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Off My Mind: Why Bringing Back Earth-2 is a Bad Idea for DC Strategy

The return of a parallel world and alternate versions of characters will only cause major confusion to new readers.

We've been seeing lots of changes in DC's 'The New 52.' Most of the characters are still familiar and have only received small tweaks. Other characters and events have undergone some bigger changes. The purpose of 'The New 52' was to provide the perfect jumping on point for new readers. People could jump in and not have to worry about what went on with the characters for the past few decades. While there has been a couple hiccups, the plan has been pretty successful so far.

Then DC revealed that Earth-2 would be making its return in 2012's Justice Society of America. Earth-2 is essentially a parallel world with alternate versions of many of the characters we know. Earth-2 was the explanation for the Golden Age DC characters and why they had different traits from the Silver Age characters in the later 1950s.

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The potential for new elaborate and maybe even crazy stories is something to consider with the return of the Golden Age. The problem is, trying to explain the differences to newer readers, even ones that have read DC Comics now and then, is going to be tough. We're already trying to figure out what is going on and what has been erased in the 'New 52.' Bringing in different versions of characters or the whole notion of a parallel DC Universe could be the factor that pushes some readers away. In other words, bringing back Earth-2 is a bad idea.

== TEASER ==

Earth-2 and the Golden Age heroes had their beginnings from the early days of WWII. The Justice Society was the big team and other characters had different stories. For example, Superman, as Clark Kent, worked at the Daily Star, became the editor-in-chief and married reporter Lois Lane. Batman eventually retired and became the police commissioner of Gotham City. He married Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and they had a daughter, Helena, who would become that world's Huntress. Dick Grayson was always the only Robin and when Batman 'retired,' he continued crime fighting and joined the Justice Society. The list goes on and on with pretty big differences from the characters we know.

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It was in 1961's The Flash #123 where Barry Allen accidentally vibrated at the right frequency that transported him to Earth-2. He discovered that the comic character Jay Garrick, known as the Flash on this world, was actually real. The explanation was the writer, Gardner Fox, must have had a connection to the world and dreamt about it as he slept and wrote the stories. This opened up the door between the two Earths. Eventually others showed up and Alan Scott and Power Girl made their way to the DC Universe. It was 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths that was meant to clean up the continuity in the DC Universe. No longer did multiple Earths exist.

Only Crisis on Infinite Earths hasn't happened in 'The New 52,' according to Dan DiDio. That means Earth-2 didn't get merged/erased. What does this mean for the other Earth-2 characters? Could we see that Earth-2 Batman journey over? Will books be clearly marked as the 'New 52' universe and Earth-2 world? What can we say about last week's Huntress #1 and Penguin #1? Neither had the 'New 52' words splashed across the cover. Did those issues occur in the 'New 52,' Earth-2 or are just random stories written before 'The New 52' was set in motion? It could be because they're only miniseries but I see 'The New 52' as the entire new universe now rather than only the 52 individual titles. DC has dropped hints that Huntress will have connections to 'Mister Terrific' (which has Karen Starr but not Power Girl), 'Birds of Prey' as well as next year's Justice Society of America.

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I've been reading comics for over twenty-five years and even I am confused as to what is going on. How can newer readers make sense of the difference between Earth-2 and 'New 52' characters when many of the 'New 52' characters are undergoing radical changes?

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With some history officially being erased, we can also add any recent ones involving the Justice Society since they don't exist in the DC Universe but instead they're still on Earth-2.

Then again, it's possible the heroes have been able to cross over into each world. As mentioned in Justice League of America #82, every twelve months the "temperal matrices of the Earths come together briefly.' For twenty-one days, super-powered men and woman can cross to the other existence." Could that still be the case?

Trying to explain that to a new ready could be difficult, especially if they missed an issue. There'd also be the matter of defining how much real time equals twelve comic book months. But maybe the heroes in 'The New 52' have already interacted with heroes from Earth-2. We just don't know for certain since we don't know what they have and haven't done anymore.

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Let me be clear that I think the idea of being able to explore the Earth-2 counterparts is exciting. I'd love to see more of Earth-2 Batman, Robin, Superman and so forth. This just goes against what 'The New 52' was supposed to be about. You can't claim this isn't a reboot and then re-introduce characters from the 40s. Having two versions of characters isn't going to win over new readers if they don't fully know or understand which is the regular version and which is the Earth-2 counterpart.

The funny thing is it was Alexander Luthor Jr in Infinite Crisis who wanted to revert the multiverse into its pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths state. He wanted to pick characteristics of each and make the perfect world. That's exactly what 'The New 52' is doing. DC is choosing what characters they think are interesting and giving them a shot. It has been going smoothly and while the idea of seeing the Justice Society of America on Earth-2 again is great, I would rather they make their way back to the regular DC Universe and leave it at that. If we want readers to know what's going on and not get frustrated, you can't have alternate dimensions play a major role with the big characters.

Earth-2 might be a nice place for our heroes to visit but I wouldn't want them to live there.

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