The GeeksverseOf Starman, Alan, and the New Earth 2

Of Starman, Alan, and the New Earth 2
Published on Monday, July 2, 2012 by

Welcome back my friends to the Column that offers all the thoughts that

Alan Scott is Gay!?!?!?!?! So?

nobody wanted. There’s been a lot of debate, discussion, press, and various mixtures of anger and jubilation over the reveal that Alan Scott (the soon to be Green Lantern of the new Earth 2) is gay.

A lot has been said on this subject and the press seems to have eaten it up for the controversy they can get out of it. The upside to all this discussion however, is that it gives free advertisement in what I believe will be one of the most critically loved books spinning out of the May “Next Wave”.

Many seem to be angry simply because Alan had been a straight man in the 60+ years he has existed. However, I think it’s a wonderful idea and is doing the one thing that Earth 2 needs to do: redefine the Golden Age characters.

 

Jay Garrick seems to be more or less the same as he was in the original run (no pun intended) of his book way back when. The only difference I can tell right now has to do with the relationship between him and his ex-girlfriend (formerly his wife of many years in the previous universe) Joan.

Alan is still being fleshed out in regards to the hero he will become. As for his sexual orientation, James has always shown great respect and dignity to the gay characters he has written for in the past. Mikaal Tomas is the one that will always come to mind. Much like Mikaal, I don’t think Alan will be defined by his homosexuality. James has handled the gay characters in his stories well and has written them as true individuals, with their own faults and strengths; with being gay being just what they happen to be. Similar to how Batman, Superman, etc. are handled.  They aren’t defined by their straightness but by their character and actions. They just happen to be straight.

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However, to reveal that he happens to be gay is a brilliant stroke. It sets the tone that this book will not simply be the rehashed origin stories set in the current age but that nothing is as it was and everything changes.

Another example of this would be the somewhat sinister undertones that the original Mr. Terrific displayed toward the modern day Mr. Terrific. Could a former hero in the previous universe now become a villain in the reset multiverse?  Only time will tell but, I think it would be a terrific, fresh idea.

The Earth 2 book could not have been placed in better hands and I believe that we are being reminded again just how talented and refreshing James Robinson can be when left to his own devices. With Earth 2, James now has an entire world that he can build. He has the biggest canvas of any creator currently on a “NEW 52” book. This big canvas is exactly where James shines the best: A huge cast of characters that he can dip into whenever he wants from issue to issue and making each one their own person.

He showed this before in his Starman series where the cast expanded and expanded until there were five Starmen running around, a former villain turned anti-hero, and a menagerie of villains that had been pulled out and dusted off. I expect more of the same in this new Earth, but with James always expect the unexpected.

Moving on to the art for the first two issues;

The artwork in Earth 2 is absolutely stunning contributing to the narrative by evoking exactly whatever emotion the creator wants from the reader at any given time.

James also has the gift of never revealing where he is going before he gets there. Starman was many things but it never was obvious. James again can utilize that talent to surprise and go into a very different direction than expected to his best ability. The Mr. Terrific situation is one example of this. There is a world of questions around Terry Sloan and if he will be the same man he was in the Golden age universe, what about modern Mr. Terrific, what drew him to this second earth? Will he survive the machinations of Terry? Again time and patience will reveal all I’m sure.

There are so many situations foreshadowed beautifully for the reader and has left this reviewer with a ton of questions and a permanent spot on the edge of his seat.

The questions will be answered but waiting is the hardest part. Questions like, when will Rex Tyler start taking the Miraclo so the Man of the Hour will appear? Who is this Hawkgirl inPolandand how will that affect the Hawkman of Earth 1? Will the Shade make like Modern Mr. Terrific and somehow wind up on the second Earth? I will have to wait with the rest to find the answer to these questions.

Of course, the biggest question for me is: Where is Ted Knight? Is their a Ted Knight? Certainly, James won’t leave out the character he’s most famous for out in this new chapter of the Earth2. From his story “The Golden Age” through the 80 issues of his Starman run, it was always clear that James had an affinity for the elder Knight. The tales of time’s past were all loving little letters to the Golden era in general but to the Golden Starman fromOpalCityin particular.

I never could figure out which age Ted was that he enjoyed writing for the most. There was always a sense of wonder and fun whenever a tale of Ted in his youth was the focus of an issue but there always seemed to be a loving need to show Ted in his elder statesman age as well. James seemed to love showing that though Ted was older and a little more frail, he could still give as good as he ever did.

To me, the tale of Starman in the 90’s simply focused on Jack as the youthful kid learning the ropes of a game he never wanted to be in and he was heroic in his efforts as he learned on the go. However, the true hero of the Starman series was Ted for sure. The focus may have been on Jack and his journey, but the real hero was Ted Knight.

There is a sense of heroism in the actions of an octogenarian standing up to a man made of phosphorous (not once, but twice!!!) and doing it with grim determination. It was apt in the story of Jack that the final tale ended with Ted’s final heroic act, dying as he always thought that he would: saving the city he loved and his son to boot. The journey of Jack was always underscored by the journey of Ted as he attempted to leave the hero game but rarely sat on the sidelines when everything hit the fan.

To have two issues go by and not even a passing reference to the man fromOpalCityis a tad disconcerting but, understandable. James has been followed his whole career by the ghost of Ted and Jack and it’s understandable that he may not want to focus on them in this new tale he is weaving. However, James has never seemed burdened by the legacy of his magnum opus, he’s always stood proud of the work he did for seven years and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before the big red fin head is flying the skies with his Cosmic or Gravity rod. I wonder what changes James will bring to Ted.

But, I digress. Earth 2 has been a splendid read and James had been in top form. If anyone is simply focused on this title because of Alan Scott’s new orientation, they are missing what is already THE title to read not only in the second wave but in the New 52.

The debate and controversy may increase in the coming months or quickly be moved aside for other topics that are more pressing. In the end, the Alan being gay thing was addressed in only a couple of panels. Telling me, that this isn’t something that James really plans to make a big deal of and rather treat it as a part of life.

And that’s as it should be.

 

2 Responses
    • I love Earth 2 so far.  Great book and yes, Robinson needs to be left alone.  His JLA run was bad because he was so confined.  Starman and now Earth 2 will shine because he’s on his own.

    • This is a completely positive spin on the rehash. Interesting take. 

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