James Robinson Talks Jay Garrick’s Earth 2 Origin

In a spoiler-filled interview at CBR, Earth 2 writer James Robinson talks about the DC Trinity, the Justice Society…and the origin of Jay Garrick, hinted at in this week’s issue and coming up in issue #2.

Spoilers for Earth 2 #1!






In Earth 2, Jay Garrick gets his powers from the Roman god Mercury.

One of the things that you are going to see about Earth 2 is that it’s not a magical place or a sorcerers’ world, but it does have a slightly metaphysical feel to it. Science doesn’t work exactly the same as it does on Earth Prime. With that in mind, I wanted his origin to have a slightly metaphysical element to it. And also, the only flaw with Jay Garrick in his entire career is that his origin of inhaling hard water is so vague and ill-defined, it must have been made up on the spot by the writer. This is the one thing that I’m changing; he actually gets a mantle passed to him by a dying god.

In a way, I like the fact that it almost mirrors, as a mythical version, the science fiction origin of how Hal Jordan got his powers from a dying Green Lantern. It’s sort of the same thing, but obviously with Jay Garrick, what makes him special is that he isn’t a cool test pilot that is born without fear like Hal Jordan — he’s a unsure 21-year old college graduate that is thrust into this amazing and fantastic world and has learn how to be a superhero over the first arc of our series.

It’s an interesting choice. It’s true that Jay Garrick’s origin is rather weak (though better than the Golden Age Whizzer getting his powers through a transfusion of mongoose blood), and I do like the explicit link to the classical speedster who inspired the original Flash’s look…but I’m not so sure about what appears to be a random selection. Did Mercury choose Jay Garrick as his successor? Or was he simply nearby?

We’ll find out in Earth 2 #2, on sale next month.


6 thoughts on “James Robinson Talks Jay Garrick’s Earth 2 Origin

  1. Stephen

    We’ll find out whether Mercury chose Jay or he was just nearby in the next book. All in all, I’m enjoying Earth 2.

  2. Eyz

    A 21 years old Jay, the messenger Hermes (as seen in Byrne and Perez’s run on WW) linked to his origin,…
    Man.. Just.. I’m outta words…

    *continues collecting ol’ pre-New 52 DC comics instead*

  3. Imitorar

    “Did Mercury choose Jay Garrick as his successor? Or was he simply nearby?”

    Or as I call it, the Kyle Rayner question. Although judging from Mercury’s words on the last page, it seems pretty clear that he went after Jay particularly.

  4. Kyer

    Again, I’m okay with this as Jay’s origin. (Beats hard water vapors which always made me think ‘dry ice’ what was it a party?)

    I’ll call…Jay was chosen. There’s got to be some reason for making him special and Mercury’s being a god (whatever that exactly meant) implies that he’d have some insight into a person’s character…particularly if that character is Jay and he’s been watching him for five years.

    And Mercury is smart.

    (Notice how Mercury waited until just after Joan left? Obviously, he didn’t want to run into the hell cat. This shows the speed god had wisdom!) ;P

  5. Xian

    Haven’t had time to actually read this issue yet (though I’ve flipped through the gorgeous art). At least in principle I’m pleased with Jay being a successor to Hermes / Mercury… it gets at exactly what he is as a character- a contemporary demigod with mythologically defined parameters… why does he run instead of fly, how does he defy friction, how does his senses work, etc?

    Following the mythological archetype preempts those scientific quandaries some and taps into our intuitive sense of how the archetype works… but by using a grounded, mortal, contemporary man, we still get the rational, scientific, “real” shade on the myth. Even if we all intuit how a god-based speedster works, Jay is free to ask and learn- in fiction- about the nit-picky mechanics of his powers as he discovers them, while still taking for granted the stuff we intuit. It’s what the Speed Force originally did as a handwave and what- essentially- magic/myth does for Jay now.

    I think it’s more compelling to learn the mechanics of a known myth (heck, a lot of our pop-fiction right now is unpacking vampires, werewolves, wizards, and such) rather than try to start from ground zero and explain how fumes gets you archetypal speedster abilities. Learning the mechanics of godhood is potentially compelling (and a lot of the fun of the current Flash series is small revelations and variations on how Flash’s powers work).

  6. Nick

    I am very surprised at the uproar in comic book fandom about the possibility of Jay getting his powers by being in the right place at the right time. That seems to be a common thread for comic book characters. Look at Barry Allen: he was in the right place at the right time to get hit by the lightening bolt with chemicals. Or, a better example – Spider-Man: he was in the right place at the right time to get bitten by a spider. For the, lets face it, C-level character that is Jay, the reaction online is strange (excluding places like Speed Force – since it is Flash-focused, Jay’s star rises to visitors and those in charge).


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