By: James Robinson (story), Nicola Scott (pencils), Trevor Scott (inks), Alex Sinclair (colors)

The Story: Hiring a perpetrator of genocide as crisis consultant?  Desperate times…

The Review: The more I read this title, the more I admire Robinson’s approach to making Earth Two a true parallel world.  This Earth clearly has elements inspired by the one bearing most of the current DC features, but they don’t have any direct counterparts to each other.  In some cases, Robinson amalgamates concepts together (Alan Scott as both Green Lantern and a Superman-type figure); in others, Robinson puts in so much of his own ideas, they’re only barely familiar.

The Grey and the Green obviously fall in the amalgam category, being fusions of Green Lantern and Animal Man/Swamp Thing mythology.  Coincidentally (or not), the Grey is making a play for the whole planet just as the Rot is doing in “Rotworld.”  The big difference is the Grey isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet—so to speak—in the process; Earth Two faces its demise at the hands of Grundy in less than a day.

You have to consider the fact that the Grey is merely a starter antagonist for this series, and yet it poses an even more immediate threat than the Apokolptian invasion, which took far longer than “twenty-two hours” to play out and even then, the world survived.  Presuming this series lasts for a while (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t), and the enemies to come will prove even more challenging, it seems like Robinson has an epic in mind for the future.

The World Army is basically your international espionage and emergency-response group, Earth Two’s answer to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., down to the glowing, five-panel screens of a silhouetted shadow cabinet.  With that in mind, Commander Kahn is our Nick Fury, overseeing operations around the globe and responding with a mixture of take-no-crap evenhandedness and aggression (to his superiors in the World Council: “…with all due respect…shut your mouth and listen to me.”).  Although Kahn may be the first brand-new character on this Earth, he has connections to some prominent names: Wesley Dodds and his “Sandmen,” Red Tornado, Captain Steel.

It should be lost on no one the similarity this issue bears to the climax of The Avengers, particularly in the conflict over the World Council’s nuclear option.  Granted, in the world of comics, certain plotlines and tropes get passed around so often that repetition is almost a given, but this seems like a blatant rip-off to me.  Robinson has the next issue to take the story in a different direction from the movie, but that doesn’t help this one’s sense of copycatism.

On the plus side, the chemistry among our Wonders so far beats anything you’ve seen on the entire run of Justice League.  Already each character has developed a certain voice, with Alan the natural leader, Kendra the pragmatist, Al the surly authoritarian, and Jay, who comes across too sickeningly optimistic for words: “We’re Wonders…that makes us heroes, right?  We do the right thing.”  Thank God for the Atom voicing the thought in all of our heads: “Oh brother, where did they find you?

With the script growing a little more solid each month (with the exception of the completely forgettable #0), Scott may finally have a title worth her time in post-relaunch DC.  Her delicate lines give such life and detail into every setting, whether the high-tech command center of the World Army or the unnatural apocalyptic landscape of Washington D.C. under Grey control.  Trevor Scott’s inks add a rich depth even to her finest details, and who could be better than Sinclair for coloring a title like it’s A-class? Earth Two feels like an anchor title that can stand on its own separate from that featuring the League, and the art has much to do with that.

Conclusion: You may find yourself bothered, perhaps even a little offended, by the mimicking plotlines in this issue, but otherwise, Robinson and Scott deliver a superhero comic that easily matches and surpasses every team book DC’s putting out now.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I rather like that everyone in the World Army wears a badge indicating their country of origin.  You see Pakistan, Japan, and Liberia—Liberia!—represented.

– I enjoy that Sloan maintains a strict pattern of solving problems by blowing them up.  You know—because he’s a genius like that.