In DC Comics' upcoming series Earth Two, alternate dimension versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman rub shoulders with a younger incarnation of the venerable Justice Society. io9 spoke with author James Robinson (Starman, JSA) about what it was like to transform DC's oldest superheroes into novice crimefighters.
The alternate universe of Earth Two has been a longtime staple of DC Comics. What sort of angle did you devise for this reboot?
James Robinson: The Earth Two concept before Crisis on Infinite Earths was that there was the same Earth, but with a twenty-year window of difference. There was a group of heroes who went on an adventure in the 1940s, and another group from the 1960s.
For this reboot, things on the two Earths have occurred on the same time frame. However some very important, earth-shattering changes have unfolded. It isn't so much a generational. It's about subtle differences that have occurred in the five years between the start of the New 52 DC universe and where we are now.
For these new Justice Society characters, I tried to instill what makes their personalities unique and what made these characters great even in the 1940s. It's about bringing the archetypal elements of classic characters like Alan Scott and Jay Garrick — we can tell new stories, but also offer a familiarity for their previous fans to enjoy.
Will the Earth Two timeline give us any sorts of insights into events that may have happened off-camera on Earth One?
It arguably starts somewhat the same, but it very quickly diverges. Some of these divergences will be vague and work as springboard for future story lines, but I also enjoy allowing the readers to fill in some of the blanks. But yes, when you're reading that world, it will eventual tie in with the greater history of the DC universe. Earth Two is its own world with its own past, and we'll see some of its history unfold in flashbacks.
Can you give us any sort of hints about the cast of Earth Two?
I must be vague because I'm under the threat of death from DC. But I can tell you now there's the Jay Garrick Flash, the Alan Scott Green Lantern, a new Hawkgirl in the third issue, and Mister Terrific appears in the second issue and will eventually be joining this world.
Here's a little teaser about him — one of the aspects of him venturing to Earth Two is a scientific malady has altered his genetic structure subtly, and he cannot return to Earth One ever. He must try to adopt this new world — where science and physics are slightly different — as his own.
You'll also be seeing Al Pratt take on a costumed identity, but there will be some surprises when he first appears around issue #4. If at first people don't see a version of their favorite Justice Society character, there's a strong possibility that character will show up soon.
The first issue of Earth Two — with covers by Ivan Reis and interior art by Nicola Scott — will be on sale tomorrow, May 2.