March 4, 2012

Should Jay Garrick be Stuck on Earth-2?

Category: Opinion — By @ 7:00 am

Earlier this week, a reader asked me what I thought of DC’s decision to move Jay Garrick out of the mainstream DC Universe and put him in a separate universe (specifically Earth 2) with no links to Barry, Wally and Bart.

At first I was disappointed to lose the legacy aspect of the characters. I think it adds a lot to the Flash mythos to have Jay, then Barry, then Wally and Bart as a series of heroes inspiring and mentoring one another. On the other hand, the old scheme of tying the Justice Society of America to World War II and the Justice League to the present has been getting harder and harder to maintain over the last couple of decades. From that standpoint, I’m OK with them returning to the multiverse approach…as long as they treat the alternate reality as a first-class setting (like the Ultimate Marvel universe), not as something expendable. (How many characters did DC kill during Countdown to Infinite Crisis just because they weren’t from “New Earth” and therefore didn’t matter?)

Moving Jay Garrick to Earth-2? Sure, I can handle that.

But I’m not so sure about this Earth-2.

Over the past week, as we’ve started learning about Earth-2 — in particular the new takes on Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman — just about every new piece of information makes me less and less interested in the series. It’s all about death, all about heroes who kill — and that seems to be the selling point. I’m sure “What would you have to do to teach Superman to kill?” could be a fascinating story. But it’s not one I’m interested in reading as an ongoing. (That, in fact, is why I haven’t read Mark Waid’s Irredeemable — by all reports it’s a great story, but not one I want to read.)

I hope the teasers we’ve gotten over the past week are about a jumping-off point, rather than representative of the tone of the series. That the other heroes of Earth 2 aren’t going to be surrounded by and dealing out death, but rather carrying on the legacy as their world’s trinity fails. A dark, Flashpoint-like take on the Justice Society could be interesting, but if this is the only place we’re going to see Jay Garrick for the foreseeable future, I’d much rather it be in a setting where the Flash can be the kind of hero who tips his hat in respect to each person he saves.

Update: Just a day later, DC revealed Jay Garrick’s new costume and more information about his role in Earth 2.