This New 52 title does a nice job of exploring cool new ways of introducing us to our favorite DC supers. Set in an “alternate” DC universe, five years after Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and others have been killed in the Apokolips War, a handful of new supers arises to deal with an even greater threat. The entity known as the Grey and his agent, Solomon Grundy, are endeavoring to drain all life from the planet, with only Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, the Atom, and the Flash to stop them. With the excellent line work of Nicola Scott (Birds of Prey, Superman) and the rich color palette of Trevor Scott (Stormwatch, The Authority), the visual is engaging whether the action is muted or full-throttle. What is so enjoyable, though, are the ingenious origins that Robinson designs for Green Lantern and the Flash, and the characters’ own efforts to understand what they have become and how they can save the world. Any origins story like this one will have its awkward moments but Robinson is really good at not lingering in these moments, making this a promising start to the series. (Mar.)
This six-issue return to Earth 2 is a rough ride, beginning with the alternate-universe versions of five major superheroes sacrificing their lives to repel an alien invasion and climaxing with Earth 2’s near annihilation by an inventively apocalyptic reimagining of villain Solomon Grundy. Standing together (barely) against the destruction are no-nonsense Hawkgirl, a postcollegiate slacker transformed into the Flash, an Atom with divided loyalties, and a gay Green Lantern atoning for the death of his fiancé. Writer Robinson wastes no time in establishing this world, efficiently presenting origins as needed and delivering stellar action alongside some surprising, emotionally charged moments. The artwork, by a passel of talented artists, is richly colored, elegant, and dynamic, in the style of Jim Lee, whose character designs appear as extras.
Verdict First, Grant Morrison’s spiffy new Action Comics, and now this? This DC Universe reboot might work out after all. Recommended for all superhero-centered graphic novel collections; suitable for YA readers and sophisticates who can handle the usual comic book mayhem.J Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB