February 6, 2013

Jay Garrick Meets His FATE – and So Do We! (Review of Earth 2 #9)

Category: Reviews — By @ 5:32 pm

earth 2 issue 9Earth-2 issue #9 pulls off an impressive feat – introducing a major character without making it feel like a stunt, all the while pushing forward an excellent storyline.  Jay Garrick fans get to see a lot more of his character in this issue, and we find out more about the depths to which the World Army will stoop in an attempt to capture these new “Wonders”. 

SOME MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD – PLEASE READ THE ISSUE BEFORE CONTINUING!

This issue begins with a conversation between Kendra and the new Fate, Khalid Ben-Hassin.  We learn that both Fate and Hawkgirl gained their powers at the same time, and both have found difficulties and pain associated with their amazing gifts.  The new bearer of the helm of Nabu goes temporarily insane when using his powers, so his reluctance to step in is most understandable.  But, he has helped Kendra before and eventually agrees to help once again.   Now, Khalid uses Nabu’s power to send himself to…Lansing Michigan, home of Jay Garrick’s mother!  While Khalid spends a few minutes in a delusional state, we pick up news reports that show the world is aware of Steppenwolf’s continued presence on this version of Earth, and that the world is also abuzz about these new “Wonders” who appeared recently Washington DC.

As we shift focus to the Earth 2 Flash, we get a peek into the head of a Jay who is still growing up, who realizes that he hasn’t always been the most mature and responsible guy in the past, but who is earnestly trying to do the right thing now.  As he is reunited with his mother, trouble literally comes “knocking”…and we find out just how far The Atom, Wesley Dodds and the World Army will go to capture one of these new “Wonders”.  Just as Jay appears to be winning the battle, Dodds grabs and threatens Jay’s mother.  I have to agree with Jay – Dodds is a “grade-A  b*****d” – which makes him an even more compelling and intriguing character in this series. 

Khalid is watching, arguing with the voice of Nabu in his head as to which of them should step in…and in the end it is Khalid who saves the day, reminding me very much of an early Silver-Age Hal Jordan who  often preferred to fight with his fists instead of his ring.    

That’s not the end of the story…as something very mystical takes Khalid, Jay and his mother to…let’s just say they get to meet a well-known nemesis of Fate, re-imagined for the new Earth 2!  It would be too spoilerific to tell more, so you will need to read the issue for more.

Just a note here, since this is my first review of Earth 2 on SpeedForce… I’m a very old JSA fan, having grown up with the annual JLA/JSA team-ups in the 1960’s and having loved all the Golden Agers ever since.  This is certainly not the “old” JSA – but taken at face value, this IS an extremely well-written series with compelling characters and story lines.  Earth 2 is one of the very best titles DC has to offer right now, and this issue is certainly a good example.  I have to say that I really like this new Fate, and I’m looking forward to seeing more in future issues.  James Robinson continues excellent work with the writing duties here – I have to note that Fate was introduced very smoothly into the storyline without making this into a stunt just to sell copies.  The artwork is excellent as well, from Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott on pencils and inks, and Pete Pantanzis and Alex Sinclair splitting the coloring duty.  If you aren’t already following Earth2, you are simply missing out!

About the reviewer: Ed Garrett is a long time Flash fan, having collected The Flash and other comics since the 1960′s (when they were only 12 cents).  He is a fan of Jay, Barry, Wally, Bart, and all the other speedsters who have graced the pages of DC Comics over the years.  Ed uses the handle xBarryxAllenx as the administrator of The Fastest Forum Alive, a Flash fan forum.