and skip the whole thing.

    So far the most exciting thing about the whole prospect is ‘Art by Nicola Smith’.

    As soon as it crosses over with JLA I’m out again.


  38. New continuities *are* confusing for people. That’s why Batman: the Animated Series, Batman: Arkham Asylum and the Batman comic book all have exactly the same tone, history, expectations, character and rules for behavior. Otherwise, it would be too much and no one would buy the newest of them, the video game, if it was different from the others. Absolutely true.

    If people are confused by multiple Earths (as Karen Berger was in 1985), then your feelings are true and valid. Personally, I’m confused by math, which is why no one ever asks me to do any, and I have never gotten any value out of trying to wrap my head around basic addition and multiplication. Whew.

    I’m sure that it will be fine, because if people are confused, they won’t buy it and commercial success is always a perfect arbiter of quality. This is why I’m glad that crappy comics like My Boyfriend Thor and Captain Britain and Some Other People and SWORDS in SPACE were cancelled, because they must have been very, very bad. Because they were confusing. And confusing things are bad. Like math. And different continuities. Thankfully, Scott Snyder’s Batman comic is exactly like the Adam West show. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d understand that it was Batman.

  39. Since the DC market research indicates that new readers are only about 2% of the readership, i’m not sure it matters

    • Good point.

    • I’m bad at math so feel free to correct me: if “Justice League #1” sold 250,000 copies and only 2% of the people who read that were new readers…that’s still 5,000 new readers, right? Like that’s enough to almost double the sales of any given Image book that isn’t written by Robert Kirkman.

  40. This article is splitting hairs. The intent of the relaunch was just as much to provide a blank slate for storytelling as it was to provide a more level field to get new readers. In fact, I would definitely argue that the DC marketing did a hell of a lot more to get new readers than the books themselves did; many have the same tone, consistency, and decompressed pacing (which I think kills new readers faster than anything else).

    But even if the new DC universe’s readership were comprised of 25% or more new readers, would it really be all that harmful to introduce an alternate take on characters that have in some cases been around for 3-4x the life span of the readers? We can’t have an alternate Superman because we just introduced the last one? That seems to be arguing for the sake of it. The concept of alternate realities and dimensions dates back quite a ways in sci-fi. If nobody’s head exploded watching the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of Star Trek in the 60s, I don’t think anyone will be out of whack in the year 2012.

    The problem comes from the nitpicking nature of some fans. Just because there is an alternate universe introduced in a comic, we have somehow come to the conclusion that we as fans need, NEED to know every little aspect that makes that universe different, where it’s moment of divergence was from our own timeline, etc. Going back to the Star Trek reference, who remembers what was different about the alternate universe? The crew was evil. Sure, there’s more to it than that if you get deeper into it, but that line tells you all you need to know to watch the episode. If anybody asks you what DC’s Earth 2 is (past or present versions) and you say anything other than “just an alternate universe where things have happened a little differently, ya know, like in Back to the Future 2”, you are doing far more disservice to the comics than DC is by bringing it back. No bullshit about trying to explain continuity, where the universes came from, past stories, etc. Your complaint is the equivalent of being asked by a child “what is physics?” and starting your explanation with detailed quantum mechanics; the answer is the poison, not the question.

  41. Jimski, I see where you are coming from but feel there is an assumption in your article that I don’t see. As I read the New 52, I remain surprised at how little like a reboot the DC reboot actually is. These characters are established because their histories are still there. Sure, it’s somehow been compressed into 5 years, but Batman didn’t just start out as Batman, most of the recent GL history still seems to be GL history and the Alan Moore Swamp Thing is still somewhere in the new Swamp Thing’s past. The first Robin still grew up and became Nightwing. Barbara Gordon was still shot by the Joker and was Oracle for 3 years (or something); she didn’t get reset to pre-Oracle time. Really, the New 52 was just a line-wide “jumping-on-point”.

    So, I don’t think adding a new Earth-2 to that established history is such a big deal.

    The Elusive New Reader probably isn’t as worried about the continuity, anyway, and will just read what they like.

  42. This article seems a little abrasive.
    Marvel itself have 3 universe in their ongoing line, 616, ultimate and MAX.
    DC has 2. How is that hard to fathom?

    • Because none of marvel’s (at least that i’m aware of) crossover into each other. We’re not saying we can’t understand the concept that’s not the point. It’s that DC has a history of throwing them together and making things a confusing mess between the multiple universes. It would be the same as if in regular 616 marvel all of sudden ultimate spiderman was swinging side by side with 616 spiderman. Do you see the difference marvel keeps there universes separate which is fine but DC likes to randomly mash them together.

    • Also don’t forget the Marvel Zombie Universe

    • Also let’s not forget the Cancerverse.

    • @thompsonlive If I’m not mistaken you’ve said you are a new reader to DC, so it stands to reason you’ve never read any DC parallel earth stories before. So how do you know they are a confusing mess? Maybe try them first before writing them off and getting angry at DC about them?

    • @thompsonalive I still don’t get how this is confusing. You’re saying DC has a history of mashing them tgt, Im assuming you meant crisis of infinite earth. That particular novel has been read by alot of my friends as a child and they dont seem to have problems with it. I’m also a new reader and I dont see how that is so hard to understand.
      Earth Two as said by the name is an alternate earth.
      Worlds’ Finest showed 2 heroes who were from Earth 2 trapped in our earth.
      Thats all one need to know.
      As for whether is it too soon, why would it be too soon if its a concept easy to comprehend.
      Reading your earlier comments you said you’re planning to drop all your books because of earth 2 seems like you’re just very against the idea and not that it caused you any difficulties in reading.
      Which is fine, you have the right to drop whichever book you want, but nothing has yet affected your books at all.
      If Im confused, Id just avoid the books but the fact is Im not confused.
      Alternate earths are all over pop culture. We see it in buffy, fringe, smallville even community.
      I’ve watched Justice League and Superman The animated series whom both featured an alternate earth targetting kids.

  43. Great article.

    The real problem in all this is that Earth 2’s costumes may turn out to be better designed than Earth ones.

  44. Where does Before Watchmen fit into this continuity?

  45. As an Elusive New Reader (TM) myself (I started reading comics a month ago), I don’t see what the problem is with this book. Yes it was confusing when it was first announced, but after doing a few minutes worth of Google research I figured out what the hell Earth 2 is all about. To be honest, I don’t think this book is aimed at new readers, and that’s fine.

    I am still overwhelmed every time I walk into a comic book store, and I personally gravitate to those books that I’ve sampled and enjoyed (Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Memorial), and I just ignore the tens, if not hundreds, of books that are lying around everywhere. Having one more book in that list of “to-be-ignored” won’t really affect me in any significant way. However, for the long-time readers it may be something that interests them and provides some entertainment value. I don’t see the harm in that.