James Robinson’s Earth 2 #3 thrusts Alan Scott into the spotlight. However, unlike the last issue, Robinson takes time to address the threat our new heroes will face.
To say this issue is wordy is an understatement. After last issues more succinct origin of Jay Garrick, we are treated to a barrage of exposition. It is really astounding how much is said for what amounts to establishing Alan Scott’s role in the book. It isn’t as if the notions are complicated either. It makes the book feel like Robinson is simply spoon-feeding us information. What worked last issue was giving Jay Garrick a voice as he explores his powers, whereas here it is still hard to gauge who Alan Scott is. He is obviously grieving now and the personal vow he makes at the end of the book does gives him an emotional motivation, but it doesn’t resonate. The only really moment in Scott’s scenes that have any impact is how the Green Lantern ring is formed.
The actual core of the narrative takes aspects from both Animal Man and Swamp Thing. Robinson proposes that Alan Scott is the definitive defender of The Green and must stop a new evil in the form of The Grey. The final page reveal of The Grey’s champion brings back a familiar face and positions him in a new role that has a nice nod to his pre-52 roots. But the use of The Green and The Grey makes the book seem familiar due to the fact these concepts are used as the main thrust of other DC titles right now. Of course not everyone is reading those books, but the familiarity is there and from it the reader could infer the possible outcomes.
Jay Garrick continues his journey also but with more success. His interactions with Hawkgirl alleviate the feeling that the book is just one big information dump. The scene is fun and playful and continues to establish Jay as a really likable character. Hawkgirl herself is an interesting mystery as Robinson lays down his plans for her character. Her importance in the whole arc is evident without having to go into great detail, which stands in great contrast to the Alan Scott portion in the book. In fact it highlights the bloated nature of those scenes.
The art however is more consistent than the script. Nicola Scott continues to excel with her pencils as she delves into Alan Scott. In her hands, Alan emotes with the best of them. The script may be the reason it doesn’t resonate entirely but Scott’s pencils do a great job of defining the character’s physicality and emotional reaction the situation. Alan Scott’s new costume continues the tradition of Nicola Scott’s redesigns that feel modern but classic. It also looks like Scott has the chops to deliver The Grey in all its glory as the most visually interesting aspect of the book comes from that concept. Jay and Hawkgirl are well-rendered and their training fight is frenetic and fun as well. If nothing else the book looks great in Scott’s capable hands.
So, this time around the book seems to buckle under the weight of exposition. Robinson’s take on Alan Scott’s origin is cumbersome and lacks that air of fun that Jay’s did. In fact one could say it just isn’t as interesting. The main threat and concept of Alan Scott’s role plagiarizes other DC titles and not for the better. But there are still some good aspects to the book as the art impresses and Jay Garrick shines. For now though, this issue is a necessary evil as Robinson moves onto bringing his cast together in the coming months.