Review by: Charles E. Henning Justice League Earth 2 Written by: Grant Morrison Art by: Frank Quitely Published by: DC Comics
“Someone threw a dark mirror at the world and made us look.”
JLA: Earth 2 is not a complete story. Then again, I don’t feel it is supposed to be. Just like Nicolas Cage in The Family Man, we get to see a glimpse. A glimpse into what could be if the world ran under different circumstances. Our story opens with questions and ends with, dare I say, even more questions. I am not in anyway saying that as a bad thing. If anything, the storyline will challenge your mind into new ways of thinking about good and evil. Thanks to the CW’s The Flash, a majority of us are familiar with the concept of another earth. Yes, there may be another earth out there where yours truly is an actual Marvel fanboy going to cons in a Spider-Gwen costume. I shudder to think.
Earth 2 is overrun by The Crime Syndicate of Amerika, an upside-down version of the Justice League if you will, and wouldn’t you know it, the only person standing in their opposition is the one and only, Lex Luthor. Instead of the evil genius we all love to hate, Lex Luthor of Earth 2 is a hero who will stop at nothing to save his planet from the corruption of Superwoman, Ultraman, OwlMan, Johnny Quick, and the unfortunately named...Power Ring. On the other hand, Lex of our earth has often been shown as believing that he isn’t attacking Superman out of just plain spite, but out of fear of what an all-powerful Superman could do if allowed to go unchecked. So maybe these two aren’t as different as they first seem. Lex of Earth 2 is at his wits end with what to do in his one-man battle against evil, so he decides to do what any other sane person would, enlist more men to the cause. Unfortunately, in a land where good is bad and bad is good, there isn’t a large supply of justice enforcers or freedom fighters. Lex must leave his home, his reality, and journey into the unknown in hopes of bringing new hope to his dark world. Enter the Justice League. Our Justice League. Defenders of what is right. Conquerors of all sorts of evil. They protect their cities. They defend our country. They even preserve peace for the entire planet. But will they stretch beyond that? Is Superman required to help another reality? Is Batman the protector of all Gothams? I’m sure you can figure that one out for yourselves without me having to spoil anything here, but it is interesting to think about where responsibility begins and ends in extreme circumstances. Nonetheless, our heroes end up on Earth 2 in a battle against their counterparts. The battle seems fairly one-sided and seems almost too quickly concluded to me, but this fight isn’t the ultimate climax of our story arc. If anything, this fight is just a segway into act 3 of our little melodrama. After it is almost too late, our heroes realize in this war, just like in any war, they can’t truly win. In this world where wrong is right and right is wrong, they can’t make any lasting impact. So the question is presented before them that often plagues us all. What can you do when every solution you attempt only creates more problems? This isn’t a happy-go-lucky comic that wraps up neatly. Actually, the last few pages show that some problems will always exist simply because we are imperfect humans. Corrupted somewhere deep in our genes is fear and greed no matter how hard we try to fight it. Sorry, went a little bleak there for a minute. If you prefer a similar story with a bit of a happier ending, check out the DC animated movie Crisis On Two Earths. Many changes are given to the plot that was clearly inspired by JLA: Earth 2, but I feel many of the ideas are more fleshed out. Of course, no disrespect to Grant Morrison, the creator of so many of my favorite comic moments. I recommend checking out both in your spare time so that you can get a full picture of what makes Earth 2 tick.